Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS)

WGSS 071: Introduction to Women's Studies (3 Credits)

An introduction to basic women's studies concepts and theories, drawing on methodologies and content of multiple disciplines. The course will explore differences as well as commonalities of women's experiences, and provide a foundation for more advanced work in women's studies.

Meets the following Core requirements: Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Women and Gender

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WGSS 072: Introduction to Queer Studies (4 Credits)

An introduction to key concepts and theoretical questions in the interdisciplinary field of queer studies. This course explores the processes by which sexuality is socially constructed in different historical and geographical contexts, with particular attention to the ways in which sexuality intersects with other categories of difference such as race, gender, class, ability, and national origin. The course introduces students to a range of issues affecting different queer communities and explores historical and contemporary examples of queer resistance.

Meets the following Core requirements: Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 101: Feminist and Queer Research Methodologies (4 Credits)

This course explores interdisciplinary methodological approaches to feminist and queer research. The course will pay specific attention to feminist and queer critiques of dominant modes of knowledge production; approaches to studying gender and sexuality in different historical, geographical, and cultural contexts; and the relationship between research and activism. Over the course of the term, students will develop the theoretical and methodological tools for doing feminist and queer research in preparation for embarking on their senior project.

Prerequisite(s): WGSS 071 or WGSS 072

Meets the following Core requirements: Race, Gender & Power, Written and Oral Communication II

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Women and Gender, Written Communication

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WGSS 105: Sexuality and the City (3 Credits)

Urbanization has been a major catalyst in the development of new sexual identities and communities. This course examines this phenomenon and the ways in which the city has been an important place in queer history and politics. Specific issues we will look at include: urban politics, urban migration, segregation, redevelopment and gentrification, homelessness, public housing, access to public space, and policing and criminalization. The course will pay specific attention to queer communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Meets the following Core requirements: Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 106: Postcolonial Feminist Theory and Literature (3-4 Credits)

This course focuses on key theoretical concepts in postcolonial feminism to examine the relationship between postcoloniality and gender, power and race in the context of de-colonial struggle. We will study the different ways in which postcolonial encounters in South Asia and Africa are shaped by the violence of coloniality in the context of war, migration, diaspora, and gender ideologies. partition and bordering, diaspora, among other framings. We will use literature and cinema to highlight the important transnational feminist cartographies of solidarity and resist.

Meets the following Core requirements: Critical Analysis, International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 109: Comparative Studies on Women in Religion (3 Credits)

An introduction to basic concepts and theories which address women and gender in voodoo, Native American traditions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and traditional African religions drawing on methodologies and content of multiple disciplines. Attitudes toward the body will be examined in a comparative context as will the meaning of gender in religious symbolism, myth, and ritual. This course will explore gender roles in religion as dynamic rather than fixed categories and will provide a foundation for more advanced work on the topics of women, gender, and sexuality in religious traditions.

Meets the following Core requirements: Critical Analysis, International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Human Institutions and Behavior, Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 110: Sex, Body, and Gender in Early European Societies (3 Credits)

This course explores the intersections of body, sexuality, and gender in Western culture from late antiquity through early modern Europe. Beginning with the common heritage of late antiquity, the course moves into the diversity of constructions of femininity, masculinity, and the range of sexualities in pre-modern Europe. As concepts of body, sex, and gender are heavily influenced by religious belief systems, readings for each section will be drawn from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim (Iberian Peninsular) sources including the use of gender and sexuality in formulations of the religious “other.

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Historical Perspectives, Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 111: Women, Gender and Cultural Production in the Global South (3-4 Credits)

This course examines the intersections between race, class, gender, sexuality, power and resistance in the framing of cultural production from the global south. We will study the intellectual roots of woman-centered cultural systems and the relationship between culture, identity, and social change. Major topics include social justice theatre, the women of Negritude, South Asian women film directors and diaspora cinema, the role of documentaries in social critique, testimonial literature as subaltern history, border poetics, and feminist eco-criticism.

Meets the following Core requirements: Critical Analysis, International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 112: Race, Gender, and the Environment (3 Credits)

This intensive reading and discussion seminar explores how factors such as race, gender, class, colonialism, and concepts of human-environment relations help shape the often contradictory definitions of "environmentalism." We will explore the ideas and assumptions behind issues and movements such as environmental justice, ecofeminism, deep ecology, biotechnology, the population debate, and sustainable development. Readings include both international and U.S. perspectives, and represent competing viewpoints.

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 115: African and Caribbean Literatures (3-4 Credits)

A study of oral traditions, prison writing, testimonial literature, de-colonial resistance, colonial education and de-colonial pedagogy, woman-centered traditions and rituals, women and war, as expressed in selected African and Caribbean texts.

Meets the following Core requirements: Critical Analysis, International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 125: The Politics of Care (3 Credits)

This course examines how race, gender, sexuality and ability shape the organization of care. Simultaneously a site of love and exploitation, intimacy and subordination, kindness and coercion, caring labor presents many contradictions. The course focuses on approaches to theorizing care within Marxist feminism, postcolonial theory, disability studies and queer studies. The course highlights social movements by caregivers and people in need of care, care within queer communities, and other utopian visions of a caring society.

Meets the following Core requirements: Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Women and Gender

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WGSS 131: Women in Islam (3 Credits)

Since medieval times, nothing about Islam has perplexed the West more than the role of women. This course examines foundational Islamic texts (in translation) regarding women and gender, interpretations based on those texts, and historical evidence of women’s religious and social activities from the sixth century to the present. Discourses around the body-- including sexuality, purity, seclusion, and dress--will be examined in a comparative context. Finally we will consider the Western media treatment of Muslim women before analyzing their active participation in modern revivalist movements.

Meets the following Core requirements: Critical Analysis, International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Historical Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 135: Race, Sexuality, and the State (3 Credits)

This course examines the intersections of race and sexuality in processes of US state building and struggles over the meaning of citizenship. Focusing on the welfare system, immigration control, the military, and the criminal justice system, it looks at how the institutions that have exhibited the most control over people of color have engaged in some of the severest practices of sexual and gender regulation. The course explores queer theorizations of state power and the implications of centering issues such as welfare, immigration, militarism, and criminal justice within queer politics.

Meets the following Core requirements: Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 149: Post-Colonial Conditions: Contemporary Women's Writings from Africa (3-4 Credits)

Exploration of contemporary social issues in Africa through the work of contemporary women writers from Francophone and Anglophone traditions, including Ken Bugul (Senegal), Flora Nwapa (Nigeria), Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt), Bessie Head (Botswana), Farida Karodia (South Africa), and Calixthe Beyala (Cameroon/France). Issues include women's education, women and nation building, female sexuality, spirituality, exile and expatriate writing, indigenous African feminisms, and changing gender roles. Students will also be introduced to post-colonial theory.

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 150: Gender, Diaspora and Social Issues in Indian Women's Literature and Cinema (3-4 Credits)

A literary, theoretical, and cinematic exploration of how Indian and Indian diasporic women writers and filmmakers from India, the Caribbean, North America, Mauritius, Britain and South Africa reconfigure "migrating" notions of race, class, gender, and nationhood. Issues discussed will include gender concerns, immigration and migration, diasporic citizenship, exile and (non)-belonging, queering diaspora, social inequality, among other topics. Authors and filmmakers include Ismat Chugtai, Mahasweta Devi, Shani Mootoo, Ananda Devi, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta and others.

Meets the following Core requirements: Critical Analysis, International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 172: American Indian and Pacific Islander Women (3-4 Credits)

This course will examine the contributions of American Indian women to their communities. While it is important to understand the present context in which these women struggle for their communities, it is also necessary to examine their changing roles within a historical situation. The focus will include political situations, literature, film, migrations from aboriginal land bases, and public policy.

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Historical Perspectives, Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender

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WGSS 175: Transnational Sexualities (3 Credits)

This seminar explores different approaches to theorizing sexuality from a transnational perspective. The class pays particular attention to the ways in which processes such as colonialism and globalization have shaped struggles for sexual liberation. The course covers topics such as globalization and sexual cultures, queer diasporas, sex work, sex trafficking, sex tourism, the politics of AIDS, militarism and sexual violence, and transnational social movements.

Meets the following Core requirements: International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Women and Gender

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WGSS 180A: Spirituality and Sustainability: Global Religions and the Environment (3 Credits)

How do a variety of world spiritual traditions understand the relation between human and non-human entities--non-human animals, the environment, the cosmos. What are the implications of these understandings for our contemporary concepts of environmental sustainability? This course introduces students to the wealth of human perspectives on cosmology and the relationship of entities within those cosmologies. Students will engage in analyses and discussions of power relations between competing worldviews and the role of women’s leadership in global environmental movements

Meets the following Core requirements: International Perspectives, Race, Gender & Power

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WGSS 182: Feminist and Queer Theories (3 Credits)

An examination of contemporary theories of the identity and oppression of women and queer people, with particular attention to the mutual construction and the intersections of gender, class, race, nationality, and sexuality.

Note(s): By consent of instructor.

Instructor Consent Required: Y

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WGSS 187: Fieldwork Study in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies (4 Credits)

Supervised fieldwork study for advanced students. Arranged through instructors.

Note(s): Not open to first year students.

Instructor Consent Required: Y

Pass/No Pass Only

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WGSS 190: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Art (4 Credits)

This seminar explores two interrelated topics: how women artists revolutionized a male-dominated art world in the past 50 years, and how gender and sexuality became central themes of contemporary art. Starting with the late 1960s, we will study: feminism’s intersections with conceptual art, minimalism, postmodernism, and social practice art; the constant renovation of painting, sculpture, and photography through feminist and queer perspectives; and the profound cultural effects of the reimagining of gender, sexuality, and identity in contemporary art and art scholarship.

Meets the following Core requirements: Critical Analysis, Race, Gender & Power

Meets the following Gen Ed requirements: Creation and Criticism in the Arts

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WGSS 192: Senior Project (4 Credits)

Advanced independent investigative or creative work building on the student's courses and academic focus.

Note(s): or consent of instructor

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WGSS 215: African and Caribbean Literatures (3-4 Credits)

A study of oral traditions, prison writing, testimonial literature, de-colonial resistance, colonial education and de-colonial pedagogy, woman-centered traditions and rituals, women and war, as expressed in selected African and Caribbean texts.

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WGSS 282: Feminist Theories (3 Credits)

An examination of contemporary theories of women's identities and oppression, with particular attention to the mutual construction and the intersections of gender, class, race, nationality, and sexuality.

Note(s): By consent of instructor.

Instructor Consent Required: Y

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