Women, Culture and Society
Fall 2011 (988:101:12)
Tuesday and Thursdays (8) – 7:40 pm-9:00 pm
Murray Hall, Rm. 213, College Ave. Campus
Women’s and Gender Studies Dept., Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Bldg., 162 Ryders Ln.
Tues. 2-4pm, Douglass Library; Thurs. 3-5pm, Art History Library; and by appointment.
This course provides an overview of women’s and gender studies and its engagement with critical questions including: How
do we understand the role of identity in our lives and interactions? and How have identities developed across time and place?
In particular we explore the ways in which binary (either/or) logic structures our understanding of categories such as gender,
race, and sexuality.
We move from these concerns to an exploration of the social movements that have been central to the
formation of the field and contemporary political and social life in the United States.
Finally, we look at current issues in the
field such as representations of gendered bodies, labor markets, and violence against women, both in the United States and
Our analysis is informed largely by work done by scholars of women’s and gender studies and other fields that developed out
of identity-based social movements between the 1960s and the 1980s. We explicitly look for the ways in which such activism
has transformed what we study in the university.
Your praxis projects allow you to use such knowledge as a model and a
source of inspiration, emulation, or re-envisioning.
This course is intended to provide you with an introduction to the ways we
understand people’s experiences (with an emphasis on women’s lives), and the historical background to analyze
contemporary social and political life, largely in the US. We focus specifically on the history of feminist movements.
end of the semester you should have a general understanding of key goals, conflicts, and accomplishments of feminism.
addition, this course is meant to encourage you to think critically about the world we live in – the information we receive, the
ways we organize our understanding of how the world works, and what we can do in response to the contradictions we
encounter in our lives and our politics.
This course is not intended to provide you with definitive answers about the “right” way
to understand women, culture and society.
Instead, together we are going to develop strategies for thinking about and
responding to the categories that shape our lives and their relations to one another.
This course will enable you to:
Analyze the degree to which forms of human difference shape a person’s experiences of and perspectives on the world;
Analyze a contemporary global issue from a multidisciplinary perspective;
Analyze issues of social justice across local and global contexts;
Explain and be able to assess the relationship among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments, and theory in social and