Spring 2014

WGS 2100: Introduction to Gender Studies
TR 9:30-10:45 AM - Jacqueline Taylor
MWF 10:00-10:50 AM - Corinne Field
An introduction to gender studies, including the fields of women’s studies, feminist 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. 

WGS 2224 Black Feminities and Masculinities in Media
Lisa Shutt
Addresses the role the media has played in creating images and understandings of “Blackness” in the United States, particularly where it converges with popular ideologies about gender.

WGS 2559: Body Activism Using Social Media
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).  Note: This is a one credit course.

WGS 2848 Reproductive Technology
Jennie Doberne
This course will focus on issues in technology and reproduction from historical and cross-cultural perspectives.  We will examine critical perspectives on science, power, gender, and inequality as they influence cultural constructions of reproductive processes such as pregnancy, childbirth, infertility, and debates about the enhancement and limitation of human fertility. This course fulfills the global requirement.

WGS 2892 Issues Facing Adolescent Girls II
Edith "Winx" Lawrence and Melissa Levy
Combined with EDHS 2892

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. This course fulfills the global requirement.

WGS 3501 YWLP: Women's Leadership and Technology II
Edith "Winx" Lawrence and Melissa Levy
Combined with EDHS

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 3559-001 Gender, Sport and Film
Bonnie Hagerman
This course will examine how film has portrayed women's sports and female athletes. We will explore how well the film industry has documented the history of women’s sports, issues important to female athletes such as race, sexuality, equality and issues of femininity, and we will look to see how well these productions stack up against films portraying male athletes and men's sports.

WGS 3559-002 Women and Poverty
Amanda Davis
This course will examine some of the varied effects of poverty on women and children in the wake of recent social, political and programming shifts, as well as how poverty intersects with other systems of inequality like racism and sexism. Our area of study in this class is varied and complex, but students will better understand the social, material, and political dimensions of poverty and class stratification.

WGS 3559-003 Gender and Multiculturalism
Lisa Speidel
This course is a critical examination of the social categories of difference and diversity in the United States and how they intersect with gender. Through readings, film, interactive discussion and experiential exercises students will explore the meaning of institutional and cultural oppressions including ableism, racism, classism, sexism and heterosexism to deepen their understanding and experience of the multiple dimensions of gender.

WGS 3559-004 Women and War
Ben Bennett
Beginning with Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, the course will first examine the structure and complications of a world in which men wage war and women wage sex. It will then move on to the discussion of ways in which this world-view is challenged or overturned, including: collision of war and sex in the figure of Judith; virgin warrior Joan of Arc; Amazons ancient & modern; and intersection of war and business.

WGS 3612 Gender and Sexuality in America, 1865-Present
Corinne Field
Combined with HIUS 3612
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. This course fulfills the second writing requirement.

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.

WGS 3993 Independent Study
Instructor permission required

WGS 4140 Beyond the Gap: Gender and Political Behavior
Nicholas Winter
Combined with PLAP 4140

This course will consider the theoretical place of gender in American politics. We will also take up a number of topics, including the unavoidable gender gap, the role of masculinity and femininity in conditioning our perceptions of issues and political candidates, the ways gender, politics, and society have interacted historically, and the ways race and gender (and class) interact in conditioning political behavior. Prerequisite: At least one course either on gender or on political behavior.

WGS 4200 Sex and Gender Go To The Movies
Andrea Press
Combined with MDST 4200

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 4559-001 Gender-Based Violence
Denise Walsh
As a result of efforts by feminists and their allies, the issue of violence against women is now a concern of states, governments, communities, and individuals in the United States and around the world. The large and growing literature on gender violence is the basis for the course of study proposed here. We know that violence affects people of all classes and races. We know that some societies are less violent than others. We know that institutions vary in their responses to violence. Scholarly research across disciplines and countries helps us to see how individual motives and actions intersect with institutions like the family and the military, and structures like labor markets, to create environments where violence occurs and where it does not.
This course will begin by exploring how scholars define the problem of violence, its incidence, causes, and consequences. Next, we focus on several areas where gender-based violence is pervasive: in universities, urban settings, during war and militarized locations, and in the global economy. The final section of the course examines prevention efforts by the health industry, feminists in the US and across the globe, and national governments. Throughout the semester class discussion will link academic research to praxis by explicitly addressing how, in our own lives and in our own community, gender violence has affected and continues to affect each one of us. This course is dedicated to the memory of those we have lost, to the wellbeing of those affected by violence now, and to our aspiration to build a world where gender-based violence is a thing of the past.
This course fulfills the global requirement.

WGS 4559-002 Gender Non-conformity in Media Culture
Andre Cavalcante
As one of the primary cultural drivers of common sense, shared values, and political ideology, media are certainly influential storytellers.  This course creates space for considering media’s role in articulating and fashioning the limits and possibilities of gender identity.  We will pay particular attention to representations of gender non-conformity in popular culture such as female masculinity, male femininity, and transgender subjectivity.  We will explore the history of gender non-conformity in media culture and construct a historic through-line to contemporary depictions. Class readings will consider media’s treatment of gender non-conformists and the ways in which gender variant individuals and communities use media to establish community and belonging.  Notably, we will explore the development of transgender online spaces and communities.

WGS 4999 Senior Thesis II
Restricted to WGS Distinguished Majors, please visit http://wgs.virginia.edu/wgs_distinguished_major for more information.