This course will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of women's and gender studies, out of which some of the most innovative and challenging developments in recent scholarship are arising. It will provide students with critical frameworks for thinking about the social construction of gender at the personal and institutional levels. Emphasis will be placed on diverse women's significant contributions to knowledge and culture; to other areas of gender studies, including men's studies, family studies and the study of sexuality; and to the intersections of various forms of oppression both within and outside of the U.S. The course will include both scholarly as well as personal texts, visual as well as written text. Offered every semester.
This course is designed to help students develop a critical framework for thinking and writing about issues related to sexual orientation. The course will take a broad view, examining sexuality from legal, psychological, biological, cultural, ethical, philosophical and phenomenological frameworks. We will look at the emerging fields of the history of sexuality and queer theory, out of which some of the most innovative and challenging developments in modern cultural studies are arising. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
Credit: 0.5 QR
In this class we will examine how popular culture (e.g., media) represents gender through making observations, reading background theory, examining content analysis research and conducting our own research. We will examine the extent to which popular culture depicts gender-stereotyped behavior, the content of the gender stereotypes, the possible reasons why stereotypes are portrayed and the likely effects of these stereotypes on the behavior of individuals and the structure of society. To the extent that it is possible, we will examine the intersection of stereotypes about gender with those associated with race/ethnicity, social class, age and sexuality. This course satisfies the quantitative reasoning requirement because students will learn about descriptive statistics and put them to use by conducting their own content analysis (in a small group) and presenting and writing about the results of their research. There also is a service-learning component to the course in that students will develop a media literacy lesson for high school students based on what they learn about their topic. The lesson could potentially be used by the DELTA Project of Mount Vernon in their efforts to prevent intimate partner violence and sexual violence. This course satisfies a requirement in the women's and gender studies major and concentration. This course is designed for first-year students. No prerequisite.
This course explores the representation and construction of gender in and through film. Adopting both a historical and theoretical approach, we will focus on how masculinity and femininity, in their various forms and combinations, are signified, how the gender of both the character and the spectator is implicated in the cinematic gaze, and how gender characterizations inform and reflect the larger culture/society surrounding the film. A wide variety of cinematic traditions will be discussed, and although Hollywood films will form the base of the course, other national and regional cinemas will be explored, through both the screening of full-length films and numerous excerpts of others. No prerequisite. Note: This course requires attendance at weekly film showings in addition to regular class meetings. Offered every other year.
Through focus on a specific topic, this course will explore how men's lives are shaped by and shape the gendered social order. Macro and micro perspectives will guide discussions focusing on how men behave in particular contexts and how they perceive themselves, other men, and women in diverse situations. Specific topics investigating the production of masculinities will take into account the interplay among the cultural, interpersonal and individual layers of social life while considering how men's efforts are enabled or constrained by key socially relevant characteristics (primarily age, race/ethnicity, class and sexual orientation) through investigations, for instance, of particular sites (e.g., playgrounds, work space, home, schools, athletic venues, prisons). No prerequisite.
This course examines the impact of globalization on feminist discourses that describe the cross-cultural experiences of women. Transnational feminist theories and methodologies destabilize Western feminisms, challenging notions of subjectivity and place and their connections to experiences of race, class, and gender. The course builds on four key concepts: development, democratization, cultural change and colonialism. Because transnational feminisms are represented by the development of women's global movements, the course will consider examples of women's global networks and the ways in which they destabilized concepts such as citizenship and rights. We also will examine how transnational feminisms have influenced women's productions in the fields of literature and art. Key questions include: How does the history of global feminisms affect local women's movements? What specific issues have galvanized women's movements across national and regional borders? How do feminism and critiques of colonialism and imperialism intersect? What role might feminist agendas play in addressing current global concerns? How do transnational feminisms build and sustain communities and connections to further their agendas? Prerequisite: WGS 111 or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.
In this course, we will read both historical and contemporary feminist theory with the goal of understanding the multiplicity of feminist approaches to women's experiences, the representation of women, and women's relative positions in societies. Theoretical positions that will be represented include liberal, cultural, psychoanalytic, socialist, and poststructuralist feminism. In addition, we will explore the relationship of these theories to issues of race, class, sexual preference and ethnicity through an examination of the theoretical writings of women of color and non-Western women. Prerequisite: any WGS course, any approved departmental course or permission of instructor. Offered every year.
This class will examine feminist critiques of dominant methodologies and theories of knowledge creation in the sciences, social sciences and humanities. It will focus on the following questions: How do we know something? Who gets to decide what counts as knowledge? Who is the knower? In answering these questions this class will explore how power is exercised in the production of knowledge, how the norms of objectivity and universalism perpetuate dominance and exclusion, why women and other minority groups are often seen as lacking epistemic authority and what it means to have knowledge produced from a feminist standpoint. Participants in the class will learn a variety of methods and use these methods in a group research project. In addition, we will discuss various ethical issues that feminist researchers often encounter and what responsibilities feminist researchers have to the broader political community. Prerequisite: any WGS course, any approved departmental course, or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.
The senior colloquium is organized around a theme determined by senior majors and concentrators in consultation with the instructor during the semester prior to the beginning of the course. Previous topics include "Women and Madness," "The Politics of the Bathroom" and "Gender and Tourism." Prerequisite: WGS 330 or 331 or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.
Individual study enables students to examine an area not typically covered by courses regularly offered in the program. Typically, such students are juniors or seniors who have sufficient research and writing skills to work very independently. The course can be arranged with a faculty member in any department but must conform to the usual requirements for credit in the program: gender is a central focus, and the course draws on feminist theory and/or feminist methodologies. The amount of work should be similar to that in any other 400-level course. To enroll, a student should first contact a faculty member and, in consultation with that professor, develop a proposal. The proposal, which must be approved by the program director, should provide: a brief description of the course/project (including any previous classes that qualify the student), a preliminary bibliography or reading list, an assessment component (what will be graded and when), and major topical areas to be covered during the semester. The student and faculty member should plan to meet approximately one hour per week or the equivalent, at the discretion of the instructor. Proposals should be planned well in advance, preferably the semester before the proposed project.
The major who wishes to participate in the honors program must have an overall GPA of 3.33 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major. The candidate in honors will complete all requirements for the major, the Senior Exercise, and two semesters of independent study, and will design and complete a research project. This project should integrate feminist theory and methodologies as well as the student's chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary cluster. Each honors student will prepare an annotated bibliography on her or his chosen project midway through the fall semester. After approval, the senior honors project will be undertaken in consultation with a project advisor. Students are encouraged to think boldly and innovatively about the kinds of projects they undertake and about how those projects interact with and benefit their communities. Senior honors projects might include gender-focused sociological or historical studies undertaken locally; exhibitions, productions or installations of gender-exploratory art, music or theater; or political, social and/or environmental service-oriented or activist work. Students will be closely mentored throughout their projects and, in the spring, will be evaluated by an external evaluator and by faculty in the program and in relevant disciplines. The evaluators will assess the strength of the students' overall work, as well as the strength of their self-designed, project-appropriate public presentations of that work.
See the course description for WGS 497.
ARHS 375: Topics in Renaissance and Baroque Art
BIOL 102: HIV/AIDS in Global Context
ENGL 254: Literary Women: 19th-Century British Literature
HIST 208: U.S. Women's History
HIST 341: African Women in Film and Fiction
HIST 352: Family and State in East Asia
HIST 370: Women and Gender in the Modern Middle East
HIST 373: Women of the Atlantic World
MUSC 303: Music and Gender
PSCI 380: Gender and Politics
PSYC 346: Psychology of Women
PSYC 425: Research Methods to Study Gender
RLST 328: Women in Christianity
RLST 329: Christian Mysticism