Spring 2013

To access the complete list of Spring 2013 course offerings for WGS, click here.


WGS 2100 - Introduction to Gender Studies
Amanda Davis
An introduction to gender studies, including the fields of women’s studies, feminist studies, LGBT studies, & masculinity studies. Students will examine historical movements, theoretical issues, & contemporary debates, especially as they pertain to issues of inequality & to the intersection of gender with race, class, sexuality, & nationalism. Topics will vary according to the interdisciplinary expertise & research focus of the instructor. Prerequisite for WGS majors and minors.


WGS 2559 - Body Activism Using Social Media (1 Credit)
Karlin Luedtke and Amy Chestnutt
As a culture, how to we define and communicate messages about health and body image? America’s obsession with weight is often not really about health. Instead our definitions and descriptions are more related to an unattainable beauty ideal. In this class we will explore the following topics: 1) definitions of optimal health; 2) understandings of cultural constructions of health, beauty, fitness, and our obsession to be thin; 3) media and advertising literacy focused on these ideals; and 4) the application of health promotion and social marketing principles to conduct body activism via social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter).


WGS 2892 - Issues Facing Adolescent Girls II
Edith Lawrence
This one-credit course is a continuation of the fall class and provides an opportunity for students to continue to develop their leadership skills through involvement in YWLP and academic service learning. In addition to the weekly one-hour class time (Big Sister meeting) students are required to continue as active participants in their two-hour-a-week mentoring group and four-hour-a-month one-on-one time with their mentee. For those not able to mentor, they can meet the class requirements by being involved in the YWLP research team. Research activities can include: collecting research data from participants, data entry and analyses, and assisting in grant writing or conference presentations.


WGS 3130 - Geographies of Desire
Kendra Hamilton
Women, the gender most associated with notions of "home," face in the 21st century a situation in which "the local" seems increasingly embattled, both by individual social mobility and by the vast migrations of labor and capital that connect and disrupt the lives of all modern subjects. This course, thus, asks that we consider seriously the role of place, refracted through the lenses of race and gender, in the construction of contemporary identities. The work of feminist geographers will frame our discussions as we consider readings and case studies largely drawn from the U.S. South and the "global South" (the term by which Africa, the central and southern Americas, and much of Asia has come to be known). We'll learn to apply techniques geographic mapping across cultural, temporal, and even literary-visual boundaries as we explore the imaginary landscapes of novels and paintings and the familiar landscapes of work, home, the department store cosmetic counter, and even the physical body to give students the tools to deconstruct both broadly cultural and inherited personal geographies of desire. Fufills the WGS global requirement.


WGS 3306 - Sexuality, Gender, Class and Race in Teen Film
Andrea Press
The focus of this class will be on viewings and analyses of films featuring images of teens produced between 1930 and the present, focusing on the following questions: what is adolescence (and how has it been defined in American film)? What is the range of experience that characterizes American adolescence across gender, race, and class lines? How does it make sense to think about the social influence of films on individuals and society?


WGS 3501 - YWLP: Women's Leadership and Technology II
Edith Lawrence
While serving as a mentor to a middle school girl in the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP), a mentoring program that pairs area girls with college women for a year, students will participate in a weekly group that focuses on developing leadership projects using engaging dynamic media programs, such as digital storytelling. In addition, students will reflect upon and evaluate their own leadership styles throughout the course.


WGS 3559-1 - Intersectionality and Women
Lisa Speidel
The purpose of this course is to engage students in critical thought and discussion through cross-cultural perspectives on women and the meaning of sexism, with an emphasis on intersectionality. The theory of intersectionality focuses on the concept that different forms of systemic oppression do not exist independent of one another.  Students will have the opportunity to analyze the multiple dimensions of sexism , including how racism and classism  interact with sexism to manifest  inequalities for women  in society. This course is grounded in the mission of raising awareness through scholarship and discussion, while developing the mindset and tools necessary for students to become allies in the movement to end sexism.  Fufills the WGS global requirement.


WGS 3559-2 - Transformative Feminism(s)
Loren Intolubbe-Chmil
This course will explore the diverse landscape of feminism, critically reflecting on how feminism takes shape in local/global contexts and how feminist rhetoric is cultivated through particular spheres of influence.  As active participants in this course, we will challenge frames of reference about the nature of feminism and what it means to be a feminist. Emphasis will be placed on indigenous perspectives, ecofeminism, and ‘village’ feminism, which have been historically marginalized in prominent feminist discourse.  Fufills the WGS global requirement.


WGS 3559-3 - Women and Architecture
Jacqueline Taylor
Architecture is ubiquitous; we live, work, and play in it. But what happens to our understanding of architecture when we couple it with ‘women’? Is architecture gender neutral or are we inclined to think of it as male? Through the lenses of race and gender we will examine women’s relationship to architecture - as designers, patrons, and users – in the public and the private realm, and across a broad range of temporal and geographic boundaries.


WGS 3559-4 - Women in the Cold War
Bonnie Hagerman
This course challenges the stereotype that American women during the Cold War era were mostly stay-at-home suburban moms, clad in pearls and heels, who loved their families, their houses, and their Hoover vacuums. Students will explore American women’s participation in various movements such as the Civil Rights struggle, the fight for world peace, and the second wave of the women’s rights movement while considering whether the efforts of female activists during this time pale in comparison to the accomplishments of their World War II mothers because of “domestic containment.” Readings will include selections from, among other texts, The Feminine Mystique, Women Strike for Peace, Homeward Bound, and Not June Cleaver.


WGS 3559-5 - Sexuality in Sports
Bonnie Hagerman
This course will explore sexuality and sport from both male and female perspectives. Students will explore a number of important issues such as homophobia, celebrity, and fashion being mindful of the complex interactions of race, class, and gender and will consider how representations of these issues vary according to the type of medium, especially in film, newspapers, magazines, and full-length texts.   Readings will include selections from, among other texts, The Metrosexual, Coming on Strong, Sportsex, and Strong Women, Deep Closets.


WGS 3559-6 - Film, Fashion, and Gender
D. Kollig
This course considers the relationship between fashion, media and gender and sexuality. It pays particular attention to the relationship between how gender and identity are represented (and challenged) in fashion and film. 

WGS 3612 - Women in America, 1865-Present
Cori Field
This course will explore the significance of gender in United States from the Civil War to the present.  We will ask how people’s ideas about gender structured society and how social relations defined what it meant to be a man or a woman.  Readings and discussion will focus on three particular areas of inquiry: the rights and obligations of citizenship; the value and division of labor; and the configuration of emotional life (including familial relationships, erotic desires, and individual aspirations).  Resisting any transhistorical definition of womanhood, we will investigate how understandings of gender developed in relation to racial, ethnic, class, and regional differences. 
The goal of this course is to become adept at generating your own historical analysis through the study of primary documents.  The majority of the readings consist of primary sources—letters, diaries, legal documents, and fiction written by or about women in the past.  In addition, you will read a few secondary sources in order to assess how professional historians analyze and employ evidence.  Through short weekly writing assignments and class discussion, you will use these readings to develop your own analytical skills.  Lectures will introduce topics not covered in the readings.  A midterm, a final exam, and a longer (five page) paper will require you to synthesize the readings, lectures, and discussion in order to generate your own arguments about the significance of gender in the American past.


WGS 3800 - Queer Theory
Geeta Patel
This course introduces students to some of the key and some of the controversial theoretical texts that make up the emerging field of queer theory.  We will consider the beginnings of queer theory and also look at more recent work in fields such as queer gothic and phenomenology. The approach of the course will be interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on literary and aesthetic criticisms that may shift according the instructor's areas of expertise. The goal of the course is to develop critical practice by working through a variety of perspectives, not only across academic disciplines but also across cultures. Insofar as queer theory reads for the often unseen, or submerged, reality embedded in cultural texts, contexts, and literatures, we will engage conscious critical practice in the class:  active reading and informed discussion. 


WGS 3810 - Feminist Theory
Karlin Luedtke
This course provides an overview of the historical bases and contemporary developments in feminist theorizing and analyze a range of theories on gender, including liberal, Marxist, radical, difference, and postmodernist feminist theories. We will explore how feminist theories apply to contemporary debates on the body, sexuality, colonialism, globalization and transnationalism. Throughout the course we will incorporate analysis of race, class, and national differences as well as cross-cultural perspectives. Required for all WGS majors and minors.


WGS 3993 - Independent Study


WGS 4050 - Senior Seminar
Denise Walsh
This course begins by exploring the modern roots of the culture versus women's rights debate, tracing its historical evolution through the international women’s movement.  We then examine a number of culture-rights controversies in different societies, assess potential solutions to the debate, and conclude with a discussion of how the contemporary transnational women’s movement is grappling with the problem. Fufills the WGS global requirement.


WGS 4200 - Sex and Gender Go To The Movies
Andrea Press
Over the past several generations, the mass media have become central to our understanding of the meaning of the categories of "woman" and "man" in American life.  In fact, many argue that the mass media have become central to the reproduction of the "sex-gender system" within which we all live, and under whose influence we form our identities as men and women in this culture.  In this course, we will examine the ways in which popular Hollywood film helps to define cultural ideas about gender differences both in the U.S. and globally.  We will also look at the ways in which feminists have responded to these definitions, by criticizing existing media images and by creating some alternatives of their own.

The course will begin by examining the notion that film might influence our development as gendered individuals, looking at those who have argued both for and against this notion.  We will then consider briefly the different forms of feminist theory which exist, and how they have been applied to the study of the mass media.  This introduction will be followed by an examination of the development of images of women and men in film, and an examination of how these images might function for different segments of the female audience.  We will look briefly at the history of popular Hollywood film, the history of its portrayal of women, scholarly criticisms of these portrayals, scholarly discussions of the appeal of specifically "female" genres such as  melodramas or "the woman's film" to the female audience, and of "masculine" films and feminist attempts to create alternatives to mainstream images in various media.  Throughout the course we will consider the issue of the representation of minorities in the dominant media, and examine some newly created alternative representations.


WGS 4999 - Senior Thesis II