Spring Courses

To view GWS courses offered during a specific semester, visit the online University Course Catalogue. 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. Note that actual course offerings are subject to change, but this guide will provide the most current information available.

SPRING 2022 UNDERGRADUATE COURSES:  

GWS 200-001:  SEX & POWER
INSTRUCTOR:  JINGXUE ZHANG

MEETING TIMES: MWF 12:00-12:50
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 undergraduate GWS majors and minors.


GWS 200-201: SEX & POWER
INSTRUCTOR: FRANCES HENDERSON
MEETING TIMES: MWF 10:00-10:50 (ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS)

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 undergraduate GWS majors and minors.


GWS 201: GENDER & POPULAR CULTURE
SECTIONS:

001:  MWF 11:00-11:50, SHRUTHI PARTHASARATHY
002:  TR 9:30-10:45, KIRSTEN CORNEILSON
201:  ONLINE, ASYNCHRONOUS, MEL LESCH
202:  ONLINE, ASYNCHRONOUS, FRANCES HENDERSON, SHAWNA IRISSARRI

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 undergraduate GWS majors and minors.
 

GWS 250-001: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
INSTRUCTOR: LUKAS BULLOCK
MEETING TIMES:  MWF 10:00-10:50

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 is required for undergraduate GWS majors and minors. Applies to UK Core requirement: Global Dynamics

GWS 300-201: TOPICS IN GWS: ACTIVISM IN KENTUCKY
INSTRUCTOR:  KAREN TICE
MEETING TIMES:  TR 2:00-3:15 (ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS)

Kentucky has often been rendered as uniformly conservative and dismissed by many as merely a “red state,” erasing the rich historical legacies, complexities, and contemporary moments of progressive activism throughout the state. By engaging with archival documents, interviews, films, music, autobiographies and guest speakers, we will explore the many social movements, formal and informal groups, and individuals that have engaged in resistance, protest, and social and economic transformation in their communities and on campuses across the state. Topics we will cover include: feminist struggles, environmental justice, reproductive justice, Queer activism, civil rights, racial justice, immigrant rights, anti-war, anti-violence, poverty, and labor exploitation.  We will also trace how issues of police brutality, FBI harassment, and right-wing politics produced and/or hindered Kentucky based-activism. Finally we will consider both the affinities, coalitions, and frictions that have accompanied movement building and protest in Kentucky. We will also examine how intersectional differences have been negotiated within activist movements and groups.

GWS 300-001:  TOPICS IN GWS:  GENDERED DESIRE IN ROM-COM FILMS
INSTRUCTOR: JEORG SAUER
MEETING TIMES:  MWF 1:00-1:50

Romcoms as a genre use both romance and comedy as film elements to portray relationship tropes.  Over the course of the semester, we will examine and analyze the history of the popular genre, how films portray relationships in different decades, and more specifically what romcoms have to say about gender and desire.  This course will situate the critical reception of romcoms as associated with "chick flicks" or a "date movie" and why they are considered unrealistic constructs of love.  Some of the questions we will consider during the class are: What can the viewer understand about women's/men's desire?; How do these films construct relationship boundaries?;  What conditions are acceptable as the foundation of a relationship?;  Are the desires of the women/men met?; How do the answers change when the race and/or sexuality of the main characters are changed?  During the semester, students will be expected to view films outside of class (provided through Canvas), review them, analyze sequences while using an appropriate film vocabulary, and write some compositions/scenarios.  This course meets in-person but accommodations for Zoom will be provided to all students who need them.

GWS 301-001 (SAME AS AAS 400):  CROSSROADS IN GWS:  HIP HOP FEMINISM
INSTRUCTOR:  ARIA HALLIDAY
MEETING TIMES: TR 12:30-1:45

This is a new course offering that 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. This course counts toward requirements for undergraduate GWS majors and minors, and fulfills the UK Core requirements for Community, Culture, and U.S. Citizenship.
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 301-002:  CROSSROADS IN GWS:  INEQUALITIES UNDER THE LAW
INSTRUCTOR:  JENN HUNT
MEETING TIMES: TR 11:00-12:15

The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees equal protection under the laws, but as the current Black Lives Matter protests indicate, this promise remains unfulfilled.  In this course, we will examine the many ways that race, class, gender, and sexuality affect people’s experiences and outcomes in legally-relevant domains.  Topics addressed will include: How do race, gender, class, and sexuality affect police encounters, including the use of force, and community members’ trust in the police?  How does race influence outcomes in legal cases, including convictions, incarceration, and the death penalty?  How do bail and privatization create class barriers in the criminal justice system?  How has housing law created an eviction crisis threatening poor and working-class people?  How does housing policy discriminate against people of Color who want to rent or buy homes?  How does and should the law address employment discrimination and sexual harassment?  How does family law reflect assumptions about gender?  How has the law evolved (or not) to address the needs of LGBTQ individuals, same-gender relationships, and people with non-binary gender or sex identities?  As a course focused on citizenship, assignments in this course will focus on strategies for promoting social justice, including op-eds to increase community awareness, letters to elected representatives, and policy briefs. This course counts toward requirements for undergraduate GWS majors and minors, and fulfills the UK Core requirements for Community, Culture, and U.S. Citizenship.

GWS 302-201:  GENDER ACROSS THE WORLD: REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
INSTRUCTOR:  CAROL MASON
MEETING DATES:  PART OF TERM, 1/10/22-3/4/22
MEETING TIMES: ONLINE ASYNCHRONOUS

Interdisciplinary, comparative and transnational examination of issues of gender focused around particular themes and locations. Thematic focus explicating gender which also illuminates questions of history and political economy in specific locations. Introduces students to research and a variety of analytical questions in the field, as well as the interaction between locales/people and structural processes. The theme for this section of 302 is Reproductive Justice. We will explore transnational issues such as sterilization, surrogacy, infant mortality, the right to parent, family separation, abortion, infertility treatment, contraception, and more. This 8-week online course counts toward requirements for GWS majors and minors, and fulfills the UK Core requirements for Global Dynamics.
 
GWS 302-001 (SAME AS AAS 400):  GENDER ACROSS THE WORLD: GENDER & SEXUALITY IN AFRICAN HISTORY
INSTRUCTOR:  ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
MEETING TIMES: MWF 1:00-1:50

This course will explore the role of gender and sexuality in African history. The time range will be expansive-- from ancient Egyptian history, through the period of colonization, and up to (nearly) the present day. Along the way, students will gain an overview of African history, but with a continued focus on how issues of gender and sexuality impacted, shaped, or were shaped by major historical events. What can Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh, tell us about ancient African civilizations' attitudes towards female leadership-- and why did she insist on being depicted with a beard? How did women and girls experience the slave trade in both East and West Africa, and in what ways was the slave trade a process of creating (un)gendered commodities? Why is understanding East African gendered divisions of labor key to understanding the extraordinarily high death rates among soldiers in the "Carrier Corps" of WWI? And what role did ideas of femininity/masculinity play in anti-colonial movements? Guiding Questions include: How have gender and sexuality operated in various times and spaces in Africa--and how do this compare to norms in the US? What can we learn by centering the voices of African feminists in our analysis? Where does the idea that African women and sexual minorities require "saving" come from, and why should we challenge it? What image of "Africa" do we hold in the US, and to what extent does that image reflect the reality?  This course counts toward requirements for GWS majors and minors, and fulfills the UK Core requirements for Global Dynamics.

GWS 309-201 (same as CPH 309): HEALTH, HISTORY, AND HUMAN DIVERSITY
INSTRUCTOR:  MELISSA STEIN
MEETING TIMES: ONLINE, ASYNCHRONOUS

Health care reform is in the news every day, 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” in the first place. This online, multi-format course will consider what it has meant to be a good patient or a good doctor at various points in American history, who was included—and excluded—in each group, how medicine became professionalized, and how people have organized around issues of individual or public health. Students will interactively engage with a range of primary sources, watch presentations and related films, have the opportunity to ask the professor questions and seek assistance during designated virtual “office hours” via Zoom, and participate in online moderated discussions of the assigned readings and films, and at the end of each unit, of the questions it raised about medical practice and ethics.  This course fulfills requirements for the Gender and Women’s Studies undergraduate major and minor, and the Sexuality Studies certificate. This course fulfills the UK Core Requirement for Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities or Community, Culture, and Citizenship in U. S.

GWS 340-001:  HISTORY OF FEMINIST THOUGHT TO 1975
INSTRUCTOR:  JACK VIMO
MEETING TIMES: TR 3:30-4:45

This course is designed to provide students with an historical overview of the cultural diversity, creative and theoretical expression, and defining moments in the development of feminist thought up to 1975. Texts will include works, such as that of Hypatia, Christine De Pizan, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, and Mary Astell, that pre-date the term “feminist” but that are pioneering statements in the struggle for gender equality. “Thought” will include political manifestos, poetry, and short stories, as well as classic works of feminist theory and cultural criticism. This course is required for GWS majors and minors.

GWS 350-001: INTRODUCTION TO FEMINIST THEORY
INSTRUCTOR:  FRANCES HENDERSON
MEETING TIMES: MWF 12:00-12:50

An interdisciplinary course that acquaints undergraduate students with the central issues and texts in contemporary feminist theories. It will examine what feminist and womanist theories are and the ways in which they analyze and explain the workings of our social world. The course will clarify basic concepts in feminist thought such as gender, difference, patriarchy, and post-colonialism and will provide students with tools to analyze these theories and explore contemporary applications. This course is required for GWS majors and minors.

GWS 506-001:  HISTORY OF SEXUALITY
INSTRUCTOR: ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
MEETING TIMES:  TR 12:30-1:45

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?  This course fulfills requirements for the Gender and Women’s Studies undergraduate major and minor, and the Sexuality Studies certificate.

GWS 599-001: SEMINAR IN GWS: CAPSTONE         
INSTRUCTOR:  ELLEN RIGGLE
MEETING TIMES: M 3:00-5:30 (ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS)

The GWS Senior Seminar and Capstone course synthesizes what a student has learned about the methods and theories of Gender and Women’s Studies (and relevant materials from other courses and fields). Students will reflect on and practice the skills of creating an argument and presentation of that argument as a GWS scholar, focusing on timely and important topics and debates within the field.  Students will do this by writing a senior thesis that will be similar in format to a journal article or an academic long-form essay; participating in the feedback process and commenting on the theses of other students in the course as part of peer review; and formally presenting research to an audience of GWS faculty and students. The assigned readings will consider various approaches to research and writing in GWS. This course is required for the GWS major.  Consent of instructor is required to enroll. This course will meet synchronously via Zoom.  Web camera on and microphones are required for active participation in the course. This course is required for GWS majors.


ADDITIONAL COURSES FOR GWS CREDIT

HIS 563-001:  WOMEN AND GENDER IN LATIN AMERICA
INSTRUCTOR:  F.R. CHASSEN-LÓPEZ

MEETING TIMES:  TR 2:00-3:15
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:  GENDER IN POPULAR FILM AND TELEVISION
INSTRUCTOR:  ERIKA ENGSTROM
MEETING TIMES:  TR 9:30-10:45

This course covers hegemony, feminism, egalitarianism, media literacy, woman's film, and stereotypical and progressive gender portrayals​ across television and film. 

SOC 335:  SOCIOLOGY OF GENDER
INSTRUCTOR:  ANA LIBERATO

MEETING TIMES:  TR 2:00-3:15
This course is a sociological study of gender as a socially and culturally constructed phenomenon. Topics to be discussed include the intersection of gender with other social inequalities; sexualities; gender and social movements; sociological theories of gender, including feminist theories; and the impact of gender on various elements of social life.


 

 

 

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