Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGSX) is a cross-disciplinary area of inquiry that investigates the social, psychological, biological, and cultural construction of gender, as well as the ways women and men locate themselves within gender systems. Because femininities and masculinities vary as a result of cultural, historical, political, and institutional forces, gender inquiry helps students understand the multiple ways gender and gender relations are socially constructed, and how these understandings of gender in turn shape virtually every aspect of our everyday lives: political institutions, law, the economy, the family, education, work, literature, the arts, media, philosophy, religion, and sexuality.

Courses in the WGSX cross-disciplinary curriculum identify gender as a fundamental category of analysis in theory and practice. The goals for the study area are to analyze the variations in gender systems that have occurred across cultures and over time; to identify the relationship between biological difference and social inequality; to explore constructions of sexuality and sexual identity; and to recognize how gender inequality is related to other social hierarchies such as race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality.

The study area is committed to the centrality of the study of women, while at the same time interrogating gender and sexuality as organizing categories. Courses will allow students to focus their study on materials that illustrate women's condition, history, and achievements; to investigate how women have been portrayed and how those representations are changing; and to examine feminist critiques of academic areas of knowledge, including the contributions of queer theory and new feminist research. In order to provide a new site for knowledge production that engages differences constructively, the WGSX study area not only locates women within traditional disciplinary categories, but also fosters interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary exploration of the conditions that have shaped women's experiences both as objects and as subjects of knowledge.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR

To complete the minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies, students must satisfy the following requirements, designed to provide the depth and breadth of knowledge consistent with the goals of the field:

  1. General College requirements.
  2. All requirements in a major field of study.
  3. At least 20 credit hours in courses approved for the women, gender, and sexuality cross-disciplinary area, with a grade of C or above, including:
    • Either WGSX 200, “Introduction to Women Studies” or WGSX 210, “Introduction to Gender Studies,” and 16 hours of elective credits, at least 12 of which must be numbered 300 or above. Electives must be selected from courses originating in (or cross-listed in) at least three disciplines. In recent years, cross-listed classes have included:
      • ANTH 302: Food and Culture
      • ANTH 304: Anthropology of Media
      • ANTH 313: African American Colonial Culture
      • ANTH 348: African American Culture
      • ARTH 382: Sexuality and Modernity
      • ENGL 390: Contemporary Multicultural Voices
      • ENGL 400: The Female Coming-of-Age Novel
      • ENGL 430: American Literature and Music as Social Protest
      • ECON 316: Economics of Race and Gender
      • HIST 324: Women in Modern Western History
      • HIST 461: Gender in Latin American History
      • ILCS 363: Cultural Perspectives on Gender
      • PHEC 167: Self-Defense Against Sexual Assault
      • PHIL/RELG 310: Ascetics, Saints, and Sinners
      • PHIL 325: Feminism and Philosophy
      • POSC 266: Women and the Law
      • POSC 462: Studies in Comparative Politics: Women in the Third World
      • PSYC 353: Human Sexuality
      • PSYC 356: Psychology of Women
      • RELG 318: Feminism and Religion
      • RELG 355: Women in Islam
      • ANTH/SOCI 352: Topics in Anthropology/Sociology: The Cultured Body
      • SOCI 230: Sociology of Gender
      • TFMS 220: Introduction to Film and Media Studies
      • TFMS 258: Dance in History
      • TFMS 275: Costumes and Clothes in History
      • TFMS 325: Documentary Practices
      • TFMS 420: Mediated Bodies: Gender, Race, and Class on Stage and Screen
      • WGSX 150: Introductory Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality
      • WGSX 250: Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality
      • WGSX 350: Advanced Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality
      • WGSX 450: Seminar in Women, Gender, and Sexuality

The curriculum in WGSX is founded on two core courses: WGSX 200, “Introduction to Women Studies” and WGSX 210, “Introduction to Gender Studies.” Each semester the study area coordinator and participating faculty will designate other courses, including new courses, topics courses, and special offerings, that will satisfy elective requirements. A complete list of approved current offerings will appear in the online “Schedule of Classes.”

Any student who wishes to minor in the WGSX cross-disciplinary area should consult with the area coordinator or any participating faculty member. Formal declaration of intent to complete the WGSX minor should be preceded by completion of WGSX 200 or WGSX 210. Students may declare their minor at any time prior to the final semester of their senior year, but are encouraged to declare their participation and seek curricular advising as soon as possible.

Students may pursue a St. Mary's Project in WGSX with the permission of their major department and with the agreement of a faculty mentor designated by the women, gender, and sexuality faculty. Project credit (eight hours) does not apply toward fulfillment of the requirements of the minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies.

WOMEN, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY COURSES (WGSX)

WGSX 150. Introductory Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2-4)

Various topics in women, gender, and sexuality, offered at an introductory level. Topics may include the study of women across a variety of disciplines, the examination of femininities and masculinities, or the application of gender and queer theory. The subject matter of the course will vary each time the course is offered. This course may be repeated for credit, provided the topic or focus changes significantly. For a description of each course, see the current online “Schedule of Classes.”

WGSX 200. Introduction to Women Studies (4S)

This team-taught interdisciplinary class introduces students to the foundational issues, debates, and methodologies of feminist scholarship. Throughout the semester, students will consider both material and theoretical questions relating to the category of “woman,” and to the experiences of women around the world. Through an examination of women’s lives both past and present, the course will explore women’s relationships to such cultural institutions as state, church, and family. We will address topics including the biological and psychological aspects of womanhood; the gendered dynamics of power and oppression; the links among gender, race, and class; and the representation of women in literature, the arts, and popular culture—as well as the effects these representations have on both women and men. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Humanistic Foundations.

WGSX 210. Introduction to Gender Studies(4F)

This team-taught course studies gender theory from interdisciplinary perspectives, involving the participation of faculty from the arts, the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. Readings, presentations and discussions contribute to students' understanding of competing definitions of gender in different cultures and at different points in history, especially as they shed light on the emergence of gender studies as a contemporary field of study. Students learn arguments for the importance or irrelevance of gender to issues such as personal identity and political power, and develop their own positions on the meaning, worth and practice of gender, and its intersection with such related concepts as sex and sexuality. The course explores constructions of masculinity and femininity, and recent work in feminist theory, masculinity studies, and queer theory. A group of 10-15 faculty collaborate in the teaching of this course. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Humanistic Foundations.

WGSX 250. Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies(4)

Topics may include the study of women across a variety of disciplines, the examination of femininities and masculinities, or the application of gender or queer theory. The subject matter of the course will vary each time the course is offered. This course may be repeated for credit, provided the topic or focus changes significantly. For a description of each course, see the current online “Schedule of Classes.” Prerequisite: any prior course in women, gender, and sexuality studies, or permission of the instructor.

WGSX 350. Advanced Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies(4)

Various topics in women, gender, and sexuality, offered at an advanced level. Topics may include the study of women across a variety of disciplines, the examination of femininities and masculinities, or the application of gender or queer theory. The subject matter of the course will vary each time the course is offered. This course may be repeated for credit, provided the topic or focus changes significantly. For a description of each course, see the current online “Schedule of Classes.” Prerequisite: any prior course in women, gender, and sexuality studies, or permission of the instructor.

WGSX 450. Seminar in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies(4)

Various topics in women, gender, and sexuality, offered at a seminar level. Topics may include the study of women across a variety of disciplines, the examination of femininities and masculinities, or the application of gender or queer theory. The subject matter of the course will vary each time the course is offered. This course may be repeated for credit, provided the topic or focus changes significantly. For a description of each course, see the current online “Schedule of Classes.” Prerequisite: any prior course in women, gender, and sexuality studies, or permission of the instructor.

WGSX 493/494. St. Mary's Project in Women, Gender, and Sexuality

This project, which may take many forms, draws on and extends knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. The student initiates the project, identifies an area to be explored, and proposes a method of inquiry appropriate to the topic. The project should include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which it is a contribution. It must be shared with the College community through posters, presentations, or other means. This course is repeatable up to eight credit hours. Pre- or co-requisite: approval of faculty mentor; women, gender, and sexuality studies coordinator; and department chair(s) of the student’s major.

WGSX 398, 498. Off-Campus Internship (4-16E)

A variety of off-campus experiential learning opportunities can be arranged through the Career Development Center and study abroad. The off-campus internship is an individually designed experience that allows the student to explore the relationships between learning in the classroom and the practical application of knowledge in everyday work situations. Credit/no credit grading. Prerequisites: Admission to the Internship Program and approval of the WGSX coordinator. (See "Internships" under "Academic Policies" section.)

WGSX 199, 299, 399, 499. Independent Study (1-4E)

This course consists of an independent creative or research project designed by the student and supervised by a women, gender, and sexuality studies faculty member. The nature of the project, the schedule for accomplishment, and the means of evaluation must be formalized in a learning contract prior to registration. (See "Independent Study" under "Academic Policies" section.)