Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The women, gender, and sexuality studies program has two different but closely linked objects of investigation: the diversity of women’s positions and experiences historically and culturally and the exclusion of women from the structures of existing knowledge. The program aims to deepen our understanding of both areas, using the foundation of existing academic disciplines and frameworks and moving beyond them. This includes an especial emphasis on gender as a category of analysis, as well as a comprehensive focus on the intersections of race, class, and sexuality. It is interdisciplinary, drawing on the humanities, arts, and social and natural sciences.

In Fall 2016, the program was renamed to the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program (from Women's Studies), capturing evolutionary changes in the academic discipline as well as better representing the offerings in this interdisciplinary area. All course offerings formerly listed as WMST courses are now listed as WGSS courses.

Program Activities

On both campuses, the women’s studies program sponsors a yearly series of events and lectures to highlight topics of concerns to women and to the field of women’s studies. In this way, students are introduced to key local, national, and international artists, activists, scholars, and policymakers whose work focuses on gender.

Courses outside the program

The following courses offered outside the department have the WGSS attribute and count toward the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major and minor:

CourseTitleCredits
AFAM 3030AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN4
AFAM 3112THE SIXTIES4
AFAM 3134FROM ROCK-N-ROLL TO HIP-HOP4
AFAM 3141WOMEN IN AFRICA4
AFAM 3720AFRICAN AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY4
AFAM 4650SOCIAL WELFARE AND SOCIETY4
AMCS 3350AMERICAN CATHOLIC POETRY4
AMCS 3359AMERICAN CATHOLIC WOMEN WRITERS4
ANTH 2880HUMAN SEXUALITY IN CROSS-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE4
ANTH 2886ANTHROPOLOGY OF GENDER AND SEXUALITY4
ANTH 3341RACE, SEX, AND SCIENCE4
ANTH 3605MOTHERING AND MOTHERHOOD4
ARHI 4530GENDER AND MODERN ART4
COLI 4011NARRATING CHILDHOOD4
COMC 2221FASHION AS COMMUNICATION: SYNTAX OF STYLE4
COMC 2277MEDIA AND SEXUALITY4
COMC 3237GENDER IMAGES AND MEDIA4
COMC 3247RACE, CLASS, AND GENDER IN MEDIA4
ECON 3240WORLD POVERTY4
ECON 3570LABOR MARKET AND DIVERSITY4
ENGL 3115MEDIEVAL WOMEN WRITERS4
ENGL 3134LOVE IN THE MIDDLE AGES4
ENGL 3233FOPS AND COQUETTES IN 18TH CENTURY LITERATURE4
ENGL 3468TRANSATLANTIC MODERN WOMEN4
ENGL 4127SEMINAR: NOVELS BY WOMEN: JANE AUSTEN TO TONI MORRISON4
ENGL 4128LOVE AND SEX IN EARLY MODERN LITERATURE4
FITV 3637QUEER STUDIES IN FILM AND TELEVISION4
FREN 3465WOMEN ON THE MARGINS4
HIST 3415EUROPEAN WOMEN: 1500-18004
HIST 3653GENDER IN EARLY AMERICA4
HIST 3826MODERN US WOMEN'S HISTORY4
HIST 4008RACE AND GENDER IN THE OLD WEST4
ITAL 3701ITALIAN WOMEN WRITERS4
JOUR 4767HISTORY OF WOMEN'S MAGAZINES4
MLAL 3000GENDER AND SEXUALITY STUDIES4
MLAL 3600WOMEN'S VOICES IN GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN LITERATURE4
PHIL 3720AFRICAN AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY4
PHIL 3904FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY4
PHIL 4407GENDER, POWER, AND JUSTICE4
POSC 3309WOMEN IN AMERICAN POLITICS4
POSC 3324POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION4
POSC 3327GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN US POLITICS4
POSC 3645POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION4
POSC 4210SEMINAR: STATE, FAMILY, AND SOCIETY4
POSC 4260THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF SEX AND SEXUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES4
PSYC 3600MULTICULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY4
PSYC 3700HUMAN SEXUALITY4
PSYC 3730MEN AND MASCULINITIES4
SOCI 2925MEDIA, CRIME, SEX, AND VIOLENCE4
SOCI 3120CONTROVERSIES IN RELIGION AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS4
SOCI 3401GENDER, CRIME, AND JUSTICE4
SOCI 3405GENDER, RACE, AND CLASS4
SOCI 3456MODERN AMERICAN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS4
SOCI 3500CONTEMPORARY FAMILY ISSUES4
SOCI 3503WORK, FAMILY, AND GENDER4
SOCI 3506DIVERSITY IN AMERICAN FAMILIES4
SPAN 3701SPANISH-AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS4
THEO 3827BIBLE AND HUMAN SEXUALITY4
THEO 3852LGBTQ ARTS AND SPIRITUALITY4
THEO 4005WOMEN AND THEOLOGY4
THEO 4025FUTURE OF MARRIAGE 21ST CENTURY4

For more information 

Visit the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program web page.

The women’s studies program provides four options for study: the major, double major, minor, and electives. Electives in women’s studies, which include American Pluralism, Global Studies, and Senior Values Seminar courses, are open on both campuses to all qualified undergraduate students.

WGSS 2999. SERVICE LEARNING-2000 LEVEL. (1 Credit)

WGSS 3000. GENDER AND SEXUALITY STUDIES. (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to theories of gender and sexuality from a range of disciplinary perspectives. It is the new introductory course for the WGSS program. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: ALC, ASSC, COLI, LALS, PLUR.

WGSS 3001. QUEER THEORIES. (4 Credits)

An introduction to the academic discipline of queer theory, focusing on foundational thinkers (e.g., Butler, Foucault, Sedgwick, and others as well as their philosophical and psychoanalytic precursors and interlocutors. The course will also address selected issues currently under discussion in the discipline. These may include the role of activism, the relationship between queer theory and feminism theory, attention to race, and intersections with postcolonial theory. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AMST, COLI, PLUR.

WGSS 3002. FEMINIST AND WOMEN'S STUDIES. (4 Credits)

This course provides a historical perspective on feminism and women’s experience, including 19th and 20th century American movements for women’s rights as well as texts that influenced the development of feminist thought and theory. It is one of three required courses for WGSS program. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AHC, AMST.

WGSS 3067. CONTEMPORARY WOMEN POETS. (4 Credits)

In this course, students will read poetry written by women poets in the 20th and 21st centuries with a focus on the imaginative representation of women's lived experience. We will read the work of poets who address the themes of feminine embodiment and sexuality, women's roles as mothers and daughters, women's work (both professional and domestic), and the role poetry plays in enabling women to discover a language to contain their experience. Among the (possible) poets we will read are Sylvial Plath, Ann Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Anna Swir, Adrienne Rich, Marie Ponsot, Eavan Boland, Louise Erdrich, Kate Daniels, Mary Karr and A.E. Stallings. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: ALC, EP3.

WGSS 3141. WOMEN IN AFRICA. (4 Credits)

This course examines the formal and informal participation of African women in politics, their interaction with the state and their role in society. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AFAM, ASSC, GLBL.

WGSS 3318. EARLY WOMEN NOVELISTS. (4 Credits)

A study of the rise of female authors in the early modern period. We will address problems of gender and rigorously analyze the basic literary and historical dimensions of each text. Authors will include Behn, Burney, Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Austen, Emily and Charlotte Bronte. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attribute: ALC.

WGSS 3341. RACE, SEX, AND SCIENCE. (4 Credits)

This course introduces students to interdisciplinary debates about the relationship between race, sex, and gender, on the one hand, and science, technology, and medicine, on the other. We will examine two interrelated questions: How do scientific claims influence cultural understandings of race, gender, and sexuality; and how do cultural beliefs about race, sex, and gender influence scientific research and knowledge production? The course will explore the role that understandings of race, sex, and gender have played in the development of Western science; the relationship among race, sex, gender, and scientific research in genomics and health disparities research (among other fields); and finally, the ways in which race, gender, and social inequalities become embodied and affect human biology. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AMST, ASSC, LALS, MVST, SOCI, URST.

WGSS 3415. EUROPEAN WOMEN 1500-1800. (4 Credits)

This course will explore the role of women in northern European society from the 16th to the end of the 18th centuries. It will examine issues of gender, and contemporary attitudes concerning women. Among the subjects that this course will address are women's work, education, marriage and childbirth. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attribute: AHC.

WGSS 3416. EUROPEAN WOMEN 1800-PRESENT. (4 Credits)

This course will be an exciting exploration of the changing status, roles, and achievements of women in Western Europe from the French Revolution at the dawn of industrialization to the present day. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AHC, IPE.

WGSS 3503. WORK, FAMILY, AND GENDER. (4 Credits)

This course examines how two key institutions in society – the workplace and the family – interact with one another. Special emphasis is placed on the critical ways that work-family balance and conflict are conditioned by gender. The course will cover the impacts – both negative and positive – of work demands upon individuals’ family lives, as well as the effects of family obligations upon workers and workplaces. Students will be familiarized with voluntary responses to work-family challenges on the part of individuals, families, and employers, as well as relevant public policies in the U.S. and around the world. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AMST, EP3.

WGSS 3537. SATIRE, SEX, STYLE: AGE OF T. NASH. (4 Credits)

Considered for a long time to be a "minor" Elizabethan writer with "nothing to say," Thomas Nashe managed to produce a varied and astonishing, if ultimately costly and futile, body of work during the last decade of the sixteenth century, spanning erotica, picaresque fiction, and fierce invective, satire, and polemic. This course will offer a close look at Nashe's unique rhetorical style in relation to the vivid literary culture of his times, focusing on how Nashe's work pushes to the extreme various impulses in Elizabethan literature that tend to get overlooked in conventional accounts of the period. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attribute: ALC.

Prerequisites: ENGL 2000 or HPRH 1001 or HPRH 1501 or HPRH 2001 or HPRH 2051.

WGSS 3826. MODERN US WOMEN'S HISTORY. (4 Credits)

The history of American women from the first women's rights convention in 1848 to the present. We will study women's everyday lives (including at home and work), major events like the campaign for suffrage, World War II, and the women's liberation movement, and representations of women in popular culture (magazines, movies, and T.V.). Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AHC, AMST, PLUR.

WGSS 3901. PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES FEMINISM I. (4 Credits)

Philosophical exploration of issues raised by historical and contemporary reflection on the relationship between the sexes. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attribute: PJST.

WGSS 3930. SEX AND GENDER IN SOUTH ASIA. (4 Credits)

In this course, we will explore histories of women, gender, and sexuality in South Asia from the 18th century to the present. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AHC, EP3, GLBL.

WGSS 3931. INTRODUCTION TO GAY AND LESBIAN LITERATURE. (4 Credits)

This course will read texts by a diverse range of Anglophone authors, emphasizing the cultural history of same-sex identity and desire, heteronormativity and oppression, and queer civil protest. It will also consider the problems of defining a queer literary canon, introduce the principles of queer theory, and interrogate the discursive boundaries between the political and personal. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: ALC, AMST.

WGSS 4005. QUEER THEORY AND THE AMERICAS. (4 Credits)

Drawing from the often divergent traditions of Anglo and Hispanic America, this course will take an interdisciplinary approach to queer methodologies for cultural and literary studies. Students will encounter foundational queer theoretical texts (both historical and contemporary) as well as novels, plays, and films, and will explore, for themselves, what queerness means and does. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: ALC, COLI, ENGL, ICC.

WGSS 4105. RELIGION, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY. (4 Credits)

This course considers the intersections of religion, gender, and sexuality. In many parts of the world, including the United States, and in many religious traditions, cultural and religious identity and continuity hinge on gendered practices and closely controlled sexual regimes. The goal of this course is to understand how religious institutions, communities, doctrines, practices and traditions shape gendered ideologies and practices, debates about sexuality and gendered division of labor, and the lives of men and women who participate in these religious communities. The course is organized conceptually; rather than learning about specific religious traditions, we will discuss thematic issues at the intersection of religion, gender, and sexuality. At various junctures we will discuss specific examples that span religious traditions, geographical locations, and historical periods. The course will therefore provide students with a sense of how contemporary and seemingly local debates are rooted in much broader conversations. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AMST, ICC, PLUR.

WGSS 4127. SEMINAR: NOVELS BY WOMEN: JANE AUSTEN TO TONI MORRISON. (4 Credits)

An intensive study of novels by Jane Austen, George Elliot, Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, and Toni Morrison. Our reading will be supplemented by literary criticism and historical contextual material. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: ALC, ENGL.

Prerequisites: ENGL 1102 and ENGL 2000.

WGSS 4344. REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES: GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. (4 Credits)

The interdisciplinary course will focus on issues in technology and reproduction, emphasizing the view that reproduction is not simply a biological process, but one that is laden with symbolic, political, and ideological meanings. Drawing on the fields of anthropology, sociology, history, public health, law, and science, technology and society. We will examine the contested meanings of reproduction, in particular how reproductive technologies are changing lives around the globe. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: GLBL, ICC.

WGSS 4400. GENDER, BODIES, SEXUALITY. (4 Credits)

This course explores how gender and sexuality shape and organize our lives. We will examine how gender is built into structures, institutions, and ideologies of social life as well as the interaction between gender and other axes of inequality, including race, class, and sexual orientation. The course will examine the experiences of men and women in addition to those who do not fit into these gender categories. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: AMST, ICC, PLUR.

WGSS 4800. INTERNSHIP. (4 Credits)

Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

WGSS 4910. INTERNSHIP. (4 Credits)

Placement in an agency or organization that deals with women's issues. Under a faculty member's supervision, the student writes a paper which integrates the internship experience with course work and research. All students meet monthly with the program co-director and one another for group discussions of their work. *This course requires the approval of the Director of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

WGSS 4920. SENIOR PROJECT. (4 Credits)

A substantial project on a subject in Women's Studies submitted, with appropriate documentation, by students in theatre and the visual arts and evaluated by two faculty advisers in their field. All students meet monthly with the program co-director and one another for group discussions of their work. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

WGSS 4930. SENIOR THESIS. (4 Credits)

A substantial paper on a topic in Women's Studies written under the direction of a faculty adviser and a second reader. All students meet monthly with the program co-director and one another for group discussions of their work. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

WGSS 4950. CHRISTIANITY AND SEXUAL DIVERSITY. (4 Credits)

Employing perspectives from history, theological ethics, and LGBT studies, this course will investigate what it means to take queer perspectives on Christianity sexuality, and discipleship. Readings will include biblical, historical, and contemporary materials that seek to illuminate the ways in which Christians and Christian communities have responded to sexual and gender diversity. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

Attributes: ICC, REST.

WGSS 4999. TUTORIAL. (1-5 Credits)