Our women’s and gender studies minors gain a rich understanding of gender as a social construct – then use that understanding to break new ground in their personal and professional lives.

Women’s & Gender Studies Course Offerings

WMGS 110 / HUMA 110 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies – C-DD
This introductory course will focus on one central question: What difference does gender make? By examining a variety of texts (articles, novels, film, popular culture), we will learn not only how to analyze issues of power, gender and identity, but we will also relate those issues to the wider world around us. Specific thematic units include socialization, violence, work, the female body, language, sexuality, motherhood and the family, race, globalization, and voices from the third wave of feminism.

WMGS 206 / ENGL 206: Sexuality and Literature: Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Texts – GS5
When Lord Alfred Douglas famously said, “I am the love that dare not speak its name,” he articulated a conundrum in gay identity — How do you tell your story when it is unspeakable? This introduction to the lesbian, gay and transgender tradition in literature tackles this question among others. The course focuses on 20th-century U.S. texts, examining how sexual identity, along with race, class and gender, changed over the course of the 20th century.

WMGS 268 / RELS 268 Sexuality, Intimacy and God
This course explores the meaning and significance of sexuality and sex for human fulfillment. It examines the ethics of intimate and sexual relationships in light of Christian theological and scriptural traditions as well as reason (including social and scientific sources) and contemporary human experience. Specific topics under examination include the “hookup culture” on contemporary college campuses; the social construction of gender and sexual expression; unmarried sexuality; same-sex relations; contraception; abortion; and sexual violence. Students engage various theological, philosophical, natural and social science sources, including imagery in the popular media, traditional Roman Catholic teaching, “revisionist” theological perspectives, and feminist insights regarding the body, sex, and human relationships more generally.

WMGS 310 / ENGL 310 Race and Sex in Contemporary U.S. Texts
This course examines race and ethnicity in American-Indian, Latino, African-American and Asian-American texts in the contemporary United States (1960s to present). The course investigates recurrent issues like immigration, memory and identity, and the legacy of slavery, as we understand the political and cultural underpinnings of the texts. Writers include Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Sandra Cisneros, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Gish Jen and Don Lee. This course meets the Literature and Cultural Diversity requirement for English majors with secondary education certification.

WMGS 311 / ENGL 311 / AMER 311 Women and Literature
Exploring literary texts by women, we will examine how the construction of “woman,” sex and gender has changed over time and investigate how it intersects with issues of race, class, sexuality, and nation. By using feminist literary theory, we will engage with the most pressing issues in the field, from early ideas of a particular women’s literary voice to contemporary claims that challenge female authorship altogether. Special topics may include contemporary women writers, gender and the 19th-century novel, and ethnic women writers. Authors may include Virginia Woolf, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldua, Audre Lorde, Bharati Mukherjee, Dorothy Allison, Edwidge Danticat and Marjane Satrapi. Alternate years.

WMGS 318 / RELS 318 Feminist Theology – GS1U C-CI 
This course introduces students to feminist theology as a theology of liberation, examines its foundations in feminist theory and Christian revisionist sources and explores its contributions to the Christian, especially the Catholic, faith tradition.

WMGS 335 / HIST 335 Women and Work
This course examines the topic of women and work historically, with attention to change over time in the work histories of African and American women. Throughout we will explore women’s working lives in the context of the gendered social norms within which they have lived. Within this general framework, the course will examine types of occupations such as domestic work, prostitution, farming, agricultural work, market trading and professional/ managerial work. The course will also explore the intersections of work with marriage and parenting and the effects of race and class upon women’s working lives. Alternate years.

WMGS 346 / SOCI 346 Intersections of Privilege – C-DD 
This course engages in an interdisciplinary and multimedia examination of social inequality, focusing on the complex and intersecting ways that social groups gain advantage over and marginalize others. Students will examine topics including race (whiteness), sexuality (heterosexuality), gender (masculinity), class (economic and cultural capital), and nationality (global privilege associated with first-world status). This course will integrate perspectives on how privilege is reinforced in day-to-day interactions as well as in larger social structures.

WMGS 351 / HIST 351 Women, Gender and Imperialism
From the 1850s through the 1950s, Western women played significant roles in British colonies in Africa and India in the fields of education, public health and missionary work. These woman believed that they could improve the lives of non-Western women by acculturating them to the norms of their own middle-class, Western and Christian lives. The course will explore how these women tried to reshape key social institutions in Africa and India such as marriage, parenting, medical practices and religion. This course will also explore how the women and men these individuals came to “civilize” in turn shaped the cross-cultural encounter through their powerful reactions to the often unwelcome acculturating messages they received. The course draws upon historical materials and autobiographical, literary, missionary and travelers’ accounts to investigate these events. Spring semester, alternate years.

WMGS 360 / HUMA 360 Feminist Theory
This course takes a sociology of knowledge approach to the development of feminist theory from the 18th century to the present. The variety of modern and postmodern feminist theories are placed in social, political and historical context. Primary source examples of each school of thought are read, applied and evaluated. Because feminist thought has been a response to the conditions of women throughout history, women’s oppression at various points in history will be covered. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent. Alternate years.

WMGS 361 / SOCI 361 Gender, Sexuality, and Society
While gender and sexuality often appear natural, this course investigates their social roots. Throughout the semester, we will explore the diverse ways in which gender and sexuality have been conceptualized, embodied, shaped, policed, and transformed. Additionally, we will examine the relationship between gender, sexuality, inequality, and major social institutions including education, media, work, and family. Finally, we explore the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and class as they relate to a variety of contemporary issues and controversies, including “hooking up,” marriage laws, gender reassignment surgery, and sex education.

WMGS 389 Special Topics
A study of a single topic of special interest to students. When the course is offered, the topic will be listed in the Timetable of Courses.

WMGS 490 Independent Study
This course allows staff and students to explore together topics of special interest. Prerequisite: approval of the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Committee.

WMGS 494 Internship in Women’s and Gender Studies
This internship experience allows students to apply their studies in a supervised work situation. Students benefit from an inside look at different kinds of organizations  by having a chance to work in their field of study and by gaining experience with state-of-the-art equipment and practices. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and instructor consent.

Alumna Perspective

“The first two courses I took toward my minor [in women’s and gender studies] changed the way I thought about literally everything around me, helping me describe and contextualize things I’d instinctively felt since I was young. That’s when I knew I wanted to pursue more than the minor the college offers in the field.

When I realized that taking four women’s and gender studies classes while studying abroad would help toward fulfilling the 10-course requirement for a major and still allow me to graduate in May 2011, I talked with Dr. Crowley, my academic advisor and the women’s and gender studies program director, about proposing an individualized major.”

Kellie Herson ’11