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Spring 2015 Approved Courses

women's and gender studies program

Below are course titles, numbers, and descriptions for  approved Spring 2015 courses.


Required Courses for Minors

Department Title Course Code Professor Meeting Time
Cross-Listed Introduction to Feminisms SOCY2225  (ENGL2125/HIST2502) Grigsby T TH 4:30
Description: This course is taught by Women's Studies faculty and undergraduate student teams under faculty direction to acquaint students with a large range of academic and life experience topics that have been affected by Women's Studies scholarship. After a preliminary meeting, the class divides into 12-14 person seminars that meet once per week to discuss and study such issues as women's history, feminist theory, sex roles, socialization, gender and health, religion, work, and literature and essays by and about women. The course emphasizes participation and collective work on projects and usually includes a continuing personal and readings-oriented journal.

Elective Courses

Department Title Course Code Professor Meeting Time
Media and Cultural Studies
MWF 11
Description: This course will analyze the many ways power is consolidated, negotiated, or resisted through popular media, especially advertising, television, film, and social media. We will examine how correspondences between mass communication and economic structures impact cultural, political, and ideological processes in society, including (but not limited to) the construction of gender roles, sexual norms, racial and ethnic identities, class affiliations, and attitudes towards violence. This course will be theoretically rooted in the critical tradition of media studies, with particular emphasis on 20th century continental and American cultural and social theory.
Gender Roles and Communication
Cuklanz T TH 1:30
Description: This course is both a writing-intensive seminar and a Women's and Gender Studies minor course. Focus is on the social construction of gender through communication. The early section of the course compares historical and theoretical approaches to representations of gender in communication texts. Then, building on these comparisons, students read about, examine, and analyze texts, focusing particularly on television programming and advertising.
Economics Topics in the Economics of Gender
Anukriti T TH 10:30
Description: This course will examine gender disparities in both developed and developing countries through an economic lens. Among others, we will study topics such as domestic violence, son preference, prostitution, fertility, and discrimination in the labor market.
Contemporary American Women Writers
T TH 1:30
Description: Focusing primarily on fiction written by American women in the last twenty five to thirty years, this course will explore issues of identity, embodiment, family, friendship, race, domestic space, ethnicity, power and violence, as well as gender. In approaching each literary text, we will aim to situate it within the context of contemporary American cultural tensions and to explore in detail its construction as a work of art that manipulates language and literary form. Authors may include Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, Marilynne Robinson, Gish Jen, Nicole Krauss, Louise Erdrich, Lorrie Moore and others.
Gender and War in Eastern Europe
T TH 1:30
Description: A study of the intersection of gender, ethnicity, and ideology in the World Wars in Eastern Europe and the recent Yugoslav wars. In World War I, women confronted their duties to the nation against the backdrop of an ongoing struggle for equality. In World War II, women in communist Eastern Europe were liberated by their nations' ideology to fight, on all fronts, against tradition. More recently, in former Yugoslavia, women, particularly Bosnian Muslim women, flouted tradition in a different way--by organizing and fighting for peace.
History Family, Marriage & Sexuality in Er. Mod. Europe HIST2863 Hamer
MWF 12
Description: The body of regulations governing marriage and sexuality increased exponentially in the early modern period, and families came to be understood as the foundation for social and political order. This course explores the celebration of marriage and the vilification of unrestrained sexuality in early modern culture, law, and politics. In particular, we will look at the ways gender, class, and race effected what was perceived as acceptable behavior.
Study and Writing of History: Gender and Violence
HIST3479 Johnson
TH 3-5:25
Description: Gender-based violence has a long history in the United States, one that has been shaped by changing gender norms, racial ideologies, and class relations. This course will look at the history of rape and sexual violence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to understand how definitions of those offenses have changed over time. By examining several key historical cases, we will explore the experiences of accusers, assailants, and third parties, while assessing the impact of feminism, nativism, and white supremacy in the outcomes. During the course of the semester, students will use primary sources to write a major research paper analyzing a historical case or topic of their own choosing.
Study and Writing of History: American Family History
HIST3484 Oh
W 3-5:25
Description: This course examines the history of the American family from the end of World War II to the late 1960s. We will use a range of primary and secondary sources to explore major issues and themes connected to the family, including the Cold War, the civil rights movement, domesticity, work, and consumption. We will pay special attention to how family life, both ideal and lived, interacted with changing ideas about gender roles, sexuality, race, and class.
Gender in American History
ENGL4453 Lyerly
MWF 11

Description: This course will explore changing and competing conceptions of manhood, womanhood, and gender relations in American history. Particular attention will be paid to the ways various constructions of gender have served the interests of a race, ideology, or class in American history, the relational nature of gender roles, and the ways prevailing gender ideals influenced men's and women's experiences in America.

Islamic Civilization & Societies Women and Gender in Islam
Description: This course explores women and gender roles in Islamic history, civilization, and societies, beginning with the pre-Islamic period and continuing through the present. The goal is to present women and womens issues as central to the main narrative of Islamic history, rather than as a side story. This course explores questions related to both historical and contemporary religious interpretation and practice, Sunni, Shia and Sufi, as well as the impact of religion and gender constructs on womens access to the public sphere, positions of leadership, and legal status.
Psychology of Gender
Dempewolff T TH 12
Description: This course involves a multi-faceted and critical look at how gender shapes identities, beliefs, and behavior. Rather than concentrating on questions of sex differences, we will explore how females and males do gender in their everyday lives. We will review competing theoretical models and scrutinize empirical findings that support and fail to support common sense ideas about gender. Topics include a number of controversial issues such as violence in intimate relationships, sexual orientation, media constructions of femininity and masculinity, ethnic/racial/cultural critiques of feminist psychology, and gender harassment.
Deviance and Social Control
Pfohl T TH 3
Description: This course explores the social construction of boundaries between the "normal" and the so-called "deviant." It examines the struggle between powerful forms of social control and what these exclude, silence, or marginalize. Of particular concern is the relationship between dominant forms of religious, legal, and medical social control and gendered, racialized and global economic structures of power. The course provides an in-depth historical analysis of theoretical perspectives used to explain, study and control deviance, as well as ethical-political inquiry into such matters as religious excess, crime, madness, corporate and governmental wrong-doing, and sexual subcultures that resist dominant social norms.
Sociology Gender and Sports
SOCY3358 Kim T TH 12
Description: This course uses sport to understand gender relations in a society. The course examines the ways that gender and intersections of race, class, sexuality are produced by and within relations of power, and how normative definitions of gender and its intersections underpin normative practices in sport, health, and physical cultural contexts. Drawing on feminist scholarship, this course provides a critical insight into the history of gender relations, and how gender is used to reproduce and resist inequalities in sport, health, and physical culture.
Gender, Health and Inequality
SOCY3370 Barko MWF 2
Description: This course explores interactions between gender, health and inequality. Viewing gender (and race, class, sexuality and other identities as inseparable) and as inextricably linked to discussions of health and inequality, this course will discuss social constructions of these categories and how they are connected. For example, what does health even mean and who decides? Are unequal health outcomes due to life chances or life choices? How do we understand nature/nurture debates? While emphasis will be given to sociological approaches, health will be explored holistically and theories will be integrative (e.g. including psychology, biology and epigenetics). Applied topics range from mental and physical paradigms of health, alongside environmental and contested illnesses in a 'post-natural' world.
Transnational Feminisms
SOCY5593 Hesse-Biber W 3-5:30
Description: This course is an advanced seminar restricted to second-semester senior Women's & Gender Studies minors. Enrollment is by permission only.
Sociology Masculinity, Sexuality, and Difference SOCY3368 (COMM2180) Ingram TBD
This course will examine constructions of masculinity and sexuality in Western society from a critical cultural perspective.  We will consider the ways in which cultural narratives about “acceptable” masculine behaviors and attitudes catalyze social conflicts, reinforce established power hierarchies, and organize the modes of being available to people of different gender identities and sexual orientations. We will also evaluate the liberatory potential of emergent discourses and practices that seek to cultivate greater acceptance of diversity, and promote social healing. There will be a concentrated focus on popular cultural forms (especially television, film, music, sports, and social media) that are particularly influential to contemporary men and boys.