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College of Liberal Studies

Department Chair:  Deborah Hoskins

423A Wimberly Hall; 608/785-8734

E-mail: dhoskins@uwlax.edu


Professors: Vandenberg-Daves, Associate Professors: Hoskins, Assistant Professors: Haynes, Khan, Lilley Jr, Senior Lecturers: Denlinger, Lecturers: Hansen

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 
Courses in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) provide students with new perspectives on the roles of women and men as individuals, within families and communities, and as participants in society across cultures. Based on research and analysis by WGSS scholars, courses examine how social structures, ideals, stereotypes, mores, and institutions shape people as gendered and sexual beings and in terms of their access to power. Courses also examine how people have responded to limitations systematically organized around gender as it intersects with race, class, sexual orientation, colonization, ethnicity, and other social hierarchies and explore solutions to contemporary problems. Because of its emphasis on communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving, WGSS courses are valuable in a broad range of employment settings. WGSS programs include courses within the interdisciplinary department as well as specialized courses in many other departments across the university.

Women's Studies Major

(All colleges, excluding Teacher Certification programs) 33 credits
24 credits must be 300-400 level, and courses may not count in more than one category. Admission to the major requires a grade of 'C' or higher in any courses taken for the Introductory or Transnational categories. Students majoring in Women's Studies and another major must satisfy requirements for both majors; no more than six credits can count for the Women's Studies major and another major or minor.

Category I. Introductory (three credits): WGS 100, 210, 230
Category II. Transnational (three credits): WGS 215, WGS/SOC 316, WGS/SOC 337, WGS 373; HIS 359, 360, 383, 386, 389; POL 405, 433, 437, 439
Category III. Intimacy, Sexuality, and the Family (six credits): WGS/SOC 105, WGS 270, WGS/HIS 305, WGS 320, WGS/HIS 370, WGS/SOC 375, WGS/HIS 376, WGS 386; CST 334; HED 472; PHL 240; PSY 305, 318; SOC 370
Category IV. Gender Stratification (six credits): WGS 230, WGS 255, WGS/ESS/PSY 259, WGS/HIS 301, WGS 310, WGS 320, WGS 331, WGS/SOC 338, WGS 340,  WGS/HIS 370, WGS 374, WGS/HIS 376; ANT 250; ARC/HIS 372; ECO 336; ENG 220; HED 412; POL 205
Category V. Feminisms/Social Change (six credits): WGS 201, WGS 225, WGS/HIS 315, WGS 325, WGS 360, WGS/HIS 370, WGS/HIS 371, WGS 373, WGS/SOC 375, WGS 450; ENG 385, 482; PHL 324; SAH 307
Category VI. Theory and Practice (nine credits): WGS/HIS 315 or WGS 325 and WGS 390, 499


Women's Studies Minor

(All colleges) 21 credits (Courses may not count in more than one category.)
Category I (three credits): WGS 100, 210, 230
Category II (nine credits minimum from WGS classes, with at least six credits at the 300-level or above): WGS/SOC 105, WGS 210, WGS 215, WGS 225, WGS 230, WGS 240, WGS 250, WGS 255, WGS/ESS/PSY 259, WGS 270, WGS 300, WGS/HIS 301, WGS/HIS 305, WGS 310, WGS/HIS 315, WGS/SOC 316, WGS 320, WGS 325, WGS 330, WGS 331, WGS/SOC 337, WGS/SOC 338, WGS 340, WGS 360, WGS/HIS 370, WGS/HIS 371, WGS 373, WGS 374, WGS/SOC 375, WGS/HIS 376, WGS 386, WGS 390, WGS 450          
Category III (six credits minimum from classes in other departments): ANT 250; ARC 372; CST 334, 338; ECO 336; EFN 485; ENG 220, 385, 482; HED 201, 412, 472; HIS 301, 305, 315, 359, 360, 370, 371, 372, 376, 383, 386, 389; PHL 240, 324, 342, 494; POL 205, 405, 433, 437, 439; PSY 305, 318; SAH 307; SOC 105, 316, 337, 338, 370, 375
Category IV (three credits): WGS 499

Self-Sufficiency Program (SSP)

The Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies sponsors the Self-Sufficiency Program (SSP), a pre-college community engagement initiative for low-income single parents. This free program provides a supportive learning environment in which to develop and practice academic skills. Classes meet weekly with childcare provided. Offered Fall and Spring semesters. For volunteer, service learning and internship opportunities, call Andrea Hansen, SSP Director at (608) 785-8733 or email her at ahansen@uwlax.edu.


+ next to a course number indicate a GENERAL EDUCATION course

+WGS  100  Cr.3

Gender, Race and Class in American Institutions (ES)

This course provides an introduction to how gender, race and class have intertwined over time to produce women's social roles and status in American culture. The creation, transmittal, interpretation and institutionalization of gender roles will be examined using family and kinship, the educational system, the media, work, government and the health care system. The course provides a critical, interdisciplinary perspective on scholarship which omits or distorts the female experience.   Offered Fall, Spring, Summer.

WGS/SOC  105  Cr.3

Introduction to LGBT Studies

This course will examine the cultural, legal, and political dimensions of LGBT life in the U.S. It will begin by exploring the social invention of heterosexuality and how personal and institutional interpretations of sexuality have historically informed the lives of LGBT people. The course also addresses class, racial and gender biases that especially confront queer communities of color in the U.S. Finally, the course looks at continued instances of hate crimes and homophobia against the backdrop of rights-based activism and the role that art and politics play in this interplay. (Cross-listed with WGS/SOC; may only earn credit in one department.)   Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/HED  201  Cr.1

Social Justice and Peer Education

This course both educates students on social justice issues they face while in college and prepares them to be able to give presentations to peers in residence halls, classrooms, athletic teams, and student organizations with the goal of effecting social change. Subject matter will respond to campus needs. Repeatable for credit - maximum 3. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or ERS 100 or EFN 205 or WGS 230 or WGS 210; CST 110 recommended. (Cross-listed with HED/WGS; may only earn a max of three credits.) Pass/Fail grading. Offered Fall, Spring.

+WGS  210  Cr.3

Women's Voices / Women's Culture (ES)

An examination of how women have expressed female experience in a variety of forms, including fiction, autobiography, oral traditions, and song. By analyzing women's words and forms of self-expression, students will explore what is individual and what is common in women's lives, and will learn tools for understanding female experience and culture.   Offered Occasionally.

WGS  215  Cr.3

Transnational Women's Issues

An introduction to women's issues across nations, continents, and cultures. Students will examine women's status and power, cross-cultural differences, reproductive rights, paid and unpaid labor, participation in religion, politics, sexuality, country's stand on gender-based violence, and the effects of globalization and gender equality movements on women. The course will also study how common issues create connection for women and how these common issues and gendered challenges provide the basis for transnational feminist movements.   Offered Fall.

WGS  225  Cr.3

Women and Leadership

This course investigates women's leadership and develops students' leadership skills. Students will examine women's under-representation in formal public positions of power while also evaluating the strengths women can and do bring to leadership, and the emerging possibilities for women's leadership capacity in a rapidly changing world. Special attention will be paid to women's changing roles in the workplace. Students will critically evaluate leadership models, especially as they pertain to gender, race, and class.   Offered Alternate Years.

+WGS  230  Cr.3

Women's Diversity: Race, Class, and Culture (ES)

This course explores the diversity of women's experience in America as it has been affected by race, ethnicity, class, and other factors, and the effects of gender on women of different groups. Issues that have united and divided women in movements for social change are also addressed.   Offered Fall, Spring.

WGS  240  Cr.3

Contemporary Women's Issues

Contemporary women's issues will provide the student with an overview of women's studies scholarship from the late 1960's to the present. Contemporary theory, social change movements, and women's lives will be integrated in order to examine the relationship between theory and practice in women's studies.   Offered Occasionally.

WGS  250  Cr.1 - 3

Topics in Women's Studies

Intermediate and interdisciplinary analysis of a social issue, idea or institution from the perspective of women and Women's Studies. Repeatable for credit. Department approval is necessary to apply more than three credits toward the WGS minor.   Offered Occasionally.

WGS  255  Cr.1

Women in the Military

This course will provide students with an understanding of the struggles and successes of women's lives in the U.S. Military. Beginning with an historic overview of women's changing roles in the military, it will proceed to analyze the reasons for the limitations to women's equal participation. Finally, the course will recognize the accomplishments of women in the military.   Offered Spring - Even Numbered Years.

WGS/ESS/PSY  259  Cr.1

Girls and Women in Sport

An introduction to the involvement of girls and women with sport. Topics include a historical perspective on women's sport participation, cultural images of women athletes, physiological and psychological benefits of sport participation as well as negative correlates, teaching and coaching implications of current research, Title IX, and recreation/leisure approaches to physical activity.  (Cross-listed with ESS and WS; may only earn credit in one department.)   Offered Annually.

WGS  270  Cr.3

Women and Friendship

An examination of women's friendships historically, psychologically, sociologically, and politically in the context of a sexist, racist, classist, and homophobic culture. Beginning with defining friendships in women's lives and continuing through a woman's life span, the course will go on to examine how sociocultural changes have interrupted women's friendship in the past and the present. Women's friendships with women, men, kin, and mentors will be examined. Lastly, women's friendships will be explored as a way to reconstruct community.   Offered Alternate Years.

WGS  300  Cr.1 - 3

Independent Study

Topics to be selected by the individual instructor or by the student and instructor together. The topics must relate to women's experiences and/or issues. Repeatable for credit — maximum 6. Prerequisite: WGS 100.  Offered Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.

WGS/HIS  301  Cr.3

Women in the Modern United States: 1890-Present

This course introduces students to key issues in modern women's history in the United States. It explores women's experiences as workers, activists, consumers, citizens, and family members. It also examines the various ways in which generations of Americans have defined 'woman's place' and 'women's issues', and raises questions about the possibility for defining common 'women's issues' today. (Cross-listed with HIS/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.)   Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/HIS  305  Cr.3

History of Motherhood in the United States

This course considers motherhood in nineteenth and twentieth century United States history from a variety of perspectives. It explores women's experiences' as mothers, across lines of class, race, and relationship status. It also examines the politics of motherhood in U.S. history, and considers both the restrictive and the empowering dimensions of ideologies of motherhood. (Cross-listed with HIS/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.)   Offered Alternate Years.

WGS  310  Cr.3

Masculinity, Femininity and Violence

This course will examine the gendered and systemic nature of violence primarily in the United States. The course will pay special attention to the ways in which gender-based violence is perpetuated through interpersonal relationships and through social institutions such as the judicial system, the media, law enforcement, the family, organized sports and schools. Hate crimes will also be addressed. The focus will be both on understanding and preventing gender-based violence, asking what men and women must do to put an end to this social problem. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or WGS 210 or WGS 230 or EFN 205 or ERS 100.  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/HIS  315  Cr.3

History of Feminist Thought

An examination of the history of feminist ideas in the United States and the historical context, both western and international, from which they emerged. (Cross-listed with HIS/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.)   Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/SOC  316  Cr.3

Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change in Religion

This course examines the various gender roles, norms, mobility, restrictions and empowerment that people experience within religious traditions, for example: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Global case studies and engaging narratives focused on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and religion will be considered. Special attention will be paid to feminist laypersons and religious leaders who are reformulating traditional understandings and practices, and in turn, negotiating their agency within secular and spiritual spaces. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or WGS 230 or SOC 110 or SOC 120.  Offered Occasionally.

WGS  320  Cr.3

Violence Against Women

This course will examine from an interdisciplinary perspective, the connections between violence against women and the power distributions within our society. Three specific types of violence against women will be examined in-depth: sexual assault, incest and battering. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100, WGS 210, WGS 230, EFN 205.  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS  325  Cr.3

Black Feminist Thought

This course is designed to introduce students to Black Feminist theory. During this semester, we will explore how African-American women have been socially located in American society. We will read various texts (books, articles, etc.) to explore how theory works to explain power, oppression and liberation in the lives of African-American women. To accomplish this goal, we will focus our discussions on themes such as activism, identity, difference, representation, and possibilities of upward mobility as they pertain to the lived experiences of African American women.   Offered Annually.

WGS 330/530  Cr.1 - 3

Topics: Women, Gender, and Society

Interdisciplinary analysis of a social issue, idea, or institution from the perspective of women and women's studies. Repeatable for credit – maximum 9. Department approval is necessary to apply more than three credits toward the WS minor. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100, WGS 210, WGS 230, EFN 205; junior standing.  Offered Occasionally.

WGS  331  Cr.3

Images of African American Women

This course is designed to not only introduce students to representations of African American women but to also socially and spatially locate African American women in American society. We will discuss the origins of negative images of black femininity and how these images have evolved over time. In addition, this course will examine various types of images (i.e. television, movies, print ads, etc.) and deconstruct how they challenge, reinforce and reproduce entrenched images of African American women. This course will also discuss how African American women have challenge negative stereotypes and develop their own ways of constructing more accurate and complex.   Offered Occasionally.

WGS/SOC  337  Cr.3

Globalization, Women, and Work

This course examines the global and often exploitative experiences of women, migrating from one part of the world to another for work. As women leave their countries of origin, many find themselves working as nannies, sex workers, house cleaners and modern-day slaves in sweatshops. These work environments often create vulnerability, discrimination, and abuse of women within the private and public institutions of their host countries. The course will also use in-depth personal narratives and a focus on grassroots social movements to witness how women resist workplace policies and domestic laws to campaign for their rights, despite cultural and political constraints. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or WGS 210 or WGS 230 or EFN 205 or ERS 100.  (Cross-listed with WGS/SOC; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/SOC  338  Cr.3

Sociological Aspects of Work and Life

This course will explore the sociological impact of work and life demands in contemporary American society. Special emphasis will be given to how gender, sexual orientation, social class, race and ethnicity, and family structure affect individuals' ability to balance the demands of work and life. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or SOC 120 or SOC 200 or ANT 101. (Cross-listed with WGS 338 and PSY 444; may only earn credit in one course.)  Offered Occasionally.

WGS  340  Cr.3

Women, Learning and Knowledge

An analysis of how a women's learning experience has been and continues to be limited by conceptions of gender, race, and class. Through an examination of how knowledge is acquired and how society defines knowledge, students will come to a better understanding of how women can 'reclaim' their educations. Prerequisite: one of the following: WGS 100, WGS 210, WGS 230, EFN 205.  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS  360  Cr.3

Hip Hop Culture, Race, and Gender

This course is designed to examine the history of Hip Hop and how it has evolved over time from a culture that gave voice to youth culture in New York City to a global phenomenon that, in many ways, has lost its way due to commercialism. In this course, we will discuss the origins of Hip Hop culture and its four basic elements (break dancing, rap, djing, and graffiti art). We examine how rap has evolved over time and how consumerism and capitalism have influenced Hip Hop culture. During the class, we will discuss various controversies that have arisen around the music, including criticism of its attitudes toward violence, femininity, masculinity, homosexuality, and educational achievement. Students will have the opportunity to analyze and deconstruct music lyrics, music videos and movies.   Offered Occasionally.

WGS/HIS  370  Cr.3

The History of Black Women's Activism

An historical overview of the thoughts, actions, and creative products of Black women activists in the United States, from slavery to the present. Students will examine historical analyses, speeches, essays, economic activities, organizational styles, political issues, and various forms of artistic expression that women of African descent have produced in order to query, resist, and defy the interlocking oppressions of racism, sexism, and classism in the United States. Prerequisite: EFN 205 or ERS 100 or WGS 100 or WGS 210 or WGS 230. (Cross-listed with HIS/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/HIS  371  Cr.3

Women, Agriculture, and the Environment

Beginning with the ancient notion that the earth was both alive and female, a concept indigenous to western as well as other cultures, this course will examine subsequent ideas that have historically shaped attitudes and actions toward women and the earth, especially as those values and actions have affected agriculture in the U.S. The course will examine such topics as the roles of women as builders of community in the rural world; the impact of the industrializing of the production of food and fiber on concepts of femininity; the development of the modern corporate state and its impact on women and agriculture; and how women and men are working to re-shape the way we see, think about, and act on, and interact with the earth. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or WGS 210 or WGS 230.  (Cross-listed with HIS/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS  373  Cr.3

Gender and Human Rights

This course will provide an overview of transnational women's human rights movements in a variety of locations around the world; locations will vary with the instructor. Included in this overview will be  the study of women's political participation as a human rights issue; women's bodily integrity as a human right; violence against women and reproductive sexual health and rights; human rights as a framework for social and economic and gender justice; and human rights as (quasi) legal accountability; UN agreements, treaties and venues of redress. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or WGS 210 or WGS 215 or WGS 230 or EFN 205 or ERS 100.  Offered Fall - Odd Numbered Years.

WGS  374  Cr.3

Women, Poverty and Public Policy

The course analyzes the historical underpinnings to the creation and evolution of welfare with special attention paid to the ways gender, race, and class oppression have shaped welfare in the past and today. Wage differentials, occupational segregation, unpaid work, and gender violence are discussed in relation to the construction of poverty. How poverty affects the lives of poor women and their children also is be explored. Current welfare policy will be analyzed and suggestions for reform based on current research is developed by the class. Prerequisite: One of the following: W-S 100, 210, 230, POL 205,PSY 318, EFN 205  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/SOC  375  Cr.3

Lesbian Studies

Examines the social construction of sexual orientation and its meaning for women and women's equality. The course draws on a range of sources, including scientific research, history, literature, psychological theory, and popular culture. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or WGS 210 or WGS 230 or EFN 205. (Cross-listed with SOC/WGS; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Alternate Years.

WGS/HIS  376  Cr.3

History of Childhood in the United States

This course explores the vast diversity of children's experiences in American history, while also examining contemporary issues for children. The course explores historical change in the socialization, experiences, economic, cultural, and social positions of children. It also examines change and continuity over time in our cultural ideals of childhood and children's rights. (Cross-listed with HIS/WGS, may only earn credit in one department.)   Offered Alternate Years.

WGS  386  Cr.3

Women of Color and Autobiography

This course is designed to introduce students to non-fiction writing, focusing specifically on the autobiographical work of women of color. We will read a variety of different forms of autobiographical text. During this course, we will examine how intersections of race, gender, space, and identity are explored in these women's narratives. Through the readings, we will investigate the ethical and political obligations of minority writers. Also, we will investigate the interplay of identity formation and writing. Additionally, we will place these women's narratives into historical and social contexts to understand how these factors influence these women's texts. While reading these texts, we will write our own narratives as a method to investigate the lives of women.   Offered Occasionally.

WGS  390  Cr.3

Social Justice Research Methods

This course answers the question that most caring people want answered: How can we fix this problem? Students will engage in the process of strategizing, whatever the issue (gender bias, racism, homophobia, environmental degradation, disability bias), and whatever the setting (a workplace, neighborhood, campus, or beyond). Course activities organize around the processes behind social change: strategic analysis, organizing, action planning, and evaluation, developing students' ability to create the knowledge necessary for complex problem-solving. Students learn and use the quantitative, qualitative, and critical research methods necessary to inform decisions at each step along a generalized pathway to change. Students going on to graduate school and students entering the workforce in a variety of fields like social work, community organizing, communication, and management will benefit from this course. Prerequisite: WGS 100 or WGS 210 or WGS 230 or EFN 205 or ERS 100; plus nine additional credits in courses approved for WGS.  Offered Fall.

WGS  450  Cr.1 - 6

Internship in Women's Studies

The internship is an academically relevant field experience for minors in women's studies which combine women's studies scholarship with practical experience. The field experience will be supervised by the women's studies staff. A maximum of three credits will be counted toward the minor. Repeatable for credit — maximum 6. Prerequisite: junior standing; six credits of WGS courses; minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA.  Offered Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.

WGS  499  Cr.3

Women's Studies Seminar

Intensive interdisciplinary study of particular areas in women's studies. Topics will be chosen by the instructor and the students. Prerequisite: One of the following: WGS 100, WGS 210, WGS 230, and at least two other courses approved for the women's studies major or minor plan; declared women's studies major or minor plan.  Offered Fall.