Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in American Institutions and Values Corber, Director; Charles A. Dana Professor of History Hedrick

The program in women, gender, and sexuality takes gender and sexuality as its critical terms of inquiry, exploring them as social constructs and analyzing their impact on the traditional disciplines. The program draws on the liberal arts and sciences to examine a wide range of topics relating to gender and sexuality, including women’s varied experiences in different historical periods and cultures, as well as their contributions to culture in all its forms; the relationship among sex, gender, and sexuality; lesbian, gay, and transgender subcultures, and their histories and politics; and the institutional and discursive regulation of gender and sexuality. Recognizing that gender and sexuality cut across most fields of knowledge and that race, class, and nation are crucial components of gender and sexual identities, the program has both an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural focus.

Core faculty

Curricular options—Students may either major or minor in women, gender, and sexuality. The requirements for both are listed below.

The major in women, gender, and sexuality—Majors are required to complete, with grades of C- or better, 13 course credits in women, gender, and sexuality, which must include the following:

In order to ensure rigor, breadth, and diversity, the concentration and elective courses must include the following:

Honors—The award of honors in women, gender, and sexuality will be based on a grade point average of 3.5 or better in the courses for the major and completion of a senior thesis with a grade of A- or better. Application to complete a senior thesis should be made to the director of women, gender, and sexuality the semester before the thesis is undertaken.

The minor in women, gender, and sexuality—The minor consists of six courses completed with a C- or better: two required core courses in women, gender, and sexuality; three electives in women, gender, and sexuality; and a senior seminar.

Fall Term

Course Core to WMGS Major

101. Women, Gender, and Sexuality— This course introduces students to the study of women, gender, and sexuality, paying attention to issues of power, agency, and resistance. Using a variety of 19th- and 20th-century American materials, the course seeks to understand: women’s experiences and the way they have been shaped, normative and nonnormative alignments of sex, gender, and sexuality across different historical periods, and the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation. This course is not open to seniors. (HUM) (Enrollment limited) –Hedrick

315. Women in America— An examination of women’s varied experiences in the public and private spheres, from their own perspective as well as that of the dominant society. The experiences of women of different classes and races will be compared, as will the relationship between images of women and changing realities of their lives. Emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. (HUM) (Enrollment limited) –Hedrick

401. Senior Seminar— The goals of this seminar are to sharpen critical thinking and to afford an opportunity for synthesis of student work in women, gender, and sexuality. Towards these ends we will examine the construction of race, class, and sexuality in America as they intersect with gender. The capstone of the course is a twenty-five-page research paper. There will be opportunities to share work in progress with seminar members and to involve the wider campus community in the issues. This course is open only to senior Women Gender and Sexuality majors and minors. (WEB) (Enrollment limited) –Corber

Other WMGS Courses

319. The Woman’s Film— In the 1930s Hollywood created a new genre, the woman’s picture or “weepie,” designed specifically for female audiences. This course examines the development of this enormously popular genre from the 1930s to the 1960s, including important cycles of women’s pictures such as the female gothic and the maternal melodrama. It pays particular attention to the genre’s exploration of female sexuality and its homoerotic organization of the look. It also considers the genre’s role in the formation of contemporary theories of female spectatorship. Film screenings include both versions of Imitations of Life, These Three, Stage Door, Blonde Venus, Stella Dallas, Mildred Pierce, Rebecca, Suspicion, Gaslight, The Old Maid, Old Acquaintance, The Great Lie, Letter from an Unknown Woman, All that Heaven Allows, and Marnie. Readings by Doane, Williams, Modleski, de Lauretis, Jacobs, and White. (Enrollment limited) –Corber

[335. Mapping American Masculinities]— This course examines the construction of masculinity in American society starting with Theodore Roosevelt’s call at the turn of the twentieth century for men to revitalize the nation by pursuing the “strenuous life.” Through close readings of literary and filmic texts, it considers why American manhood has so often been seen as in crisis. It pays particular attention to the formation of non-normative masculinities (African-American, female, and gay) in relation to entrenched racial, class, and sexual hierarchies, as well as the impact of the feminist, civil rights, and gay liberation movements on the shifting construction of male identity. In addition to critical essays, readings also include Tarzan of the Apes, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, The Great Gatsby, The Sun also Rises, Native Son, Another Country, and Kiss Me Deadly (Spillane). Film screenings include Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich), Shaft, Magnum Force, Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, Cleopatra Jones, and Boys Don’t Cry. (Enrollment limited)

[345. Film Noir]— This course traces the development of film noir, a distinctive style of Hollywood filmmaking inspired by the hardboiled detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, and Raymond Chandler. It pays particular attention to the genre’s complicated gender and sexual politics. In addition to classic examples of film noir, the course also considers novels by Hammett, Cain, and Chandler. (Enrollment limited)

399. Independent Study— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment. (1 - 2 course credits) –Staff

466. Teaching Assistantship— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment. (0.5 - 1 course credit) –Staff

497. Senior Thesis— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment in this single term thesis. (WEB) –Staff

498. Senior Thesis Part 1— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for each semester of this yearlong thesis. (Two course credits are considered pending in the first semester; two course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester). (2 course credits) (WEB) –Staff

Courses Originating in Other Departments

[American Studies 341. Spectacle of Disability in American Culture]— View course description in department listing on p. 251.

[Classical Civilization 224. Sex and Sexualities in Ancient Greece and Rome]— View course description in department listing on p. 331.

[English 220. Crime and Passion: Studies in Victorian Literature]— View course description in department listing on p. 423.

[English 347. Writing Women of the Renaissance]— View course description in department listing on p. 425. Prerequisite: C- or better in English 260 or permission of instructor.

[History 247. Latinos/Latinas in the United States]— View course description in department listing on p. 528.

[History 368. Gender and War in Twentieth Century Europe]— View course description in department listing on p. 531.

[International Studies 131. Modern Iran]— View course description in department listing on p. 576.

[International Studies 218. Women, Gender, and Family in the Middle East]— View course description in department listing on p. 577.

[International Studies 234. Gender and Education]— View course description in department listing on p. 577.

[International Studies 249. Immigrants and Refugees: Strangers in Strange Lands]— View course description in department listing on p. 577.

International Studies 336. Women, War, and Violence— View course description in department listing on p. 579. –Tabar

International Studies 351. Politics of Memory: Memory, History, Decolonization— View course description in department listing on p. 580. –Tabar

Music 150. Women in Music— View course description in department listing on p. 688. –Woldu

[Philosophy 240. Introduction to Feminist Philosophy]— View course description in department listing on p. 717.

[Philosophy 328. Freud]— View course description in department listing on p. 719.

[Religion 248. Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Religion]— View course description in department listing on p. 811.

[Sociology 246. Sociology of Gender]— View course description in department listing on p. 830.

Sociology 260. Sexual Diversity and Society— View course description in department listing on p. 830. –Valocchi

[Sociology 355. Reproduction, Birth, and Power]— View course description in department listing on p. 831. Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of instructor.

Spring Term

Course Core to WMGS Major

[245. The Hollywood Musical]— Perhaps more than any other genre, the musical epitomized Hollywood’s “golden age.” This course traces the development of the enormously popular genre from its emergence at the beginning of the Great Depression to its decline amid the social upheavals of the 1960s. It pays particular attention to the genre’s queering of masculinity and femininity, as well as its relationship to camp modes of reception. Readings by Jane Feuer, Rick Altman, Richard Dyer, Janet Staiger, and Steven Cohan. (Enrollment limited)

[301. Western Feminist Thought]— An exploration of the main currents in American feminism, with occasional excursions into European thought. The course readings assume (rather than demonstrate) women’s historical subordination to man and put forward various explanations and strategies for change. Readings in J.S. Mill, C. P. Gilman, Emma Goldman, Simone de Beauvoir, Adrienne Rich, bell hooks, Mary Daly, Audre Lorde, and others. This course is not open to First-Year students. Prerequisite: C- or better in one other course in Women Gender and Sexuality. (HUM) (Enrollment limited)

[315. Women in America]— An examination of women’s varied experiences in the public and private spheres, from their own perspective as well as that of the dominant society. The experiences of women of different classes and races will be compared, as will the relationship between images of women and changing realities of their lives. Emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. (HUM) (Enrollment limited)

Other WMGS Courses

[215. Drink and Disorder in America]— Drinking as an institution has reflected the varieties of cultures, interest groups, and ideologies that have swept America. We will examine the tumultuous history of this institution from the origins of the Republic to the present in order to understand what the wets’ and the drys’ can tell us about the nature of community in America. Special attention to the ways in which gender, race, class, and ethnicity shape perceptions of drinking, leisure, and social control. (Also listed under American Studies and History.) (HUM) (Enrollment limited)

[319. The Woman’s Film]— In the 1930s Hollywood created a new genre, the woman’s picture or “weepie,” designed specifically for female audiences. This course examines the development of this enormously popular genre from the 1930s to the 1960s, including important cycles of women’s pictures such as the female gothic and the maternal melodrama. It pays particular attention to the genre’s exploration of female sexuality and its homoerotic organization of the look. It also considers the genre’s role in the formation of contemporary theories of female spectatorship. Film screenings include both versions of Imitations of Life, These Three, Stage Door, Blonde Venus, Stella Dallas, Mildred Pierce, Rebecca, Suspicion, Gaslight, The Old Maid, Old Acquaintance, The Great Lie, Letter from an Unknown Woman, All that Heaven Allows, and Marnie. Readings by Doane, Williams, Modleski, de Lauretis, Jacobs, and White. (Enrollment limited)

345. Film Noir— This course traces the development of film noir, a distinctive style of Hollywood filmmaking inspired by the hardboiled detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, and Raymond Chandler. It pays particular attention to the genre’s complicated gender and sexual politics. In addition to classic examples of film noir, the course also considers novels by Hammett, Cain, and Chandler. (Enrollment limited) –Corber

369. Queer Studies: Issues and Controversies— This broadly interdisciplinary course examines the impact of queer theory on the study of gender and sexuality in both the humanities and the social sciences. In positing that there is no necessary or causal relationship between sex, gender, and sexuality, queer theory has raised important questions about the identity-based understandings of gender and sexuality still dominant in the social sciences. This course focuses on the issues queer theory has raised in the social sciences as its influence has spread beyond the humanities. Topics covered include: queer theory’s critique of identity; institutional versus discursive forms of power in the regulation of gender and sexuality; the value of psychoanalysis for the study of sexuality; and lesbian and gay historiography versus queer historiography. (GLB) (Enrollment limited) –Corber

399. Independent Study— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment. (1 - 2 course credits) –Staff

466. Teaching Assistantship— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment. (0.5 - 1 course credit) –Staff

497. Senior Thesis— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment in this single term thesis. (WEB) –Staff

498. Senior Thesis Part 1— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for each semester of this yearlong thesis. (Two course credits are considered pending in the first semester; two course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester). (2 course credits) (WEB) –Staff

499. Senior Thesis Part 2— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this yearlong thesis. (Two course credits are considered pending in the first semester; two course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester.) (2 course credits) (WEB) –Staff

Courses Originating in Other Departments

[American Studies 326. Representations of Miscegenations]— View course description in department listing on p. 262.

American Studies 340. The Body in 19th Century American Culture— View course description in department listing on p. 262. –Gieseking

[American Studies 346. Sexuality, Nation, Race, and Gender]— View course description in department listing on p. 263.

[American Studies 390. Born This Way: The Science of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 1860s to the Present]— View course description in department listing on p. 263.

Anthropology 207. Anthropological Perspectives of Women and Gender— View course description in department listing on p. 280. –Nadel-Klein

Arabic 224. Introduction to Arab and Middle Eastern Cinemas— View course description in department listing on p. 623. –Hanna

[Educational Studies 309. Race, Class, and Educational Policy]— View course description in department listing on p. 397. Prerequisite: C- or better in Educational Studies 200 or permission of instructor.

[English 225. Jane Austen and the Romantic Period]— View course description in department listing on p. 437.

English 348. Women Writers of the Middle Ages— View course description in department listing on p. 441. Prerequisite: C- or better in English 260 or permission of instructor. –Fisher

English 463. Feminist Approaches to Literature— View course description in department listing on p. 445. –Bilston

History 224. Gender in Brazilian History, from Colonialism to the 20th Century— View course description in department listing on p. 537. –Staff

History 247. Latinos/Latinas in the United States— View course description in department listing on p. 538. –

[International Studies 209. Gender and Natural Resources]— View course description in department listing on p. 583.

[International Studies 307. Women’s Rights as Human Rights]— View course description in department listing on p. 585.

[International Studies 311. Global Feminism]— View course description in department listing on p. 586.

[International Studies 345. Worldly Sex]— View course description in department listing on p. 586.

Language & Cultural Studies 224. Introduction to Arab and Middle Eastern Cinemas— View course description in department listing on p. 618. –Hanna

Music 150. Women in Music— View course description in department listing on p. 691. –Woldu

[Philosophy 239. African-American Feminism]— View course description in department listing on p. 723.

[Political Science 326. Women and Politics]— View course description in department listing on p. 761. Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102 or permission of instructor.

Political Science 359. Feminist Political Theory— View course description in department listing on p. 763. –Maxwell

Sociology 246. Sociology of Gender— View course description in department listing on p. 832. –Andersson

[Sociology 272. Social Movements]— View course description in department listing on p. 833.

[Sociology 328. Sociological Perspectives on Health and Gender]— View course description in department listing on p. 834. Prerequisite: C- or better in a prior Sociology course or permission of the instructor. This course is not open to first-year students.