Women's and Gender Studies Electives

WGS 1100 Women’s Changing Roles

This course gives a history and analysis of the origins, philosophies, issues and activities of the women's movement.  It will deal with gender roles in changing society and role conflicts for both women and men resulting from this transition and explore the impact of sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, ageism, and other oppressions on women's lives.

WGS 1500 Racism and Sexism in the U.S.

This course examines systems of oppression and liberation struggles.  Racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism are the major issues addressed.  Laws, historical documents, academic articles, narratives, statistics, films, and personal experiences are used to interrogate oppressive systems.

WGS 1800 Gendered Lives and Societies – UCC Area 3

This course is an introduction to understanding how societies, identities and social relations are shaped by sex, gender and sexuality. It will explore how gender is a socially constructed concept that affects men and women in different ways and shapes social relations, how gender is related to “race,” class, age and disability, and how social institutions reproduce gender inequality.

WGS/LAS 2020 Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. – UCC Area 4

This course will analyze the historical and contemporary experiences of Latinos and Latinas in the United States.  Latina/os in the U.S. are the largest minority group and constitute 16% of the nation’s total population. The course will use a gendered perspective to examine the social, economic, political and cultural conditions that have shaped the lives of Latinas and Latinos in U.S. history and society. It will explore the diversity of Latina/os in the United States, by drawing on the comparative histories of Chicanos and Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans, and Central and South Americans to understand how different groups negotiate their presence in this country. Emphasis will be placed on broader issues such as Latina/o identity and its relationship to intersecting categories of class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and language.

WGS 2070 Women, Sport and Culture

This course will explore the role of women in sport from historical, philosophical, physiological, and psycho-social perspectives.  Trends, patterns, issues, and future perspectives will be woven into the fabric of this course in order to understand the sport experience as parallel to women’s role in society.

WGS 2080 Female Icons in Contemporary U.S. Culture

This course examines female icons in a variety of contexts, focusing on popular culture and media representations.  Analyzing the relationship between female icons and ideologies about women in the United States, the course considers how different images of women – from heroes to sex objects – challenge and/or reinforce dominant gender norms.  American representations are contextualized within global flows of culture and media.

WGS 2170 Images of Women in Modern Literature

A study of the images of women in modern literature drawn mostly by women. The course examines the various roles women have played in literature and the ways in which race, class, and ethnicity shape the works. Selected writers may include Virginia Woolf, Tillie Olsen, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood.

WGS 2180 Life Passages: The Female Experience

This course looks at the diversity of the female experience over a lifespan: infancy, girlhood, menarche, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, menopause, and old age. Attention is given to diversity issues including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities and disabilities, class, religion, and political perspectives. Some of the topics addressed include mother-daughter and father-daughter relationships, gender and sexual identity awakenings and struggles, motherhood, marriage/partnership, friendships, and ageing. The course materials include contemporary, multicultural and interdisciplinary essays, literature, and films.

WGS 2250 Race, Gender and Social Justice- UCC Area 4

This course analyzes multiple forms of social oppression and inequality based on race (and color), sex (and gender), sexual orientation (and identity), and class in the United States.  It will examine systemic aspects of social oppression in different periods and contexts and the ways thatsystems of social oppression manifest themselves on individual, cultural, institutional and/or global levels thus becoming self-perpetuating but not wholly unaltered structures.  Individual and group agency, strategies of resistance, and visions for change will also be studied.

WGS 2500 Racism and Sexism in Global Perspective – UCC Area 4

This course examines the various forms that racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression have taken both in the US and around the globe, with particular emphasis on the legacy of colonialism, the endurance and diverse forms of patriarchy, and the connections between various forms of oppression.

WGS/AWS 2550 The Black Woman’s Experience

This course is designed to explore and examine the experiences and achievements of Black woman and their relationship to and their position in the feminist movement.   Students will develop an appreciation for the strides and successes of the Black Woman and be able to give a critical evaluation into the historical, philosophical spiritual and unique circumstances of the Black woman.  In addition to highlighting the accomplishments, the course examines the role of African-American women in the life of all Americans.

WGS 2570 Sex, Gender and Sexuality – UCC Area 4

Focusing on the complex interplay between biology and culture, this course uses evidence, concepts, theories and perspectives from the four fields of anthropology (biological, socio-cultural, linguistic, archaeological) to explore diverse patterns of sex, gender and sexuality amongst humans, human ancestors and non-human primates. This perspective will form the groundwork from which to critically evaluate discourses that reduce sex, gender and sexuality to a matter of nature alone; notions used to legitimize inequalities of sex and sexuality and pathologize non-normative sex, gender and sexualities.  Adopting a social justice approach, we will explore contemporary struggles of self-determination in which sex, gender and sexuality are central. Some sections of this course are writing intensive.

WGS/AWS 2620 Caribbean Women

The course is an anthropological and historical study of women in the French Caribbean.

The primary focus of the course is an in-depth study of the diversity among the groups of women in the   French speaking Caribbean, their social, political and economic status both historically and presents day.  Special attention is given to Caribbean women in the Twentieth Century.

WGS/PHIL 2690 Philosophy of Sex and Love

The course investigates philosophical questions regarding the nature of sex and love, including questions such as: what is sex? What is sexuality?  What is love?  What kinds of love are possible?  What is the proper morality of sexual behavior?  Does gender, race, or class influence how we approach these questions?  The course will consider these questions from an historical perspective, including philosophical, theological and psychological approaches, and then follow the history of ideas from ancient times into contemporary debates.  A focus on the diversity theories and perspectives will be emphasized.  Topics to be covered may include marriage, reproduction, casual sex, prostitution, pornography, and homosexuality.

WGS/ANTH Introduction to Transgender Studies

This course provides a general introduction to the emerging, multidisciplinary field of transgender studies.  Adopting a holistic framework that views the development of gender identity and expression as a complex dialogue between biology and culture, it challenges the hegemonic artifice of a "natural" binary opposition between female/male & woman/man.  citing current, historical and cross-cultural examples of individuals and communities who destabilize prevailing sex/gender norms the course critiques how societies react to the presence of "other gender identities, embodiments and expressions.  The course also reviews the recent increase in trans-visibility and advocacy, and the ensuring challenges to legal, medical and social norms and attitudes predicated on the existence of only two kinds of gendered persons. 

WGS 3010 Feminist Methodologies

Explores the implications of feminist theorizing across disciplinary and cultural contexts for both methodology (theories about the research process) and epistemology (theories of knowledge). Examines how knowledge and power intersect, how genre or form impacts knowledge, how the knower is implicated in the knowledge produced, and how social location shapes inquiry.  It considers implications of intersectional approaches to re/presenting knowledge and identity. 

WGS 3070 Sex Equity in Education

This course develops an awareness of sex biases in our culture with particular emphasis on the role of the school, explores methods of eliminating such biases in classroom instruction and examines the materials currently being used in public schools.

WGS 3080 Human Trafficking – UCC Area 6

This course will examine the socio-cultural, economic and political factors that have given rise to modern-day slavery around the world. It will use a feminist/gendered perspective to analyze major forms of human trafficking such as forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, sex tourism, etc. The course will also explore the ambiguities and connections between migration and human trafficking and the challenges this connection poses to solve this problem. Particular attention will be paid to definitions, routes, policies and the current debates that surround this global issue.

WGS/PBHL 3140 Reproductive Rights – UCC Area 5

This course explores the multifaceted and complex issues related to reproductive rights from an interdisciplinary perspective. The controversies surrounding reproductive technologies, pregnancy and childbirth, birth control, foster care, abortion, and adoption will be explored with particular focus on public policy and its impact on the private lives of individual women.

WGS/HIST 3160 American Women’s History

The experience of American women from colonial times to the present. Explores conditions that shaped women's destiny, analyzes the differences between the historical experience of women from different social classes and ethnic groups and considers the ways American women have perceived their condition and worked to alter it.

WGS 3200 Women of Color in the U.S. 

"Women of Color in the United States" is an introductory Women's Studies course, placing the experiences and concerns of the U.S. women of color at the center.  It is designed for students interested in exploring similarities and differences among women in major racial/ethnic groups in the United States.  The focus is on women born in the United States who, because of their nonwhite or mixed racial heritage identify as both American, AND as Native Indian, African, Chicana, Puerto Rican, Chinese, and Japanese.  To develop students' skills to critically examine issues of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality, readings, lectures, and class discussions will explore experiences and concerns of women of color in the workforce, in the family, and, in their respective communities.

WGS/PHIL 3240 Philosophy and Feminism

This course will give an overview of some of the issues and work done in feminist philosophy. Students read philosophy specifically by, for, and about women, and consider how this theory informs ethics, politics, and metaphysics, as well as our views of the world and the classroom.

WGS/ASN/JPAN 3260 Women in Modern Japanese Literature – UCC Area 6

This course introduces students to the treatment of women, gender and sexuality in 20th-century Japanese literature.  The course examines modern Japanese society and culture and the interplay between tradition and modernity through the prism of canonical and contemporary literature. Topics include notions of the self, national and gender identity, and the impact of Westernization, modernization, urbanization, industrialization, and globalization.  All readings will be in English.

WGS 3280 Goddess Mythology

This course is a global examination of goddess mythology. It will take a look at goddess traditions around the globe, Greek and Roman mythology, African, Asian, and American cultures. The evolution and fragmentation of the goddess is examined with its spiritual traditions, myths, and legends. Contemporary goddess religions will also be explored. The course explores the symbolic significance of female divinity and the impact of its loss on all aspects of culture. By critically reflecting on how spiritual symbols have been used historically to empower and disempower women, the course draws connections between the sacred legacy of the goddess and women’s relationship to nature religions. The course will also address current debates about conflicting ideologies (patriarchy, matriarchy, and egalitarianism) and the actual existence of goddess cultures.

WGS/POL 3290 Women and the Law

This course will examine the legal and social status of women historically and in modern American society and the law and policy relating to that status. The course will also address legal tools developed to address sexual inequality, and the possibility that law both challenges and supports women’s subordination.  The course and the materials are organized around concrete legal problems of particular and current concern to women.  Issues are approached intersectionally, addressing sex, race, sexual orientation and other differences simultaneously.  The issue areas will include, but not be limited to:  employment, education, family, reproduction, health, sexuality, violence, Equal Rights Amendment, criminal law, and equality theory; and the laws, cases, current statutes and legislative proposals that apply to and affect women. 

WGS 3330 Activism and Social Change – UCC Area 5

This course critically examines the notion and practices of “activism” that are framed around contemporary issues that call for “social change” such as inequality, violence,  loss of livelihoods, educational access, forced migration, lack of health and healthcare, environmental justice, discrimination and law, and globalization.  Using a social justice framework to explore dynamics of race, gender and class, the course will examine case studies of community activism and advocacy to understand the interconnected systems of inequality and ways to challenge them. Key questions that inform this course are: What are the social, political, economic, ecological and cultural conditions that give rise to social activism and movements? How have marginalized groups historically organized for political and social justice? How do these movements affect political processes and institutions?  The course will explore possibilities to engage with local community-based work and advocacy. 

WGS/ANTH 3350/LAS 3360 Latina Testimonios: Ethnographies, Memoirs and Poetry

This course is an introduction to the similarities and differences in migration/ annexation/colonization and consequential social status informing the experience of Latinas in the United States.  Special attention will be paid to subjectivity and representation by social signifiers such as gender, race, class and sexualities.  While the course title assumes a panethnic label, the course will explore the complex diversity of women who trace their ancestry to geographical areas including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. 

WGS 3400 Media Representation of LGBT

This course investigates the ideological functions of moving images (film/television/video), still images (photography/magazines), and aural images (music), of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender created by mass media institutions to legitimatize discrimination and oppression in the United States.  It explores images by independent producers/directors/artists to challenge and resist negative images and create transgressive images of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender and employs critical and theoretical methods from feminist –gender, psychoanalytic, and semiotic-- theorists to interpret meaning in these representations.

WGS/SPAN 3420 Women’s Changing Roles in Latin American and Spanish Literature

This course, which will be taught in Spanish, introduces basic concepts of feminist theory to explore the changing roles of women in Latin America and Spain. It studies literary texts written by women in different Spanish speaking countries.

It pays close  attention to the relevance of cultural specificities related to gender construction, women's social roles and women's relation to power structures, race and class issues.   It also explores the creation of national literary cannons and their inclusion or exclusion of female writers.

WGS 3440 Men and Masculinity

This course examines the definitions of “maleness” in current US society.  It explores the most salient components of “male” identity by posing important questions about sex, gender, sexualities (homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality), race, class and sexual violence.  The topics may include a range of issues such as pornography, team sports, advertising and body building.  As an alternative to traditional masculinity, the Men’s Movement will be explored.   

WGS/HIST 3460 Modern European Women's History

This course examines the social, cultural and political history of European women from the Enlightenment to the present.

WGS/SOC 3470 Sociology of Women

This course examines women in U.S. society from a sociological perspective.  Following the ideas of C. Wright Mills, this class connects the “personal troubles” of individual women with the “social issues” pertaining to women as a minority group in the United States.  In doing so, it provides a sociological analysis of women in the major institutions in U.S. society.  Throughout the semester, the course will highlight the intersection of race, class, and gender and the unique manner in which sociologists research these interconnections and women in general.

WGS 3480 Ecofeminism

In this course students explore the connections between women and nature from an ecofeminist perspective.  The course encompasses the history, theory and praxis of ecofeminism, considers the variety of positions within ecofeminism, investigates political, social and developmental impacts of ecofeminism, and provides students with the opportunity for activism in their own lives.

WGS 3500 Lesbian Issues

This course assumes that sexuality is embedded in social structures and interconnected with various forms of structural injustice.  Keeping in focus that lesbian women are a very diverse people, we review historical trends, consider issues of definition, and study relationships, family, and community, including a unit on lesbianism and religion.

WGS/HIST 3560 Women and Gender in Modern South Asia

This course examines the history of women and gender in modern South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  We will both analyze the historical processes that transformed women's lives and consider how women themselves negotiated or subverted these processes in their own interest.  Major themes and topics include: the transformation of gender through colonialism and nationalism, the emergence of women's movements, women's labor and globalization, and gender in South Asian diaspora.

WGS 3580 Asian American Women: Gender and Transformation

This course focuses on the contemporary Asian immigration to the United States and examines its impact on immigrant women’s roles in the workplace, family, and the community.  It addresses the importance of gender in immigrant adaptation and identity formation not only among the immigrants but also among their US-born children.  Discussion includes the ways in which ethnicity, class, age, citizenship, and sexuality intersect to shape various experiences of Asian American women in the context of work and life.  The complexity of ethnicity, including multiracial/multiethnic identities and the phenomenon of intermarriages, is explored in connection with gender relations in the contemporary Asian American communities.

WGS/ASN/HIST 3590 Women and Islam: History, Politics and Culture

This course examines women and gender in Islamic societies in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.  Beginning with an overview of pre-modern history, the course focuses on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Topics include: women’s roles in production and reproduction, gender ideologies and representations of Muslim women, and the development of feminist, nationalist, and Islamist movements.

Throughout the course, we will also interrogate our own categories of analysis.  What makes a particular society ‘Islamic’ and is this the best way to define our topic?  How does our position in the U.S. shape our understanding of Muslim women?  How do culture and politics come together to shape women’s roles and rights?

WGS 3600 Gender and Globalization – UCC Area 6

Over the last half century the economic, political and the cultural dimensions of globalization has fundamentally transformed the lived experience of work and labor, families, governance and welfare, community and nation. This course will use an interdisciplinary approach to interrogate the contemporary process of globalization as it impacts communities, gender relations, and sexualities across cultural and geographical regions of the world.  Emphasizing a transnational feminist perspective that explores the linkages and connections between the global South and North, the course will focus on key issues of migration, global conflict, environment, health and violence and the collective responses and social movements resisting globalization.

WGS/POL 3606 Women and Political Leadership – UCC Area 5

This course focuses on three major questions: Do women have an identifiably different way of leading? How does this leadership manifest itself? Why does women’s political leadership matter? This course analyzes debates about gender differences in political discourse, gendered construction of “politics,” historical struggles for women’s representation, different kinds of women’s political participation, and the barriers to political leadership faced by women. Case studies of women political leaders in different socio-political contexts, impacts of new social movements on policy development to ensure women’s representation across different societies will be the basis for developing a comparative perspective.

WGS/HIST/ASN 3680 Women and War – UCC TI/WI

This course will look at the how war and preparation for war has affected the lives, hopes, and images of women in the United States and around the World. We will examine the roles of women in war, military service, and militarism on societal development in world history since the 18th Century, with these questions central:  What roles women have played in war? Are women victims of conflict alone, or are they active participants as well? and How has war helped shape female roles, gender stereo-types, and national mythologies?  A broad comparative framework, exploring "Western" and "non-Western" societies, especially women in Asian conflicts, will be adopted throughout.

WGS/POL 3700 Feminist Theory: Post World War II to the Present 

This course provides an overview of feminist theory from World War II to the present with particular attention to three questions: What are the fundamental assumptions of contemporary feminist theory? How does a feminist analysis influence our understanding of sociopolitical processes? What are the political issues and strategies that emerge from feminist theory?

WGS 3730 Politics of Sexual Violence 

To examine the ways in which sexual violence functions as a means of social control. To study how separate acts of violence against women are interrelated. To examine the consequences of living in a rape culture for girls and boys and women and men. To evaluate strategies and models for personal and political change.

WGS 3750/ENG 3760 Life and Writings of Indigenous Women

This course is designed to expose the students to the richness of the culture and literatures of women from indigenous communities, and the systemic oppression that they have been/are subject to due to race, caste, gender and class. The communities will include Native American, Australian Aborigine, and Dalit women from India. The traditional and historical status of these women in relation to their social, economic and political status today will be discussed. These silenced of  voices of women will be presented and analyzed in the forms of individual stories, memoirs, songs, poetry and fiction of the women from these three communities. Significant texts in translated literary forms and works will be used as primary resources. This course will involve reading literary works, and dealing with them via lecture, class discussions, small group discussions, and writing about significant aspects of the literatures.

WGS/SOC 3820 Gender and Global Migration – UCC Area 6

Over the last half century the economic, political and the cultural dimensions of globalization has fundamentally transformed the lived experience of work and labor, families, governance and welfare, community and nation. This course will use an interdisciplinary approach to interrogate the contemporary process of globalization as it impacts communities, gender relations, and sexualities across cultural and geographical regions of the world.  Emphasizing a transnational feminist perspective that explores the linkages and connections between the global South and North, the course will focus on key issues of migration, global conflict, environment, health and violence and the collective responses and social movements resisting globalization.

WGS/URB 3980 Women in the City 

This course explores the impact of urban environments in the United States on women from 1890 to the present.  Particular attention is paid to the ways in which cities facilitate and constrain opportunities and roles for women. 

WGS 3990 – Various Topics in Women’s & Gender Studies

WGS 4200 Global Perspectives on Women’s Lives

This course addresses the social, sexual-reproductive, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of women's lives from a global perspective.  We scrutinize the status of women and girls, identifying the consequences of globalization for life in societies, in communities and of individuals.

AWS 1550 Justice and Racism

With select historical reference to the African-American experience, from before the Mayflower to the present, the course examines (1) how the American judicial and legislative processes (for 300 years) codified and institutionalized racism, i.e. we trace de facto racism to de jure racism; and (2) how, beginning in 1948, led by the Supreme Court, these same processes have worked to remedy historical patterns of legalized discrimination based on race.

HIST 2250 History of Latinos/Latinas - UCC Area 4 

This course studies populations in annexed territories and immigrants from Latin America and their descendants, looking at commonalities and differences. Issues related to imperialism, immigration, gender and class bias, labeling, language, and citizenship are viewed from the perspective of legal, political, and human rights, utilizing a variety of primary and secondary sources.  The course examines from a distinctly historical perspective several past and present Latino movements for social justice and their legacy for change in U.S. society

HIST 2510 Modern Women and Gender - UCC Area 4 

This course fulfills the UCC requirement in Diversity and Justice. It is a survey of women’s and gender history in the modern era, the course draws comparisons between major world regions. The focus of our semester’s work will be on women's history in Europe and the US the modern era, exploring how societies have constructed gender and sexual identity; how race, ethnicity, class, and other social differences have informed women’s experiences over time; and how societies have developed systemic inequalities and forms of gender-based oppression. Special attention is given to the role of the state, the evolution of feminism, civil and human rights movements, and how individuals and collectives envision and work toward global feminism, sexual and reproductive liberation, and social justice.  

HIST 3160 American Women's History

The experience of American women from colonial times to the present. Explores conditions that shaped women's destiny, analyzes the differences between the historical experience of women from different social classes and ethnic groups and considers the ways American women have perceived their condition and worked to alter it.

HIST 3460 Modern European Women's History

This course examines the social, cultural and political history of European women from the Enlightenment to the present.

HIST 3520 Medieval and Early Modern European Women's History

An introductory survey of women in medieval and early modern Europe, which highlights the fascinating daily lives of ordinary women and their families, religious women, and female rulers. 

HIST 4700 Women and the Chinese Revolution
This course explores women's participation and the role of women's emancipation in the one hundred years of Chinese revolutionary activities from the late nineteenth century to the 1990s. It discusses the reconciliation of and conflict between women's emancipation and general revolutionary objectives. It also traces the origins and evolution of the Chinese feminist movement, which paralleled the Chinese revolutionary experience. 

PBHL 2100 Women's Health
This course addresses contemporary issues on the health of women, with attention given to increasing students’ understanding of their bodies, identifying resources and services available in the community, and developing the necessary consumer skills for interaction with the health care system.  Topics include mental health, nutrition, sexuality, pregnancy and childbirth, cancer detection and treatment, gynecological care, menstruation and menopause, aging and victimization.

PSY 3110 Psychology of Women

The lives of women will be explored from several psychological perspectives, including the Stone Center relational model. The current research on girls and adolescent females will be studied including the work of Dr. Carol Gilligan and her colleagues. Female biological development and sexuality will be discussed. Cross-cultural and minority patterns of female socialization will be examined. The course includes practical exercises such as tire changing, learning self-defense techniques, using the new computer technology, and presenting and discussing family heirlooms.