The Work

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WOM220 | 4 credits | Spring 2019
11:25 am–12:15pm | Tuesday/Friday |  LC100

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to “Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” (WGSS), a vibrant interdisciplinary field of study. Our course provides students with a foundation of knowledge and perspectives generated by feminist scholars and activists. These forms of knowledge and perspectives draw on theoretical frameworks that help us understand how gender and sexuality – in concert with other axes of difference – structure people’s lives, both today and in the past.

We explore theories about women and gender through interdisciplinary analyses, as well as disciplinary lenses such as anthropology, biology, political economy, history, literary studies, politics, philosophy, and sociology. Our course surveys a wide range of topics that have been key sites for the production, regulation, and transgression of gender, sexuality, and intersecting axes of difference (e.g., race, class, age, ability, nationality, religion, etc.). We focus especially on the ways that (a) ideas, identities, norms, and practices associated with gender and sexuality are embedded in social institutions; (b) how those institutions influence our lives; and (c) how they confer privileges to some groups and disadvantages to others. We analyze both interpersonal and structural forms of power (and their relationship to one another) by applying a feminist intersectional perspective to an analysis of identity and experience. Our course both identifies existing forms of inequalities, as well as ways in which feminists have challenged those inequalities.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain and apply the social construction of sex, gender and sexuality.
  • Explain and apply intersectional feminist perspectives to analyses of power, privilege, and oppression.
  • Explain how the structure and power of social and economic institutions affect us individually and collectively.
  • Identify and describe dominant culture portrayals of gender and sexuality, including the ways that they are shaped by other axes of difference; describe how these representations impinge on us as individuals and members of social groups.
  • Recognize the differences as well as the similarities among different groups of women, and the ways that different systems of domination intersect in women’s lives.
  • Identify social change strategies employed by feminists to address forms of inequality.

General Education Objectives
At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the historical, social, cultural, or political perspectives in the US society of at least one cultural, ethnic, racial or historically underrepresented group towards itself and its place in society.
  • Identify national and global forces that have influenced or shaped the perspectives of others toward the underrepresented group(s) being studied.
  • Analyze and synthesize sources objectively, incorporating some primary sources in the voices of that group.


Click for details!

Because of frequent guest lecturers and films, it is impossible to make up a missed class.

Participation is not just showing up to class, that is attendance. I expect you to be present as well as in attendance. Being present means coming to class prepared to engage, ask questions, and contribute to discussion. We are all responsible for the dynamics of the classroom, and your participation and preparedness are crucial to those dynamics.

  • Punctual attendance is expected, with exceptions made at the discretion of the instructor (i.e. in the case of illness or emergency). Students do not accrue points for showing up to class, but they will lose them for failing to do so. Three late arrivals count as one absence.
  •  More than three unexcused absences will affect your grade (instead of a B, you’d get a B-), and over five unexcused absences may cause you to fail the course.
  • Because we meet in lecture and section, attendance will be recorded and counted for both.

We will be using Twitter!

  • We will use Twitter to generate discussion in section meetings.
  • We will use our course hashtag #wgsS19.
  • Please note: if you want to protect your privacy on social media, please open a (new) Twitter account with an alter-ego. Did you know the library has iPads for check out if you need a mobile device.

Late Work:

Students are granted a “grace period” of 24 hours for writing assignments. You have 24 hours from the due date/time to submit your essays with no penalty, but you forgo getting my comments on the assignment.

After the 24 hour grace period is up, students lose one half letter grade for every additional 24 hours the assignment is late:

Two days late: A- highest possible grade; no comments
Three days late: B+ highest possible grade; no comments
Four days late: B highest possible grade; no comments

…and so on.

If you need an extension, and are granted one, there is no grace period beyond the extended due date and the losing one half letter grade per day begins as soon as the deadline is up.

Final grade is calculated as follows:

(95-100) A
(90-94) A-
(87.6-89.9) B+
(82.5-87.5) B
(80-82.4) B-
(77.6-79.9) C+
(72.5-77.5) C
(70-72.4) C-
(67.6-69.9) D+
(62.5-67.5) D
(60-62.4) D-
(below 60) F