WGST - Women and Gender Studies

Course Descriptions

WGST 1010 Studying Women Across the Disciplines (3)

(previously WOMN 1010)
An interdisciplinary course designed by the Women’s Studies Committee at Webster to introduce students to feminist scholarship in a variety of disciplines. This course will be taught by a team of instructors, each one teaching from the perspective of his/her discipline.

WGST 1020 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies (3)

The interdisciplinary course introduces students to concepts and issues from feminist scholarship in a variety of disciplines, providing an introduction to critical thinking about the sex/gender system and gendered structural constraints faced by men and women. The course will focus on the intersections of gender and race, ethnicity, social class, sexuality, and ability status within the United States and around the world.

WGST 2000 Topics in Women’s Studies (3)

(previously WOMN 2000)
An intermediate level exploration of topics related to gender issues, e.g., cultural and social developments in the arts, A course designed to introduce students to feminist and gender theory and serve as a foundation for further study of gender across the disciplines.

WGST 2210 Gender, Population, and the Environment (3)

(previously WOMN 2010)
This course examines the impact of population growth on the environment utilizing a gendered lens of analysis. Students will learn about fertility policies across various cultures and how they have influenced population growth. Student will evaluate research from biology, genetics, medicine, sociology, anthropology, and history, among other disciplines focused on the interaction between gender, population, and the environment.

WGST 2225 Women: Power, Place, And Person (3)

This course provides students with an interdisciplinary introduction to power relationships in the sex and gender system, including topics such as prejudice and discrimination, historical and comparative trends in sex and gender inequality, legislative responses to gender issues, and other aspects of social inequality.

WGST 2260 Men & Masculinities (3)

This course examines men and masculinities through a critical lens, looking carefully at an institutionalized system of behaviors and beliefs that is assumed to be a natural phenomenon (as well as culturally universal, historically eternal.) The goal of the course is to reach and understanding of various masculine behaviors,myths, ideologies, and experiences, to comprehend the relationship between masculine practice and social power, and to delineate choices for future directions in the behavior and belief systems of individual men and the society at large. The course is necessarily interdisciplinary, and will utilize the tools and methods of sociology, anthropology, psychology and history as needed.

WGST 2320 Women's Spirituality

This course will focus on women's experience as the starting point for spiritual exploration. Students will analyze women's experiences of spirituality across and outside of formal religious traditions. What are some of the forms that women's spirituality has taken? When has religion been a liberation force in women's lives, and when has it been disempowering? How have women's experiences of issues such as economic and sexual self-determination, body image, and violence been affected by religion, culture, and nationality?

WGST 2322 Whodunit? Murder, Mayhem, and Misogyny

For many, murder mysteries provide a light-hearted escape. However, a close reading of some of them can offer us a different lens through which to examine Women and Gender Studies-related issues such as body image, religion as both a positive and a negative force in women's lives, the balance between work and parenting, sexual orientation, domestic violence, the sex trade, dowry deaths, and honor killings. Our exploration of topics such as these will be informed by research, optional group projects, and the work of authors such as Deborah Crombie, Patricia Hall. and Laurie King.

WGST 2325 Goddesses (3)

Goddess worship played a significant role in the lives of peoples in antiquity and enjoys a contemporary revival. What is the nature of this worship? Is it inclusive or exclusive of cultic behavior toward male deities? In this course, students will learn how to reconstruct some of the beliefs of ancient peoples from archaeological evidence and ancient documents as they examine the role and influence of the feminine goddess in ancient cultures. We will look at the ideas of the sacred feminine and practices of worship which include sexual rites, women's rituals, prayer, hymns and devotion--all attached to a powerful group of divine females. We will examine how scholars reconstruct the lives of women from their portrayal as deities.

WGST 2330 Women in Music (3)

We will examine the wide-ranging contributions made by women as composers, performers, patrons, teachers and producers of Western music. The focus is on art music and popular music, with references to intercultural gender roles in world music. Our investigation will consider gender and its effects on musical activities from the twelfth century thorough the present. Emphasizing social and cultural contexts, we will study the milieux in which women were active, evaluation their public and private status at court, in church and convent, and, subsequently, in salons, on the operatic and concert stages, and in professional teaching and composing positions. Significant portions of our study will be devoted to the representation of women in the public eye, documented through visual images in American popular song. Integral to the course are non-technical listening assignments and viewings of musical performances.

WGST 2610 Women and Gender in Social Justice Organizations (3)

This course will examine contemporary issues related to gender in the foundation and leadership of social justice organizations. We will examine the social justice organization's role in promoting such issues as women's global political participation, economic opportunities, access to education, messages about violence against women, reproductive justice, and amnesty. Students will be challenged to "put their passions into practice" by applying their increased knowledge social justice organizations with the creation of their own organization,including a final presentation that could be made to potential funders. We will also focus on aspects of governance unique to feminist organizations.

WGST 2620 Speaking of Sex: Women and the Law (3)

Women still face substantial obstacles in every area of political, social, and economic life, yet most people continue to deny that gender inequality is a serious problem. The legal system perpetuates this denial as well, and historically has attempted to discount or justify gender discrimination. This course will focus on the past and current developments of laws, programs and institutions which impact gender issues. It will focus on the social and legal implications of gender based rulings and will explore the factors which underlie such rulings.

WGST 3000 Topics in Women’s Studies (3)

(previously WOMN 3000)
An advanced, in-depth analysis of topics related to gender issues, e.g., cultural and social developments in the arts, sciences, and social sciences. Topics vary with semester and may be repeated for credit if content differs. Prerequisite: 6 credit hours in classes designated as women’s studies courses.

WGST 3230 Domestic Violence (3)

"Repressive systems perpetuate themselves as long as they remain unrecognized" (Evans, 1996). In order to better understand the present condition of women and the violence that is perpetrated against them, this course will investigate the history of violence against women, the current status of this violence, and the community response. Based on solid understanding of what domestic violence is, the myths that surround it, whom it effects, the patterns it takes, and the resources available, students should be able to apply the knowledge they gain in this course to whatever career path they chose. In this course women will be studied as victims, survivors, activists, advocates and , due to the systemic nature of this struggle, experts on the topic. The feminist theories applied in the course include women and children at the center of the circle, gender inequality as the source of continued oppression, and the role of holding men accountable in order for change to take place. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

WGST 3270 Female Sexuality and Society (3)

This course will examine the relationship between female sexuality and its social, historical and ideological contexts. Course materials will provide feminist analyses of the changing social organization and cultural meaning of women's bodies, sexual desires, and sexual practices. Prerequisites: Junior standing or permission of the instructor.

WGST 3630 Women and Gender Studies Practicum (1-6)

In the Women and Gender Studies practicum, students will link the intellectual and the experiential, creating personalized learning. They will be challenged to incorporate new knowledge into their lives. The objective is for the student to work in the community "on-site" at a social change organization. The student will develop a rapport with practicum site staff and instructor built on trust and mutual respect which fosters personalized learning. As a result of the practicum, students should feel empowered as they gain practical experience and move from being objects of study to being subjects with a voice of their own. Course may be repeated once for credit with permission of department chair.

WGST 3710 Feminist Research Methods (3)

This course critically examines various methodological and theoretical issues raised in and by the field of women's studies. We will explore what is meant by feminist research and how one goes about doing it. First we examine current issues and debates regarding feminist methodologies and epistemology and then we read and discuss how theory, method, methodology and epistemology come together in published feminist works.

WGST 4000 Advanced Research Topics in Women and Gender Studies (3)

An advanced, in-depth analysis of a specific area or issue in Women and Gender Studies topic, leading to an independent research project. May be repeated for credit if content differs. Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission of instructor.

WGST 4210 Feminist Science (3)

This course will explore the historical role of women in the development of science and how changing roles of women in society have affected science. Students will examine whether there has been gender bias in scientific and health practice and how this has affected the content of scientific knowledge, including whether there are important ethical problems resulting from this bias.

WGST4220 Gender, Justice, and Human Rights (3)

This course will help students become knowledgeable about the tremendous range of women's and feminist activist globally. We will analyze cultural, economic and political conditions that promote women's rights globally. Women are claiming a new voice in society by spearheading egalitarian movements for social change. This course will analyze how gender, justice, and human rights are influenced by the intervention of the state and the international agencies, globalization, and other international actors. Topics may include: struggles to redefine women's rights as human rights, gender and transgender movements, women's activism in the right wing movements and religious nationalism, international debates about sexuality and reproduction, and campaigns around violence against women. Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission of instructor.

WGST 4240 Feminism and Families (3)

Many sources in popular culture would have us believe that feminists don't like families, are anti-marriage and anti-children. This course will examine these myths by : 1) reading excerpts from classic first-wave and second-wave feminists that address issues about women and families; 2) reviewing the changes in family life that feminists have sought and successfully won (e.g., increased lesbian and gay parenting, father's increased participation in child-rearing, more recognition that domestic labor is not merely "women's work"); 3)exploring contemporary feminist perspectives on families; 4) looking toward the future and asking what remains to be done to improve families for women. Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission of instructor.

WGST 4650 Women and Gender Studies Capstone (3)

Provide a culminating experience for Women and Gender Studies majors, allowing students to critically analyze, interpret, and integrate interdisciplinary source materials in preparation for graduate school or a career. Students will demonstrate mastery of the methods, theory, and content areas of Women and Gender Studies. Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission of instructor.







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