WGS Minor Courses

Nature vs. nurture? Is it biology or social construction?
Discussions of gender and sexuality or the sources of masculinity and femininity often become polarized. In this class, we discard the either/or dichotomy to explore gender and sexuality from the perspectives of natural science, social science, and the humanities. We will ask how our biological bodies, social and cultural experiences, AND imaginative constructions effect our understanding of what it means to be men and women.

CAS WS 101 Gender and Sexuality: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

focuses 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.

CAS WS 102 Gender and Sexuality: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Considers communities and institutions. Topics include human reproductive biology; evolutionary, historical and cross-cultural analyses of patriarchy and sexual violence, families and parenting; the social construction of gender and sexual selection in humans; evolutionary medicine; and the relationship of academic research to social activism.
Readings will be diverse, including research reports and scholarly essays in natural and social sciences (biology, anthropology, archaeology, psychology, sociology), scholarly works in the humanities (literature, history, philosophy, religion), and creative works (novels, plays, poetry and films). This Interdisciplinary Introduction is the gateway sequence for the minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Students taking both semesters will receive non-majors Divisional Studies credit for two courses, from two different divisions: NS (without lab), SS and H.

CAS WS 113
Women, Society, and Culture: Social Sciences

Women’s economic, political, and familial situation in contemporary American society.  Examination of work by feminist scholars in various disciplines, including psychology, biology, and history. Balser. Fall & Spring.

CAS WS 114
Women, Society, and Culture: Humanities

Voices and visions of women writers,  artists, and filmmakers.  Considers how women’s artistic productions contribute to understanding the social, cultural, and political history of women. Fall & Spring.

CAS WS 305
Critical Issues in Women’s Studies

An interdisciplinary exploration of current topics in women’s studies.  Topics to be determined each semester.  These may include:  the social construction of gender; feminist thinking/theory; women’s memoirs and autobiographies; femininity in/and popular culture; women and work; women, family and reproductive rights; international feminisms and gender and international development. Fall & Spring.

CAS WS 305/EN 326
Performing Gender: Drama, Dance, Film, and Feminism

History of women as performers and representations of gender on stage from antiquity to the present. Fall.

CAS WS 305
Women and Comedy

From Mae West and 1930s screwball comediennes to Tina Fey and female stand-up comics today, the course explores funny women, women’s humor, what women find funny, and how women use humor as a tool for survival, resistance, and subversion. Fall.

CAS WS 305
Sex and Violence on the Silk Road

The transformations that took place along the silk route from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Topics studied include the impact of religion, colonialism, modernization, independence on gender. Spring.

CAS WS 340
Women, Race, and Gender in Mass Media

Develops students’ media literacy through hands-on analysis of media representations of women, femininity, and race; their relationship to women’s lived experience; and the place of “female” values in contemporary culture. Spring.

CAS WS 342
Law and Gender in the United States

Combines legal, historical, and sociological studies of women’s evolving legal status. Discussions cover constitutional law, family law (including same-sex marriage), reproductive rights/technologies, sex as crime–statutory rape, prostitution, sodomy–and how law shapes gender relations for men and women. Summer.

CAS WS 346
Women and Film

Study primarily of American films, exploring how the medium has shaped and has 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. Fall & Summer.

CAS WS 350/PO 342
Seminar: Women and Politics

Readings, discussions, 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. Spring.

CAS WS 360
Global Feminism: Race and Gender in International Perspectives

Recommended: CASWS 113 & 114. 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. Fall.

CAS WS 491, 492
Directed Study: Women’s and Gender Studies

Individual instruction and supervised study project in women’s or gender studies.
Application form available in program office. On Demand.