Women's and Gender Studies

Women's StudiesSince its inception in 1989, the women’s and gender studies curriculum has incorporated a growing number of courses on men and masculinities. Although the majority of women’s and gender studies courses emphasize gender in Western societies, one of the goals of this program is to provide a global context and to offer students courses which will define the roles and issues of women and men in non-Western societies.

Combined Major in Women’s and Gender Studies

Students interested in women’s and gender studies will combine the major with another discipline such as English, history, political science, psychology, religious studies or sociology. As faculty from multiple departments teach courses for the program, we emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to studying women’s and gender issues.  We encourage students to seek advising on coursework as the course offerings vary greatly by semester and a variety of courses across disciplines may qualify for women’s and gender studies credit.

In both the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) Minor and the Combined Major, students will learn

  1. To use gender as an analytical category
  2. The history of women
  3. The principles and varieties of feminism both as a political philosophy that shapes activism and a method of analysis in academia
  4. To explore the diversity of women’s experiences and how race, class, and other aspects of identity interact with gender and sexuality
  5. How understandings and expressions of masculinity, femininity, gender roles and sexuality are contingent and have changed over time and across culture

Combined Major Requirements

  • Introducing Sex and Gender (WGS 210)
  • Seminar in Women’s Studies (WGS 400)
  • 200-level internship
  • Four other women’s and gender studies courses (It is important to understand that students electing the combined major in women’s and gender studies can not earn general studies credit for the courses which are part of their major.)

The listings and topics vary from year to year, but among the courses offered on a regular basis for either the minor or the co-major are:

  • Introducing Sex and Gender (WGS 210)
  • Race, Class & Gender (PHI 135)
  • Sex, Love & Friendship (PHI 206)
  • Feminism & Philosophy (PHI 228)
  • Sex, Gender, Bible (REL 244)
  • US Women’s History (HIS 204)
  • Women’s Work (HIS 275)
  • Women in Latin America (LAS 340)
  • U.S. Social History: The American Family 1600-1900 (HIS 311)
  • Sex, Gender and Culture (ANT 320)
  • The Family (SOC 261)
  • Social Stratification (SOC 262)
  • Parenting and Technology (SOC 270)
  • Work and Family Conflict (SOC271)
  • Domestic Violence (SOC 311)
  • Immigration and Transnational Families (SOC470)
  • Women Writing in America (ENG 235)
  • Black Women Writers (ENG 235)
  • Women Writers: Africa & the Caribbean (ENG 235)
  • Women’s Texts (ENG 390)
  • Women, Gender & Mass Media (COM 283)

Minor Requirements

  • Introducing Sex and Gender (WGS 210)
  • 200-level internship
  • Three other women’s and gender studies courses

WGS 210
Introducing Sex and Gender
Is gender merely a matter of biology?  Or is it an identity we perform through the way we move, the relationships we choose, the culture we create, the politics we espouse?  This course is an introduction to the basic content, theories, and methods of women’s and gender studies.  We will explore the ways in which society constructs gender, the ways in which people develop gender identity, and the ways in which gender intersects with race and class identities.  We will also explore issues surrounding sexuality: sex, reproductive health, and sexual orientation. We will investigate how different ideologies of sex and gender affect our everyday lives.  GENERAL STUDIES CONNECTIONS-HUMANITIES

WGS 400
Seminar in Women’s Studies

Addressing developments in the new scholarship on women and in feminist theory and methodology, the seminar focuses on topics from different disciplines and affords students the opportunity to present their own scholarly work in the field. Topics vary from year to year and take advantage of the wide range of expertise of faculty specializing in women’s studies fields. Major focus in this seminar course is on issues related to past, present and future constructions of gender in the United States.

The voices of both women and men representing various viewpoints and disciplines are reviewed and studied in order to interpret and understand the concepts of sex, gender, gender roles and gender identity (psychological based theories are emphasized). The meanings of these concepts are examined critically as a function of changing perspectives associated with biological determinism, technology, economics, politics and social construction within the Romantic, Modern and Postmodern periods of history. Special topics are researched. In addition, part of the focus is on our construction of human sexuality and the relationship among gender, sex and sexuality.


Kristen T. Woodward, MFA
Professor of Art, teaching painting and printmaking


Charles Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology; Department Chair


Hilary Aquino, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor


Guillaume de Syon, Ph.D.
Professor of History


Samira Mehta Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies



Carla Abodalo, MS
Senior Instructor of Sociology


Brian Jennings, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology


Elizabeth Kiester, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology


Kennon Rice, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology


Barton Thompson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology


Teri Jensen-Sellers, M.A.
Adjunct Lecturer in Sociology


Adrienne Lodge, M.S., C.F.E., C.A.M.S.
Adjunct Lecturer in Sociology-Criminal Justice

What Can I do With a Major in
Women and Gender Studies