Women's Studies (WOS)

College of Arts and Humanities

How to Read Course Descriptions

WOS 100. Body Politics: Gender, Culture, and Representation. 3 Credits.

This course examines the body as a contested site of both pleasure and oppression. Considerable focus will be placed on the impact of culture on our understandings of the body, including ideas about gender, race, and sexuality. Students of all genders will be encouraged to explore how their own body image has been shaped by social norms that are simultaneously accepted and resisted. This course thereby provides an opportunity to question a variety of norms surrounding the body, including ideas about beauty, size, shape and ability.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

WOS 200. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies. 3 Credits.

An interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature and causes of social conflict. The aim throughout is to find ways of avoiding destructive conflict, whether through negotiation or other means. The issue of justice as a factor in conflict receives special attention.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.
Cross listed courses PAX 200, WOS 200.

WOS 225. Intro to Women's and Gender Studies. 3 Credits.

An interdisciplinary course designed to enable students to analyze the lived experience of women, to evaluate the impact of gender, to question the implications of changing cultural patterns, and to sample first-hand efforts for social change. Satisfies interdisciplinary requirement. Offered every semester.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Interdisciplinary Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

WOS 240. How to Do Things with Feminism. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to the study of Women's Gender Studies as an interdisciplinary field. In particular, students will reflect on the academic, professional, and community activist dimensions of the field. The course offers an overview of the development of Women's and Gender Studies within the academy and ongoing collaboration with and tensions between academic feminism and feminist activism. Students will become familiar with the methodological and theoretical tools used by feminist researchers and activists. Beyond feminist methods and theories, students will also become familiar with the professional and academic side of WGS: they will discuss the wide range of women's and gender-focused journals, professional organizations, and conferences in their subfields/disciplines. They will use an intersectional feminist framework to think through feminism(s), feminist praxis, and in particular how each of them exists in relation to power via gender and race. The ultimate goal is that they will gain the foundation for fostering feminist skills in order to create a more just and equitable society.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Speaking Emphasis.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

WOS 250. Women's Self Representation. 3 Credits.

An interdisciplinary approach to ways women record their lives.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

WOS 260. Globalization and the Ethics of Sustainability. 3 Credits.

This course examines forces of globalization and environmental and ethical issues. The process of globalization (trade, communication technology, migration) has contributed to widening inequality within and among countries. Multinational corporations employ vulnerable people (especially women of color) for cheap labor, exploit local resources, and contribute to environmental degradation. Since the planet has its limitations, attending to the conservation of natural (and limited) resources, climate change, sustainable agriculture and forestry practices, and just fair-trade practices are at the heart of environmental and ethical issues and sustainability efforts. In this course, students will explore the social and environmental justice issues related to consumption of resources central to environmental ethics and sustainability. Students will also examine their ecological/carbon footprint and ways to reduce it through changes in the consumption of energy, resources, food, and water.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Ethics Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

WOS 276. Sexual Identity. 3 Credits.

Interdisciplinary introduction to meanings attached to human sexuality, exploring intersections between theories of sexual identity and theories of gender, class, race, ethnicity, age, and nationality.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Spring.

WOS 305. Intellectual Roots of Western Feminism. 3 Credits.

The course examines the major issues and themes that have historically been included in feminist theorizing about women's situation and experiences, including: ethical foundations, the origins of patriarchy, feminist epistemology, education, body issues, issues of difference, religion, civil rights, and psychological development. Chronologically, the course covers from the enlightenment (Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women) through Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

WOS 306. Transnational Feminisms. 3 Credits.

This course critically engages a range of transnational feminist theories, movements, and praxis to analyze structures of power shaping people's lives in global contexts. The course seeks to decenter a body of feminist scholarship that often assumes shared visions of gender equality. Such studies conceptualize gender issues and concerns through a Eurocentric/colonial viewpoint by overlooking differences among people with respect to race, class, sexuality, and nationality. Course readings explore the ethics of cross-cultural knowledge production, activism, warfare, commodification of women's bodies, sexualities, and local resources. The main goals of the course are to expose students to a broad range of feminist thought and action and locate transnational feminist theories in relation to colonial and post-colonial narratives. It urges students to examine their own positions within global systems that connect the (often uneven) exchange of persons, capital, and ways of knowing.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

WOS 310. Women and Activism. 3 Credits.

Although often misrepresented or ignored, women were and continue to be active in a wide range of social justice movements. This course focuses specifically upon women activists in the United States and their resistance to structural inequalities based upon gender. In addition to social justice movements focused on sexism, this course uses intersectional theory to recognize the feminist value of women who work against racial, economic, sexual, and other oppressions.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.

WOS 320. Independent Study. 3 Credits.

Independent research and study for upper-division students. Topic to be approved by supervising faculty member.
Pre / Co requisites: WOS 320 requires prerequisite of WOS 225.
Typically offered in Summer.
Repeatable for Credit.

WOS 325. Special Topics. 3 Credits.

Selected (and changing) topics, e.g., Ethnic Women; Women and Work; Love and Sexuality. Offered as projected enrollments warrant.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.
Repeatable for Credit.

WOS 326. Women and Witchcraft in Africa. 3 Credits.

This course utilizes witchcraft belief and accusation as a lens through which to examine the oppression of women in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines historical and contemporary beliefs and manifestations of witchcraft, and analyzes the centrality of women (and children) as victims. It also examines the impact of witchcraft accusation on women's social and economic development.
Typically offered in Spring.

WOS 329. Gender and Peace. 3 Credits.

An examination of the ways in which social constructions of gender intersect with perceptions and the experience of war.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Spring.

WOS 335. Gender, Race and Science. 3 Credits.

Is race biological? Do men and women really have different brains? This course examines the way these and other questions have been taken up in scientific discourse. Students will approach race, gender, and sexuality as biosocial constructs. This course will ask students to question what they "know" about science and the scientific process. They will problematize scientific "objectivity" and "truth" and question foundational scientific ideas about race, sex, and gender. Students will engage feminist theories to pay close attention to the processes through which knowledge is produced, to science as a practice and an institution, and to the question of who gets to "do science" and how this affects the knowledge produced.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Fall.

WOS 350. Lesbian Studies. 3 Credits.

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to lesbian studies that focuses on the historical and contemporary diversity of lesbian genders and sexualities, especially as shaped by race, class, culture, and nation. Special attention will be placed upon lesbian activism as well as contestations within lesbian communities about racism, classism, and cissexism.
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

WOS 366. Gender,Labor and Globalization. 3 Credits.

Sociological and feminist analysis of global labor issues such as immigration, citizenship, motherhood, childcare, emotional labor, guest workers, commodification, and exploitation.
Pre / Co requisites: WOS 366 requires a prerequisite of SOC 100 or permission of instructor.
Typically offered in Fall.
Cross listed courses SOC 366, WOS 366.

WOS 368. Violence, Systems, and Resistance (VSR). 3 Credits.

This course will teach students how to recognize, understand, and resist three primary forms of power-based violence that are interrelated: (1) those perpetrated by individuals, e.g. sexual assault, partner violence, mass shootings; (2) those perpetrated by hate groups, e.g. lynching, bombing, violence against trans and non-binary people; and (3) those perpetrated by the state, e.g. war, police violence. Students will study multiple forms of violence to understand the root causes and dynamics of violence (how it happens); the effects on people, families, and communities (what is the cost); and personal, community, and national resistance methodologies (what can be done about it).
Gen Ed Attribute: Interdisciplinary Requirement.
Typically offered in Spring.
Cross listed courses SOC 368, WOS 368.

WOS 381. The Forgotten Queens of Islam. 3 Credits.

For the past 1, 400 years, women have had a profound impact on institutions and ideologies in the Islamic world. They have mastered branches of knowledge, produced works of culture, amassed wealth, and even ruled as queens. In this course, students will read about prominent women's lives in historical texts from the Islamic world, focusing on the period from 600-1700 CE. Students will learn to read these historical texts "against the grain" through the lens of feminist history, which uses female perspectives to reframe and reconfigure our understanding of the past. By the end of the course, students will be equipped to analyze the various forms of power that have historically been available (and unavailable) to women in the Islamic Middle East, and to assess the many ways women have navigated unequal power structures in order to participate in their polities.
Gen Ed Attribute: Arabic Culture Cluster, Diversity Requirement, Foreign Language Culture Cluster.
Typically offered in Spring.
Cross listed courses HIS 381, WOS 381.

WOS 385. Feminist Theory. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on the development of contemporary feminist theoretical constructs, beginning in the 1970s. Students will study classic feminist theories and ideas from this period. They will use a feminist pedagogy which emphasizes learning that is collaborative and student-centered. We value participatory, experiential, diverse, and student-centered knowledge production. Because we believe that students serve as sources of knowledge for themselves and each other, we encourage students to take initiative in and responsibility for the learning process.
Pre / Co requisites: WOS 385 requires a prerequisite of WOS 305.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.
Cross listed courses WOS 385, PHI 385.

WOS 400. Internship. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to allow students the opportunity to put into practice, outside the academic setting, the knowledge regarding women's experiences gained in other courses. Some possible sites might be a women's health clinic, a business, a newspaper, a social service agency, or an electoral campaign. There will be both an on-site and a faculty supervisor.
Pre / Co requisites: WOS 400 requires prerequisite of WOS 225 and two other women's studies courses.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.
Repeatable for Credit.

WOS 407. Queer Theory. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to the study of Queer Theory, as both a discipline and a form of political resistance. Queer theory is the study of identities that exist outside of rigid binary categories--categories that include gender and sexuality, but also any identity that exceeds normative expectations. This course utilizes an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach to ask fundamental questions about our identities (whether sexuality, gender, race, class, nationality, etc.) and how our identities are determined by and resistant to social regulation. The texts, and discussions about them, will better enable students to utilize queer theory in their own academic pursuits, activist agendas, and ethical lives. Furthermore, this course will require that students analyze, define, and explore queerness in relation to what it means to be human.
Pre / Co requisites: WOS 407 requires a prerequisite of PHI 101 or WOS 225.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement.
Typically offered in Spring.
Cross listed courses PHI 407, WOS 407.

WOS 410. Feminist Research Methodologies. 3 Credits.

This course examines feminist critiques of and approaches to various research methodologies. Students will focus on how feminist scholars challenge dominant theories of knowledge and the major methodologies employed in the social sciences and humanities, such as interview, ethnography, grounded theory, participatory research, archival research, and oral history. Students will discuss how research is shaped by the kinds of research questions they ask and the types of materials they use. The course also gives them the opportunity to develop a research proposal, including selecting method(s) of their own interest. The following questions are central to the course: Do feminist methods exist? What counts as evidence? How does feminist research approach issues of objectivity and subjectivity? What is the relationship between the researcher and subject? What key questions guide feminist research, and how can they apply those questions to a variety of research topics?.
Pre / Co requisites: WOS 410 requires a prerequisite of WOS 385.
Gen Ed Attribute: Diversity Requirement, Writing Emphasis.
Typically offered in Spring.

WOS 415. Senior Project. 3 Credits.

Preparation of research in any area of women's studies, to be decided by student and adviser. Supervision includes exercises in method and bibliography. Usually, a lengthy research paper will be the final result.
Pre / Co requisites: WOS 415 requires prerequisite of WOS 225 and two other women's studies courses.
Typically offered in Fall, Spring & Summer.
Repeatable for Credit.