Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies

All Majors & Minors

Courses

  • GWSS-200. Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies 

    This course introduces a set of theoretical frameworks to conceptualize, explain, and reflect upon the categories of sex, gender, and sexuality through exploring classic texts in feminist thought and selections from contemporary feminist, queer, and trans* theory. Topics will include gender and sexual identities; conceptions of women’s bodies and embodiment more broadly speaking; autonomy, coercion, and consent; representations of women in mass media with particular attention to clothing, fashion, and food; expressions of female sexual desire; the notion of gender as performative; the many meanings of queerness; gender as non-binary; and more. We will pay special attention to intersectional feminists who reflect critically on the relationship of gender and gendered analyses to other kinds of difference, including race, class, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. Open to first-year students. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (D)

    GWSS/ECON-210. Race and Gender in the American Economy

    he study of the issues of race and gender in the U.S. economy. We will evaluate the economic status of racial minorities and women. Issues include occupational segregation, wage differentials, educational attainment, affirmative action and labor market discrimination. . Prerequisites: ECON-101 or 102 or permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, D.)

    Note: Students with credit for BE-110 or ECON-110 may not enroll in ECON-210.

    GWSS/ANTH-212. Anthropology of Sexuality

    Sexual desires and practices are often naturalized in popular discourse, imagined as reflections of pre-cultural biological drives. In this course, we consider the cultural forces that shape these desires and practices into diverse forms across the globe. We use anthropological theories of sexuality to understand the ways in which even our most private thoughts and acts enact and/or resist cultural norms. Ethnographic readings from a range of geographic and subcultural settings provide an opportunity to explore erotic and sexual diversity in depth. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    GWSS/PSYC-214. Human Sexuality

    A multidisciplinary study of the development and expression of human sexuality through the ages, across cultures, and through the lifespan of the individual. Topics include how is “having sex” defined, sexual anatomy and physiology, sexual behaviors and response cycles, sexual research, development of gender identity, sexual orientations, relationships, atypical sexual practices, sexual dysfunctions, sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive methods, conception and birth. A working knowledge of sexual intelligence will be developed. Prerequisite: PSYC-100. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (G, SS.)

    Note: Students who have already taken IDS-350 Human Sexuality cannot register for GWSS/PSYC-214 Human Sexuality.

    GWSS/THEA-215. Dramatic Dames: Plays By & About Women

    This course explores provocative portraits of women in plays written by women. Students begin with a tenth-century nun and read their way right up to the present day. This is the subversive side of dramatic literature—the plays not included in most anthologies. We will investigate the objectification and reclamation of the female body, gendered language, intersectionality, and the politics of drama by and about women in their socio- historical contexts. Three hours per week.Four semester hours. (A,H,D.)

    GWSS/THEA-217. From Shakespeare to RuPaul: A History of Drag Performance

    In Shakespeare’s theater, men played female roles and female characters sometimes disguised themselves as male — creating confusion, comedy, and insight into the human condition. Today’s drag queens, such as RuPaul, bring a sense of empowerment and theatricality to challenge a gender binary and to break through social norms. For centuries, playwrights and performers have crossed and mixed gender roles, creating a distinct art form that brings into focus issues of identity, gender variance, and social structures of masculinity and femininity. This course explores the history of drag entertainment and how it reflects and responds to cultural shifts over time. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A,D.)

    GWSS/THEA-218. The Craft of African-American Female Playwrights

    The original, pioneering work of African- American female playwrights was largely unnoticed and unsupported. These artists persevered, writing and producing their plays in small venues, influencing future generations of black female theater artists. This course will explore the groundwork laid by these innovators and will examine the craft of the women who stand on their shoulders. Today, many of America’s most creative, cutting-edge playwrights are African-American women. We will look at the contribution of these contemporary artists, and discuss their influences (social, political, and personal) that stretch beyond the boundaries of the stage. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (A,D.)

    GWSS/ANTH-225. Gender and Kinship Cross-Culturally

    The structure of sex and gender roles has important implications for marriage, the family, and kinship in all societies. This course examines sex and gender roles, sexuality, mate selection, marriage customs, divorce, childbearing, parenting, spousal and other kin relations, across the spectrum of world cultures. Prerequisite: ANTH-100, SOC-100, or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week.Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    Note: Students who have taken SOC-110 have fulfilled the prerequisite for this course.

    GWSS/ENGL-228. Women’s Literature 

    A cross-period study of literature by British and American women, paying attention to issues of canon formation and feminist literary theory. Prerequisite: CIE-100. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

    GWSS/SOC-263. Sex, Gender, and the Politics of Bodies in American Society

    After initial examination of the causes of sex differences, focus is placed on the modern American sex/gender role system: socialization and education; economic, political, religious, and family roles; sexual inequality; and gender-based public policy issues. Some cross-cultural and cross-national comparisons are made. Prerequisite: SOC-100, ANTH-100, or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, D.)

    Note: Students who have taken SOC-110 have fulfilled the prerequisite for this course.

    GWSS/HIST-301. Knights and Chivalry: Violence, Gender and Religion 

    What did it mean to be a medieval knight, and what constituted “chivalrous” behavior for both men and women? How did a military culture glorifying the most brutal violence come to mean good manners, pious thoughts, and sexual romance? In this course we will explore the medieval culture of chivalry, especially the importance of violence, gender identity and relations, and religious belief, culminating in an investigation of the trial of Joan of Arc. Through film analysis, students will also consider why the tensions inherent in chivalry continue to be represented in modern culture. Students will develop advanced skills in critical reading and analysis, discussion, presentation, collaboration, and writing, and will complete an independent research project. Three hours per week. Four credit hours. (H.)

    GWSS/HIST-302. Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Europe 

    What did it mean to be a man or a woman in the Middle Ages, and what did it mean to ‘have sex’? How were ideas about gender expressed sexually, and how did ideas about various sexual activities impact gender relations? Beginning with theoretical readings by Michel Foucault and Judith Butler among others, the course will investigate how medieval Europeans conceptualized sex, gender, and sexual activity. We will explore the kinds of gender relations—and sexual relations—that were encouraged, allowed, or prohibited, including marriage, same-sex relations, rape, cross-dressing, contraception, castration, and prostitution. Students will complete an independent research project. Three hours per week. Four credit hours. (H.)

    GWSS/MUS-305. Women in Music

    This course will examine the contributions of women as composers, performers, patrons and conductors of music from the Middle Ages through the twentieth century. The course will focus largely on the roles of women in the sphere of Western art music but will include some coverage of non-Western and popular music as well. The course requires a variety of listening assignments and research projects. Three hours per week. Four credit hours. (A.)

    GWSS/ENGL-310. Austen and the Bronte Sisters

    These 19th -century women writers, widely read in their own time, are now among the novelists of the past who are thoroughly ensconced in the literary canon and also a lively influence on our own popular culture. In spite of the differences between Austen’s restrained wit and the Bronte sisters’ passionate prose, both retain cultural appeal in the 21st century. Our discussion will consider what these novels reveal about gender attitudes past and present, and look for sources of their continuing relevance. Readings will include Pride and Prejudice and other Austen novels selected by the class; Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Villette; Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights; and a couple of more contemporary works that hark back to these authors (Wide Sargasso Sea? Clueless? Longbourn?). Prerequisites: ENGL-290W and another English course between 220 and 250, or permission of the instructor.  Three hours per week. Four credit hours. (H, D.)

    GWSS/THEA-315. Butches, Bitches, & Buggers: Modern Queer Drama

    This seminar explores provocative portraits of queer life in modern drama including the evolution, reclamation, and employment of gender- and sexuality-specific language and stereotypes within and outside of queer communities. How does the socio-historical environment in which a queer play is written inform its content and reception? Are plays about or written by queer individuals necessarily political? Does queer theatre intervene in culture differently from the manner in which other theatre does? And, of course, we will examine a broad range of butches, bitches, and buggers in queer drama. Prerequisite: THEA-100 or permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four credit hours. (A, H, D.)

    GWSS/MCS-319. Sex, Race and Comedy

    Students will learn to critically analyze the subversive power of comedy in exploring issues of race, gender, sexual orientation and class in American media. Three hours per week. Four credit hours. (D,SS.)

    GWSS/HIST-328. Women in American History 

    An examination of the changing experience of American women from colonial times to the present. The focus of this course will be the interaction of that experience with ideal roles for women in the realms of family, religion, politics, economics, and social life. Attention will also be paid to the interaction of gender with the variables of class, race, ethnicity, and region. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

    GWSS/MCS-340. Gender, Ethnicity and Communication

    This course explores theories and research on gender, ethnicity and communication, with a particular focus on African American culture. Students will use two research methods to study the relationship between gender, ethnicity and communication: a discourse analysis and an auto-ethnography. The reading, writing, and discussions in the course will encourage students to cultivate more reflective communicative practice. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (D, SS.)

    GWSS/HIST-361. Beyond Private and Public: Women’s Activist Histories 

    Focusing on the personal lives of women in various locales around the world, this course helps students gain a sense of the personal and political struggles of a diverse range of people. The women studied participated in social movements, state politics, and cultural work. They made women’s rights a central topic in the in the broader march toward the liberation of their people. Central questions include: What problems did women in various societies throughout the world face? How did they contribute to the solutions for these problems? How did gender shape their experiences? Also, how useful is (auto)biography in the study of the past? What can individual lives teach us about our present and guide us as we create our future? Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, G.)

    Note: This course may not be taken by students who have taken it under a different course number

    GWSS/HIST-366. History of the Family 

    A survey of the changing structure and function of the family in Europe and America from 1500 to the present. Special attention will be paid to the relationship between changes in the family and changes in the wider society; the family as the locus for changing gender and age relations; and the variations in family forms dictated by class, race, ethnicity, religion, and region. Three hours per week of lectures and discussion. Four semester hours.

    GWSS-370. Research-Independent Study 

    Directed readings and research on a topic in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies. A student wishing to register for this course must present to a member of the faculty a proposal outlining research to be completed, and submit the instructor’s written agreement to supervise the project to the GWSS Coordinator. Prerequisites: GWSS-200 and status as a GWSS minor. Four semester hours. (I.)

    GWSS/ART-373. Feminism and Gender in Art and Art History 

    This course investigates the influence of political, activist, and scholarly developments in feminist and gender theory on artistic practice and the discipline of art history. Course material explores how feminist consciousness and theories of gender have led artists, critics, and theorists to innovative representational strategies and to challenge, revise, and reinterpret art historical narrative. In the process, the course focuses on how such interventions alter the stories that artists and scholars tell. Prerequisite: ART-160, 290W, 371, or 372; or permission of the instructor. Four semester hours. (A, D.)

    GWSS-375. Readings in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies

    In this directed readings course a student can further develop an interest begun in another course or explore an interest within the field of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies not otherwise covered in the curriculum. A student may do independent readings with any member of the GWSS faculty, but must submit in advance the instructor’s written agreement to supervise the project to the GWSS Coordinator. Prerequisite: GWSS-200. Two semester hours.

    GWSS-381. Internship 

    An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Contact the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies Coordinator for further details. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work.  Graded S/U.   Prerequisites: GWSS-200 and approval of a faculty internship adviser. Three semester hours.

    GWSS-382. Internship 

    An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Contact the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies Coordinator for further details. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work.  Graded S/U.  Prerequisites: GWSS-200 and approval of a faculty internship adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)

    GWSS-491W. Honors Research/Independent Work 

    This course is open to candidates for honors. Work should be comprised of an independent project that employs research methods in GWSS. Prerequisite: Status as a GWSS major and permission of the GWSS Advisory Council. Four semester hours. (I.)

    GWSS-492W. Research/Independent Work 

    Continuation of GWSS-491. Four semester hours. (I.)