Course Offerings

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

  • WS 101 – Gender and Sexuality I: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
    A1: T/Th 9:30-11, Warkentin
  • WS 213 – Sexism in the Twenty-First Century
    A1: T/Th 11:00-12:30, Balser
    B1: T/Th 12:30-2:00, Balser
  • WS 244 – The Evolutionary Biology of Human Variation
    A1: T/Th 2:00-3:30, Schmitt
    B1: T 12:30-1:30, Schmitt (discussion)
  • WS 305 – Critical Issues in Women’s Studies
    A1: Boys and Girls in Japan
    T/Th 11:00-12:30, Frederick
    B1: Why Marry?: The History, Fantasy, and Reality of Married Sexuality.
    T/Th 9:30-11:00, Croan
    C1: Gender and Revolution in the Middle East through Film.
    T/Th 9:30-11:00, Micallef
    D1: Cultural Constructions of Motherhood.
    M 4:00-7:00, O’Brien Hallstein

  • WS 344 – Women in Pop Fiction
    A1: M/W 12:30-1:30, Gottfried
  • WS 346 – Women and Film
    A1: M 2:00-4:00, W 2:00-5:00, Swedberg
  • WS 356 – Women and Comedy in America
    A1: T/Th 12:30-2:00, Gottfried
    B1: T/Th 2:00-3:30, Gottfried
  • WS 360 – Global Feminism
    A1: T 4:00-7:00, Balser
  • WS 434 – Monarchy in Modern Britain
  • WS 435 – Histories of Human Rights
  • WS 594 – Historical Traditions of Feminist Theory
    A1: Th 2:00-5:00, Sapiro

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 244 – 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 305 Critical Issues in Women’s Studies. An interdisciplinary exploration of current topics in women’s studies. Five topics are offered Fall 2016:

  • Section A1: Boys and Girls in Japan. The “girl” (shoujo) and the “boy” (shounen) as important figures in Japanese modernity. Theories of gender and sexuality. Literature for and about youth, including coming-of-age novels, manga, and contemporary criticism on youth culture. Also offered as CAS LJ 481 A1.
  • Section B1: Why Marry?: The History, Fantasy, and Reality of Married Sexuality.Marriage today carries with it numerous expectations and assumptions about who we will be, how we will live, and what will make us happy. We think of it as a practice, an institution, a sign of love and commitment, a marker of success and achievement—yet we also acknowledge it is something that often fails, that fluctuates throughout history in its forms and applications, and that problematically defines who and what can be considered a citizen, a family, even a life. In this course, we will investigate the ways that marriage has changed over time and how it shapes Americans today. Taking an interdisciplinary lens, we’ll explore a range of creative and theoretical materials, from films and novels to contemporary television shows and wedding magazines, from cultural studies by anthropologists, historians, and psychologists to newspaper essays and opinion pieces. In short, we will ask: What is marriage, who wants it (or not), and why?
  • Section C1: Gender, War, and Revolution in the Middle East. A gendered examination of wars and revolutions that have shaped borders and societies in the Middle East from WW I to the present. Texts include films, Nobel prize- winning literature, graphic novels. Topics include colonialism, modernization, and proliferation of technology. Also offered as CAS CI 390 B1 and CAS XL 381 A1.
  • Section D1: Cultural Constructions of Motherhood. Examines how motherhood is currently understood. How does culture shape mothering practices? How do race, economic class, education, and sexual orientation impact motherhood? Related topics such as fathering, maternal body image, parenting, and celebrity profiles are also explored.

CAS WS 326 – Arts of Gender How have the arts influenced our understandings of gender and sexuality? This course examines representations of gender and sexuality in diverse art forms, including drama, dance, film, and literature, and how art reflects historical constructions of gender. Discussions of dramatic and literary texts will be supplemented by film screenings, performance events, and readings in feminist and queer theory. Also offered as CAS EN 326.

  • Spring 2016 Topic: 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?

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 434 A1 – Monarchy in Modern Britain

CAS WS 435 A1 – Histories of Human Rights

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.

CAS WS 451 A1 – Fashion as History This seminar treats clothing and other products of material culture as historical documents. The seminar explores what clothing can tell us about key developments in the modern period relating to trade and commerce, empire, gender, class, industry, revolution, nation-building, identity politics and globalization. Also offered as CAS HI 451.

CAS WS 594 A1 – Historical Traditions of Feminist Theory Explore selected writing from the history of feminist theory, 18th century to the rise of the late-20th century feminist movement, to understand the richness of that history and the varieties of approaches theorists took in understanding and resisting gender-based oppression. Meets with CAS PO 594.


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