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Gender Studies Course Offerings

A listing of offered courses follows with prerequisites.  Please note that some courses do have additional fees associated with them.  The credit value of each course is represented by the number in brackets.

GS 100 Introduction to Gender Studies [3]

This course explores a range of theoretical approaches to the study of gender, laying the foundation for the major and minor in gender studies. Students examine and critically analyze gender theory and its sources. The course approaches gender as a fundamental category of analysis, with careful attention paid to the intersection of race and class. Its emphasis on theory that is anchored in both the humanities and the social sciences prepares students for subsequent gender studies courses, including those exploring the most recent scholarship coming out of queer theory, masculinity, and sexualities.

GS 202 Men and Masculinity [3]

After decades of feminist analysis focused on women’s lives and coming from a variety of perspectives, scholars have turned their gaze toward men. This scholarship scrutinizes not only how men define their identities but also how cultural ideas of masculinity shape everyone’s lives. This course examines men and masculinity through lenses informed by race, class, sexuality studies, and a variety of other angles, all in an effort better to understand things we often take for granted: the lives of men and the role of masculinity in our culture. Prerequisite: GS 100 or permission of instructor.

GS 215/EC 215 Women in the Economy [3]

A survey course covering the economic factors that play a significant role in the economic life of women. Topics include the economics of households, marriage, and families, changes in labor-force participation, causes and consequences of gender differences in occupations and earnings, government policies that have an impact on the economic well-being of women, and an international comparison of the economic conditions of women. Prerequisites: GS 100 and EC 101, or permission of instructor.

GS 222/HIS 222 History of Women in America [3]

A survey of the changes in women’s work in the family and economy; the impact of immigration, urbanization, and industrialization; the significance of race, class, and ethnic differences among women; the changing cultural status of women; the development of organized women’s movements. Prerequisite: HIS 100 or HIS 130 or HIS 131, or permission of instructor.

GS 225/SOC 225 Women’s and Gay Rights Social Movements [3]

This course provides a detailed examination of the social struggles for women’s and gay rights in the United States and in various countries across the globe. The main focus of the course is on the specific social conditions and events that precipitated battles for change in various social arenas. The outcome of specific struggles and the impact they had on the social position of women and gay and lesbian people are analyzed. Prerequisite: GS 100 or SOC 110, or permission of instructor.

GS 232/HIS 232/REL 232 European and American Witchcraft [3]

A history of the European and American attitudes toward witch-craft between the Middle Ages and the present. Special attention is paid to the “witchcraft mania” that emerged in the 15th century, to its regional variations, and to its slow subsidence in the late 17th century. The course also discusses the revival of witchcraft in the 20th century. Main currents of interpretation, both early modern and contemporary, are explored. Prerequisite: HIS 100 or HIS 130, or permission of instructor.

GS 248/PSY 248 Psychology of Gender [3]

Analysis of the roles of physiological, psychological, and social factors in the definition of gender- and sex role–related behaviors. Representative theories and research into sex differences and similarities are reviewed. The concepts of masculinity, femininity, and androgyny in today’s rapidly changing society are discussed. Prerequisite: PSY 101 or PSY 102, or permission of instructor.

PHI 250/GS 250 Philosophy of Love and Sexuality [3]

This course offers a critical analysis of the concept of sex and love, particularly as it has developed in the Western philosophic tradition. It explores sex and love as a defining element of human life, even in that “all too human” desire to step beyond ourselves. The role of sex and love is explored through various themes, like the acquisition of knowledge (as an ideal of truth), its place within religious life, and its stakes in ethical and political community. Students gain an understanding of determinate theoretical methods, like phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and critical social theory. Prerequisite: PHI 110 or GS 100.

GS 251W/RPW 251W Rhetorics of Gender Activism [3]

If, as Aristotle claims, rhetoric is the study of the available means of persuasion, then it seems imperative that rhetoric turn its attention to the ways in which activists concerned with issues of gender and sexuality have sought to enact social and political change in a range of contexts throughout history. This course applies rhetorical analysis to essays, speeches, documentary films, visual media, and artifacts from activist organizations—all in an effort to understand better the techniques that gender activists use to mobilize, to challenge, and to create change. Prerequisites: GS 100 and RPW 111, or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.

GS 254/SOC 254 The Sociology of the Family [3]

Comparative study of family institutions, with emphasis on the changing patterns of family relations in the United States. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or GS 100.

GS 258/PSY 258 Human Sexual Behavior [3]

This course emphasizes the intrapersonal, inter-personal, and societal aspects of human sexual behavior. Topics include, but are not limited to, the development of sex roles, sexuality across the age span, sexual attitudes, sexual arousal and dysfunction, variations of sexual orientation, legal and economic issues, and research methods. Prerequisite: PSY 101 or PSY 102, or permission of instructor.

GS 281/SOC 281 Women in Society [3]

An examination of the relationship between women’s roles and status. Issues include integration of women into various institutional sectors, theoretical explanations of sex discrimination and inequality, the female and male sex roles in other cultures, and changing social and structural patterns in contemporary America.

GS 305/ENG 305/AFS 305 African American Women Writers [3]

This course has as its premise that the work of contemporary African American women writers—such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Paule Marshall, and Sherley Anne Williams—can be interpreted in the context of an identifiable literary tradition with sources in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The course looks at the construction of this tradition in terms of specific literary themes and techniques, from “signifying” to communities of women that have been theorized by feminist and African American scholars. Prerequisites: GS 100; and either one 200-level literature course, or AFS 110 or AFS 111; or permission of instructor.

GS 315/SOC 315 Sociology of Gender and Sexuality [3]

This course examines gender and sexuality and important social categories. We investigate the ways in which categories of gender and sexuality structure people’s lives and shape people’s identities. Through these examinations, we explore the interconnectedness of people’s experiences of gender and sexuality. We focus on the ways in which gender and sexuality are socially constructed by society. We examine how what we are taught about gender and sexuality affects our identity, relationships with others, and our social status. Prerequisites: GS 100 and SOC 110, or permission of instructor.

GS 317/POL 317 Gender, Power, and Politics [3]

Explores politics as a gendered activity. The course examines how gender affects opportunities for political participation as well as our evaluations of political actors. The course focuses on gender and politics in the United States; however, comparative material is included where appropriate. Prerequisite: POL 100, POL 105, or GS 100; or permission of instructor.

GS 318/CMM 318 Women and the Media [3]

This course examines the role women have played as well as how they have been portrayed in the media, including newspapers, magazines, radio and television, from colonial to present times. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing is required, or permission of instructor.

GS 319/ENG 319 The 19th-Century Heroine [3]

A look at the 19th-century literature that centers on women. The course examines the characterization of female protagonists as products of a particular culture and a writer’s own personal artistic vision, particularly as these relate to concepts of the heroic. A variety of writers and genres is studied, including classic novels, travel writing, working class, and sentimental fiction. Prerequisite: GS 100 or a 200-level literature course, or permission of instructor.

GS 326/SOC 326 Sexuality and Social Conflict [3]

This course examines a variety of ways in which sexuality becomes a focus of social conflict. We explore the questions of why and how some aspects of sexuality are brought into the public sphere. We analyze the social construction of sexuality as a personal and private matter but also as a subject for public concern and social regulation, thereby exploring the connections of gender, race, and class to the conflicts surrounding sexuality. Prerequisites: GS 100 and SOC 110, or permission of instructor.

GS 328/ENG 328 Studies in Women’s Writing [3]

An analysis of the range of complexity of women’s literary output, including the historical development of women’s writing, the literary achievements of a single author or group of authors, theoretical issues pertinent to women’s literary creation, and issues of female creativity. Topics vary from semester to semester. Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course and GS 100, or permission of instructor.

GS 330/CMM 330 Gender and Sex in Popular Culture [3]

The portrayal of gender and sexuality in popular culture is analyzed. Media, including television, film, magazines, and the Internet, represent and help construct ideas about what it means to be male and female in this society, as well as convey assumptions about sexual orientation. These portrayals take on a particular form for racial and ethnic minorities that often reinforces prevalent stereo-types. Popular culture also depicts sexuality in a manner that presents certain sexual behavior as natural and acceptable, and other kinds as deviant and unusual. The representation of sexuality in a range of media is explored, including main-stream media, advertising, and pornography. The portrayal of gender and sexuality in the culture is examined through a survey of theoretical perspectives on these topics as well as a direct examination of content that represents these aspects of humanity. Prerequisites: GS 100 or CMM 110, and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.

GS 340W/RPW 340W Writing in Gender-Based Activist Organizations [3]

Focusing on issues such as reproductive rights, health care, and domestic violence, students examine the ways in which activist organizations that are focused on issues of gender and sexuality write about controversial issues for a range of audiences and in response to a variety of situations. Guest speakers and working documents from actual reports, press releases, website content, and other written texts. Prerequisites: RPW 110 and 111, or GS 100; and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor. (Writing intensive course) Laboratory fee.

GS 343/ART 343 Visualizing Gender [3]

An examination of how gender is relevant to the production, reception, and content of art. Gender theory and feminist theory are used to assess the role of gender in society and in artistic practices as they engage with visual images. This course concentrates on one of the following topics: Women in Art, Gender in American art, Masculinity and Modernism, or Gender and Ritual in Africa. The specific topic is announced in the Schedule of Classes. Prerequisite: Any 200-level art history course, or ART 100 with junior or senior standing. Visual resources fee.

GS 350/PHI 350 Ethics of Gender and Sexuality [3]

Consideration of the presuppositions we bring to thinking about ethics and morality, and of the ways in which culturally constructed gender differences affect ethical theory and moral practice. We examine a series of important themes and issues in contemporary discussions of feminist ethics, e.g., sexuality, motherhood, community, cultural difference, human rights, and moral responsibility as it exceeds the framework of rights. Prerequisite: GS 100 or PHI 110, or permission of instructor.

GS 353W/POL 353W Gender, Law, and Policy [3]

This course explores gender discrimination in American law. It examines how law has defined and continues to define appropriate behavior for women and men. Although the course emphasizes recent legal developments, it also considers major historical developments and the role of law as an agent of social change. Prerequisites: POL 100; and POL 105 or GS 100 or LAH 100 or SOC 170; or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course)

GS 354/CIN 354 Women in Film [3]

Images of women in films both popular and alternative, history of melodrama or “women’s pictures,” films made by women, feminist film theory. Prerequisites: ENG 140, or CIN/CMM 150, or GS 100; and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.

GS 370/ENG 370 Gay and Lesbian Literature [3]

There is little consensus as to what exactly counts as gay and lesbian literature, whether it is literature by gays and lesbians, literature about gay and lesbian characters and themes, or literature that gay and lesbian people read. This course examines literature that might be considered part of a gay and lesbian “canon” and contemporary works that reveal current directions of gay and lesbian writing. Prerequisites: Any 200-level literature course and GS 100, or permission of instructor.

GS 372/SOC 372 Women and Crime [3]

This course examines the social construction of female criminality, historic and contemporary trends in female crime, the place of women in the social organization of crime control, and a sociological analysis of the changing nature and consequences of female criminality in contemporary societies. The course serves as an introduction to a feminist reading of criminological theory. Prerequisites: SOC 170 or SOC 110, and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.

GS 383W/PHI 383W Gender, Knowledge, and Values [3]

Philosophy is an ongoing process both of criticism and of construction. In this course we critically examine how the different branches of philosophy—ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, metaphysics, and others—have been inadvertently impoverished by being grounded largely in male experience. We study a rich variety of constructive moves toward a philosophy more engaged with the experience of all human beings. These moves toward gender inclusiveness in philosophy have been made by feminist philosophers and others who have recognized the influence of gender on philosophical criticism and (re)construction. Prerequisites: GS 100 or PHI 110, and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course)

GS 420 Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Theory [3]

In this introduction to primary texts in the theories of feminism, gender, and sexuality studies, students read historical and contemporary authors in a range of interdisciplinary contexts, studying such crucial issues as the construction of gender, the importance of stand-point and location, and debates concerning essentialism, difference, power, and intersectionality. While gender and sexual identity serve as primary focal points for the course, discussions of race, class, and other categories of social classification are never far behind. Prerequisites: GS 100 and 9 additional credits of gender studies courses; or permission of instructor.

GS 450 Internship in Gender Studies [3]

Under the supervision of a faculty member, the Internship in Gender Studies is designed to be an integrative, culminating experience through which students apply scholarship in gender theory, method, and content to work in an organization or agency outside the University community. The internship reflects the structure of the academic program, with emphasis on the humanities or social sciences. It also reflects the program’s commitment to foster links between scholarship and community engagement, and provides avenues for career training in the context of a liberal arts environment. Students are expected to meet regularly with their faculty supervisors, keep a research journal, and present their findings in a final paper. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, or permission of instructor.

GS 451 Independent Study in Gender Studies [3]

Guided by a faculty supervisor, the independent study serves as an integrative, culminating experience on a subject of particular interest to the student. The project typically culminates in a scholarly composition. Student meets regularly with a faculty supervisor to discuss scholarly progress, including, but not limited to, bibliography, thesis, research methodology, theoretical approach, and writing. Students submit regular written progress reports.

GS 290, 390, 490 Special Topics in Gender Studies [3, 3, 3]

Covering selected topics in gender studies, these courses vary from year to year and in accordance with the needs of the curriculum and the availability of specialists in these topics. Examples of such topics include Gender and Sexuality in Mythology, Gender and Sexuality in Native American Cultures, Gender and the Nobel Prize. Prerequisites: Vary by topic.

GS 291, 391, 491 Studies in Gender and Sexuality [3, 3, 3]

Concentrated studies in gender and sexuality, such as sexuality in the autobiography, gender and reproductive issues, and the economics of gender and sexuality. Students may repeat this course as the topics meet their individual curricula needs. Prerequisites: Vary by topic.