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Gender and Women’s Studies

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College of Humanities

  • Chair: Sheena Malhotra
  • Jerome Richfield Hall (JR) 340
  • (818) 677-3110
  • www.csun.edu/gws/

Faculty

  • Dianne Bartlow
  • Florence Kyomugisha
  • Marta López-Garza
  • Sheena Malhotra
  • Breny Mendoza
  • Nayereh Tohidi

Staff

  • Janaki Bowerman
  • Molly Nguyen

Programs

Undergraduate

  • B.A., Women’s Studies
  • Minor in Gender & Women’s Studies

The Major

The Gender and Women’s Studies Department emphasizes interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and transnational studies with a focus on the intersectionality of gender, race, class, and sexuality. 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, women and religion, 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.

Careers

A degree in Women’s Studies is an avenue to jobs in the mass media, public relations, community and labor organizing, social work, counseling, teaching, and government, as well as new fields, such as women’s career training. Specialized career preparation may be obtained by combining the Women’s Studies major with a minor from another department. In addition, a Bachelors of Science in Women’s Studies provides an entry for advanced graduate degrees in fields such as women’s studies, gender and ethnic studies, law, education, health care, social sciences, global studies, the arts and cultural and communication studies.

Student Learning Outcomes of the Undergraduate Program

The Gender and Women’s Studies Department at CSUN teaches students to view the world with a critical analytical approach grounded in a social justice framework.

  • 1. Students investigate the gender dimension of social, economic, cultural, historical, and political processes on women and men in U.S. and global contexts.
  • 2. Students will have a level of proficiency in the discipline of Gender and Women’s Studies, including knowledge of women’s movements, feminist theories, feminist research methods and women’s contributions to the production of different knowledges.
  • 3. Students will demonstrate the ability to critically analyze matrices of power like gender, race, class, and sexuality in ways that lay the groundwork for constructive social change.
  • 4. Students will develop a sense of agency grounded in the development of their skills in oral and written communication, critical thinking, media literacy, information competence and leadership.

Requirements for the B.A. in Women’s Studies

1. Lower Division Required Courses (3 Units)

  • GWS 100 Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies (3)
  • or GWS 110 Women, Work, and the Family (3)

(Either course serves as a preparatory course for GWS 300)

2. Upper Division Required Courses (15 Units)

  • GWS 300 Women as Agents of Change (3)
  • GWS 301 Feminist Theories (3)

(Prerequisite: GWS 100, or 110 or 300 or instructor consent.)

  • GWS 302 Feminist Methods (3)

(Prerequisite: GWS 100, or 110 or 300 or instructor consent.)

  • GWS 305CS Gender & Women’s Studies Community Service (3)
  • GWS 400 Senior Seminar in Gender and Women’s Studies (3)

3. Upper Division Electives (15 Units)

Select 15 units of electives from the list below. No more than 12 units of electives can be from Experimental and Selected Topics courses.

  • 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 (3)
  • GWS 410 Sex, Lies and Media (3)
  • GWS 420 Women and Gender in Islamic Societies (3)
  • GWS 430 Global Sexualities (3)
  • GWS 495A-Z Selected Topics (3)

Concentration

All students must also complete a 12 unit concentration from the list below, or may design a concentration in consultation with the Chair or Advisor of Gender and Women’s Studies. Students may, with approval of department Chair or advisor, substitute Gender and Women’s Studies electives, experimental and selected topics courses for concentration requirements, when appropriate. Students may, with the approval of the Gender and Women’s Studies chair or advisor, receive credit for up to 3 units of Independent Study, which may be counted as a concentration in the major. Each course may be counted in only 1 category. For example, a course that is counted as an upper division elective may not be counted again as a concentration course.

Race and Ethnicity (12 units)
  • AAS 340 Asian American Women (3)
  • CHS 246 Contemporary Issues of the Chicana (3)
  • CHS 346 History of the Chicana/Mexicana. (3)
  • CHS 365 Third World Women and the Chicana (3)
  • JS 330 Women in the Jewish Experience (3)
  • RTM 330 Women, Leisure, and Ethnicity in the U.S. (3)
  • PAS 324 Black Women In Contemporary Times (3)
  • GWS 350 Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality (3)
  • CAS 365 Changing Roles of Central American Women (3)
  • GWS 420 Women and Gender in Islamic Societies (3)
Philosophy and Religion (12 units)
  • ANTH 308 Women, Sex Roles and Culture (3)
  • JS 330 Women in the Jewish Experience (3)
  • PHIL 338 Philosophy of Religion (3)
  • PHIL 348 Philosophy and Feminism (3)
  • RS 304 Women and Religion (3)
  • GWS 420 Women and Gender in Islamic Societies (3)
Communication and Media (12 units)
  • COMS 360 Communication and the Sexes (3)
  • COMS 435 Rhetoric of Women (3)
  • JOUR 371 Women and the Media. (3)
  • JOUR 372 Diversity and the Media. (3)
  • GWS 410 Sex, Lies and Media (3)
  • CTVA 413 Women as Filmmakers (3) or ART 468 Women in the Visual Arts (3)
Law and Public Policy (12 units)
  • BLAW 391 Women and the Law (3)
  • HIST 349 Women in American History (3)
  • POLS 350 Great Questions in Politics (3)
  • POLS 361 Introduction to Public Policy (3)
  • POLS 448 Women and Politics in the U.S. and the World (3)
Social Work and Welfare (12 units)
  • FCS 340 Marriage and Family Relations (3)
  • HSCI 231 Women and Health (3)
  • SOC 324 Sociology of Sex Roles (3)
  • SOC 325 Sex Roles and Work (3)
  • SOC 357 Introduction to Social Work Practice (3)
Criminology (12 units)
  • BLAW 391 Women and the Law (3)
  • SOC 304 Sociology of Deviance (3)
  • SOC 324 Sociology of Sex Roles (3)
  • SOC 355 Criminology (3)
  • SOC 418 Women and Crime (3)
Literature (12 units)
  • ENGL 431 Images of Women in Literature (3)
  • ENGL 433 Women Authors (3)
  • ENGL 434 19th-Century Women Novelists (3)
Choose two courses from the following list:
  • CHS 381 Contemporary Chicana Literature (3)
  • ENGL 369 Lesbian Writers (3)
  • FLIT 455 Women Writers of Asia (3)
  • PAS 346 Contemporary Black Female Writers (3)
  • GWS 310 Latin American Women Writers (3)
  • Total Units
  • 42-45
  • General Education Units
  • 17-20
  • Additional Units
  • 48
  • Total Units
  • 120

Requirements for the Minor (18 UNITS)

Required Courses (12 Units)
  • GWS 100 Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies (3)
  • or GWS 110 Women, Work & Family (3)
  • GWS 301 Feminist Theories (3)
  • GWS 350 Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality Capstone Course
Electives (9 units)

You are required to complete three electives for the GWS minor. Select a course from the following list of courses. All units must be at the 300 or 400-level with an optional elective course at the 200 level. Upper-division elective courses for majors as well as experimental and selected topics courses (upon approval of the Gender and Women’s Studies Chair or advisor) may fulfill electives requirements for the Gender and Women’s Studies Minor.

List of Courses
  • AAS 340 Asian American Women (3)
  • ANTH 308 Women, Sex Roles, and Culture (3)
  • ART 468 Women in the Visual Arts (3)
  • BLAW 391 Women and the Law (3)
  • CHS 246 Contemporary Issues of the Chicana (3)
  • CHS 346 History of the Chicana/Mexicana (3)
  • CHS 365 Third World Women and the Chicana (3)
  • COMS 335 Studies in Women’s Rhetoric (3)
  • COMS 360 Communication and the Sexes (3)
  • COMS 435 Rhetoric of Women (3)
  • CTVA 413 Women as Filmmakers (3)
  • ENGL 369 Lesbian Writers (3)
  • ENGL 431 Images of Women in Literature (3)
  • ENGL 433 Survey of Women Authors (3)
  • ENGL 434 Nineteenth-Century Women Novelists (3)
  • GWS 300 Women as Agents of Change (3)
  • GWS 320 Women and Urban Life (3)
  • GWS 360 Feminist Ethics (3)
  • GWS 340 Women, Gender, and Global Development (3)
  • HSCI 231 Women and Health (3)
  • HIST 349 Women in American History (3)
  • HIST 350 History of Women (3)
  • JS 330 Women in the Jewish Experience (3)
  • JOUR 371 Women and the Media (3)
  • LSCR 330 Women, Leisure, and Ethnicity in the US (3)
  • PAS 324 The Black Woman in Contemporary Times (3)
  • PHIL 348 Philosophy and Feminism (3)
  • POLS 448 Women and Politics (3)
  • RS 304 Women and Religion (3)
  • SOC 324 Sociology of Sex Roles (3)
  • SOC 325 Sex Roles and Work (3)

Individualized Work: Students may, with approval of the Gender and Women’s Studies Chair, receive credit for up to 3 units of independent study, which may be counted as an elective in the minor.

  • Total Units in the Minor
  • 18

Course List

GWS 100. Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies (3)
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)
GWS 110. Women, Work and 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

GWS 300. Women as Agents of Change (3)
Preparatory: GWS 100 or 110, or consent of instructor; 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) (IC)
GWS 301. Feminist Theories (3)
Prerequisite: GWS 100, or 110 or 300 or instructor consent. This required course for Gender & Women Studies majors and minors concentrates on the multitude of feminist theories, from the early feminist theories to the more contemporary and complex theories by a diversity of theorists, within the United States and globally.
GWS 302. Feminist Methods (3)
Prerequisite: GWS 100 or 110 or 300 or instructor consent. In this course, students will be introduced to qualitative and quantitative research methods. The course will provide an overview of some of the critical concepts in the history of feminist research (e.g., feminist empiricism, feminist standpoint and inclusion of difference) and debates surrounding epistemology and methodology. The course will examine and evaluate interdisciplinary feminist research that have been proposed as uniquely suited for Gender & Women’s Studies as well as its proposed elements, goals and politics.
GWS 305CS. Gender and Women’s Studies Community Service (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Students work in a variety of community settings-educational, political, and/or social service agencies-to apply theoretical understanding of gender and women’s studies to practical and concrete community situations which affect women’s daily lives. Includes regular class meetings. Offers a community service opportunity with activities relating to concepts and theories presented. (Available for General Education, Lifelong Learning)
GWS 320. Women and Urban Life/Urban Space (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. 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). (Available for General Education, Social Sciences)
GWS 340. Women, Gender, and Global Development (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. 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 in the “3rd,” “2nd,” and “1st” World countries are examined. Available for Graduate Credit. (Available for General Education, Comparative Cultural Studies)
GWS 350. Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality (3)
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.
GWS 360. Feminist Ethics (3)
Prerequisite: Completion of the lower division writing requirement. Examines debates about whether an essential “women’s” morality exists and considers what is at stake in these arguments. 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. (Available for General Education, Arts and Humanities)
GWS 370. 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 illumine domestic abuse, judicial abuse, and war rape among others. (Available for General Education, Social Sciences)
GWS 380. 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 issues pertaining to the nature of women’s and men’s social roles; 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).
GWS 396A-Z. Experimental topics courses (3)
GWS 400. Senior Seminar in Gender and Women’s Studies (3)
Prerequisite: GWS 301. This course is a culmination (capstone) of the students’ undergraduate studies and will not necessarily introduce new topics. Instead, we reflect on and review important Women’s Studies’ theories, key principles and questions. Each student conducts a research project, applying feminist methodology, and writes a research paper on a topic within the discipline. The purpose of this course is to review the cross-cultural and international literature in women’s studies/feminist studies as well as to equip students for graduate school and/or the work setting.
GWS 410. Sex, Lies and Media (3)
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.
GWS 420. Women and Gender in Islamic Societies (3)
This interdisciplinary and cross-cultural course explores how the religious authorities, scriptural and legal sources have contributed to the status and legal rights of women and to the construction of theories, laws, and practices concerning gender roles and sexuality in the Islamic tradition. We will study how these constructed gender roles, sexual norms and attitudes have reflected, resisted or changed in response to modern cultural, social, economic and political changes. We will examine how Muslim women themselves have sought to articulate and define their roles and identities. What has been the impact of modernity, modernization, colonialism, nationalism, democratization, and globalization, especially the global feminist movements on the status of Muslim women and gender relations? What is the impact of the recent waves of Islamist movements (‘fundamentalism’), the identity politics and politics of the veil on women and the gender arrangement in Muslim societies?
GWS 430. 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, queer and globalization theories that help students understand how the emergence of sexuality as an intellectual 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.
GWS 495A-Z. Selected Topics in Gender and Women’s Studies (3)
Intensive study of selected themes or figures in Gender & Women’s Studies. Topics change from semester to semester.
GWS 499A-C. Independent Study (1-3)