Course Descriptions

Womens, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

WGSS 101 - Feminist Sex Wars

This course examines the challenges that sexuality and sexual practice brings to feminism, by exploring feminisms' involvement in so-called anti-sex/pro-sex debates. We explore the stance of second-wave feminism, lesbian feminism, radical feminism, and queer theory and activism on issues like prostitution and sex work, pornography, butch/femme aesthetics, gender performativity, non-monogamies, sadomasochism, bisexuality, and transgenderism and transsexuality. Throughout, we study the divide between sexual agency and sexual exploitation, which emerges when thinking about the complexities of sex and desire.

Frequency: Alternate years.

WGSS 102 - Gender and Sport

This course views sport as a social institution and a microcosm of the longer social processes that stage, reinforce, and perpetuate myriad inequalities in society. In this course we analyze the gendered aspects of sport, and relationship among gender, sexuality, and sport. We consider the ways that sport reinforces, and potentially undermines, heteronormality, as well as hegemonic notions of masculinity and femininity.

Frequency: Alternate years.

WGSS 105 - Transnational Perspectives on Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality

Introductory Course Through an interdisciplinary and comparative study of selected countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, this course creates the basis for an understanding of the ways in which gender roles are established, and how these affect the individual in the realms of education, media, politics, work, sexuality, and family. On the basis of texts drawn from political science, psychology, art, film, history, music, and literature, it analyzes theories of femininity and masculinity as constructed in specific national, racial, cultural, socio-economic, and political situations. The course discusses the impact of these theories on lifestyles (both traditional and alternative) and on re-constructions of identities on equity-based, anti-racist, anti-sexist terms.

WGSS 110 - Intro to LGBTQ Studies

 This course introduces the fields of LGBT and queer studies by examining how sexuality, race, and nation relate in the lives of people in the United States, which we read in relation to histories of colonialism and globalization. Course materials foreground scholarship, testimony, activist art, and social movements by LGBT, two-spirited, queer people of color, and by white anti-racist LGBT and queer people. Their stories offer a template through which all students may examine how everyday life is shaped by sexuality, race, and nation-both as power relations, and as spaces for creating new identity and action.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as

AMST 112

WGSS 117 - Women, Health, Reproduction

This course will deal with those aspects of human anatomy and physiology which are of special interest to women, especially those relating to sexuality and reproduction. Biological topics covered will include menstruation and menopause, female sexuality, conception, contraception, infertility, abortion, pregnancy, cancer, and AIDS. Advances in assisted reproductive technologies, hormone therapies, and genetic engineering technologies will be discussed. Not open to biology majors. This course fulfills 4 credits in the science distribution requirement and counts toward the biology minor, but not toward the major.  Three lecture hours per week.

Frequency: Every semester.

Cross-Listed as

BIOL 117

WGSS 127 - Women, Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome

This course investigates contemporary approaches to studying women, gender and sexuality in history, and the particular challenges of studying these issues in antiquity. By reading ancient writings in translation and analyzing art and other material culture, we will address the following questions: How did ancient Greek and Roman societies understand and use the categories of male and female? Into what sexual categories did different cultures group people? How did these gender and sexual categories intersect with notions of slave and free status, citizenship and ethnicity? How should we interpret the actions and representations of women in surviving literature, myth, art, law, philosophy, politics and medicine in this light? Finally, how and why have gendered classical images been re-deployed in the modern U.S. - from scholarship to art and poetry?

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as

CLAS 127

WGSS 141 - Latin America Through Women's Eyes

Latin American women have overcome patriarchal "machismo" to serve as presidents, mayors, guerilla leaders, union organizers, artists, intellectuals, and human rights activists. Through a mix of theoretical, empirical, and testimonial work, we will explore issues such as feminist challenges to military rule in Chile, anti-feminist politics in Nicaragua, the intersection of gender and democratization in Cuba, and women's organizing and civil war in Colombia. Teaching methods include discussion, debates, simulations, analytic papers, partisan narratives, lecture, film, poetry, and a biographical essay. This class employs an innovative system of qualitative assessment. Students take the course "S/SD/N with Written Evaluation." This provides a powerful opportunity for students to stretch their limits in a learning community with high expectations, but without a high-pressure atmosphere. This ungraded course has been approved for inclusion on major/minor plans in Political Science, Latin American Studies, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Cross-Listed as

LATI 141 and POLI 141

WGSS 150 - Language and Gender in Japanese Society

Cross-Listed as

ASIA 150, JAPA 150 and LING 150

WGSS 194 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

WGSS 200 - Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies

This course is a historical survey of theories and methodologies used in feminist and queer studies. Course material highlights the unique and intertwined knowledges feminist and queer scholars have produced; these include the re-makings of liberal, Marxian, antiracist, poststructuralist, and postcolonial theories, and their uses in humanities and social science methods. The course centrally examines how feminist and queer studies transform societies and are transformed through struggle over their gender/sexual identities, racial formations, and global/transnational locations. The course considers how feminist and queer studies have arisen in close relationships-of union, tension, and antagonism-and how feminist and queer work today may link.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s)

Intermediate level courses require sophomore standing or permission of the instructor, and at least one introductory-level women's, gender, and sexuality studies core course.

WGSS 201 - History of U.S. Feminisms

This is an introductory course about the history of U.S. feminism as it was articulated and experienced in the United States from roughly 1800-1970. We will focus on only on the experience of those who worked for the cause of women's rights but also the ideologies at home and abroad that influenced feminist thought. In so doing, we will interrogate the myths about feminism and the backlash against it that are central to the history, culture, and politics of the United States. This course is especially concerned with the multiple and contradictory strains within feminism. Topics that the class will consider include: the roots of feminism as it took shape in the anti-slavery movement, the overlap of women's rights and the civil rights movement of the twentieth century, and the women's health movement, among others.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as

HIST 201

WGSS 210 - 20th Century Anglophone Women Writers

The term "Anglophone Literature" refers to writings in English from countries connected to Britain by imperial rule or by the presence of British immigrants, yet does not include England itself. This course variously studies India, the Caribbean, South Africa, the United States, and England as locations of Anglophone Literature produced by their natives, immigrants, and cosmopolitans. Writers include Virginia Woolf, Una Marson, Anita Desai, Doris Lessing, Suniti Namjoshi, Angela Carter, Ravinder Randhawa, Bharati Mukherjee, and Zadie Smith, among others. We will explore how concepts of nation, race, citizenship, gender, ownership of the language, and English/British literary canons are constructed, in written and visual media.

Prerequisite(s)

Sophomore standing or permission of instructor, and at least one introductory-level WGSS core course.

WGSS 220 - Icons, Ideas, Instruments: Feminist Re-constructions

This course will explore the significance of people, concepts, and frameworks that have gained prominence across history. It will offer feminist/queer reconstructions and reviews of their contexts and analyze what they mean today. For example, figures like Marx or Mother Teresa, concepts such as socialism or atheism, and frameworks such as collective responsibility or standpoint theory could be possible foci. Topics may change based on instructor.

Prerequisite(s)

Sophomore standing or permission of instructor, and at least one introductory-level WGSS core course.

WGSS 228 - Gender & Sexuality in Early America

Since the 1960s historians have revisited early American history to identify populations on the margins and historical actors whose stories and experiences were neglected in the traditional canon of history. Historians of women made some of the first forays into this important work of recovery. Building up the foundations produced by women's historians, the field of gender and sexuality studies have flourished and enriched the narratives of American history. This course examines American peoples and cultures from the 16th through early 19th centuries to uncover the ways in which gender and sexuality shaped the formation of an early American society. Particular attention will be given to the way that ideologies of gender and sexuality shaped early concepts of race and the development of North American political institutions.

Frequency: Occasionally

Cross-Listed as

HIST 228

WGSS 240 - Comparative Feminisms: Whiteness and Postcolonialisms

This course brings together discourses that have remained somewhat parallel and unrelated--Whiteness Studies and Postcolonial Studies. It is based on the premise that 'whiteness' as an academic/social framework stems from and is intertwined with social and political identity-based movements (feminist, critical race, etc.). In other words, studies of the intersection of gender, race, class, and nation initiated in the post-colonizing imagination seeks to shake up paradigms of power, and whiteness studies shares in this effort. This course explores where and how the notion of 'whiteness' converges and diverges from post-colonialism.

Frequency: Every other year.

WGSS 242 - Economics of Gender

This course uses economic theory to explore how gender differences lead to different economic outcomes for men and women, both within families and in the marketplace. Topics include applications of economic theory to 1) aspects of family life including marriage, cohabitation, fertility, and divorce, and 2) the interactions of men and women in firms and in markets. The course will combine theory, empirical work, and analysis of economic policies that affect men and women differently.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

Cross-Listed as

ECON 242

WGSS 252 - Gender, Sexualities and Feminist Visual Culture

Cross-Listed as

ART 252

WGSS 261 - Feminist Political Theory

Analysis of contemporary feminist theories regarding gender identity, biological and socio-cultural influences on subjectivity and knowledge, and relations between the personal and the political.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as

POLI 261

WGSS 262 - Performing Feminisms

Feminisms in performance - whether on an actual theater stage or in offstage force fields of politics, history and culture - are the concern of this course. Through feminist, queer and performance theories of the body, representation, identification and spectatorship, and through the reading of plays, students will engage with the historic and contemporary practices of feminisms and performance-making. Attending performances, viewing films and performance documents will contribute to students' capacities to write critically about feminist performance practices. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Frequency: Offered alternate spring semesters.

Prerequisite(s)

Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as

THDA 262

WGSS 264 - Psychology of Gender

This class is an introduction to feminist psychological theory and research dedicated to understanding and critiquing biological, psychological, social, and cultural meanings and implications of gender and its intersections with class, race, physical ability, sexual orientation, etc. Examples of research and theory will come from a wide variety of areas in psychology and related disciplines, and will address such issues as socialization and social development, stereotypes, bodies and body image, social relationships, identity, language, violence, sexuality and sexual behavior, well-being, work, etc. We will also learn about the historical, cultural, and epistemological underpinnings of psychological research on gender. Counts as a UP3 course.

Frequency: Offered yearly.

Prerequisite(s)

 PSYC 100 or permission of the instructor.

Cross-Listed as

PSYC 264

WGSS 270 - Literature and Sexuality

This course examines ways in which literary works have represented desire and sexuality. It looks at how constructions of sexuality have defined and classified persons; at how those definitions and classes change; and at how they affect and create literary forms and traditions. Contemporary gay and lesbian writing, and the developing field of queer theory, will always form part, but rarely all, of the course. Poets, novelists, playwrights, memoirists and filmmakers may include Shakespeare, Donne, Tennyson, Whitman, Dickinson, or Henry James; Wilde, Hall, Stein, Lawrence, or Woolf; Nabokov, Tennessee Williams, Frank O'Hara, Baldwin, or Philip Roth; Cukor, Hitchcock, Julien, Frears, or Kureishi; White, Rich, Kushner, Monette, Lorde, Allison, Cruse, Morris, Winterson, Hemphill, or Bidart.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as

ENGL 308

WGSS 294 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

WGSS 300 - Advanced Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies

This course is an in-depth study of some specific theories and methodologies on which contemporary feminist and queer thinkers have based their analysis, critique, and reconstruction of men's and women's roles. Some guiding questions are: What is a Nation? Who are its citizens? How do language and gender roles shape the ways we imagine our roles as men and women? Do sexuality or economy affect how we subscribe to or resist political ideologies? In previous offerings, the course has explored the intersection of Postcolonialism (gendered critiques of colonizing sociopolitical and economic structures) with Postmodernism (gendered critiques of language, sexuality, culture, and nation). The course will include film, photography, music, and the writings of Butler, Foucault, Chodorow, Kristeva, hooks, Spivak, and Trinh, among others. It offers ways to create links with local community and social-work organizations.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

Junior standing or permission of instructor, and at least one intermediate-level WGSS core course. WGSS 200 highly recommended.

Cross-Listed as

INTL 300

WGSS 305 - Race, Sex and Work in the Global Economy

This seminar presents feminist and queer studies of global capitalism, which examine power relations under contemporary globalization in terms of the racial and sexual dynamics of labor, citizenship, and migration. Course material considers the local and transnational dynamics of free trade, labor fragmentation, and structural adjustment, as these shape industrial and informal labor, and community organizing around gender, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS. The material foregrounds ethnographic analyses of the everyday conditions of people situated in struggles with the effects of global capitalism.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

Junior standing or permission of instructor, and at least one intermediate-level WGSS core course.

Cross-Listed as

AMST 305

WGSS 306 - Women's Voices in Politics

The course examines significant women persuaders as a force in Western history and culture. Concentrates on women's efforts to participate fully in public affairs and the social, political, religious, scientific, and rhetorical obstacles that have restricted women's access to the polis. Fundamental to the course is an analysis of how women have used speaking, writing, and protesting in attempts to overcome such obstacles, influence public policy and/or win elective office.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)


POLI 170 or POLI 272 recommended.

Cross-Listed as

POLI 305

WGSS 308 - Literature and Sexuality

This course examines ways in which literary works have represented desire and sexuality. It looks at how constructions of sexuality have defined and classified persons; at how those definitions and classes change; and at how they affect and create literary forms and traditions. Contemporary gay and lesbian writing, and the developing field of queer theory, will always form part, but rarely all, of the course. Poets, novelists, playwrights, memoirists and filmmakers may include Shakespeare, Donne, Tennyson, Whitman, Dickinson, or Henry James; Wilde, Hall, Stein, Lawrence, or Woolf; Nabokov, Tennessee Williams, Frank O'Hara, Baldwin, or Philip Roth; Cukor, Hitchcock, Julien, Frears, or Kureishi; White, Rich, Kushner, Monette, Lorde, Allison, Cruse, Morris, Winterson, Hemphill, or Bidart.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as

ENGL 308

WGSS 310 - Gendered, Feminist, and Womanist Writings

This course investigates how women's writing from different parts of the world (Asian, English, African-American, to name a few) convey visions of the present and future, of the real and the imagined, beliefs about masculinity and femininity, race and nation, socialist and capitalist philosophies, (post) modernity, the environment (ecotopia), and various technologies including cybernetics. Topics may change based on instructor.

Prerequisite(s)

Junior standing or permission of instructor, and at least one intermediate-level WGSS core course.

Cross-Listed as

ENGL 362

WGSS 315 - Comparative (Neo/Post) Modernities

This course addresses the major historical, political, and cultural formations of the ideas of Modernity in various eras and countries. Building on this concept, the course explores what the prefixes 'post' (as in 'postmodernity') and 'neo' (as in neo-modernity) mean in contemporary contexts, i.e., in the 20th and 21st centuries. Texts may include political speeches, historical analyses, literary genres, and representations from film, video, and music. Specific topics may change based on instructor.

Prerequisite(s)

junior standing or permission of instructor, and at least one intermediate-level WGSS core course.

WGSS 320 - Gender, Sexuality and Film

This course explores a variety of critical approaches to the representation of gender and sexuality in film and video, including psychoanalytic feminist film theory and criticism, gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, narrative analysis, ideological critique and cultural studies of gender and sexuality in relation to race, nation, and class. How have social constructs about gender and sexuality been promulgated and/or contested in film and video within both mainstream and avant-garde contexts of cultural production? How have these constructs functioned to uphold and/or challenge other forms of social stratification or privilege? In asking these questions, the course considers a wide range of issues, including drag, camp, spectatorship, identity and identification, the gaze, assimilation, social change, body politics, realism, and pornography. Written work emphasizes the close analysis of film texts.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

Sophomore standing and previous experience with one of the following fields: Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, cultural studies and/or media studies, or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as

MCST 315

WGSS 330 - Democracies, Feminisms, Capitalisms

Through the organizing notion of Object, we will study the intertwining of democracy and capitalism, with a brief historical overview of both but looking primarily at formations in the 20th and 21st centuries - from liberal nation-state versions through postsocialisms to neoliberal-neocolonial globalization. In this transnational comparative context, we will focus on how various feminisms have negotiated these intertwined political/economic theories, at once emerging from them, claiming a place in them, as well as self-defining against their different formations. We will explore how liberal, second- and third- wave, socialist, women of color, radical transnational, and indigenous feminisms deploy the notion of Object in addressing issues of citizenship, violence, labor, the environment, cultural representation, etc., as ways of tackling this complicated relationship with diverse forms of capitalism and democracy.

Frequency: Every other year.

Prerequisite(s)

One 100- or 200- level Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course.

WGSS 346 - Constructions of a Female Killer

The rise in femicide across Latin America, most shockingly exhibited in the city of Juarez, Mexico, has resulted in broad discussions of women's relationship with violence. However, what happens when the traditional paradigm is inverted and we explore women as perpetrators, rather than victims, of violence? This class will dialogue with selected Latin American and Latino narratives (including novels, short stories, films, and newspapers) constituting different representations of women who kill. This course satisfies the Area 4 requirement for the Hispanic & Latin American Studies major.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

HISP 307 or LATI 307 or permission of instructor

Cross-Listed as

LATI 446 and HISP 446

WGSS 354 - Music and Gender

This course explores issues concerning gender in a variety of American and European musical styles, with an emphasis on popular genres. Taking a topical approach, we will examine the ways in which gender is constructed in various musical contexts and explore the ways in which gender relates to and is informed by other apsects of identity formation, including class, race, and sexuality. We will investigate issues that have affected women's participation in musical life, such as musical canons, gendered musical discourse, and gender stereotypes. In addition, we will explore contributions of trans* musicians, as well as issues that affect their musical lives. We will also interrogate constructions of gender, masculinity, and femininity as they relate to music. An ongoing goal will be to develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills through a series of short summary/response papers and discussion in class. Finally, as this course emphasizes writing and research skills, several class periods will be devoted to research techniques and the writing process, and accordingly you will be required to write and revise a substantial paper.

Frequency: Once a year.

Cross-Listed as

MUSI 354 

WGSS 394 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

WGSS 400 - Senior Seminar: Linking Theory and Practice

The relationship between academic theorizing and community organizing for positive social and political change is a vital, complex, and an ever-changing source of feminist inquiry. This course builds on that relationship by juxtaposing activist social work with theoretical writings on globalization, gender, race, class-relations, sexuality, community, democracy, and civil society, and exploring how these arenas inform and transform each other. The issues in this seminar are related ultimately to the student's "location," personally and professionally, at the threshold of the future, in search of a space of her/his own. One substantial research paper and a formal oral presentation on its ideas are the primary assignments.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s)

At least three WGSS core courses and senior standing, or permission of instructor.  Preferred: a working relationship with a local women's or minority organization, established the spring or summer prior to enrollment in the course.

WGSS 405 - Senior Seminar: Topics

Capstone or integrative experience centering on a topic that will vary from year to year. The focus will be to develop a deeper understanding of theory and action in relation to women's, gender, and sexuality studies.

Frequency: Spring semester.

Prerequisite(s)

At least three WGSS core courses and senior standing, or permission of instructor.

WGSS 494 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

WGSS 611 - Independent Project

Individual projects are supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 611 - Independent Project

Individual projects are supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 612 - Independent Project

Individual projects are supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 613 - Independent Project

Individual projects are supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 614 - Independent Project

Individual projects are supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 621 - Internship

Internships, supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty, bring together theoretical and practical concerns that are primarily connected with women or have feminist/queer studies as their central perspective. An internship outline plan will be developed individually between the student and the faculty sponsor.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 622 - Internship

Internships, supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty, bring together theoretical and practical concerns that are primarily connected with women or have feminist/queer studies as their central perspective. An internship outline plan will be developed individually between the student and the faculty sponsor.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 623 - Internship

Internships, supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty, bring together theoretical and practical concerns that are primarily connected with women or have feminist/queer studies as their central perspective. An internship outline plan will be developed individually between the student and the faculty sponsor.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 624 - Internship

Internships, supervised by women's, gender, and sexuality studies faculty, bring together theoretical and practical concerns that are primarily connected with women or have feminist/queer studies as their central perspective. An internship outline plan will be developed individually between the student and the faculty sponsor.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses approved for credit in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Permission of instructor.

WGSS 631 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

WGSS 632 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

WGSS 633 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

WGSS 634 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

WGSS 641 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

WGSS 642 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

WGSS 643 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

WGSS 644 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.