To view GWS courses offered during a specific semester visit the online University Course Catalog. Select the semester desired from the drop-down menu, then type "GWS" in the Course Prefix box or select GWS from the drop-down menu. There may also be GWS courses listed under the general "A&S" prefix or as Discovery Seminar Program "DSP" courses. Note that actual course offerings are subject to change, but this guide will provide the most current information available.
FALL 2023 COURSES
GWS 200-201: SEX & POWER
INSTRUCTOR: FRANCES HENDERSON
MEETING TIMES: ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS, MWF 10:00-10:50
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary fields of both Gender Studies and Women's Studies which explore the ways that sex and gender manifest themselves in social, cultural, and political arenas. It draws upon scholarship in women’s studies, feminist studies, masculinities studies, and queer studies which themselves draw upon a variety of intellectual perspectives, including historical, psychological, rhetorical, sociological, literary, and biological. Students will use gender-based theory to look at the ways in which gender identification and representation influences individuals and societies. The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with key issues, questions and debates in Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) scholarship, both historical and contemporary. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Intellectual Inquiry, Social Science) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor, and the sexuality studies certificate.
GWS 200-001: SEX & POWER
MEETING TIMES: TR 9:30-10:45
This course introduces Gender and Women’s Studies from a social science perspective using cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches. Analyzes relations of power marked by gender and how these relate to other social distinctions and processes. Interactive learning format. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Intellectual Inquiry, Social Science) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor, and the sexuality studies certificate.
GWS 201: GENDER & POPULAR CULTURE
001: MWF 11:00-11:50, TBD
002: MWF 12:00-12:50, TBD
201: ONLINE ASYNCHRONOUS, FRANCES HENDERSON
203: ONLINE ASYNCHRONOUS, TBD
This course examines the role of popular culture in the construction of gendered identities in contemporary society. We examine a wide range of popular cultural forms – including music, computer games, movies, and television – to illustrate how femininity and masculinity are produced, represented, and consumed. This course serves as an introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) from a humanities perspective. We will explore the ways identities are constructed through various types of media and popular culture. Representations of gender are central to our study but are always already influenced by other social categories, such as race, sexuality, and class. As a class, in addition to scholarly work, we will investigate how different kinds of texts, such as music videos, movies, television, advertisements, social media, and fictional work, shape our understanding and experience regarding what it means to be a “man” or a “woman.” Throughout this exploration, we will also consider how representation affects us as individuals and as communities in ways to reproduce and perpetuate the social hierarchy of gender, race, sexuality, and class. In GWS 201, we will explore a variety of texts through different lenses that recognize the social systems that privilege some and disadvantage others based on claimed and perceived identities. This course will give you an opportunity to develop your communication and research skills, but most of all, it will challenge you as a critical thinker. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Intellectual Inquiry, Humanities) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 201-202: GENDER & POPULAR CULTURE
INSTRUCTOR: ARIA HALLIDAY
MEETING TIMES: TR 11:00-12:15, ONLINE
This course examines the role of popular culture in the construction of gendered identities in contemporary society. We examine a wide range of popular cultural forms -- including music, computer games, movies, and television -- to illustrate how femininity and masculinity are produced, represented, and consumed. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirements (Intellectual Inquiry, Humanities) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 250: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
001: MWF 1:00-1:50, TBD
201: ONLINE ASYNCHRONOUS, PART OF TERM (OCT 16-DEC 15)
This course takes you through some ways in which people have organized themselves around local, national, and international issues pertaining to gender. We engage key theories that explain the origins, strategies, and success of different forms of social movements across the world. We also critically analyze case studies from different parts of the world to understand how social movements work on the ground and in specific cultural environments with unique historical trajectories, attending to ways in which social movements are shaped by, and do or do not result in changes to social structures of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Global Dynamics) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 300-001 (Same as AAS 400-001): TOPICS IN GWS: HIP HOP FEMINISM
INSTRUCTOR: ARIA HALLIDAY
MEETING TIMES: TR 2:00-3:15
This course offering highlights the history of women and gender fluidity within hip-hop since its inception in the late 1970s. Students will learn how hip-hop and feminism have similar concerns and yet provide an opportunity for individual and cultural expression of the oppressed. Students will be able connect music, lyrical analysis, visual culture, and history to understand the ways gender, race, class, sexuality, and a host of other issues are all relevant to contemporary discourses and visual aesthetics in hip-hop global cultures. Course objectives: Define hip-hop feminisms; Explore historical examples of hip-hop feminisms and their relationship to Black feminism and womanism in the U.S. and globally; Identify genealogies of femcees in hip-hop and how feminism is connected; Expand colloquial interpretations of feminism to include hip-hip broadly defined; Contextualize contemporary rappers within a longer history of hip-hop cultural expression.
GWS 300-002 (same as TA 387): TOPICS IN GWS: WOMEN THEATRE MAKERS: 1960 to PRESENT
INSTRUCTOR: NANCY JONES
MEETING TIMES: TR 11:00-12:15
This seminar will examine mainstream and experimental women theatre makers from 1960 to today, who use both institutionally endorsed and guerilla tactics in their projects. We will look at key theorists in feminist and queer theory in conversation with plays and performances that disrupted the theatrical landscape. From Lorraine Hansberry to Rosalyn Drexler, Adrienne Kennedy and Caryl Churchill to Jackie Sibblies Drury, this course will examine plays and performance (theatre praxis) as key elements of theatre research.
GWS 301-001: CROSSROADS IN GWS: BLACK GIRLHOOD
INSTRUCTOR: FRANCES HENDERSON
MEETING TIMES: MWF 1:00-1:50PM
What is black girl magic? How do we understand black girls outside of the memes and appropriation of Black girl style, culture, and knowledge? In this course, students will interrogate Black girlhood as a political category of identity and symbol of agency, addressing such topics as foundations of the field, utility of the categories of “girl” and “woman” and representation of Black girlhood in academic literature and popular culture. We will explore problems pressing upon the lives of Black girls with respect to their lived experiences of work, sexuality, and education and illuminate the strategies, genius and potential of Black girls and Black girlhood. As such, we will consider the multiplicity of the Black girlhoods as embodied and experience through, for example, gender, sexuality, and geography. This course will aim to think through and embody theories and practices—emancipatory, humanizing, radical acts—as produced by Black girls, artists, and scholars. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Community, Culture, and U.S. Citizenship) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 302-001: GENDER ACROSS THE WORLD: MASCULINITIES
INSTRUCTOR: SRIMATI BASU
MEETING TIMES: MW 3:00-4:15
This course examines constructions of gender by looking to constructions of masculinity. Who is a man? Are masculinities only about men? How do they become one, or maintain being one? How do age, race, caste, religion, and class affect what it means to be a man in any given context? How does sexuality write itself upon masculinities? We will explore these questions by looking to theoretical, ethnographic, historical, literary, film and popular media texts. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Global Dynamics) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 302-002: GENDER ACROSS THE WORLD: TRANSNATIONAL SEXUALITIES
INSTRUCTOR: CHARLIE YI ZHANG
MEETING TIMES: TR 2:00-3:15PM
This course examines the politics of sexualities within a transnational frame of analysis and explores the process of “border-crossings” through critical engagements of normative and non-normative sexualities. Using cross-cultural research on sexuality studies, the course will address these key questions: as bodies move across national, cultural, racial, and ideological borders, how is sexuality redefined, named, and leveraged for change? What factors allow for new formations and understandings of sexuality to emerge within an increasingly globalized world? How do social forces such as nationalism, citizenship, global neoliberalism, settler colonialism, and mass media shape and produce desires, sexual identities, sexual labor, sexual practices, bodies and genders? Students will learn key concepts used in discussions of transnational sexuality studies to expand their understanding of intersectional analysis. Topics for study include: queer and LGBTQI organizing; expression of sexual identities, desires, and practices across nation-state borders; queer migration and labor flows; transnational porn industries; sex trafficking and tourism; and settler colonialism, among others. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Global Dynamics) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 302-001: GENDER ACROSS THE WORLD: THE BODY AND SOCIAL MEDIA
INSTRUCTOR: SHAWNA FELKINS
MEETING TIMES: ONLINE ASYNCHRONOUS
The viral internet meme of “being perceived” rose to prominence in 2020, giving new language to a generation of young people trying to articulate feelings of discomfort in and resistance to the growing hypersurveillance of the social media era. At the center of this meme, are conversations around a disconnect between embodied experience and societal meaning attached to our bodies. What makes a body “good” or “bad?” How are some bodies made invisible, while others are hypervisible? What are the histories of surveillance, legislation, and discipline of marginalized bodies? Who defines a racialized body, a fat body, or a disabled body? This course will examine the body as a necessary site for analyses of the social categories and lived experiences of gender, race, and class from a global perspective. We will explore the concept of “the body” in feminist scholarship and activism around the world, specifically, theorizations of the systems of power that categorize and stratify groups of people based on their bodies. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Global Dynamics) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 309-201 (SAME AS CPH 309): HEALTH, HISTORY, AND HUMAN DIVERSITY
INSTRUCTOR: MELISSA STEIN
MEETING TIMES: ONLINE, ASYNCHRONOUS
Health care reform is often in the news, and everyone has an opinion on why the system is broken, how to fix it, who should have access to good medical care, under what circumstances, and what constitutes “good care.” This online, multi-format course will consider what it has meant to be a good patient or a good doctor at various points in U.S. history, who was included or excluded in each group, how medicine became professionalized, and how people have organized around health issues. Students will engage with primary sources, watch related films, interact with the professor during virtual “office hours,” and participate in online moderated discussions. This course meets USP and/or UK Core requirement (Intellectual Inquiry, Humanities and/or Community, Culture, and Citizenship in the U.S.) and counts toward requirements for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 350-001: INTRODUCTION TO FEMINIST THEORIZING
INSTRUCTOR: ANASTASIA TODD
MEETING TIMES: TR 12:30-1:45
This interdisciplinary course aims to provide students with an overview of feminist theoretical frameworks, such as feminist disability theory, black feminist theory, intersectionality, transnational feminist theory, and feminist affect theory. We will work to come to understand what these feminist theoretical tools mean as well as utilize these theoretical tools to analyze our contemporary social world. This course also considers how developments in queer theory and trans studies have informed feminist thinking and theorizing. This course is required for the undergraduate GWS major and minor.
GWS 400-001: DOING FEMINIST RESEARCH I: METHODS
INSTRUCTOR: CHARLIE YI ZHANG
MEETING TIMES: TR 3:30-4:45
This course provides an interdisciplinary perspective for undergraduate students to examine a variety of epistemological concerns and methodological issues in feminist scholarship. It is designed to expand the students’ knowledge of feminist epistemologies and methodologies in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. We will read about, discuss, and practice a variety of research methods, particularly qualitative methods, and develop critical thinking about the central debates in the field of gender and women’s studies. Through multiple research exercises, students will gain basic skills, practice commonly used methods, and experiment with different ways of approaching topics to develop their own research interests and plans for the future. This course is required for undergraduate GWS majors and counts toward requirements for GWS minors. Please note that course enrollment is restricted to GWS majors, minors, or permission of the instructor.
GWS 410-001: INTRO TO QUEER THEORY
INSTRUCTOR: ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
MEETING TIMES: MWF 11:00-11:50
This course will introduce students to Queer Theory, a relatively new subfield that has the potential to radically change how we think about gender, sexuality, sex, race, class-- basically everything! Queer Theory resists categories and binaries, arguing that they are unsuitable for understanding the complicated nature of culture, identities, and systems of oppression. Instead, Queer Theory offers scholars a number of tools which allow us to deconstruct a binaristic vision of the world, to reveal what is hidden in the interstices, and to use solidarities across non-”normativities” to fight for justice. Students in this course will: (1) Understand major themes in queer theory, as well as major criticisms of the field, (2) Be able to articulate how categories like race, nation, ethnicity, class, religion, geography, etc. impact and alter experiences of queerness, (3) Gain an understanding of how the concepts of “queerness” and normativity themselves developed alongside ideologies of difference, like racism and classism, and global structures of power, notably imperialism and slavery, (4) Learn how to read academic texts strategically, looking for argument, evidence, and approach, (5) Hone skills in academic writing, with a focus on argumentation, organization, and analysis, (6) Learn to identify a unicorn from upwards of 200 feet away. This course counts toward requirements for undergraduate GWS majors and minors and the sexuality studies certificate.
GWS 506-001: HISTORY OF SEXUALITY IN THE US
INSTRUCTOR: ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
MEETING TIMES: TR 11:00-12:15
In his foundational text The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, the theorist Michel Foucault referred to sexuality as “an especially dense transfer point for relations of power.” Sexuality is a language through which a huge variety of identities—racial, religious, gendered, national, ethnic—are mediated. In this class, we will learn how sexuality was constructed in Europe and the US from the ancient world to the present day. In the process, we will explore a number of questions about both the nature of sexuality and its role in the operation of power and resistance. How did biological sex come to be understood in binary terms in the West? How has same-sex love been understood in various times and locations? How did sexuality influence the development of the idea of “race”? Can sexuality act as a site of resistance? If so, under what conditions, and for whom? Students in this course will: (1) Gain an understanding of how sexuality intersects with other forms of identity, including race, class, gender, religion, ability, nation, (2) Understand how ideas about sex, gender, and sexuality have changed over time and across geographic space, (3) Learn how to read academic texts strategically, looking for argument, evidence, and approach, (4) Hone skills in academic writing, with a focus on argumentation, organization, and analysis, (5) Develop proficiency in analyzing primary sources, unpacking the deeper meanings at play. This course counts toward requirements for the sexuality studies certificate.
ADDITIONAL COURSES FOR GWS CREDIT
CHI 320-001: GENDER POLITICS IN CHINESE LITERATURE AND CULTURE
INSTRUCTOR: LIANG LUO
MEETING TIMES: TR 2:00-3:15
An interdisciplinary, multimedia approach to the representation of gender relations in Chinese literature and culture over time. Critical engagement of such topics as the complex relationships between women's issues and national discourse, between identity and performance, between the construction of female subjectivity and male fantasy, between gender and genre. Students will be encouraged to conduct cross-genre and cross-cultural comparisons. All readings in English and all welcome. Honors option available.
HIS 563-001: WOMEN AND GENDER IN LATIN AMERICA
INSTRUCTOR: F.R. CHASSEN-LOPEZ
MEETING TIMES: T 4:30-7:00
This course surveys gender relations in Latin America through a rich diversity of voices and experiences (in academic texts, documentaries, testimonials, literary works, biographies, and film). Using an interdisciplinary focus and intersectional analysis, we explore, for example, Haitian women’s roles in the struggle for independence, gender and tango in Argentina, the art of Frida Kahlo, Chilean mothers protesting dictatorship, unequal access to healthcare for indigenous Peruvians, the situation of LGTQ in the Cuban Revolution, Latina biographies, and the plight of Dominican immigrant families in New York. At the same time, we discuss how machismo has evolved, or not, over time in a region that has already elected ten women presidents.
MAS 590: SPECIAL TOPICS IN SOCIO-CULTURAL MEDIA: GENDER
INSTRUCTOR: ERIKA ENGSTROM
MEETING TIMES: TR 11:00-12:15
This course covers hegemony, media literacy, and stereotypical and progressive gender portrayals across television and film. Femininity and masculinity will be explored in popular film and texts, with course topics including the woman's film genre of 20th century Hollywood, gender portrayals in Disney princess films, gendered violence in advertising, the Bechdel Test, and how films and television shows depict the gender roles. Starting-point texts for examining gender portrayals across media include NBC's Parks and Recreation in additional to other contemporary film and TV texts. Students will analyze a media text of their choosing that illustrates concepts and theories related to gender representation. This course emphasizes a prosocial perspective of media entertainment, and students will learn of positive portrayals of gender that advance feminist and egalitarian ideals.
PHI 305: HEALTH CARE ETHICS
INSTRUCTOR: JULIA BURSTEN
MEETING TIMES: TBD
Our aim in this course is to examine the ways that we make decisions about moral and ethical dilemmas in health care, and how these decisions affect health care providers and beneficiaries, as well as their families and the public at large. We will examine cases from a variety of clinical and research settings. By comparing cases of conflict between individual and group rights, provider and patient rights, and intercultural conflicts of values, students will develop basic moral concepts such as what constitutes a right and a moral obligation, analyze the relative importance of values across a variety of cultural and clinical contexts, and formulate a self-reflective picture of their own moral compasses in health care settings.