Women, Gender and Sexuality

WGS 2100: Introduction to Gender Studies [3]

Amanda Davis, Lecturer

This course is designed to introduce students to the burgeoning field of gender studies- a dynamic and interdisciplinary area of inquiry that brings together women's studies, feminist theory, studies in masculinity, and LGBTQ studies. Students will be introduced to a variety of critical works and complete a series of assignments that will allow them to better address several of the primary concerns in the field. These include social and cultural constructions of gender and identity, gender and mass media, gender and activism, violence against women, and gender and health. The course pays special attention to how feminism has been challenged and diversified through interventions made by women of color and by writers focused on locations outside of the United States-scholarship that has revolutionized the field in central ways. We will also discuss how gender studies has been impacted by critical race theory, disability studies, scholarship surrounding sexuality, and other academic and activist developments and movements. Indeed, a guiding feature of this course is the concept of intersectionality. Each week offers opportunities to examine how interlocking vectors of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and nationality can potentially create sites of both subordination and r sistance, as Well as privilege and transformation.


WGS 3306/MDST 3306: Sexuality, Gender, Class & Race in the Teen Film [3]

Andrea Press, Lecturer

The focus of this class will be on viewings and analyses of films featuring images of teens produced between the 1930’s and the present. Students will be asked to reflect on their own experience as adolescents, and to reflect on the power film has to influence one’s self-interpretation of experience. In particular, we will be interested in the power of films to spark what has been termed in the cultural studies literature “subcultures of resistance” to the dominant culture, particularly amongst adolescent fans and viewers. Students will be asked to analyze and mine their own experience, and that of their friends and contemporaries, for evidence of this phenomenon, and to consider the evidence for film’s power to shape our ongoing cultural experience of adolescence, and the meanings we assign to it.

Throughout the course we will pay particular attention to the following general questions: what is adolescence (and how has it been defined in American film)? What is the range of experience of adolescence that characterizes American adolescence across gender, race, sexual, and class lines? How does it make sense to think about the influence of films on society? How might we study the social influence of films? What is the importance of high school to American culture, and how has it been represented in the teen film? For each unit we should keep these key questions in mind as we view and discuss a range of teen films.

Students will write a series of short questions and commentaries based on theories, films, and viewing experiences covered in the course of the class, and will also complete two essay examinations based on course viewings and readings.

NOTE: THIS IS A NO-SCREEN CLASS. NO COMPUTERS; PHONES; ETC. will be allowed to be ON in class. This is a very strict policy and phones will be collected if it is not observed. If you are taking this course you must agree to honor this policy.


WGS 4800: Examining Gender Based Violence [3]

Lisa Speidel, Lecturer

This course encourages students to engage in critical thought about gender based violence in the United States and to examine the various approaches to and theories of prevention efforts. The structure of the course is divided into three parts. First, the meanings and nature of interpersonal and sexual violence will be established, including the effects of being the target of violence and the intersections of race/ethnicity and sexuality/sexual orientation. Second, the course will focus on the historical meaning of prevention which focused on potential victims, such as the victim control model, risk reduction rhetoric, and self-defense classes. In addition, an analysis of the criminal justice system as a form of prevention will be addressed. The third section of the course will consist of exploring contemporary definitions of prevention and leading national programs focused on changing perpetrator behavior and cultural systems that support gender based violence. These models include the public health model, men as peer educators, social marketing, mentoring programs, bystander intervention curricula, consent campaigns and sex positive education. The discussion will also consist of examining the research on these programs' effectiveness, if they enact change, or in actuality exclude certain populations and/or unknowingly support the cultural systems that perpetuate gender based violence.