Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

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  • CAS WS 101: Gender and Sexuality I: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
    This course is the first semester of a two-semester introduction to women's, gender, and sexuality studies, that considers the origins, diversity, and expression of gendered and sexed individuals. Topics include the evolutionary origin of sexes; evolution, development, and social construction of sex, gender, and sexuality; sexual difference, similarities and diversity in bodies, brains, and behavior. This interdisciplinary introduction is the required year-long gateway sequence for the minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Students who complete both halves of the two-semester sequence WS 101/102 receive divisional studies credit for two courses, from two different divisions: Natural Science (without lab), Social Science, and/or Humanities. Neither WS 101 nor WS 102 alone carries divisional studies credit. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings, Scientific Inquiry I, Critical Thinking.
    • Philosophical Inquiry and Life's Meanings
    • Scientific Inquiry I
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS WS 102: Gender and Sexuality II: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
    This course is the second semester of a two-semester introduction to women's, gender, and sexuality studies, integrating approaches from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, with a focus on society and social relationships. We examine questions relating to violence, inequality, and family formation through an interdisciplinary gender lens. Students who complete both halves of the two-semester sequence WS 101/102 receive divisional studies credit for two courses, from two different divisions: Natural Science (without lab), Social Science, and/or Humanities. Neither WS 101 nor WS 102 alone carries divisional studies credit. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.
    • Social Inquiry I
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS WS 200: Thinking Queerly: An Introduction to LGBTQ Studies
    Explores historical and contemporary debates regarding LGBTQ identity, community, and politics through the relevant interdisciplinary (and often, competing) theories and research. Students gain skills in digital/multimedia expression through the development of a collaborative LGBTQ online magazine. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Individual in Community, Digital/Multimedia Expression.
    • The Individual in Community
    • Digital/Multimedia Expression
  • CAS WS 213: Sexism in the Twenty-First Century
    This course explores how global expressions of sexism shape all of our lives, experiences, and life chances, with particular attention to how race, class, and sexuality intersect with gender to shape social inequalities. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.
  • CAS WS 233: The Evolutionary Biology of Human Variation
    Addresses human biological variation. An introduction to the fundamentals of comparative biology, evolutionary theory, and genetics and considers how research in these fields informs some of our most culturally-engaged identities: race, sex, gender, sexuality, and body type. Carries natural sciences divisional credit (without lab) in CAS. Also offered as CAS AN 233.
  • CAS WS 240: Sexuality and Social Life
    Introduction to sociological perspectives on sexuality. Historical and comparative analysis of sexuality, with a focus on the social and cultural institutions that shape sexuality in the contemporary U.S. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. Also offered as CAS SO 240.
  • CAS WS 241: Sociology of Gender
    An introduction to the social construction of sex and gender with a focus on the economic, political, social, and cultural forces that shape gender relations. Examines gender as a social structure that patterns institutional inequalities and everyday interactions on society. Carries social sciences divisional credit in CAS. Also offered as CAS SO 241.
  • CAS WS 263: The Behavioral Biology of Women
    An exploration of female behavioral biology focusing on evolutionary, physiological, and biosocial aspects of women's lives from puberty through pregnancy, birth, lactation, menopause, and aging. Examples are drawn from traditional and industrialized societies, and data from nonhuman primates are considered. Also offered as CAS AN 263.
  • CAS WS 297: African American Women's History
    Survey of African American women's history from the slave trade to the present, investigating its critical role in shaping the meaning of race, gender, and sexuality during slavery, Jim Crow, and the civil rights era. Also offered as CAS AA 297 and CAS HI 297.
  • CAS WS 302: WGS Topics in the Social Sciences
    Topics in women's, gender, and sexuality studies relevant to the social sciences. May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Fall 2018: Feminist Theories. Survey of feminist theories and development of strands of feminist ideas in the academy, popular culture, social movements, and politics. Explores the intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other dimensions of identity, and pathways toward social change and empowerment.
  • CAS WS 303: WGS Topics in Film and Media
    Topics in women's, gender, and sexuality studies relevant to film and media. May be repeated for credit as topics change. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Two topics are offered Spring 2018. Section A1: Jane Campion: A Girl's Own Story. In-depth study of Jane Campion, whose prolific output has largely resisted any attempt to represent "the" woman's voice -- a pressure Campion has had to face due to being a rare female director working in a male-dominated industry. Also offered as CAS CI 340 A1. Section B1: Middle East Gender and Globalization. Exploration of the intersection of gender, sexuality, and globalization in Middle Eastern films. Analysis and interrogation of films' contributions to the construction of gender and sexual norms in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Also offered as CAS CI 390 C1 and CAS XL 382 A1.
  • CAS WS 304: WGS Topics in Global and Transnational Studies
    Topics in women's, gender, and sexuality studies relevant to global and transnational studies. May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topics vary. May be taken multiple times for credit providing the topic is different. Two topics are offered Fall 2018. Section A1: Bombs and Bombshells: Gender and Political Violence. Delve into the world of Black Widows and Demon Lovers. Using empirical research, case studies, and drama, this course separates fact from fiction to examine gender and its intersections between recruitment, motivations, and conditions under which women behave violently. Also offered as CAS PO 300 A1. Section B1: Change and Continuity on the Silk Road. Focused on the Central Asian portion of the Silk Road from the border of China to Istanbul students explore written and visual texts to understand shifts in gender dynamics in societies caught between Islam, communism, and globalization. Also offered as CAS XL 381 A1.
  • CAS WS 305: Topics in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
    Four topics are offered Fall 2018. May be repeated for credit if topics are different. Section A1: Queer Theory. Surveys major texts and arguments in queer theory from Butler's Gender Trouble to contemporary discussions of cisnormativity, homonationalism, affect, pinkwashing, crip theory, and queer-of-color critique. Explores different uses of queer theory in legal debates, literary analysis, and cultural criticism. Also offered as CAS XL 470 A1. Section B1: Superwomen, Vampires, and Cyborgs: Bodily Transformations and Social Change. Examines popular figures that cross gender, sexual, racial, and human boundaries, challenging our ideas about these social categories. Are these figures metaphors for feminism, gay rights, racial equality? Readings in sociology and psychology, science fiction, and other pop genres, including movies and television. Section C1: Sex, Art, and the Sacred in Modern America. Traces heated debates over sex, art, and religion to reveal competing genealogies of the sacred and profane in the modern US. Looks at feminist and queer visual and performance art, literature, and memoir in the context of culture wars conservatism. Section D1: Queer Global Novel. Explores the relationship between gender, sexuality, and globalization in contemporary novels by Patricia Powell, Roxane Gay, Qui Miaojin, Monique Truong, and others. Theoretical readings by Gayle Rubin, Jeffrey Weeks, Judith Butler, Jack Halberstam, and others.
  • CAS WS 326: Arts of Gender
    Examines representations of gender and sexuality in diverse art forms, including drama, dance, film, and literature, and how art reflects historical constructions of gender. Topic for Spring 2017: Queer Literature and Film. An overview of same-sex attraction in literature from the Greeks (Plato and Sappho) to the present and a study of queer identities in film from the silent period to the 21st century, both with a historical emphasis. Weekly screenings. Also offered as CAS CI 390 B1 and CAS EN 326 A1.
  • CAS WS 328: Cultural Constructions of Motherhood
    This course examines the ways that motherhood--the roles, expectations, and assumptions that shape what counts as both "good" and "bad" mothering--is currently understood. Three key questions will drive our exploration: How does culture shape mothering practices? How do mothering practices shape culture? How do race, economic class, educational attainment, and sexual orientation impact how motherhood is constructed? Discussions of related topics such as fathering, maternal body image, celebrity profiles, mother blame, parenting roles, and the economic costs of motherhood will be explored. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Individual in Community, Critical Thinking.
    • Social Inquiry I
    • The Individual in Community
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS WS 335: Sociology of Race, Class & Gender
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: at least one prior 100- or 200-level sociology course, or CAS WS 101/102.
    Examines race, class, gender, and sexuality as intersecting axes of stratification, identity, and experience. Draws heavily from feminist theories in both sociology and history in order to analyze how these intersections can be applied to understanding social problems and structures. Also offered as CAS AA 335 and CAS SO 335.
  • CAS WS 340: Women, Race, and Gender in Mass Media
    Develops students' media literacy through hands-on analysis of media and pop culture representations of women, femininity, and race; their relation to women's lived experience; and the place of "feminine" values in contemporary culture.
  • CAS WS 346: Women and Film
    Study of principally American films, exploring how the medium has shaped and been shaped by cultural perceptions of women. Readings provide background for interpretation of films ranging from screwball comedy to film noir, "women's films," and films by women directors. Also offered as CAS CI 373.
  • CAS WS 350: Women and Politics
    Readings, discussion, and field research on issues of women's relationship to the processes of political influence, change, and empowerment. Analysis of public policy related to women and children. Also offered as CAS PO 309.
  • CAS WS 352: American Masculinities
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: one 100- or 200-level course in either sociology or women's, gender, & sexuality.
    Considers the biological and social organization of masculinities; the ways culture reproduces/articulates masculinities, particularly with regard to race and class; how masculine identities are expressed; male privilege; alternative masculinities; and what is at stake in negotiating contemporary masculinities. Also offered as CAS SO 352.