Fall 2020

WGS 111 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies: Salah
This course 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. This counts toward the introductory requirement for the major .This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. Offered every semester.

*WGS 121 Introduction to Queer Studies: Ellison
This course is designed to help students develop a critical framework for thinking and writing about intersectional issues related to sexuality, sex, gender identity and gender expression. The course will take a broad view of examining queer and transgender issues from sociopolitical, legal, psychological, biological, cultural, ethical, philosophical and historical frameworks. We will look at the fields of queer theory and LGBTQ+ studies out of which some of the most innovative and challenging developments in modern cultural studies are arising. Additionally, we will examine the ways in which society interacts with queer and transgender identities in a number of spheres, including politics, healthcare, the arts, the sciences and more. This counts towards the introductory and diversity and globalization requirements for the major. This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. No prerequisite.

WGS 232 Topics in Masculinity: Fraternity: Finke
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). This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. No prerequisite. Offered occasionally.

WGS 291: ST: Witches in Comparative Perspective: Finke
This course will take as its subject the figure of the witch as an avatar of feminist resistance and female solidarity and friendship.  The course will be trace the social and cultural history of the witch, a term that first emerges in Old English as wicce (pronounced [wicha]), from its earliest manifestations in Europe to the contemporary United States, where witches have become both a platform for feminist protest and a path for spiritual discovery.  Guest speakers will allow us to expand our investigation to related magical figures in other cultures and traditions.  Our investigations will include such eclectic topics as paganism, heresy, esotericism, capitalism, cultural appropriation, political protest, and new age spirituality.  The topic lends itself to both  intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches. It will identify intersections of race, religion, sexuality, and gender.  And, since it is difficult to separate the history of accused or self-identified witches from their cultural representations, our study must be informed by artistic and literary representations of witches. Conversely, the visual representations and stories associated with witchcraft contributed to the confessions and presumed activities of alleged witches. Students will be encouraged to develop their own research projects for the semester.  No prerequisites, although a course in WGS is recommended background.

WGS 330: Feminist Theory: Finke
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. 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. This counts towards the concentration and the mid-level requirement for the major.This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. Prerequisite: any WGS course, approved departmental course or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

WGS 391. Literature and Law: Consent, Transgression, Resistance: O’Neill
Stories of sexual violence against women serve as foundational myths of a Western culture that bases its prestige upon the rule of law. This course will examine some of those narratives, beginning with medieval ideals of courtly love, alongside of legal discourse on sexual assault. We will unpack the parallel practices by which literary and legal narratives are mutually implicated in the system of gender relations that sustains sexual assault, as well as the practices that cordon off the legal implementation of sexual assault law from the cultural practices that continue to encourage sexual assault (i.e. rape culture).  Because contemporary American scripts about sex and romance arguably take shape from the ideologies of romance, courtship, and seduction represented in courtly love literature of the Middle Ages, there is much to be gained by looking at literature in tandem with legal procedures.  To explore the complementary roles of law and literature in sustaining and challenging sexual assault, we will pay special attention to the recent history of Title IX.  We are interested in the ways that the existing legal order challenges, but also contributes to, and perhaps even perpetuates, the disempowerment and devaluation of women and non-binary people. And, because sexual assault deprives its survivors of physical, spiritual, and psychic integrity, we will return throughout the course to narratives of resistance, justice, survival, and healing.  This course will engage difficult, often deeply personal issues. We will be approaching all material, topics, and content from an academic perspective, but difficult topics may elicit a highly emotional response.

WGS 391: Disability in America: History, Theory, Activism: Saleh
From the Spanish Flu to COVID-19, from Eugenics to the Disability Rights Movement, the past century has produced vast changes in what it means to have a disability in America. Yet many questions crop up again and again: Whose lives are deemed precious, when hospitals create guidelines for shortages of life-saving equipment? Whose education is deemed essential, when schools’ budgets are cut? Whose citizenship is deemed valuable, when governments limit immigration? Disability—a socially constructed category that includes mental illness, neurodivergence, and physical and cognitive impairments—shapes the lives of millions, who may be born into the category or thrust into it at any moment. Using key events of the past century as touchstones, this course will explore disability as an oppressed and empowering identity, as a culture, and as a way of being in the world that overlaps with other complex forms of embodiment (sex, race, etc.). We will talk about why “cures” aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be, and why myths about life with disability are so hard to quash. Students will encounter major works of Disability Theory and Feminist Disability Studies alongside primary texts by artists and activists from the disability community. Written assignments and projects will teach students of any background in disability to interpret media through a new critical framework and to rethink the inclusivity of their own social and educational environments. Prerequisite: One introductory-level WGS course.

WGS 480 Senior Colloquium Planning: Rodriguez 
This course will provide the opportunity for those students taking WGS 481 in the spring to plan the course. Students will select a topic, order books, plan the syllabus and design a project. In addition, they will read about course design and pedagogy so that they are prepared to take responsibility for collaboratively teaching the course in the spring. Offered only on a credit/no credit basis. This course is required for the major. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. Prerequisite: senior standing.

WGS 491: Transgender Movements: History, Theory, and Praxis: Ellison
Over the last century, transgender people have created communities and movements that challenge oppressive systems and work for the survival of transgender people. This activism made important contributions to our understandings of social identity and the intersections between gender, sexuality, race, and ability. This course will introduce the emerging field of transgender studies through a look at the history of transgender movements in the United States, focusing on their theoretical analysis and their activist praxis. We will approach transgender identity through an intersectional framework, emphasizing gender as a social construction that is always enmeshed in systems of domination, including sexism, transphobia, racism, ableism, and capitalism. Students will gain proficiency in contemporary transgender thought and the critical thinking skills needed to understand transgender politics and productively participate in transgender movements. No prerequisite is required, but previous work in WGS is strongly recommended.

Departmental Courses for Fall 2020

*ANTH 350 Human Sexuality and Culture Suggs
ENGL 103.16 What’s Love Got to Do With It O’Neill
ENGL 210 Proper Ladies & Women Writers Lau
ENGL 362 Twentieth-Century Irish Literature McMullen
*ENGL 266 Decolonization and Violence Fernando
*ENGL 368 Departures and Arrivals Fernando
*ENGL 389 Gender & Sexuality in Native North American Literature McAdams
HIST 208 US Women’s History Coulibaly
HIST 236 Modern Germany: Gender, Race and Class Ablovatski
PSCI 291 ST: Politics of Marriage Rodriguez
RLST 103 Religion, Gender, Sexuality Dalton
*SOCY 491 Transgender Sociology A. Johnson
*SOCY 463 Intersectional Theory Kohlman

*Ondicates course satisfies diversity requirement for majors


Spring 2021

WGS 111 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies: Finke
This course 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. This counts toward the introductory requirement for the major .This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. Offered every semester.

*WGS 242 Transnational Feminisms: Rodriguez
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? This counts toward the diversity and globalization requirement for the major.This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. Prerequisite: Any WGS course or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

WGS 331 Gender, Power, and Knowledge: Murnen
This course 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. Students will learn a variety of methods and use these methods in a community-based research project. This project will involve working with community partners in Knox County and may require student participation outside of the scheduled class time. In addition, we will discuss various ethical issues that feminist researchers often encounter and what responsibilities feminist researchers have to the broader political community. This course has a community-engaged learning (CEL) component. Students may be required to travel off-campus for site visits. This counts towards the mid-level requirement for the major. This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. Prerequisite: any WGS course, approved departmental course or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

WGS 481 Senior Colloquium Rodriguez
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." This course is required for the major. Prerequisite: WGS 480 or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.

Departmental Courses for Spring 2021

*AMST 291 Soul Culture Gourrier
ARHS 291 ST: Women in the Studio Courtois de Vicose
*DANC 391 Queer Performance Mercer
ECON 378 Economics of Women and Work Krynski
ENGL 104.03 What’s Love Got to Do With It? O’Neill
*ENGL 386 Toni Morrison Schoenfeld
*HIST 370 Women, Gender in Mod Mid East Kilic-Schubel
PSYC 391.01 Sexual Health Murnen
RLST 475 Religion for Robots Dalton
*SOCY 250 Systems of Stratification Kohlman
SPAN 347 Sex, Science, and Realist Novel Landry

*Indicates course satisfies diversity requirement for majors