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Gender & Women's studies Courses


Information on GWS Courses, Major and Minor

GWS Chair

The Department Chair for Gender & Women's Studies is Dr. Sheena Malhotra

Please follow the link to Dr. Malhotra's webpage (below) for her office hours and contact information.


Dr. Dianne Bartlow will serve as the Advisor for Gender & Women's Studies in 2010-2011.

Please come in and see the GWS Advisor if you have any questions about your class scheduling or if you are considering Gender & Women's Studies as a major or minor.

Helpful Forms for GWS majors
Links to GWS Clubs & Organizations

Click here to view Artist Credits.

Gender and Women's Studies Courses

Part of Mural at Women's Center

The Gender and Women’s Studies Department emphasizes interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and transnational studies with a focus on gender.

It includes course work in feminist theories, women and social movements, transnational feminisms, women of color feminisms, postcolonial feminism, women’s economic conditions in the context of globalization and development, productions of women in the media and literature, queer studies, women’s health and masculinity studies.

The Gender and Women’s Studies Department teaches students to view the world with a critical analytical approach grounded in a social justice framework. The department adheres to a disciplinary practice that centers on an integrative, intersectional framing of issues concerning gender, race, class, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, age and the differently abled.

The major and minor provide a background for various careers such as law, counseling and healthcare or advanced graduate degrees in fields such as Women’s Studies, education, communication, politic, cultural and media studies.

These are courses taught on a regular basis in the Gender and Women's Studies Department. Please refer to the most current schedule of classes (online) for a list of classes being offered each semester.

Lower Division Courses

Students are required to take EITHER GWS 100 or GWS 110 to fulfill lower division requirements

GWS100 - Introduction to Women's Studies (3)

An interdisciplinary study of women in American society, including such topics as social conditions, laws, symbols, values, communication, and power. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies F-3)


GWS110 - Women, Work, and the Family (3)

Focuses on historical and contemporary relationship between home and community work and the marketplace within which women perform.   Examines the differences in experience of work and family as these are shaped by race, class, gender and sexuality. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies.)

Upper Division Core Courses

GWS300 - Women as Agents of Change (3)

Preparatory: GWS100 or GWS110 or consent of the instructor, and completion of the lower-division writing requirement. New definitions and options for women within the family, community, and society. Students study and report on women's resources and organizations for change within the local community as well as on the national and international scene. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies F-3)

GWS 301 - Feminist Theories

Prerequisite: GWS100, GWS110 or GWS300, or consent of the instructor. Course explores many different kinds of feminist theories historical and contemporary (Fall Semester Only).

GWS 302 - Feminist Methods

Prerequisite: GWS100, GWS110 or GWS300, or consent of the instructor. Course explores the many different kinds of feminist methods/methodologies that emerge out of, and/or are complementary with, feminist theories. (Spring Semester Only)

GWS 305 (1) & GWS 305CS (2) - Women's Studies Community Service

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. GWS 305 & 305CS must be taken concurrently. Students work in a variety of community settings- educational, political, and/or social service agencies- to apply theoretical understanding of Women's Studies to pratical and concrete community situations which affect women's daily lives. Includes regular class meetings. (Fall Semester Only).

GWS 400 - Women's Studies Senior Seminar

Prerequisite: GWS301, or consent of the instructor. Variable themes. With emphasis on examination of multiple levels of women's relationship to power cross-culturally (economic, political, social, personal, symbolic), students produce research paper(s) which integrate the multidisciplinary field. (Spring Semester Only).

Upper Division Elective Courses

Every semester, the Women's Studies Department offers 3-4 courses that are electives, including Experimental and Selected Topics courses (listed as GWS 395 or GWS495 courses). Please refer to the current Schedule of Classes to get the list of courses being offered each semester.

Course # Course Name Credit
GWS 320 Women and Urban Life 3
GWS 340 Women, Gender, and Global Development 3
GWS 350 Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality 3
GWS 360 Feminist Ethics 3
GWS 370 Women and Violence 3
GWS 380 Sexual and Reproductive Health 3
GWS 396A-Z Experimental Topics in Women's Studies 3
GWS 410 Sex, Lies & Media 3
GWS 420 Women and Gender in Islamic Societies 3
GWS 430 Global Sexualities 3
GWS 495A-Z Selected Topics in Women's Studies 3

GWS320- Women and Urban Life (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Course examines the gendered use of space and how women have balanced and crossed public and private spheres. Examines women and urban issues from the micro-level (community-based organizations and grassroots mobilizations) to the macro-level (national and international states and corporate entities).

GWS340- Women, Gender & Global Development (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Course examines women's roles and concerns in socio-economic and political development processes. Positive and negative effects of colonization, post-colonial modernization, democratization, and capitalist and socialist development strategies on women and gender relations in the “Global South” and “Global North” will be examined.

GWS350- Intersections of Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality (3)

Course examines historical and contemporary issues surrounding the diversity of women living in the U.S. Gender, race, socio-economic class and sexuality are presented as central theoretical concepts and as conditions of experience that affect all women and men, as well as being primary categories of social relations for us all.

GWS360- Feminist Ethics (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Course examines debates about whether an essential “women’s” morality exists and considers what is at stake in these arguments. Course examines the impact of gender on categories of moral virtue and ethical agency. Raises the question of how (and if) women's experience has created a moral vision which challenges the dominant ethical norms of U.S. culture.

GWS370- Women and Violence (3)

Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. This course focuses on dimensions of violence women experience in the United States and internationally. It provides an overview of sexual violence including rape in intimate partnerships, childhood sexual assault, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, and violence against women under foreign occupation. Varied feminist scholarship around three broad areas will be covered: Sexual Violence Against Women, Physical Violence Against Women; and Perpetrators of Violence Against Women. The course includes an examination of case studies that illuminate domestic abuse, judicial abuse and war rape among others. (Avalilable for General Education, Social Sciences).

GWS380- Sexual and Reproductive Health(3)

The course employs a gender-based analysis of the global problem of sexual health and examines the cultural, social and economic variables associated with sexual and reproductive health disparities in the US and abroad. THe course provides a feminist approach to understanding women's symbolic meaning in society; and inequality of power in sexual relationships. In addition, the course has a community service component, which involves a project on public health activism in the local community (20% of the grade).

GWS396 A-Z. Experimental Topics Courses (3)

The study of selected themes or figures in Gender and Women's Studies. Topics will change from semester to semester as courses on new topics are being experimented with and developed.

GWS410 - Sex, Lies & Media (3)

Prerequisite: GWS100 or 110, 300 or instructor consent. In this course, students employ critical perspectives to examine narrow definitions of gender/sexuality constructed in media representations. Students deconstruct norms of masculinity and femininity generated by industries such as television, film and advertising which perpetuate and naturalize the commodification of women’s bodies. Special attention is paid to bodies and modes of sexuality that transgress (representations of the queer body, for example). Students also construct alternative imagery and generate new ideas about gender and sexuality through discussion and various projects.

GWS420 - Women and Gender in Islamic Societies (3)

This interdisciplinary and cross-cultural course explores how gender roles, sexual norms and gender attitudes have reflected, resisted or changed in response to historical, cultural, social, economic and political changes in the Islamic societies. What has been the impact of modernity, colonialism, modernization, nationalism, and globalization on the status of Muslim women and gender relations? How have Muslim women sought to articulate and define their roles and identities? What is the impact of the recent wave of Islamist movements (“fundamentalism”) on women and the gender politics? How the Muslim women’s responses have interacted with the transnational women’s movements and global feminism? In addition to required readings, class lectures and guest speakers, we will watch and discuss a few documentary films.

GWS430 - Global Sexualities (3)

Neoliberal globalization is fundamental to understanding contemporary discourses of sexuality as sexuality is also key to understanding global issues. The course will foreground a wide range of theoretical perspectives of feminist, quer and globalization theories that help students understand how the emergence of sexuality as an intellectural and social arena is concurrent with specific characteristics of the globalization process and how the new theories of sexuality advance and challenge the feminist agenda for global social and gender justice.

GWS495- Special Topics in Women's Studies (3)

Intensive study of selected themes or figures in Women's Studies. Topics will change from semester to semester. These are courses that are offered one time (Special Topics courses) . You may take upto 4 of these courses towards your Major Electives as long as the suffix is different.