Gender Studies courses give you the opportunity to think critically about how gender affects the text/issue under consideration. As a discipline, Gender Studies gives you the theoretical tools and analytical language to examine and explain this.
Gender Studies Signature Courses
Introduction to Gender Studies
This course provides students with an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of gender studies. It also serves as an introduction to gender itself—gender as identity, as a social/cultural formation, as a mode of self-expression, and as a critical lens through which to better understand the world.
We will explore how gender is experienced, produced, and performed at the intersection of culture, politics, and the body, always in conjunction with other factors of power and difference such as race, nation, sexuality, dis/ability, and socioeconomic class. We will ask how institutions like government, work, and family interact with gender in the U.S. and in local contexts around the world. We will think critically about how ideology (systems of ideas and knowledge) and representation (portrayals in media, political discourse, and everyday life) shape our understanding of gender.
The study of gender reaches into, across, and beyond academic disciplines. This course will explore how research on gender is done both within the interdisciplinary field of gender/women/sexuality studies and across many other fields, taking up debates and conversations about gender from history, sociology, anthropology, biology, literature, philosophy, political science, geography, and other disciplines that engage gender as a subject of knowledge.
Fulfills University Req. Social Science
Perspectives on Gender: Theory and Practice
This interdisciplinary seminar provides students with an overview of key concepts and terms in gender theory. Students will read prominent feminist and queer theorists of gender, analyze their arguments, and learn to critique and apply them. We will begin with early feminist explorations of gender. However, we will also explore contemporary theories, including those from outside feminist theory that move our understanding of gender outside heteronormativity and beyond the binaries of male/female and masculine/feminine. Our constant concern is to consider what these theories mean in their specific sociohistorical contexts and to contemplate their potential implications for our own and others’ lives, not to mention culture and society at large. This seminar requires close reading and discussion of theoretically rigorous and critically sophisticated texts and thus requires the active participation of committed students.
In collaboration with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Gender Studies, students choose a Gender Studies faculty member who will guide them through the year-long composition of a senior thesis. The senior thesis is a professional piece of scholarly writing featuring original research based on the student's interdisciplinary research in their gender studies major, ideally incorporating any additional fields of study they are pursuing. The Gender Studies senior thesis may build upon, but cannot replicate, the work done for a senior thesis or paper in another major or course. This course fulfills the senior capstone project requirement for Gender Studies majors. It is taken in the fall semester of the senior year (3 credits) and finished in the spring semester (3 credits). For the thesis to be accepted by Gender Studies, the minimum page requirement is 30-50 pages (excluding notes and bibliography). In the spring semester of the junior year, interested students should speak to the DUS about planning their thesis topic and research and securing a faculty advisor. In the fall semester of the senior year, students will identify (in consultation with the DUS and their thesis advisor) a second Gender Studies faculty member to serve as a research consultant. By the end of the fall semester, students submit to the DUS a working bibliography and a 1-2 paragraph summary of the project’s direction to date (including total number of pages drafted); this prospectus is approved by both their thesis advisor and the second faculty member and is required for a passing grade on the fall semester. The thesis is due, approved by the thesis advisor, by the second Friday in April. Students are expected to submit their thesis to the Genevieve D. Willis Senior Thesis Prize Competition.
Guidelines for the Gender Studies Senior Thesis
In collaboration with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Gender Studies, students choose a Gender Studies faculty member who will guide them through the semester-long composition of a capstone essay. The capstone essay is an original and professional piece of scholarly writing based on the student's interdisciplinary research in their primary and supplementary majors. The capstone essay may build upon, but cannot replicate, the work done for a senior thesis or paper in another major or course. This course fulfills the senior capstone project requirement for Gender Studies supplementary majors. It can only be taken in the fall semester of the senior year. In the spring semester of the junior year, interested students should speak to the Gender Studies Director of Undergraduate Studies about planning their thesis topic and research and securing a faculty advisor. For the essay to be accepted by Gender Studies, the minimum page requirement is 20 pages.
The Interdisciplinary Seminar is a theory and methods course that provides cross-disciplinary training in Gender Studies across at least two scholarly fields. It is taught as a combined course with both graduate and advanced undergraduate students. In this seminar, students will explore an issue of Gender Studies, reading canonical and current scholarship to reaffirm the interdisciplinary nature of the field. This course has a significant writing component (minimum of 20 pages). The Interdisciplinary Seminar is required for all undergraduate primary majors in Gender Studies who are not pursuing the thesis track; it is one of two options for supplementary majors’ capstone experience. This is the only specific course required for students pursuing a graduate minor in Gender Studies. It is intended as a gateway for both the master’s and doctoral tracks, and graduate students are encouraged but not required to take it prior to further graduate coursework in Gender Studies. The topics for this course vary. The Directors of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies will ensure that a diverse range of interdisciplinary approaches to Gender Studies are represented in this course over any five-year period. Undergraduates enroll in this seminar at the 53xxx-level, which is an advanced undergraduate course with the expectation of advanced undergraduate work. Graduate students will enroll at the 63xxx-level.