Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
About the Department
Founded in 1972, the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies fosters the interdisciplinary study of women, gender, and sexuality through a rich multicultural and internationally-informed academic environment. Our department seeks to produce intellectually-rigorous, analytical, and creative work that embodies the perspective of gender in its local and global dimensions through teaching, research, and outreach activities.
The Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies offers five undergraduate programs — two majors, two minors, and a certificate.
All majors and minors complete an interdisciplinary introductory course, a research methods class, and a range of topically and theoretically-related courses from across the College. Majors take additional courses and culminate their studies in an independent research project supervised in the senior capstone seminar.
Our new undergraduate certificate provides a focused investigation of issues in Gender, Law & Policy in a four-course sequence designed to complement other major and minor programs in the liberal arts and professional schools.
The Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies supports interdisciplinary research on topics pertaining to women, gender, and sexuality and administers an interdisciplinary program leading to a graduate certificate, M.A. and Ph.D. degree. Additional cross-referenced courses are available to complete requirements for the graduate certificate and doctoral degree. Students may pursue the graduate certificate in addition to a KU graduate degree or as a standalone program.
Students who are interested in enrolling in graduate level coursework in the Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies without formal admission to a graduate program at KU are encouraged to apply for graduate non-degree seeking student status. See the department’s non-degree seeking admission webpage for further details.
This course examines the extensive role of gender in human life and examines the ways that gender structures power relations among individuals and within economic, political, educational and other social structures, with special attention paid to women's issues and movements in the United States and globally. Through readings drawn from the fields of women's studies, gender studies, and sexuality studies, this course examines and explores alternatives to traditional and/or normative constructions of gender and sexuality, and also considers other markers of difference, such as disability, race, class, and religion, which intersect with gender identity and sexual identity.
This course examines the extensive role of gender in human life and examines the ways that gender structures power relations among individuals and within economic, political, educational and other social structures, with special attention paid to women's issues and movements in the United States and globally. Through readings drawn from the fields of women's studies, gender studies, and sexuality studies, this course examines and explores alternatives to traditional and/or normative constructions of gender and sexuality, and also considers other markers of difference, such as disability, race, class, and religion, which intersect with gender identity and sexual identity. Similar in content to WGSS 101. Open only to students in the University Honors Program or by consent of the instructor.
An interdisciplinary introduction to the study of human sexuality. We will consider some of the many ways that human sexuality has been understood and explained, drawing examples from multiple historical and contemporary sources. We will discuss how these understandings have changed over time and how they can vary depending on whose sexuality is being considered.
A limited-enrollment, seminar course for first-time freshmen, addressing current issues in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Course is designed to meet the critical thinking learning outcome of the KU Core. First-Year Seminar topics are coordinated and approved by the Office of First-Year Experience. Prerequisite: First-time freshman status.
This course is designed for the study of special topics in Women's Studies. Coursework must be arranged through the Office of KU Study Abroad. May be repeated for credit if content varies.
This course will provide students with an overview of how the history of women have profoundly shaped and given meaning to the development of the North American West (which includes present-day states and provinces in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico). The class will examine the lives of women who represent diverse backgrounds, lands, and time periods in this western region. In addition to women, lectures, readings, and discussion will focus on the themes of gender, masculinity, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, labor, and environment. Broad in chronological scope that spans pre-contact into the twenty-first century, this course is not a comprehensive survey. Rather, the class will examine how women and groups of women across the region defended, survived, explored, cultivated, and imagined the West as a place that defined their homes, migrations, settlement patterns, as well as sites of captivity, displacement, war, and development. (Same as HIST 405.)
This course offers a survey of the history of human sexuality in the Western world; the second half of the semester emphasizes the American experience. Topics for consideration may include: masturbation, pornography, sex work, homosexuality, bisexuality, "perversions" (paraphilias), sex and marriage, racialized sexualities, sexual violence, trans* identities and experiences, sexuality and national identities, and colonialized sexualities. The course demonstrates the various ways in which sex, specifically the social and political meanings attributed to physical acts, changes over time and shapes human experiences and interactions far beyond the bedroom. (Same as AMS 323, HIST 332, and HUM 332.)
This survey course explores the history of being female in America through a focus on the ways differences in race, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and life cycle have shaped various aspects of women's lives. Themes to be explored could include, but are not limited to: social and political activism; intellectual developments; family; women's communities; work; sexuality; and culture. (Same as HIST 319.)
This course examines the social, cultural, and political contexts of women's spirituality and their relations to gender relations in Europe from about 30,000 B.C.E. to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Lectures move both chronologically and topically, covering such subjects as goddess-worshiping cultures, women's roles in Christian and Jewish societies, symbols of women, and male attitudes toward women. Students will be able to participate in weekly discussions of primary and secondary source readings about women. (Same as HIST 320.)
This survey of women's history in Europe looks at changing patterns of women's economic roles and family structures in preindustrial and industrial society, the importance of women in religious life, cultural assumptions underlying gender roles, and the relationship of women to political movements, including the rise of feminism. (Same as HIST 321.)
This course will take students on the first part of an exciting journey through an alternative version of U.S. history, exploring the experiences and treatment of men who love men, women who love women, and people with unconventional sexual and gender identities, telling this story as it unfolded in the British colonies established in North America, through the revolutionary period, and in the United States over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and into the early twenty-first century. The first part of this two course sequence begins in the colonial period and ends around 1900 as modern categories of sexuality and sexual orientation came into existence. We will examine the ways in which individuals who craved intimacy with members of the same sex understood and negotiated their desires in an often hostile world. And we will consider how Early America's remarkable diversity shaped this history of same-sex love and desire. (Same as HIST 322.)
This course will take students on the second part of an exciting journey through an alternative version of U.S. history, exploring the experiences and treatment of men who love men, women who love women, and people with unconventional sexual and gender identities, telling this story as it unfolded in the British colonies established in North America, through the revolutionary period, and in the United States over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and into the early twenty-first century. The second part of this two course sequence focuses on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will examine the changing understanding of non-normative sex, love, and desire; the political tactics, framings, and fights around sexual identities and rights; and the intersection of structural inequalities including, but not limited to, race, class, ability, and gender with LGBTQ histories. Please note that WGSS 322 or HIST 322 is not a prerequisite for WGSS 323 or HIST 323, though students interested in LGBTQ history should consider taking both. (Same as HIST 323.)
This course examines different notions about women and their bodies from a historical perspective. It discusses the arguments and circumstances that have shaped women's lives in relation to their bodies, and women's responses to those arguments and circumstances. This course covers a wide geographical and chronological spectrum, from Ancient societies to the present, from Latin America and the Middle East, to North America and Western Europe. (Same as HIST 324.)
How do people express gender in diverse languages around the world? In a globalized world in which English is increasingly prominent, how are other languages changing to account for both global and local shifts in gender norms and expectations? This course will examine gender, multilingualism and globalization using approaches of sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and communication studies. We will explore such topics as gender, sexuality, and multilingualism; gendered language variants; gender norms, politeness, and globalization; nonbinary and trans identities encoded in languages around the world, including but not limited to gender pronouns; identity, body, and linguistic practices; and considerations of power, hegemony, and imperialism. (Same as ANTH 325, GIST 303, JWSH 305 and SLAV 305.)
An exploration of the experiences and histories of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT); of the influences on these experiences by individuals, the state, and artistic, legal and medical discourses; and of the intersections between sexual orientation, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and religion.
In the 1970s and 1980s, LGBT activists began questioning basic knowledge about sexuality and the body, challenging rigid identity categories, and offering new ways to think about gender. We now call this approach "queer theory," and this course will introduce students to the texts and debates that have shaped this intellectual tradition. From ancient eunuchs to drag kings and queens, queer theory highlights how gender norms operate as forms of violence and oppression. We will explore how queer theory helps us understand difference, including its intersections with theories of feminism, race, and disability.
A critical study of issues and questions raised about women in contemporary African literature and implications for the larger society through the analysis of theme, language, characterization, roles and functions of women in selected works. (Same as AAAS 340.)
How do gender and sexuality shape digital worlds, and how do these spaces shape our understanding of ourselves? This course analyzes new media like social networking sites, gaming, and dating apps. Students will explore the identities, relationships, and communities that have emerged across these platforms, with a focus on the possibilities and challenges they offer for gender and sexual expression.
An interdisciplinary analysis of standards of physical attractiveness and cultural conceptions of women's bodies. Includes analysis of how these standards change across time and cultural groups, and of the impact of these standards on women as individuals and on social and political outcomes.
This course explores the history of Jewish women from antiquity to the twentieth century. It examines the historical constructions of women's gender roles and identities in Jewish law and custom as well as the social and cultural impact of those constructions in the context of the realities of women's lives in both Jewish and non-Jewish society. There are no prerequisites for this course. (Same as HIST 335, JWSH 335.)
How do feminists go about fighting for social change? From social media hashtags to citywide protests, what methods do they use, and how do they justify them? Where have they been effective, and what lessons can we learn from those successes? This course investigates historical and contemporary efforts to change the world, with an emphasis on movements for women's rights and queer liberation in the United States.
This course will study the critical discourse produced by black female intellectuals, writers, and activists about their race, gender, sexual, and class identities. Students will explore black women's distinct positionality through an examination of their theory as well as their praxis from the nineteenth century to the contemporary moment. By tracing the evolution of black feminist thought, the class will explore black women's initiation of and engagement with political, social, and artistic conversations in various fields of scholarly inquiry including-but not limited to-literature, history, sociology, political science, and the law. (Same as AAAS 344 and ENGL 344.) Prerequisite: WGSS 101, AAAS 104, or prior completion of one 200-level English course.
This course will examine representations of love and romance in African American literature and culture. In addition to the romance novel genre, the course studies different kinds of cultural texts, such as art, film, and music. It explores romantic relationships among black people, including related topics such as sex, desire, marriage, and singleness, and how these interpersonal relationships build families, communities, and collective bonds. The class will consider both the content and aesthetics of diverse texts in order to think about how black people connect intimately as well as how various social and cultural politics underline the nature of those intimacies.
Examines current and historical roles and impacts of women involved in legislatures. Explores what difference women make when they are public officials. Students meet with local women legislators, lobbyists and political officials. Students learn how to analyze issues, access power, lobby, and organize at the grassroots. The course is designed to prepare students for an optional legislative internship during the subsequent semester.
Women face discrimination and abuse around the world: at home, in the workplace, and in the public sphere. How are these systems of oppression connected? How are women working together for change, and what can you do to support their efforts? This course will investigate what feminist solidarity looks like around the world, with an emphasis on connections across different cultural and political contexts. (Same as GIST 355.)
Feminist theories are influential and provocative ideas that present different ways to understand the lives of women and feminine people. This course introduces key trends in feminist theory from the last 120 years. Why are women and feminine people disadvantaged in realms as diverse as poverty, climate change, sexual exploitation, and violence? Feminist theories provide frameworks for understanding, interrogating, and debating the roots of these challenges and possible avenues for change. Students will learn to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different ideas by applying them to works of literature. Additionally, the course considers the relationship between queer theory and feminism from a perspective that affirms the identities of trans individuals. People of all genders, sexualities, and identities benefit from studying feminist theories because learning theory means learning to think about the world in new ways. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing is required. An introductory course in WGSS is helpful but not required.
An examination of pregnancy, childbirth and reproductive control as depicted in literature from various national traditions in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This course draws together voices from literature, history, and feminist theory to deepen students' understanding of the ways nationality, class, race, ability, and gender affect the aesthetics surrounding reproduction. Special attention is given to the relationship between society and the pregnant/postpartum individual. Other topics may include: eugenics, contraception, male pregnancy, and speculative reproduction. (Same as HUM 364.)
This course charts the rise of the "angry white male" in America and Britain since the 1950s, exploring the deeper sources of this emotional state while evaluating recent manifestations of male anger. Employing interdisciplinary perspectives this course examines how both dominant and subordinate masculinities are represented and experienced in cultures undergoing periods of rapid change connected to modernity as well as to rights-based movements of women, people of color, homosexuals and trans individuals. (Same as AMS 365, HIST 364 and HUM 365.)
An examination of fat and food as they relate to human embodiment in a variety of world locations. Bringing into a dialogue a number of disciplinary voices, including anthropology, fat studies, feminist theory, food studies, history, medicine, and psychology, the course applies theories of culture and embodiment to select global case studies as a means of approaching the pleasures, anxieties, health implications, and symbolic functions of ingesting food and drink. Topics may include the cultural and gender politics of fatness and thinness; anorexia and feederism; food, sex, and animality; vegetarianism, food scares and food purity movements; neoliberalism and the consuming body; and the material and symbolic aspects of fats and oils. (Same as HUM 366.)
The nature of the self in its individual and social dimensions. Self experienced and expressed in sexuality. Survey of viewpoints in religious literature. (Same as REL 374.)
How does the rich relationship between art and gender provide an organizing metaphor for African artists across space and time? How do artists shape understandings of gender? In this course, we will examine gender in artistic practice alongside cultural binaries and consider how gender historically operated to define distinct roles for artists. We will study how formulations of gender and race intersected to impact artistic production and classification during the colonial and postcolonial periods. We will analyze materiality and the metaphor of childbirth, gender and Islamic textiles, and the concept of "craft." This course is offered at the 300 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in AAAS 780/HA 780. (Same as AAAS 380 and HA 360.)
An examination of topics of philosophical interest that are important in the feminist movement such as the nature of sexism, the concept of sexual equality, the ethics of sexual behavior, the nature of love, feminist analyses of the value of marriage and family, the ethics of abortion and justifications for preferential treatment of women. (Same as PHIL 381.)
This course will introduce students to cultural constructions and performances of masculinity, femininity, and alternative genders across time and space. Topics and cases will be drawn from primarily non-Western cultures, ranging from Japanese markets to Pacific Rim gardens, and from Haitian voudou to Maya royal politics. This course uses research by archeologists, linguists, biological anthropologists, and sociocultural anthropologists. (Same as ANTH 389.)
The interdisciplinary study of selected and different aspects of women's studies in different semesters.
This course is designed for the study of special topics in Women's Studies at the junior/senior level. Course work must be arranged through the Office of KU Study Abroad. May be repeated for credit if content varies.
A social psychological perspective on adult intimate relationships, examining friendship, dating, committed relationships, and the dissolution of committed relationships. Topics include romance, jealousy, self-disclosure, power, loneliness, and social support. Discussion of heterosexual and homosexual relationships, traditional forms (e.g., marriage) of relationships as well as alternative lifestyles (e.g. cohabitation) and gender-linked differences in relationships. (Same as PSYC 410.) Prerequisite: PSYC 104.
This course uses myth, literature, history, biography, and other documents to discuss sexual politics in China from ca 1500 B.C.E. to the end of the last dynasty in 1911. Topics include: emperors, empresses, and consorts, polygamy, prostitution, love, yin and yang cosmology, the art of the bedchamber, women's literature, and erotic literature. Recommended: A course in East Asian studies. Not open to students who have taken EALC 618. This course is taught at the 400 and 600 levels with additional assignments at the 600-level. (Same as EALC 418.) Prerequisite: One course in EALC or WGSS.
Focuses attention on the relationship between communication and gender, including both physical and psychological dimensions. Topics include: sex role orientations and stereotypes; perceived and actual differences in verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors; the influence of gender on communication in a variety of contexts. (Same as COMS 440.) Prerequisite: COMS 130, or COMS 230.
A survey of the psychological theories about women; similarities and differences in the behavior of women and men; the effects of biological and social factors on the behavior of women and men; and issues of concern to women of different races, sexual orientations, ages, and so forth. (Same as PSYC 468.) Prerequisite: Any previously completed course in PSYC or WGSS.
Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision culminating in the writing of a paper or research report. Can be used in two-course sequence for departmental honors in WGSS, followed by WGSS 499. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor required.
An individual research or creative project under the direction of a specialist in the area of the student's interest. May be counted towards the total hours required for the major. Prerequisite: WGSS 498 with a grade of an A or B, or equivalent independent study/research credits with approval of the project adviser and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies honors coordinator. Majors only.
How is feminist research more than research that just focuses on women? What does it mean to do research in a feminist way? This course explores feminist critiques of traditional methods and asks how we can build knowledge that is more just, collaborative, and politically engaged. Students practice basic skills in qualitative research methods like interviewing and participant observation, and they learn how to design their own research project using these methods. Suggested for the junior year. Prerequisite: Any previous coursework in WGSS or by permission of instructor.
An introduction to the field of human sexuality. Topics to be covered include sexual anatomy and physiology, fertilization, pregnancy, birth and lactation, contraception, human sexual response, sexuality across the life cycle, love, marriage, alternatives to marriage, sexual orientation, sex differences in behavior, parenthood, sexually transmitted diseases, sex and the law, and sex education. (Same as PSYC 502.) Prerequisite: Any previous coursework in either WGSS or PSYC.
This course examines the politics of human trafficking-both labor and sex trafficking-using an interdisciplinary approach. We begin by understanding how contemporary modern-day trafficking is operating and how it is defined by various groups. We study texts by social scientists, humanists, and journalists working in the field to get a more comprehensive picture of trafficking today. We also examine some of the key policies internationally, comparatively, and domestically that address human trafficking. Human trafficking has been one of the most non-partisan issues we have seen in the past several decades. Yet, the current movement to end trafficking also has deep chasms and ideological divisions. Using critical approaches, we will examine the limitations of many of the anti-trafficking movements and initiatives operating globally and work to understand how the framing of this issue can have a significant impact on the prevention of exploitation. This course is offered at the 400/500 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in WGSS 714, POLS 714, or GIST 714. (Same as GIST 471 and POLS 471.) Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
This course explores various approaches to the study of gender and sexuality in Greek antiquity. Contents will vary, and the course may focus on methodology and case studies, or on particular themes, historical periods, or artistic or literary genres. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required. (Same as CLSX 515.) Prerequisite: Graduate status, or 6 credit hours in Classics, Greek, Latin, or Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies; or permission of instructor.
This course explores various approaches to the study of gender and sexuality in Roman antiquity. Contents vary, and the course may focus on methodology and case studies, or on particular themes, historical periods, or artistic or literary genres. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required. (Same as CLSX 516.) Prerequisite: Graduate status, or 6 credit hours in Classics, Greek, Latin, or Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies; or permission of instructor.
Women's reproductive bodies have at times been made hypervisible, subject to medical, legal, and social surveillance and intervention, while at other times invisible. Across these practices, gender and race have been socially constructed in particularly limited ways, which the state has used to justify restrictive case law rulings and policies governing reproductive outcomes. This course is designed to critically examine the history, development, and outcomes of policies and cultural practices related to reproduction that have limited people's decisional autonomy. This course is offered at the 500 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in WGSS 717. (Same as POLS 517.) Prerequisite: Any previous course in WGSS.
This course considers European painting c. 1750 to 1848 within the context of dramatic political and industrial revolutions. Exploring the power of the visual to engage with broader circumstances and to effect change, we will examine the ways in which shifting constructions of gender, empire, colonialism, race, slavery, and class were addressed by such artists as Watteau, David, Vigée-Lebrun, Delacroix, Géricault, Goya, Turner, Constable, Ingres, Daumier, Bonheur, and Courbet. This course is offered at the 300 and 500 levels with additional assignments at the 500 level. Not open to students with credit in HA 333. (Same as HA 533.) Prerequisite: HA 100, HA 151, or the equivalent, or consent of instructor.
This course considers French painting 1848 to 1900, a period marked by unprecedented technological advancements, the restructuring of Paris, and the rise of consumer culture. As large sections of the city were leveled to make way for broad boulevards, cafés, and department stores, some artists strove to represent the ever-changing spectacle of urban life; others found their inspiration away from the city. Focusing on Manet, Degas, Caillebotte, Morisot, Cassatt, Monet, Renoir, Seurat, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Cézanne, we will explore how artists engaged with shifting constructions of modernity, gender, fashion, public and private, empire, race, class, and consumer and leisure cultures. This course is offered at the 300 and 500 levels with additional assignments at the 500 level. Not open to students with credit in HA 334. (Same as HA 534.) Prerequisite: HA 100, HA 151, or the equivalent, or consent of instructor.
This course explores the complex historical relationships between gender, race, health, sickness, and oppression over time. Students examine the impact race and gender have on structuring experiences of health, sickness and health care; and examine the political activism surrounding definitions and concepts of health. Prerequisite: Any previous course in WGSS or by permission of instructor.
This discussion course will cover the development of feminist theories from the late Middle Ages to the 1970s. Reading will include Pisan, Wollstonecraft, Mill, Freud, Woolf, Beauvoir, Friedan, Daly, Kristeva, and others. (Same as HIST 649.) Prerequisite: Any previous course in WGSS or HIST or permission of instructor.
An analysis of the themes and rhetorical strategies of the women's rights movement in America. The course will view the struggle for women's rights from a historical perspective and will conclude with contemporary issues concerning the role of women in society. (Same as COMS 552.) Prerequisite: COMS 130 or COMS 230.
HIV/AIDS is a global pandemic fueled as much by political and historical forces as by epidemiology. This course will chart the disease's emergence, evolution of medical understanding and treatment, and spread of the pandemic through the lens of global structural inequalities, attitudes around sexuality, racism, and the lasting impact of colonialism. Through readings, assignments, films, and discussion, this course will lay bare for students the ways in which the current AIDS epidemic results as much from the disease's design itself as from the social and political world in which it operates. With HIV/AIDS as the focus, students will analyze and gain understandings of how different countries/communities/regions have experienced and responded to the disease, how those responses are informed by local cultural, historical, and political landscapes, and how larger global political forces have created the pandemic of today. Prerequisite: Any previous course in WGSS or by permission of instructor.
This course considers how colonialism has shaped race and gender, historically and today. It explores how Europeans justified colonial rule through sexist beliefs about Native peoples and how sexual exploitation was built into colonial occupation. Film, literature, and political essays help us examine the lasting legacies of these ideas and resistance against them - a field known as postcolonial studies. We use this lens to trace historical attitudes about the white man's burden into contemporary issues in international politics, asking how human rights programs and military intervention maintain global inequality and produce new kinds of empires. (Same as AAAS 560.) Prerequisite: Any WGSS or AAAS course, or permission of the instructor.
This course exposes students to contemporary research on gender and politics by surveying the sub-fields of political science. Topics include understanding the role of gender in politics in the U.S., gender and U.S. public policy, gender and legal theory, international gender politics and movements, gender and political economy, and gender and revolution. We will examine the ways in which feminist theory and gender activism have challenged the narrow focus of the discipline. Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of the instructor.
This course provides a broad introduction to Western legal systems (especially the American legal system) and then focuses on how sex, gender, and sexuality operate in and are understood by those systems and how the law is a site of social and political struggle. Topics may include intimate relations, First Amendment law, sexual harassment and employment discrimination; reproduction policies and governance; rape and sexual assault; gender identity discrimination; and the legal understandings and constructions of equal protection and due process. No prior knowledge of legal concepts is necessary. Prerequisite: Any previous course in WGSS or by permission of instructor.
This course examines the gendered experiences of transnational migration through a combination of ethnography, literature, film, and news media. How do different people experience the desire to migrate, the logistics of movement, and life in a faraway place? How does mobility shape ideas of family, community, and nation? How do class, race, sexuality, and legal status also inflect these experiences, especially in rendering certain groups vulnerable to abuse and exploitation? Attention will also be paid to gendered thinking against migration, including the ways gender and sexuality inflect xenophobia, border enforcement, refugee recognition, deportation policy, and contemporary political debates. Prerequisite: Any 100 level AAAS course, WGSS 101, AMS 100, AMS 110, or GIST 220.
This course examines the foundation of Native feminist scholarship and the history of Native feminist activism. The class will begin by considering whether feminist theory can support contemporary Native women Native Two-Spirit (LGBTQ+) in their struggles against settler colonialism and heteropatriarchy. While the course begins by examining the North American experience, the course will also cover a range of international indigenous contexts, with a focus on the Global South and the Indigenous Pacific. Topics explored include the history of settler-colonialism, cultural revitalization and gender roles, change and continuity under cycles of settler-colonialism, the connection between colonialism and sexual violence in Native communities, debates over citizenship and sovereignty, and contemporary Native gender roles and identities. During the conclusion of the course, students will learn to identity how Native feminism informs activism and practice. (Same as ISP 567.) Prerequisite: Any previous course in WGSS or ISP, or by permission of instructor.
An intensive examination of the role of the human body in the creation of personal and social identities in the Western world. Students become acquainted with contemporary theories of embodiment and senses as they are applied to a variety of historical themes, and develop research projects on a topic negotiated with the instructor. (Same as HIST 625, HUM 575.) Prerequisite: An upper-division course in History, Humanities, or Women Gender and Sexuality Studies; or permission of instructor.
Escalating transnational flows of information, commodities, and people have created innumerable kinds of "intimate" contacts on a global scale, such as mail order brides, child adoption, sex tourism, commodified romance, and emotional labor. Exploring the ways that cultural artifacts of intimacy are rendered, fetishized, and reified in a free market economy, this course examines how discourses on love and sex encounter, confront, and negotiate the logics of the capitalist market, the discrepant narratives of (colonial) modernity, and the ethics of pleasure. In so doing, this course navigates the treacherous interplay among emotions-specifically love, sex, and money, seeking the potential and limits of cultural politics of emotions. (Same as ANTH 583.) Prerequisite: Any previous course in ANTH or WGSS.
An examination of the history of sexuality and gender in Africa with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. Major issues and methods in the historical scholarship on gender and sexuality will be covered. Topics of historical analysis include life histories, rites of passage, courtship, marriage, reproduction, education, masculinities, homosexuality, colonial control, and changing gender relations. Prior course work in African history is suggested. Graduate students will complete an additional project in consultation with the instructor. (Same as AAAS 598 and HIST 598.)
A detailed introduction to feminist thought post-1960. Examines feminism in relation to the categories of political theory: liberal feminism, socialist feminism, radical feminism, and postmodern feminism. Within these categories and separately, we will also consider feminism within the frameworks and perspectives of Black feminist thought, anti-colonial feminism, transnational feminism, and BIPOC communities. Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of the instructor.
Investigation of a topic related to women, gender or sexuality from an interdisciplinary perspective. Open only to majors in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and majors in Human Sexuality. Suggested for the senior year. Prerequisite: WGSS 501.
This seminar explores the nature of identity and how identity is relevant to politics and policy with a focus on political attitudes and behavior, institutions, and public policy. Topics include individual and group identity, identities such as gender, racial, sexual orientation, and partisan, and the enduring importance of identity for understanding politics as well as the policy process. The approach is multidisciplinary but political science perspectives are relied on more heavily. (Same as POLS 630.) Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of the instructor.
This course, to be taken in the senior year, is designed to give students the opportunity to apply women's studies knowledge and ideas gained through course work to real-life situations in various agencies and women's centers. Open to Women's Studies majors and others with significant Women's Studies backgrounds. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor is required.
This course considers cultural and social histories of jazz, from the 1920s through the present day, as sites for exploring ideological struggles over such fields as race, class, gender, sexuality, democracy, capitalism, freedom, community, Americanness, and globalization in the U.S. The course will explore such questions as the following: What music was called jazz at what times and places? What did it mean to whom? Who played it? Who wrote about it? Who listened to it? Who danced to it? Who policed it? Who produced it? Who used it to rebel? Who used it to survive? What did all of these practices mean to participants? The course will examine struggles over social meanings in the U.S. through a study of jazz performance, labor, representation, marketing, consumption, censorship, and historiography. Prerequisite: A course in American studies, American history, or consent of instructor. (Same as AMS 650.)
This course explores ways in which militarization, conflict, and warfare are gendered processes. We ask, what does war tell us about gender, and what does gender tell us about war? How do race and geo-political political systems affect conflict and peace-making? In what ways does gender affect the range of peace processes, including peace movements, peace negotiations, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration? How do states mobilize citizens to war and how is the process gendered? Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of the instructor.
This course is designed to explore the field of gender and African politics. We begin by paying particular attention to African women's political roles during the pre-colonial and colonial society. Next, we examine the impetus, methods, and path of liberation struggles and how gender roles were shaped, shifted, and changed during these struggles. The majority of the class focuses on current issues in African politics, including gender and development, HIV/AIDS and women's health, gender and militarism. We also explore women's roles in political institutions, civil society organizations, trade and labor unions, and transnational movements. We also examine contemporary constructions of masculinity and femininity in African states and explore how these constructions affect social policy and national political agendas. (Same as AAAS 662 and POLS 662.) Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of instructor.
An examination of the social construction of sexuality and research methods and issues relevant to sexuality. These concepts are applied to various topics, such as defining and conceptualizing sex and gender, sexual dysfunction, sexual orientation, the social control of sexuality, sexual coercion and abuse, and abstinence-only sex education. The course does not cover anatomical or physiological aspects of sexuality. (Same as PSYC 689.) Prerequisite: Any previously completed course in PSYC or WGSS.
Interdisciplinary study of different aspects of women's studies in different semesters.
A research seminar in women's studies. Instructor and topic will vary.
This graduate seminar examines the history and significance of sexuality in American history from colonial times to the present. It will employ gender as an analytic category to explore the lived experiences of both men and women, as well as to question the formation of economic, political, and social institutions. Of necessity the class will examine the ways in which race, class, religion, and region, affect ideas about sexuality and its practice. Subjects will include abortion, contraception, prostitution, illegitimacy, homosexuality, rape, marriage, and the "sexual revolution." Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
This seminar examines the role of law in perpetuating and remedying inequities against women. After studying the historical emergence of sexual equality law in the United States, we discuss several paradigmatic feminist legal theories, including formal equality, MacKinnon's "dominance" theory, relational/cultural feminism, intersectionality and queer theory. We then proceed to apply these analytical structures to various substantive areas of law of particular concern to women, including but not limited to pregnancy, sexual assault, domestic violence, and employment discrimination. Students will also present their own research to the class.
This course focuses on the history and contemporary politics of the institution of marriage, concentrating primarily on the US context, but with exploration of marriage in other countries as well. We will consider how the law regulates marriage as well as the lived reality of marriage for the couples who enter it. Topics include romance, engagement, gender roles in marriage, divorce, child marriage, arranged marriage, same-sex marriage, and polygamy. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
This course examines the politics of human trafficking-both labor and sex trafficking-using an interdisciplinary approach. We begin by understanding how contemporary modern-day trafficking is operating and how it is defined by various groups. We study texts by social scientists, humanists, and journalists working in the field to get a more comprehensive picture of trafficking today. We also examine some of the key policies internationally, comparatively, and domestically that address human trafficking. Human trafficking has been one of the most non-partisan issues we have seen in the past several decades. Yet, the current movement to end trafficking also has deep chasms and ideological divisions. Using critical approaches, we will examine the limitations of many of the anti-trafficking movements and initiatives operating globally and work to understand how the framing of this issue can have a significant impact on the prevention of exploitation. This course is offered at the 400/500 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in GIST 471, POLS 471, or WGSS 514. (Same as GIST 714 and POLS 714.) Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
Women's reproductive bodies have at times been made hypervisible, subject to medical, legal, and social surveillance and intervention, while at other times invisible. Across these practices, gender and race have been socially constructed in particularly limited ways, which the state has used to justify restrictive case law rulings and policies governing reproductive outcomes. This course is designed to critically examine the history, development, and outcomes of policies and cultural practices related to reproduction that have limited people's decisional autonomy. This course is offered at the 500 and 700 level with additional assignments at the 700 level. Not open to students with credit in POLS/WGSS 517.
An intensive examination of the role of the human body in the creation of personal and social identities in the West since the sixteenth century. Emphasis is on understanding how contemporary theories of embodiment are applied to concrete historical or contemporary problems. May be repeated if course content varies sufficiently. (Same as HUM 775.)
Directed reading in an area of women's studies in which there is no appropriate course in the offerings of the Women's Studies Program, but in which there is a member of the cooperating graduate faculty competent and willing to direct the program of study.
An introduction to the field of women, gender, and sexuality studies, paying particular attention to its development, its reception by and influence on academic disciplines, and its institutionalization. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of the instructor.
A survey of contemporary feminist theories produced within and across disciplines (including but not limited to, eco-feminism, and liberal, cultural, materialist, psychoanalytic, radical, and black feminist thought). Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of the instructor.
How is feminist research more than just research on feminist topics? What, if any, implications do various feminist theories have for how we execute research and for what we count as knowledge? This graduate seminar explores the joint epistemological and methodological foundations of feminist research in the humanities and social sciences. We will practice different research methods, assess their strengths and limitations, and learn how to integrate them in project design. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of the instructor.
The goal of the course is to teach students to teach. By reading core texts of feminist pedagogy, understanding critical theories, and attending seminars at the Center for Teaching Excellence selected by instructor and student, students will learn how to present knowledge and stimulate learning in the classroom, as well as such practical skills as leading discussion sections, preparing and presenting class sessions, developing syllabi, devising fair grading and helpful advising, and solving pedagogical problems like maintaining civility in the classroom and coping with academic misconduct. Prerequisite: Must be Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduate students.
The goal of this course is to train students in the skills essential to becoming effective scholars and educators, and successful members of the profession. The material to be covered by these three iterations includes 1) the ethics and practice of feminist research (e.g., protection of human subjects, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, legal strictures); 2) the practical aspects of producing knowledge (e.g., writing research papers, proper citation methods, conference presenting, responding to peer reviews); and 3) acquiring and securing a place in the work force (e.g., CV preparation, job interviews, grant writing, getting promotion [and, in the academy, tenure]). (Same as HIST 804.) Prerequisite: Must be Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduate students.
This course surveys black feminist theory and thought across various disciplines. It examines the critical figures, texts, investments, and debates constituting this evolving discourse, which centers black women's social, political, and cultural praxis as well as considers their intersectional positionalities. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
Since the mid-1990s affect has become central to the study of affective labor, anticipatory temporality, and neoliberal biopolitics across the social sciences and humanities. Exploring feminist epistemology of the lived experience, queer theory of nonnormative temporality, and postcolonial studies of the body politic, this course interrogates the interrelation of affect, knowledge, and power in and outside scholarly knowledge production, and rethinks pervasive binaries such as epistemology/ontology, discourse/materiality, and reason/emotion. It will also examine the possibilities and limitations of dominant affect theory and seek methodology to study affect more inclusively and critically.
An examination of research on women and violence, including rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, stalking, and child sexual abuse. Research on the nature, prevalence, causes, and consequences of violence against women is discussed. (Same as PSYC 821.) Prerequisite: Six hours in WGSS and/or PSYC, or permission of instructor.
An examination of the social construction of sexuality and research methods and issues relevant to sexuality. These concepts are applied to various topics, such as defining and conceptualizing sex and gender, sexual dysfunction, sexual orientation, the social control of sexuality, sexual coercion and abuse, and abstinence-only sex education. The course does not cover anatomical or physiological aspects of sexuality. (Same as PSYC 889.) Prerequisite: Six hours in WGSS and/or PSYC, or permission of instructor.
Original research that is to be incorporated into a PhD dissertation. Graded on a satisfactory progress/limited progress/no progress basis.