Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WMNS)

WMNS 1101. Sex, Gender, and Popular Culture. 4 Hours.

Examines how femininities, masculinities, and different forms of sexual identity are produced and represented within popular culture. Using theories and concepts from both feminist/sexuality studies and popular culture studies, analyzes popular texts and media for their treatment of gender and sexuality and the intersection of those categories with racial and class identities. Explores the visual representation of women (and men) and analyzes how visual and textual media shape our attitudes and identities. Required reading and assignments include close readings of texts, film screenings, class discussions and activities, writing assignments, and creative projects. Cross-listed with SOCL 1102.

WMNS 1103. Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 4 Hours.

Offers an interdisciplinary course introducing key themes in gender and sexuality studies. Offers students an opportunity to learn core concepts that inform our understanding of how gender and sexuality are socially constructed and are experienced in everyday life. Drawing on women’s studies, queer studies, masculinity studies, and allied areas, the course analyzes gender, sexuality, and other dimensions of identity; explores critical issues of gender, sex, and power; and studies gendered/sexed identities in both national and transnational contexts. Topics include the gendered conceptions of love, sexuality, and violence; biological arguments about gender and sexuality; the social construction of sexuality and gender; intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality; masculinities and femininities; theories of sexual difference; gender and the state; and gender and popular culture.

WMNS 1150. Sex, Power, and Oppression: An Introduction. 4 Hours.

Examines various philosophical issues that relate to gender and other forms of social identity, such as race, sexual orientation, and disability. Our genders (being male or female) shape not only who we are but also how we experience the world and possibilities that are open to us. Examines the ways in which these categories are socially constructed and looks at how they impact who we are, our autonomy/freedom, and our ability to be authentic. Examines philosophical articles and related pieces of popular media (newspaper articles, television clips, movies, etc.). Cross-listed with PHIL 1150. .

WMNS 1185. Gender in the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Studies variations in gender roles throughout the African Diaspora, from precolonial Africa to the modern United States. Areas of the African Diaspora include Africa, the West Indies, Latin America, Europe, and the Islamic world. Issues include sexuality, labor, reproduction, and social constructions of gender. Cross-listed with AFRS 1185 and INTL 1185.

WMNS 1225. Gender, Race, and Medicine. 4 Hours.

Examines the basic tenets of “scientific objectivity” and foundational scientific ideas about race, sex, and gender and what these have meant for marginalized groups in society, particularly when they seek medical care. Introduces feminist science theories ranging from linguistic metaphors of the immune system, to the medicalization of race, to critiques of the sexual binary. Emphasizes contemporary as well as historical moments to trace the evolution of “scientific truth” and its impact on the U.S. cultural landscape. Offers students an opportunity to develop the skills to critically question what they “know” about science and the scientific process and revisit their disciplinary training as a site for critical analysis. Cross-listed with AFAM 1225 and HIST 1225.

WMNS 1255. Sociology of the Family. 4 Hours.

Focuses on families historically and across cultures and classes. Considers changes in contemporary families in terms of gender, family composition; women’s labor force participation, divorce, cohabitation, and other transformations. Cross-listed with SOCL 1255.

WMNS 1256. Violence in the Family. 4 Hours.

Examines physical, emotional, and sexual violence in families. Covers definitions, prevalence, causes, prevention, and treatment of specific cases of domestic violence as well as social policy issues and problems of legal intervention. Cross-listed with SOCL 1256.

WMNS 1260. Gender in a Changing Society. 4 Hours.

Considers why and how gender is socially constructed in U.S. society and looks at different theories of gender. Explores gender as an institution as well as different (cultural) expressions of masculinities and femininities. Includes topics of gender in everyday life as well as gender as an organizing principle in the institutions of families, education, workplaces, sexualities, religion, the media, politics, and forms of gender violence. Cross-listed with SOCL 1260.

WMNS 1271. Sex in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 4 Hours.

Explores approaches to gender, social organization of sexuality and gender, sexual ethics, and marriage in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Explores various sources within each tradition that serve as normative foundations, contemporary cultural and sociological dynamics that challenge those foundations, and psychological/existential considerations for understanding the general nature of human sexuality. Addresses how these traditions understand gender and gender roles, seek to shape and control interactions between men and women, regulate sexual relations outside of and within marriage, view sexuality education, regard homosexuality, and examine historical and contemporary approaches to marriage, divorce, and parenting. Cross-listed with PHIL 1271.

WMNS 1273. Sociology of Gender and Work. 4 Hours.

Explores how gender both shapes and is shaped by experiences in the labor market. Considers the extent to which work is “gendered” and the ways in which this influences the jobs that men and women perform, the rewards they receive for their efforts, and their experiences in the workplace and at home. Underscores the relationship between paid and unpaid work (especially household labor). Cross-listed with SOCL 1273.

WMNS 1281. Islam, Gender, and Fashion. 4 Hours.

Explores why the Islamic veil today is so “pregnant with meanings” and how this impacts the lives of not only Muslim women who cover but also of those who do not. Specifically examines the various things wearing a veil “can do,” that is, its political, social, economic, and moral power. Considers how colonialism, nationalism, and Islamic movements have affected the Islamic veil; how veiling affects educational and employment opportunities for Muslim women; how the veil is used as a symbol of cultural identity; and when the Islamic veil is also a fashion statement. Cross-listed with PHIL 1281.

WMNS 1441. Topics in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 4 Hours.

Covers special topics in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

WMNS 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

WMNS 2259. Sex and Gender in the Jewish Experience. 4 Hours.

Explores how sexuality and gender have shaped Jewish culture and religion throughout history. Studies how ideas about masculinity and femininity have varied dramatically over time and place within the Jewish community and have often departed considerably from those of non-Jewish society. Begins with the role of Biblical texts in the construction of Western conceptions of gender and sexuality and continues through medieval and early modern Europe, up to contemporary feminist Judaism and current Jewish ideas about “queerness” and non-normative ways of living. Uses a wide range of primary sources (memoirs, fiction, religious texts, etc.) and secondary literature from multiple disciplines. Seeks to answer: Does ethnicity have a sex? Is religious identity gendered? What do “Jewish femininity” and “Jewish masculinity” mean? Cross-listed with JWSS 2259.

WMNS 2302. Gender and Sexuality: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. 4 Hours.

Examines popular and scientific notions about sex, gender relations, family, and kinship. Examines why our images of family, masculinity, and femininity are not universal by analyzing the patterns of sex roles, sexual practices, and kinship in other cultures. Discusses how and why relations between men and women change during times of socioeconomic and political change. Prereq. ANTH 1101 or SOCL 1101. Cross-listed with ANTH 2302.

WMNS 2303. Gender and Reproductive Justice. 4 Hours.

Introduces the social, legal, and economic barriers to accessing reproductive healthcare domestically and internationally. Draws on various theoretical and analytic tools including critical race theory, critical legal theory, sociology of science, human rights, feminist theory, and a range of public health methods. Access to reproductive health services, including abortion, is one of the most contested political, social, cultural, and religious issues today. Covers domestic, regional, and international legal and regulatory frameworks on sexual reproductive health. Cross-listed with HIST 2303 and SOCL 2303.

WMNS 2304. Communication and Gender. 4 Hours.

Presents a theoretical and practical examination of the ways in which communication is gendered in a variety of contexts. Integrates into this analysis how different institutions and interpersonal situations affect our understanding of gender roles.

WMNS 2373. Gender and Sexuality in World History. 4 Hours.

Introduces key concepts in the fields of gender and identity studies as they apply to world history since about 1800. Offers students an opportunity to understand the critical significance of gender, sex, sexuality, and identity to world events and how these contentious subjects influence the contemporary world. Surveys a series of major movements in geopolitics, labor, economics, culture, and society in order to analyze how individual and group identities, as well as mass assumptions about behavior and performance, have shaped these events. Gender, sex, and sexuality are integral to class discussions of work, welfare, art, culture, violence, war, and activism. Cross-listed with HIST 2373.

WMNS 2441. Topics in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 4 Hours.

Covers special topics in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

WMNS 2455. American Women Writers. 4 Hours.

Surveys the diversity of American women’s writing to ask what it means to describe writers as disparate as Phillis Wheatley, Edith Wharton, Toni Morrison, and Alison Bechdel as part of the same “tradition.” With attention to all genres of American women’s writing, introduces issues of genre and gender; literary identification; canons; the politics of recuperation; silence and masquerade; gender and sexuality; intersectionality; sexual and literary politics, compulsory heterosexuality, and more. Prereq. ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102. Cross-listed with ENGL 2455.

WMNS 2480. Women and World Politics. 4 Hours.

Introduces a variety of issues facing women across the globe. Focuses on the gender dynamics of key issues in international affairs. These could include economic policy, conflict and war, human rights/women’s rights, political power, and collective action. Draws on examples from various world regions since the twentieth century to analyze similarities and differences across cases around the globe. Prereq. INTL 1101 and sophomore or junior standing. Cross-listed with INTL 2480.

WMNS 2500. Women and Social Change in the Middle East. 4 Hours.

Introduces the complex position and changing role of women in the Middle East during the vast sociocultural and political transformation of the last 200 years. Focuses on the State of Israel, where the encounter between East and West has been most obvious. Based on sociohistorical research and documentaries, discusses the traditional position of women among the various religions and ethno-social groups in the Middle East and the impact of modernization, nationalism, and religion on their changing position and growing participation in society and politics. Examines the main issues and challenges women face; their achievements and disabilities in the family, professional, and public life; and the role of women’s liberation movements and organizations.

WMNS 2505. Digital Feminisms. 4 Hours.

Explores the unique ways that feminist activism and theory are impacted by the increasing digital nature of our world. From hashtags to Tumblr, feminists are using digital tools and platforms to aid in the pursuit of social justice. Offers students an opportunity to develop a timeline that traces feminists’ engagement with the Internet, new media, and technological innovations from the late seventies to the present. Examines the strengths and challenges that the digital world creates for feminist engagement. Cross-listed with MSCR 2505.

WMNS 2800. Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression in Practice and Policy. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to efforts among social and nonprofit organizations working to reduce heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia in institutions, communities, and the society as a whole. Discusses practice across the life span for social professionals (social workers, counselors, advocates, and educators) in varied settings such as criminal justice, mental health, adoption, adult day health, and residential programs. Applying theories and current scholarship on LGBTQQ identity development, social movements, media, and advocacy, offers students an opportunity to evaluate contemporary issues of controversy for institutions, social practitioners, and policy. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above. Cross-listed with HUSV 2800.

WMNS 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

WMNS 3100. Gender, Social Justice, and Transnational Activism. 4 Hours.

Introduces key issues, themes, and debates in feminist transnational theory, practice, and activism in contemporary contexts and how it has changed under socioeconomic, political, and cultural processes of globalization. Examines differences among women relating to race, class, sexuality, national identity, and political economy in reckoning with possibilities for sustainable social justice. Students interrogate the relationship between the local and global; the production of knowledge in different regional spaces; the pragmatics of political mobilization; the varying contours of “social justice”; and other key issues. Offers students an opportunity to discuss the impact of globalization, neoliberalism, and state and intimate violence on gendered politics and relations and to contend with the politics of difference, to debate its challenges, and to imagine possible futures for transnational gender justice. Cross-listed with POLS 3100 and SOCL 3100.

WMNS 3304. Communication and Inclusion. 4 Hours.

Explores theoretical and practical issues in the relationships between communication, social identity, and social inclusion. Focuses on how communication shapes perceptions and positions of salient social identity groups and how individuals and groups resist and transform identity and promote inclusion through communication. Specifically focuses on communication and inclusion in the contexts of gender, race, sexual identity, social class, ability, and age. Course topics cover a range of theoretical and practical issues, including diversity in organizational settings and the social construction of identity. Prereq. (a) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102 and (b) junior or senior standing. Cross-listed with COMM 3304.

WMNS 3392. Gender and Film. 4 Hours.

Examines the representation of gender in film. Uses concepts and research from film and media studies to investigate the influences and consequences of gender representations in film. Prereq. CINE 1895, MSCR 1220, or permission of instructor; sophomore standing or above. Cross-listed with CINE 3392.

WMNS 3402. Feminist Perspectives on Society. 4 Hours.

Examines social science and interdisciplinary feminist literature that focuses on women in families and at work, and that deals with physical issues including violence against women and abortion. Incorporates the perspectives of women of color. Considers and evaluates women’s views of social life as well as recognizes the differences among women. Prereq. (a) SOCL 1101 and (b) one 2000-level course. Cross-listed with SOCL 3402.

WMNS 3441. Topics in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 4 Hours.

Covers special topics in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

WMNS 3451. Women’s Studies Module. 1 Hour.

Permits specialized women’s studies topics to be studied as part of more general courses.

WMNS 3500. Sexuality, Gender, and the Law. 4 Hours.

Examines the legal regulation of gender and sexuality. Investigates concrete legal cases to study the history of constitutional interpretation and the current status of rights for women and sexual minorities. Focuses on important theoretical issues emerging in the writings of diverse feminist and queer legal scholars. Addresses debates over the value of conventional equality approaches in legal doctrine; equality vs. difference perspectives; ways in which legal language constructs gender and sexuality; the incorporation of sexuality and gender in ideologies of law; and the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race in legal doctrine and legal theory. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above. Cross-listed with PHIL 3500 and POLS 3500.

WMNS 3530. Communication and Sexualities. 4 Hours.

Analyzes the ways in which sexualities intersect with issues relating to interpersonal communication, mediated communication, popular culture, identity, and social movements. Discusses outing, media representations, queer identity development, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Covers theoretical perspectives from communication and other social science disciplines, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies. Students work with a variety of materials, contemporary and historical, theoretical and empirical, fiction and nonfiction. Offers students an opportunity to design, conduct, and write their own original empirical research paper relating to sexualities and communication using class content as a theoretical framework. Prereq. (a) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102 and (b) junior or senior standing. Cross-listed with COMM 3530.

WMNS 3610. Communication, Politics, and Social Change. 4 Hours.

Examines the place of race, gender, and sexual identity in American politics and public discourse. Emphasizes the role of communication in public attitudes toward identity, the role that identity plays in electoral politics, and how public policy and social change are made. Explores how public debate on issues related to identity influences how Americans think about the rights and place of minorities in society. Public discourse is defined broadly here—it encompasses different types of communication, from news stories and presidential speeches to sermons by clergy, television sitcoms, and film. Prereq. (a) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102 and (b) junior or senior standing. Cross-listed with COMM 3610.

WMNS 3678. Bedrooms and Battlefields: Hebrew Bible and the Origins of Sex, Gender, and Ethnicity. 4 Hours.

Considers stories from Hebrew Scripture in English translation, beginning with the Garden of Eden through the Book of Ruth, asking how these foundational narratives establish the categories that have come to define our humanity. Analyzes how the Bible’s patterns of representation construct sexual and ethnic identities and naturalize ideas about such social institutions as “the family.” Prereq. (a) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102 and (b) sophomore standing or above. Cross-listed with ENGL 3678 and JWSS 3678.

WMNS 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

WMNS 4010. Gender, Crime, and Justice. 4 Hours.

Examines the topics of femininities and masculinities and their influence on participants in the criminal justice system. Explores topics such as gender and criminological theory, the notion of gender and offending, women and men as victims of violence, and women and men as professionals within the criminal justice system. Prereq. CRIM 1100 or CRIM 2200 or permission of instructor. Cross-listed with CRIM 4010.

WMNS 4520. Race, Class, and Gender. 4 Hours.

Considers the intersection of race, class, and gender in social structure, institutions, and people’s lives. Utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to focus on the socially constructed nature of these concepts and how they shape and create meaning in individual lives. Difference with an emphasis on inequality and varying life chances is central for understanding our society and is central to our work. Requires a significant amount of reading. Class format is like a seminar; students are expected to participate, take responsibility, and write a paper. Prereq. (a) Sophomore standing or above and (b) SOCL 1101, ANTH 1101, CRIM 1100, HUSV 1101, INTL 1101, POLS 1140, POLS 1160, or WMNS 1103 and (c) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102. Cross-listed with SOCL 4520.

WMNS 4523. Sexualities. 4 Hours.

Offers a primarily sociological overview of the field of sexuality studies. Explores the ways in which sexual behaviors and identities are shaped by social norms, values, and expectations; the meanings and statuses ascribed to sexual acts, behaviors, identities, and communities; and the interactive processes by which sexualities are achieved. Emphasizes how our understandings of sexuality interact with categories of gender, race, nation, and class. Examines a variety of topics, such as transgenderism, power, extreme and illicit sex, socialization, pornography, and politics. Prereq. (a) Sophomore standing or above and (b) SOCL 1101, ANTH 1101, CRIM 1100, HUSV 1101, INTL 1101, POLS 1140, POLS 1160, or WMNS 1103 and (c) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102. Cross-listed with SOCL 4523.

WMNS 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

WMNS 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.

WMNS 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor.

WMNS 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor.

WMNS 4994. Internship. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity for internship work.

WMNS 4996. Experiential Education Directed Study. 4 Hours.

Draws upon the student’s approved experiential activity and integrates it with study in the academic major. Restricted to those students who are using the course to fulfill their experiential education requirement.

WMNS 6100. Theorizing Gender and Sexuality. 3 Hours.

Seeks to challenge and expand our understanding of the relationship between biological sex; gendered identities; and sexual “preferences,” practices, and life ways. This interdisciplinary course offers debates around sex, gender, sexuality, and the body that push beyond binary models reliant on a simple “nature/culture” distinction. Focuses on dynamic and variable aspects of sexuality, sex, and gender within and across cultures, representational forms, and historical periods, analyzing the circumstances in which they undergo significant challenge or transformation. Uses particular paradigmatic “case studies” to push hard at the boundaries of sex and gender and to dialogue around contesting conceptualizations of “the body,” “sex,” and “gender,” particularly as they circulate in specific discourses of feminism, queer theory, and poststructuralism; ethnic studies; critical race theory; and cultural studies.

WMNS 7100. Queer Theory: Sexualities, Genders, Politics. 3 Hours.

Introduces the core texts and key debates that have shaped queer theory and examines the intersections between queer theory and feminism and critical race theory. Seeks to provide an understanding of expansive and radical contemporary queer politics by analyzing foundational queer and feminist texts, pushing beyond narrow constructions of identity politics, anti-discrimination policy, and rights-based reforms. Engages queer theory by means of a rich philosophical and political interrogation of the meaning and content of “queer.” Cross-listed with SOCL 7100.

WMNS 7615. Feminist Inquiry. 3 Hours.

Investigates theories and practices of feminist inquiry across a range of disciplines by studying a series of pairings of humanist and social science works by feminist scholars. Reflects on the ways that feminist inquiry/ies transform knowledge and inform varied forms of activism. Functions as an interdisciplinary course and engages students in questioning disciplinary assumptions and methodologies, seeking new ways to frame scholarly questions, and reconsidering the relationship between subjects and objects of study. Offers students an opportunity to meet with several of the feminist scholars read over the semester and to focus on specific theoretical and methodological choices as these are evidenced in practice.

WMNS 7635. Understanding the Pornographic and the Obscene. 3 Hours.

Introduces feminist scholars’ criticisms and celebrations of pornography as well as more ecumenical efforts to study and understand what pornography is and has been and its adjacency to other media. Offers students an opportunity to develop an understanding of how pornography has been defined by various cultures and across time periods throughout history; how it is produced and consumed and by whom; the impacts of pornography consumption on individuals, families, communities, and societal norms; and how pornography interacts with the multiple forms of oppression and expression, based on race, class, national identity, gender, and sexual identities.

WMNS 7642. Gender, Race, and the Complexities of Science and Technology. 3 Hours.

Builds on work that examines the social construction of scientific enterprises to analyze how strictures around gender, race, and other forms of identity restrict wider access to and understanding of the production of scientific knowledge and technologies. Offers students an opportunity to participate in innovative, problem-based learning, develop critical faculties as investigators, and learn tools and processes for teaching and engagement with wider communities.

WMNS 7645. Motherhood and Mothering: Theory, Discourse, Practice, and Change. 3 Hours.

Explores the complex intellectual and practical issues contemporary American motherhood raises for feminist scholars by drawing on rhetoric and sociology to examine motherhood as an intellectual concern, a social institution, and a site of competing discourses. Interweaves theory, discourse, practice, and change as students develop knowledge regarding a variety of approaches to motherhood and mothering as key theoretical concerns and as pivotal sites of women’s resistance, social action, and change.

WMNS 7900. Special Topics in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 3 Hours.

Examines selected topics in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

WMNS 7976. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on chosen topics.