Course Offerings

Women’s Studies courses that will be offered in Spring 2016:

  • WS 102 – Gender and Sexuality II: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
    A1: T/Th 9:30-11, Knott
  • WS 213 – Sexism in the Twenty-First Century
    A1: T/Th 12:30-2:00, Balser
  • WS 305 – Critical Issues in Women’s Studies
    A1: Gender and Globalization in the Middle East through Film and Literature
    M 3:00-6:00, Micallef
    B1: Sex in the Shtetl
    T/Th 2:00-3:30, Herzog
    C1: Lady Avengers
    T/Th 2:00-3:30, Icreverzi
    D1: Early Modern Women Authors
    T/Th 12:30-2:00, Martin
    E1: Jane Campion: A Girl’s Own Story
    M/W 3:00-5:30, Swedberg
  • WS 326 – Arts of Gender: Gender Trouble, Genre Trouble
    A1: T/Th 3:30-5:00, Murphy
  • WS 340 – Women, Race, and Gender in Mass Media
    A1: W 11:00-4:00, Gottfried
    B1: M 4:00-7:00, Gottfried
  • WS 350 – Women and Politics
    A1: T 4:00-7:00, Balser
  • WS 352 – American Masculinities
    A1: T/Th 2:00-3:30, Gottfried
  • WS 450 – Internships: Women, Gender and Social Change
    A1: Th 4:00-7:00, Gottfried

NOTE: Courses from other disciplines may be taken for WGS minor credit. Please click on the link on the right to see a list of those courses.

CAS WS 101 A1- Gender and Sexuality I: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
Introduction to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, integrating approaches from the natural and social sciences and humanities, focused on the origins, diversity, and expression of gendered and sexed individuals. Topics include the evolutionary origin of sexes; evolution, development, and social construction of sex differences; sexual differences, similarities, and diversity in bodies, brains, behavior, and artistic and intellectual expressions. Team-taught. 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.

CAS WS 102 A1 – Gender and Sexuality II: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
Introduction to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, focused on communities and institutions. Integrates approaches from the natural and social sciences and humanities, including evolutionary, historical, and cross-cultural analyses, feminist and queer theory. Topics include human reproductive biology; patriarchy and sexual violence; parenting, kinship structures, and forms of intimacy; sexual selection; the construction of gender identity and sexual orientation; evolutionary medicine; and the relationship of academic research to social activism. Team-taught. 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. 4 cr. 2nd sem.

CAS WS 213 A1 & B1- Sexism in the Twenty-First Century Examines the dynamics of contemporary institutions as they affect women’s and men’s lives, particularly in the United States– the economy, politics, mass media and culture, the beautification industry, sex industries, and hook-up culture– through the intersections of race, class, ethnicity, and sexual identity. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. Cannot be taken for credit in addition to CAS WS 113.

CAS WS 214 A1, B1, & C1- Creating Women: Gendering Literature, Art, and Music Voices and visions of women writers, artists, and musicians. Considers how women’s artistic productions contribute to understanding the social, cultural, and political history of women, with special attention to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and class. Carries CAS Humanities divisional credit.

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. Also offered as CAS SO 241.

CAS WS 305 Critical Issues in Women’s Studies. An interdisciplinary exploration of current topics in women’s studies. Five topics are offered Spring 2016:

  • Section A1: Gender and Globalization in the Middle East through Film and Literature. The intersection of gender, sexuality, and globalization in the products of the three most developed film industries in the Middle East: Egyptian, Iranian and Turkish. Topics include the “modern” Middle Eastern “man and woman” and the backlash against top-down modernization. Also offered as CAS XL 382 A1.
  • Section B1: Sex in the Shtetl. Examines major works of modern Yiddish literature through the lenses of gender and sexuality, exploring how authors cultivated an imagination populated by norm-defying beings: the prostitute, the androgyne, the cross-dresser, angels and demons. Also offered as CAS XL 381 A1.
  • Section C1: Lady Avengers. Examines the figure of the female avenger across Asian cinema from Japan to India. Feminist theory supports our investigation of the limits and possibilities of cinematic vengeance, attentive to who these forms of vengeance serve. All readings in English. Also offered as CAS CI 390 A1, CAS LJ 451 B1 and CAS XL 382 B1.
  • Section D1: Early Modern Women Authors. A survey of European women writers from the 1400s to the early 1600s, and of the modern critical thinking that has redefined their literary- historical importance. Christine de Pizan, Theresa of Avila, Marguerite de Navarre, Gaspara Stampa, Elizabeth I, and others. Also offered as CAS EN 475 A1, CAS WS 305 D1, and CAS XL 381 C1.
  • Section E1: 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.

CAS WS 326 – Arts of Gender: Gender Trouble, Genre Trouble. When Caitlyn Jenner came out this summer in a carefully choreographed multi-media campaign, questions about her “authenticity” immediately surfaced. In some ways, the intersection of reality television and evolving technologies of the body seemed to be presenting us with a whole new set of gender issues. In other ways, however, this intersection is part of a much longer story. This class follows that story and aims to write a new chapter by exploring how changes in genre and gender have often intersected throughout history. The first section of the class will look at key moments in literary history, by reading sonnets, plays, and novels by William Shakespeare, Margaret Cavendish, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and Jeffrey Eugenides. The second section of the class, “To Be Real,” will turn specifically to questions of the “real”: what does it mean to have/be/perform a “real” gender? In what ways do our genders work to make us “real”? What are the stakes of defining who and what is “real”? Why do explorations of gender so often intersect with texts that challenge the boundaries of genre? How do literary ideas of fiction, representation and performance help us to think about the place (or places) of gender in society? Texts for this section may include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home, the documentary film “Paris is Burning,” the satirical horror movie “The Stepford Wives” and the 2015 science fiction film “Ex Machina.” Our final weeks will turn to new and evolving media forms, starting with our shared viewing of “Transparent.” This final section of the course will function as a kind of laboratory or workshop in which students will choose a text from a new or changing media form, including everything from genre-busting streaming shows, to You Tube videos, to tweets and Facebook, in order to think about how these new forms might influence, enable and enliven our understandings of gender. How does gender change in a digital age? How do textual practices like tweeting, binge-watching, and texting shape our sense of gender? Do they reinforce old models or enable new ones? Also offered as CAS EN 326. For more information about the class, please listen to the Daily Free Press’ podcast!

CAS WS 340 A1 & B1 – Women, Race, and Gender in Mass Media.  Develops student’s media literacy through hands on analysis of media and pop culture representations of women, femininity, and race; their relation to women’s lived experiences; and the place of “feminine” values in contemporary culture.

CAS WS 344 A1 – Images of Women in Popular Fiction Formulaic genres – fairy tales, romance fiction, detective novels, horror stories, and science fiction–offer a medium for tracing the development of representations of women. Course analyzes women’s roles and functions in these genres, focusing on novels by American authors.

CAS WS 345 – Gender and War Examines gender constructions in world politics. Topics include gender biases in international relations theories, female and males roles in war, and rape as an instrument of warfare. Also assesses roles of women as leaders, actors, and objects of foreign policy. Also offered as IR 518 and PO 583

CAS WS 346 A1- Women & Film
Explores how the medium of film 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.

CAS WS 348 A1 – Gender and International Development Analysis of significant gender disparities worldwide in education, livelihoods, crisis settings, and political voice. Interdisciplinary approach combines discussion of novels, films, research on development, and lessons from field experience. Ideas on the advancement of gender equality and women’s socio-economic empowerment.

CAS WS 350 A1 – 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 A1 – American Masculinities 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.

CAS WS 356 A1 – Women and Comedy in America Considers how comedy is marked by gender and allows women to defy the expectations of femininity and transmute aggression into humor; what women find funny; and how women use the power of humor for survival, resistance, subversion, and truth-telling.

CAS WS 360 A1- Global Feminism: Race and Gender in International Perspectives Exploration of critical issues concerning women, gender, and race throughout the world. Topics include women and the global economy, health care, reproduction, the dynamics of sexism, violence against women, international women’s movements and political/institutional change. Also offered as IR358.

CAS WS 450 A1 – Internships: Women, Gender and Social Change This seminar will place students in local internships involving community organizing, electoral politics, advocacy groups, public polity, and leadership training. Students will have the opportunity to directly experience the processes involved in trying to make social changes related to class, race, sexuality, women, and gender. In weekly seminar meetings, students will also study key ideas and concepts related to the experiential component, to social change, and to the critical analysis of the contemporary society.


* WS 101 & 102 are NOT prerequisites for WS courses.