Women, Gender, & Sexuality | Course Catalogue

2020-2021 Catalogue

The Women, Gender, & Sexuality program provides students with the opportunity to recognize the many ways in which our lives are shaped and limited by a variety of cultural constructions and circumstances. Grounded in diverse perspectives of feminism and intersectionality and queer scholarship, the program works to empower students to challenge such limitations through critical examination, theoretical analysis, and engaged activism. The program focuses on how social norms and the related assumptions have developed and changed over time, how they vary with different cultures, and how they position individuals and groups with specific social standpoints, locations, and power. Many courses examine and interrogate how such norms function in society thereby shaping feminine, masculine, transgender, and non-binary gendering, and the many sexualities across the spectrum in their myriad identities, expressions, and lived experiences.

The Women, Gender, and Sexuality program is interdisciplinary with a broad range of offerings, allowing students to choose from its courses to examine both current and historical experiences of individuals through a variety of lenses, to analyze institutional sources of power and representational texts, to study the work of important figures, and to learn the philosophical and methodological approaches in different academic disciplines. The program offers a comprehensive and inclusive variety of coursework so that students learn about the different social constructions, privileges, oppressions, and intersections of sex, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, religion, social economic status, ability/disability, etc. The goal is to see the distinct identity standpoint of each individual/group within the specific and particular socio-cultural-historical era, and how that affects the power, equity, and access for individuals and communities on personal, relational, and institutional levels. The Women, Gender, and Sexuality program has three areas of focus for our students in their coursework and success: academic excellence, intersectional dynamics, and empowerment.

Student Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality major are as follows:
I. The student shall demonstrate an awareness of the value and impact of intersectionality dynamics.
II. The student shall demonstrate an understanding of the past and present status of women in a variety cultural contexts.
III. The student shall examine the impact of gender on individual and institutional levels of social position.
IV. The student shall examine different identities and lived experiences in the spectrum of sexuality and their related cultural power.
V. The student shall produce a theoretically grounded scholarly, activist, or creative work.
 


Major Requirements: Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

A major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality consists of a minimum of 37 hours and is distributed as follows:

Required WGS courses (10 hours):
  • WGS 200 Women’s Movements of the United States 3 hours
  • WGS 250 Global Feminisms 3 hours
  • WGS 338 Identity, Power, & Culture 3 hours
  • WGS 401 Senior Seminar 1 hour
 
Chosen Interdisciplinary Courses (27 hours):
Students must take nine additional courses, at least three of which must be at the 300 level.
  • LED 207 Effective Leadership in Community 3 hours
  • WST/PSY 201 Psychology of Human Sexuality 3 hours
  • WST/BUS/ECO 210 Women and Economic Development 3 hours
  • PHI 210 Readings in Philosophy (when topic is WGS-centered) 3 hours
  • WST/REL 213 Religion and Gender 3 hours
  • WST/MUS 215 Women, Music, and Culture 3 hours
  • ENG 221 Race, Class, and Gender 3 hours
  • WST/POL 225 Women and Politics 3 hours
  • WST/HIS 267 Women in World History 3 hours
  • REL 290 Readings in Religious Studies (when topic is WGS-centered) 3 hours
  • ENG 300 Literature and Film 3 hours
  • WGS/COM 305 Mediating Genders 3 hours
  • LED 307 Power and Service Leadership 3 hours
  • WST/PSY 301 Psychology of Gender 3 hours
  • WST/THE 328 Women, Culture, and Theatre 3 hours
  • WST/ARH 354 Art History III: 20th Century to Contemporary 3 hours
  • WST/PHI 355 Seminar in Gender and Philosophy 3 hours
  • WST/HIS 377 Seminar in Women's History 3 hours
  • WST 396 Special Topics/Cross-Listed 3 hours
  • WST 451 Directed Independent Study 1–3 hours
  • WST 452 Field Study/Internship 1–3 hours
 

Professional Development: Throughout their Wesleyan education each student is given opportunities to explore professional and career choices, and to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills essential for professional success. Each student will complete PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and PDE 401 Professional Practice Seminar.

In addition, a Women, Gender, and Sexuality major may choose to fulfill the professional development requirement through an internship or field study taken as WST 452. It may take the form of volunteer or advocacy work, production of a creative project, or other comparable work experience approved by the Women, Gender, and Sexuality program chair. The student will be monitored by their advisor during their workplace experience and will submit a reflective summary at its conclusion.

Integrative Experience. Women, Gender, and Sexuality majors will be encouraged to begin broadly, taking courses in a variety of fields as well as introductory classes in Women, Gender, and Sexuality and feminist methodologies. As they move through the program, they will be encouraged to tailor their course of study to meet their own research interests, taking an additional research methods course in their chosen discipline along with upper-level Women, Gender, and Sexuality courses that are relevant to their field. Through this coursework, they will learn to position themselves as a critical specialist on gender and its representations and intersections in their particular area of interest, and, finally, prepare their scholarship for both the Wesleyan community and a larger professional audience. In WGS 401 offered during the spring of the major's senior year, they will work with their fellow classmates and instructor to complete a scholarly project. As the student is completing their interdisciplinary course of study conducted through the lens of focused feminist methodology, this seminar provides them with individual guidance to shape their senior research project, which they may present in the spring symposium and eventually refine for a professional audience.

 

Minor Requirements: Women, Gender, and Sexuality. The Women, Gender, and Sexuality minor provides students with a basic foundation of the issues, theories, and methods dealt within the discipline. Students will be encouraged to connect with Women, Gender, and Sexuality majors, faculty, and the community through participation in the various courses, events, and the yearly spring symposium.

A minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality consists of a minimum of 18 hours and is distributed as follows:

WGS 200 Women’s Movements of the United States 3 hours
WGS 250 Global Feminisms 3 hours
WGS 338 Identity, Power, & Culture 3 hours
 
Choose three additional elective courses (9 hours)
At least one of the chosen courses must be WST cross-listed.
At least one of the chosen courses must be at the 300 level.
 
 

Resources for Non-Majors. We welcome all students to join our classes; Women, Gender, and Sexuality courses offer a theoretical and experiential understanding of how women live in and are understood by our societies. This would be an excellent opportunity to make interdisciplinary connections through critical engagement and practical application. As most of our majors double with another, Women, Gender, and Sexuality courses complement most, if not all, majors on campus. Consider courses in the program (or perhaps a minor or double major) to enhance your own discipline and your life as a woman in this world.

Postgraduate Opportunities. This major will prepare students for a wide variety of professional opportunities, including advocacy, art, business, communication, counseling, education, government, health care, the humanities, law, media, not-for-profit work, social justice, and social service. The Women, Gender, and Sexuality degree is also excellent preparation for graduate education in humanities, law, and social science fields.

 

Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS) Course Descriptions

WGS 200: Women’s Movements of the United States.
Goal: To explore in an interdisciplinary and historical context the wide range of social and cultural issues and the associated activism which has affected women's experiences, value, and status focused on US societal contexts. (Note: United States emphasis.)
Content: This course will center on the early women’s movements (1800s-mid-1900s), examinig the important issues of concern and making connections to those experienced today. Topics to be explored may include gender roles and images in history, language, literature, news, media, religion, art, and science; sexuality, family, reproduction, and parenthood; work, employment, and the economics; law, rights, government, and politics; past feminist movements. Methods include crossdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of women's lives, intersectional gender analysis, and questioning the role that gender plays in an individual's lived experience and a community's position in society. (Note: You may not take WGS 200 if you have taken WST 200: Women, Culture, & Society.)
Taught: Spring.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Historical Events & Phenomena (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
WST 201: Psychology of Human Sexuality.
Goal: To explore biological, psychological, interpersonal and sociocultural aspects of human sexuality.
Content: Issues surrounding multiple and often contradictory elements that shape sexual attitudes and behaviors.
Taught: Spring.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as PSY 201.
 

WST 210: Women and Economic Development.
Goal: To study the impact of economic change on women by analyzing how age, sex and race hierarchies modify changes in women's roles in different societies of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Content: This course will focus on the effects of economic growth on the socioeconomic status of women. Most importantly, students will study the means by which patriarchy has persisted in various parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America by redefining itself, even as economies have modernized.
Taught: Fall, Spring.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women's Experience (PS).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as BUS 210 and ECO 210.

WST 213: Gender and Religion.
Goal:
 To engage students in the critical reading and assessment of significant religious and theological works concerning how gender impacts the practices of religion in society and how religion impacts individual and societal understanding of gender and gender roles.
Content: Students will examine in detail the approach to gender and gender roles undertaken by a diversity of religions, religious practitioners, theologians, and theorists of religion. The impact of gender on issues such as ethical formation, religious authority, the nature of human existence, and conceptions of the holy will be explored.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women’s Experiences (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as REL 213.

WST 215: Women, Music, and Culture.
Goal: To challenge students to engage actively and to think critically about women's roles and the power of perspective in historical narrative. Students will learn how to listen and analyze a number of musical styles and genres, as well as consider issues such as gender and control in music and how women are perceived cross-culturally.
Content: This course will examine the contributions of women involved in the world of music, including composers, producers, consumers, performers, and educators.The course will cover the major historical music periods as well as a number of popular and world music styles.
Taught: Regularly.
Gen Ed. Category: Expanding, Women's Experience (FA).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as MUS 215.

WST 225: Women and Politics.
Goals: To examine the status of women in today's political world from a global perspective, and to understand how women's experiences are shaped by historical, political, and societal factors.
Content: The course examines the extent to which women have participated and achieved representation in the political arena, and with what impact; analyzes how public policy affects women's lives; and evaluates critical political and social issues that women face in today's global world.
Taught: Spring.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women's Experience (SBS).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as POL 225.
 
WGS 250: Global Feminisims.
Goal: To enhance understanding of the socio-cultural differences and similarities among women situated in particular patriarchies. (Note: Non-Western emphasis.)
Content: Through an intersectional, theoretical focus on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, social economic class, (dis)ability, etc., students will explore the historical root systems, institutional structures, and lived experiences of a diversity of girls and women around the world. (Note: You may not take WGS 250 if you have taken WST 250: Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Women.)
Taught: Alternative years.
Prerequisite(s): None.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Diverse and Interdependent World (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours.
 
WST 267: Women in World History.
Goal: To provide students with an introduction to the role of women in world history and to have students read critically from a variety of primary and secondary sources on topics related to women's changing role in different cultures.
Content: Using the experience of women as the unifying theme, this course will take a comparative approach to different civilizations from the ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern periods around the world.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women's Experience (SBS).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as HIS 267.
 

WST 301: Psychology of Gender.
Goal: To further students' understanding of psychological knowledge as it applies to women and gender issues.
Content: Exploration of the manner in which psychology provides a unique perspective on the study of gender with emphasis on research methodologies, empirical findings, theory, and current and historical controversies.
Taught: Spring.
Prerequisites: PSY 101 or WST 200.
Gen. Ed. Category: Synthesizing.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as PSY 301.

WGS 305: Mediating Genders.
Goal: To analyze mediated representations of gender from critical cultural and feminist theoretical perspectives.
Content: An advanced focus on media representations, this course will take an intersectional approach to understand the cross-influence & perception of gender expectations that intersect with other identities. Topics would include representations of race, queer identities, ages, (dis)abilities, nationalities, etc., violence in the media, stereotypes & tropes, etc. in a variety of media platforms.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women’s Experiences (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as COM 305.

WST 328: Women, Culture, and Theatre.
Goal: Learn to perceive and respond thoughtfully, in oral and written form, to issues of gender and culture in theatre.
Content: Students will gain the tools to analyze, discuss, and write about plays, performances, and production work by women from various cultures, and how women have altered the nature of theatre, particularly within the past thirty years. Students will engage with issues of class, ethnicity, and the social construction of gender identity.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: None.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women’s Experience (FA).

Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as THE 328.

WGS 338: Identity, Power, & Culture.
Goal: To analyze societal position, ideology and dynamics from critical cultural and feminist theoretical perspectives.
Content: This course will focus on cultural, rhetorical discourses in the United States with a feminist, intersectional approach. Working through contemporary conversations & controversies with an eye to past positionality & knowledge creation, topics will include critical theory, the social construction of reality, race, class, queer, & citizen/immigrant identities as historical sites of oppression, & US ideology, narratives, & social change.
Taught: Alternate years.
Prerequisites: COM 214, COM 215, COM 216, WGS 200, or WGS 250. Or permission of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as COM 338.

WST 354: Art History III: 20th Century to Contemporary.
Goal: To acquire an in-depth understanding of the art of our own time from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present through the eyes and hands of women artists. To acquire a familiarity with contemporary issues facing women in the 20th and 21st centuries through the study of art. To interpret the art of women as a revelation of the soul and expression of deep feelings as well as a commentary on feminist issues.
Content: Study of the global art of women in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Taught: Annually.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women's Experience (FA).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as ARH 354.

WST 355: Seminar in Gender and Philosophy.
Goal: To engage students in the critical reading and assessment of significant philosophical works concerning how gender impacts the practices of philosophy and society.
Content: Students will examine in detail the philosophical ideas of a particular philosopher, school of philosophy, or philosophical trend that concerns the impact of gender on issues such as views of reality, theories of knowledge, and the nature of human existence and society.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen Ed. Credit: Expanding; Women’s Experiences (HUM).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as PHI 355.

WST 377: Seminar in Women's History.
Goal: To provide students with an in-depth exploration of a variety of important primary and secondary texts in women's history, and to teach students to engage competently in discussions of historical writing about women and gender.
Content: This course provides students with an in-depth examination of a particular theme, period, or region in women's history with emphasis on the variety of historical scholarship on that topic. The focus of each seminar will vary. Topics might include the history of motherhood, the history of sex workers, or the history of women entrepreneurs.
Taught: Alternate years.
Gen. Ed. Category: Expanding; Women's Experience (SBS).
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as HIS 377. This course may be repeated one time with a different topic for a maximum of six credits.
 
WST 396: Special Topics in Women's Studies.
Goal: To offer the student opportunities to pursue Women's Studies in specific areas outside the regularly scheduled courses.
Content: An examination of the role of women and/or women's issues in a particular area of study.
Taught: As needed.
Prerequisites: None, or if cross-listed with another course, the prerequisite(s) of that course will apply.
Credit: 3 hours. A student may take a maximum of six to eight semester hours (two courses) of special topics in any one field.
 
WGS 401: Senior Seminar.
Goal: Provides an integrative capstone experience for majors, allowing them to develop and share signifcant independent projects in a workshop setting.
Content: This course encourages students to apply their accumulated knowledge and make connections among the various parts of their course of study in Women, Gender, and Sexuality and throughout their liberal arts education. Student workshops will be facilitated by the WGS faculty, and independent research and writing will be conducted; some projects may need consultation with a chosen advisor. Content may vary from year to year.
Taught: Annually.
Prerequisites: Senior standing and successful completion of WGS 200, WGS 250, and one 300-level WGS course, or permission of instructor.
Credit: 1 hour.
 
WST 451: Directed Independent Study.
Goal: To allow students to pursue particular interests in Women's Studies in addition to those covered in other courses.
Content: Varies according to interest of the student; to be agreed upon by student and professor and approved by the Women's Studies Program Chair.
Taught: Fall, Spring.
Prerequisites: Permission of program director and instructor.
Credit: 1-6 hours.
 
WST 452/199: Field Study/Internship
Goal: To provide students with an opportunity to gain experience and apply their learned skills in a practical, professional setting that can be explored through creative, vocational, and/or academic venues.
Content: Varies with student and her chosen advisor.
Taught: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Prerequisites: Permission of program director and advisor.
Credit: 1-12 hours.
 

WST 499: Honors Thesis. (Fee required).

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