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Course Descriptions

Studies in Women and Gender Program

227 Minor Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400172
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4172
(434) 982-2961 Fax: (434) 924-6969

Overview Studies in Women and Gender is an interdisciplinary program that seeks to analyze history and culture from women’s perspectives and to deepen the methods of academic pursuit by acknowledging the critical place of gender. By examining issues raised in the program, students develop a fuller sense of their options as human beings, living as we do in a culture divided by gender stereotyping that defines and limits both women and men. Offering a critical perspective, this program encourages a reexamination of traditional methods and concepts, supports new kinds of research, and allows students to better understand the changing roles and behavior of women and men in the contemporary world.

The program seeks to continue integrating the categories "gender" and "woman" into the curriculum by offering an ever-widening range of courses in all disciplines with a specific goal of broadening representation in traditionally under-represented fields of science and in new scholarly endeavors of modern media and film studies.

Currently, the program is offering thirty-five primary courses and twenty adjunct courses through a total of seventeen departments and programs, including: African American Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, Drama, English, French, German, Government and Foreign Affairs, History, Music, Nursing, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Slavic, and Sociology.

Faculty The Studies in Women and Gender Program has four joint appointments: the Director, Farzaneh Milani, with the Division of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures; Ann J. Lane, with the Department of History; Sharon Hays, with the Department of Sociology; and Ellen Fuller, with the Department of Sociology. Together with the many other faculty whose courses are cross-listed, they represent a range of scholarly and teaching interests that explore gender and women’s issues from various disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. Aside from regular advising activities, faculty members meet with majors and minors at formal programs, as well as at frequent informal luncheons and discussions.

Students There are currently twenty-nine studies in women and gender majors and nineteen minors. Many students choose a second major, and English, anthropology, and religious studies are among the most preferred. Non-majors and minors are also encouraged to explore the program’s courses to enrich their other academic interests.

Requirements for Major A Major in Studies in Women and Gender (SWAG) requires that you complete 11 courses or 33 credits from at least three departments. At least nine courses must be at the 300 or 400 level; two courses may be at the 100 or 200 level (including SWAG 210). These courses must include the following:

  1. SWAG 210 Women’s Lives in Myth and Reality: Introduction to Studies in Women and Gender
  2. SWAG 381 Feminist Theory and Methods
  3. SWAG 405 Senior Seminar
  4. One SWAG course concentrating on cultural diversity, including: non-Western cultures.
  5. At least 3 SWAG courses (9 credits) drawn from the Humanities (Philosophy, English, Religious Studies, Art, Music, Drama, Architecture, foreign languages).
  6. At least 3 SWAG courses (9 credits) drawn from the Social Sciences (History, Government, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Anthropology, Linguistics, Afro-American and African Studies).
  7. Completion of 6 courses concentrated in a single department. These courses may include SWAG courses as well as non-SWAG courses. SWAG courses fulfilling this requirement may also count towards the 11 courses required for the major.

Courses counting toward the SWAG major may include two adjunct courses and two independent readings courses. An adjunct course is one whose central focus is not on women or gender, but is listed as an SWAG course because gender is a significant focus. To turn an adjunct course into a primary course, a student, with the permission of and in dialogue with the instructor, focuses on women or gender in written work and/or additional reading. Adjunct courses are indicated with an asterisk in the course booklet.

Distinguished Majors Program Majors in Studies in Women and Gender with a strong academic record are encouraged to become Distinguished Majors. Distinguished Majors complete a two semester written thesis (approximately 40- 60 in length) in their fourth year under the supervision of a SWAG faculty member. The thesis allows students to pursue their own interests in depth and have the intellectual satisfaction of defining and completing a sustained project.

To be eligible, students must have a 3.450 overall GPA at the start of their fourth year. Students pursuing the Senior Thesis will sign up for a 6-credit course, SWAG 491 and 492, under the supervision of a SWAG faculty member. The thesis must also be approved by a second faculty member who the student will choose in consultation with the thesis advisor.

The 6-credit senior thesis course will count toward the 33 credits required for the major. Successful completion of the thesis qualifies the student for graduation with Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction, depending upon the recommendation of the two faculty advisors, and subject to approval of the College’s Committee on Special Programs.

An early start is important to the successful completion of a Senior Thesis. While not required, it is recommended that students make the decision to pursue the Distinguished Majors Program during their third year. This will give them the opportunity to discuss the project with various faculty members, determine suitable advisors, and have the summer between the third and fourth years to further define their project and begin some preliminary reading and planning.

Students choosing to pursue the thesis should complete a DMP enrollment form in the first semester of their final year.

Requirements for Minor Courses taken from at least three departments; at least four of these courses must be at the 300 level or above. These courses must include SWAG 210, SWAG 381, and SWAG 405 Senior Seminar. Of the seven courses required for the Minor, one1 may be an adjunct course and one may be an independent readings course. SWAG courses may be "double-counted" toward a major in another department; that is, SWAG courses taken for a major will also count toward a SWAG minor.

Additional Information For more information, contact Farzaneh Milani, Studies in Women and Gender Program, P.O. Box 400172, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4127; (434) 982-2961; fmm2z@virginia.edu; www.virginia.edu/womenstudies.

Course Descriptions


SWAG 207 - (3) (S)
Dance/Movement Composition as Art
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Analysis of aesthetic valuing and choreographic approaches as they relate and intersect with art, gender, and feminism. The course will investigate staged performances that illuminate women's political issues and male issues through a lens of cultural and historical contexts, and function as an introduction to the fundamentals of movement and dance. It is designed to engage students to inquire about what is art and define how choreography is a statement in a cultural, political, and feminist sense. Cross-listed with ARTS 207.

SWAG 210 - (3) (Y)
Women’s Lives in Myth and Reality
Required introductory course. What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open, said the poet Muriel Rukeyser. This course will explore women’s past and present circumstances and envision future possibilities and alternatives, analyze issues of gender in relation to class and race, and work toward a framework for understanding the world and our place in it.

SWAG 309 - (2-4) (Y)
Independent Study

SWAG 312 - (3) (Y)
Women and Islam

SWAG 365 - (3) (Y)
East Asian Women: (Self) Portrayals in Social Context
Uses representations of and by East Asian women in both written and visual media to explore changing cultural assumptions about women and men in China, Japan, and Korea over the course of the 20th century. Readings draw upon both the major historical events of the region in comparative context as well as facets of everyday life.

SWAG 381 - (3) (IR)
Feminist Theories and Methods
Introduces current feminist scholarship in a variety of areas–literature, history, film, anthropology, and psychoanalysis, among others–pairing feminist texts with more traditional ones. Features guest speakers and culminates in an interdisciplinary project. Cross listed as ENCR 381.

SWAG 405 - (3) (Y)
Senior Seminar in Women’s Studies

SWAG 491 - (3) (Y)
Women’s Studies Senior Thesis

SWAG 492 - (3) (Y)
Women’s Studies Senior Thesis

SWAG 498 - (3) (Y)
Independent Reading

Supporting Courses

The program produces a list of approved studies in women and gender courses each semester.

AMEL 211 - (3) (Y)
Women and Middle Eastern Literature

ANTH 329 - (3) (Y)
Marriage, Morality, and Fertility

ANTH 363 - (3) (Y)
Chinese Family and Religion

ANTH 369 - (3) (Y)
Sex, Gender, and Culture

ANTH 379 - (3) (Y)
Gender, Science and Culture

CHTR 301 - (3) (Y)
Legendary Women of Early Chinese

CHTR 322 - (3) (Y)
Gender, Family, and Sexuality in Chinese Fiction

DRAM 331 - (3) (Y)
History of Dress

ECON 307 - (3) (Y)
Economics and Gender

ENEC 320 - (3) (Y)
Eighteenth-Century Women Writers

ENEC 481 - (3) (Y)
Women and Morality in Restoration Comedy

ENAM 481B - (3) (Y)
Afro-American Women Authors

ENAM 484 - (3) (Y)
Black Women Writers

ENCR 481 - (3) (Y)
Politics of/and Cultural Aesthetics

ENCR 567 - (3) (Y)
Theory and Feminism

ENLT 252 - (3) (Y)
Women in Literature

ENNC 481 - (3) (Y)
Women Novelists of the Nineteenth Century

ENNC 482 - (3) (IR)
Nineteenth Century Women Authors

ENSP 352 - (3) (Y)
Modern Women Authors

ENSP 355 - (3) (Y)
Images of Women in 19th and 20th Century Fiction

ENMC 354 - (3) (Y)
Twentieth-Century Women Writers

ENMC 481 - (3) (Y)
Twentieth Century Women Writers: Seminars

GERM 584 - (3) (IR)
Women and Fiction

HIST 321 - (3) (Y)
History of Sexuality

HIUS 333 - (3) (IR)
History of Women in America to 1865

HIUS 334 - (3) (IR)
History of Women in America After 1865

HIUS 367 - (3) (Y)
History of the Civil Rights Movements

JPTR 322 - (3) (Y)
Women, Nature and Society in Modern Japanese Fiction

JPTR 382 - (3) (Y)
Modern Japanese Women Writers

PHIL 164 - (3) (Y)
Ethics and Gender

PLAP 355 - (3) (Y)
Gender Politics

PSYC 360 - (3) (Y)
Psychology of Gender

PSYC 362 - (3) (Y)
Psychology of Sex Roles

PSYC 446 - (3) (Y)
Women’s Issues in Clinical Psychology

PSYC 449 - (3) (Y)
Sexual Orientation & Human Development

PSYC 487 - (3) (Y)
The Minority Family

RELG 265 - (3) (Y)
Theology, Ethics, and Medicine

RELG 340 - (3) (Y)
Women and Religion

RELG 372 - (3) (Y)

SOC 252 - (3) (S)
Sociology of the Family

SOC 343 - (3) (Y)
Sociology of Sex Roles

SOC 411 - (3) (IR)
Black Women: Current Issues

SOC 442 - (3) (Y)
Sociology of Inequality

SOC 443 - (3) (Y)
Women and Society

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