General Course Descriptions

As a Women's and Gender Studies major or minor, you will take core courses in the program and also courses that are cross-listed with a range of departments including Anthropology, Biology, Communication, English, Ethnic Studies, History, Performing Arts, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Theology and Religious Studies, and World Languages and Cultures.
Prerequisite Grade

Any course listed in this program with a prerequisite assumes a grade of C– or better in the prerequisite course.

Core Courses

1 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies. The course provides a broad perspective on research in gender in a variety of disciplines (including sociology, psychology, politics, philosophy, history, and literature). Topics include the historically changing representations of women; the history of the women’s movement in the United States; globalization; contemporary feminism, sexualities, ecology, and the intersection of gender, race and class. A goal of the course is for each student to develop a critical perspective on the meaning of gender in our society. This course satisfies the Social, Historical, and Cultural Understanding requirement and the Common Good of the Core Curriculum. 

107 Research Seminar in Women’s and Gender Studies
An exploration of a theme or problem area in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies. Past topics have included: women and work; gender and science; women and religion; gender and popular culture; transnational perspectives on gender; U.S. cultural representations of gender; women and the media; masculinities; the history of sexuality. The course combines seminar discussions of texts that represent a variety of methodologies and disciplines with research papers. Research topics are designed by individual students in consultation with the instructor. Prerequisite: WGS 1 or permission of instructor.

126 Engaging Communities
This course will examine issues in gender and social justice through community engagement. Students will be asked to address a "real world" understanding of topics ranging from violence to electoral politics, poverty to environmental sustainability, and many others, through service-learning in behalf of community partners whose work addresses a range of related social issues. This course will satisfy requirements for the major and minor in Women's and Gender Studies and is open to all students. Experience in WGS 1: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies is encouraged but not required. Prerequisites: English 4 or WGS 1. This course satisfies the Common Good and the Community Engagement requirements of the Core Curriculum.

177 Feminist and Gender Theories
This seminar provides a series of inquiries into the diverse theoretical frameworks of contemporary feminism. Critical race theory, cultural studies, post-structuralism, Marxist and postcolonial theories, gender difference and queer theories,sexualities studies, ecofeminism, and third-wave identity politics are a few of the directions in discussion and research. Prerequisite: Limited to Juniors and Seniors Only.

196 Senior Research Thesis
Critical examination of theories and issues in contemporary Women’s and Gender Studies methodologies. Directed readings, research, and writing of a final senior paper or project under the supervision and approval of instructor. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing; WGS 1; WGS 107 and 177. Open to minors upon approval of director and instructor of the course. (In the case of a split or double major, Women’s and Gender Studies 196 may be taken in conjunction with thesis work in the other discipline. In the case of a minor, Women’s and Gender Studies 196 may be taken in conjunction with thesis work in the major.) This course satisfies the Writing in the Disciplines requirement of the Core Curriculum.


Regularly Offered Cross-Listed Electives

88 Biology of Women
Biology of women is an introduction to the structure, physiology, and genetics of women across the life span. The first half of the course explores the genetic, hormonal, and developmental basis for gender. We will study physiology and development from conception, through puberty, pregnancy and aging. The latter part of the course deals with specific health concerns of women and focus on predominantly or uniquely gender-related illnesses and their physiologic basis. The laboratory is intended to demonstrate the varied processes of science and the scientific method using women's biology as the basic subject material. Open to men and women. Laboratory fee $185. This course satisfies the Scientific Understanding requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as Biology 88)

106 Women in Sport
This course will analyze the relationship between gender and sport from multiple perspectives. Emphasis will be placed on exploring the changing roles in sports for women, as well as how past and current beliefs regarding gender equity, health, and women's role in society shape the experiences of women in sports in our society today. Topics will include: the history of women in sport, race and ethnicity, women's health issues, sexuality and homophobia as they pertain to sport, the role of the media, the sporting body, Title IX and career opportunities for women, and the future of sports for women in our society. Prerequisite: Kinesiology 10 and 15 (or for non-majors, permission of the instructor). Satisfies the American Diversity requirement and the Common Good requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as Kinesiology 106)

111 Kinship, Marriage and Family
For more than a century anthropological research has focused on households, kinship relations, childhood and families across cultures and through time. The anthropological record shows us that concepts such as "marriage," "childhood," and "family have been understood in radically theoretical perspective in the anthropological study of kinship as it relates to different issues connected to the state of marriage, family, and childhood throughout the world (Cross-listed as Anthropology 111)

115 Theories of Justice
The course examines different theories of justice based on concepts such as "fairness," "equal treatment," and "getting one's due." These alternate theories are then applied to contemporary controversies concerning economic, racial, sexual and environmental justice and to current debates about such issues as immigration, euthanasia, abortion, and capital punishment. This course satisfies the Common Good requirement of the Core Curriculum.  (Cross-listed as Politics 115)

119 Global Sociology
Examines the global nature of contemporary social, economic, political, and cultural change. Reviews the multidisciplinary theoretical approaches that analyze the origins, dynamics, and consequences of globalization. Provides students with an understanding of an array of issues that stem from global changes, including global inequality, third-world poverty, labor rights violations, natural resource constraints, and environmental problems. This course satisfies the Global Persepctives requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as Sociology 119)

120 Spanish Literature: Middle Ages to Eighteenth Century 
Introduction and study of the major genres and writers from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, including Cantar de mio Cid, medieval ballads, early lyric and didactic poetry and readings in medieval prose and drama; selections from lyric and mystic Renaissance poetry; the picaresque novel. Golden Age prose and poetry. Offered in alternate years. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed aWorld Languages and Cultures 120)

125 Gender and Culture
While sex is biological, gender refers to the set of cultural expectations assigned to males and females. This course takes a four-field anthropological approach to understand gender, investigating such topics as third and fourth gender diversity, gender among non-human primates, gender roles in prehistory and the sociolinguistics of gender usage. Special attention is paid to the ways in which gender articulates with other social practices and institutions such as class, kinship, religions and subsistence patterns (Cross-listed as Anthropology 125)

125-1 Gender and Society
While sex differences are biological, gender encompasses the traits that society assigns to and inculcates in males and females. This course studies the latter: the interplay between gender and society. It takes an inclusive perspective, with a focus on men and women in different cultural contexts defined by ethnic group membership, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. (Cross-listed as Sociology 125)

127 The Victorian Empire
The “sun never set” on the global British Empire of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, but its scale alone makes it difficult to comprehend from the multiplicity of local and global perspectives involved in its construction, contestation, and evolution. This course will trace the development of the British Empire before, during, and after the heyday of Queen Victoria’s empire (1837-1901) from geographic, demographic, and temporal vantage points. We will explore the intertwined nature of imperial, national, gender, and racial identities in the British Empire, political contestations over citizenship and belonging, imperial wars and revolutions, industrialization and class conflicts, changing gender roles and sexual mores, and the flourishing of popular imperial literature and culture around the world. Students will also engage independently and collaboratively with children’s and adult literature, historical and contemporary films, museum and cultural exhibits, and both scholarly and primary texts from and about the Victorian Era that continue to shape our own historical consciousness of the British, their empire, and the era. Offered in alternate years.  This course fulfills the Social, Historical, Cultural core curriculum requirement and the Global Perspectives requirement. (Cross-listed as History 127)

139 History of Women in America
A survey of American womens's history from 17th century colonial encounters to the present with an emphasis on ethnic and class diversity, shifting definitions and cultural representations of womanhood, and the efforts of women to define their own roles and extend their spheres of influence. Offered in alternate years. This course satisfies the Social, Historical, and Cultural Understanding requirement and the American Diversity requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as History 139)

140 Gender Politics A/B (1.25)
A study of the social, economic, political, and legal status of women in contemporary America and in other countries. The course examines the dynamic changes taking place in the relationship between women and men. Topics include the history of women’s liberation movements, contemporary battles on workplace equality, parental leave, equal pay, reproductive justice, etc. Includes Community-Based Research (the equivalent of a lab). (.25 credit). Offered in alternate years. This course satisfies the Community Engagement requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as Politics 140)

147 Psychology of Gender
A critical review of the theory of research on gender from the biological, pychological, and sociological perspectives. This course explores the social construction of gender and how it impacts human development and social behavior. Throughout the course, the interaction between gender and the complexities of race, race, culture, and sexual orientation is considered. Prerequisite: Psych 1 (Cross-listed as Psych 147)

151 Women in Latin American History
An examination of the participation of women in struggles for social justice in Latin America, asking what has motivated women to abandon traditional roles and how they have shaped debates about human rights, democracy, feminism, ecology, and socialism in selected Latin American countries. This course satisfies the Social, Historical, amd Cultural Understanding requirement, the Global Perspectives requirement, and the Common Good requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as History 151)

153 American Ethnic Writers and Oral Traditions
Study of the literary or oral imaginative achievement of an American ethnic or cultural group such as Native Americans, Asian Americans, American Jews, specific Black cultural groups, Hispanic Americans or Chicano communities. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement and the American Diversity requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as English 153)

157 Human Sexualities
A review of the empirical evidence on human sexuality, with a focus on historical and cultural perspectives as well as the physiological, psychological and sociological basis for sexual behavior and sexual identity. Prerequisite: Psychology 1. (Cross-listed as Psych 157)

171 Gender and Religion in American Culture
This course focuses on the relationship between gender and religion in North American history and culture. We will explore gender as a category of analysis for the study of religion, and the ways that religions construct and deconstruct gender norms. Religion is lived and practiced, and therefore it cannot be separated from the gendered bodies that people inhabit. We will use historical and contemporary case studies to examine the way that notions of feminity and masculinity have played a role in the religious lives of Americans. The course is cross-listed with Women's and Gender Studies. Prerequisite: TRS 97 or 189. This course satisfies the Theological Explorations and American Diversity requirements of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as TRS 171)

173 Women Writers
Intensive study of some aspect of literature by women. Examples of possible topics are: 19th-century British novelists; contemporary women poets; American and Canadian short story writers. May be repeated for credit as content varies. This course satisfies the Artistic Understanding (Analysis) requirement of the Core Curriculum. (Cross-listed as English 173)

183 Dance History II
This course examines the emergence and development of modern dance in the 20th Century in the United States and Europe. We will study significant choreographers, performers and companies, paying close attention to the role women played in the history of modern dance. We will draw from social, cultural and feminist theories of dance to construct a historical understanding of modern dance. Prerequisites: Perfa 1 and Perfa 182. (Cross-listed as Performing Arts 183) 

In addition, new courses are approved on a term-to-term basis. Examples of such electives include English 154 Studies in African-American Literature or 141 Studies in Medieval Literature.