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Home   Courses   Courses in the Center – Graduate Spring 2018

Spring 2018


The following courses are graduate seminars offered in the Center. They are available to graduate students in the Center and those students working on certificates. Please also see this link for a complete listing of approved graduate electives offered outside the center.

Advanced Feminist Theory

Tace Hedrick
WST 6508-Section 09B6
R 6-8; UST 0108; 3 Credits

Contemporary theory with focus on common themes among academic disciplines. Since feminist theory is by its very nature interdisciplinary, this course is designed to acquaint students with some foundational feminist theory–in primary texts–across the disciplines: philosophy, art history, literary studies, sociology, anthropology, the sciences. By foundational” I mean feminist thought which has been influential in shaping academic feminist scholarship since the so-called “second wave” of United States and European feminism, beginning (roughly) in the late 1940s and moving up to the present. Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, Whitney Chadwick, Janice Radway, Nancy Hartsock, bell hooks, Jane Gallop, Gayatri Spivak, Patricia Williams, Pat Hill Collins, Gayle Rubin will be some of the individuals discussed in the course. Course requirements include one 25-30 page final paper, 8 response papers, and one short presentation.

The syllabus can be found here.

Independent Study

Kendal L Broad-Wright
WST 6905-Section: Departmentally controlled
TBA; Variable Credits

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor and department chair and 1 Women’s Studies course or course that counts for women’s studies, For advanced graduate students who desire to supplement their regular courses by independent reading or research under guidance. On-line application.

Reproductive Health and Justice

Alyssa Zucker
WST 6935-Section 02H5
T, 7-9; UST 108; 3 Credits

The term reproductive justice was coined in 1994 by U.S. black women activists and frames reproductive health as a human rights issue. It focuses both theory and activism on three interconnected human rights: the right not to have children using safe birth control, abortion, or abstinence; the right to have children under the conditions individuals choose; and the right to parent children who are already born. In this seminar we will examine how social structures of oppression and privilege shape people’s experiences of their reproductive bodies and health, and ways to organize for change using the tools of reproductive justice. We will focus on historical and current instances of reproductive injustices (e.g., contraceptive experiments on unknowing populations, forced sterilization, TRAP laws)—mainly in a U.S. context. Although the primary theory and writing on reproductive justice is centered on the intersection of race and biological sex, this framework applies to thinking about intersections with disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity as well, and we will read broadly on these topics from authors grounded in women’s studies, social sciences, medicine, law, and social change movements.

Women and Therapy

Patricia Travis
WST 6935-Section 0230
M, 6-8, TUR 2319; 3 Credits

Contemporary “psychology” had its origins in the 19th century treatment of mad women. Today, men constitute the bulk of in-patient mental health clients, while the vast majority of out-patient services go to women, who are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and related somatic complaints at approximately three times the rate of men. Unsurprisingly, women are the largest consumes of “self-help” culture as well. And at the same time, the American Psychological Association estimates that 75% of postgraduate students in psychology and related fields today are women. This class examines the relationship between women and therapy as it has evolved since the 19th century, looking at women both as patients and as practitioners. While attending to the bio- and neurological dimensions of mental illness, it is grounded in a social constructivist approach, and draws on history, literature, and feminist and critical theory as well as clinical writings. Attention will be paid to traditionally “female complaints,” including hysteria (and its contemporary analogue, borderline personality disorder), eating disorders, and depression as well as to the innovations of feminist therapy and multicultural counseling. Students will do weekly short papers and a substantial final project. Although the class will not dwell at length on the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, the class presumes some knowledge of Freud, if for no other reason than to understand both his continued utility and the feminist critique of him. Students should purchase and read Freud for Beginners (Appignanesi and Zarate; available through in preparation for the first class meeting.

The syllabus can be found here.

Sexing the Past

Jodi Schorb
WST 6935-Section: Department Controlled
W 9-11; 3 Credits

The course will help students understand and analyze constructions of gender and sexuality prior to the 20th century. This seminar takes as its grounding point the post-Foucaultian debates over methodology and the epistemologies of sexuality, familiarizing students with the ongoing “continuity vs. alterity” debates, the challenges of periodization and chronology, influential methodological shifts (the temporal turn, the aesthetic turn, etc.) with an eye for how they proffer expanded possibilities for literary analysis.

The syllabus can be found here.

Post Colonial Feminism

Tanya Saunders
WST 6935-Section 1D62
W, 7-9; UST 0108; 3 Credits

Postcolonial feminisms is a broad term that engages the issues of women in the overwhelming majority of the world.  That is, postcolonial feminism does not simply address the issues pertaining what it means to be a woman, to experience life as a woman and/or the political investments of people who are feminist identified.  The postcolonial in Postcolonial feminisms addresses questions concerning colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, decoloniality/coloniality studies and neo-colonialism.  As such, postcolonial feminisms also engages questions concerning culture (religion, gender and sexuality) and includes the process of racialization as a colonial project and a colonial legacy.  Additionally, this course description is also being intentional about challenging our definition of “the west,” as there are many countries (Latin America and the Caribbean), that are certainly western, but given their relationship to global power relations, are written out of “the west.”  Given the broad field of postcolonial feminisms, this course is a graduate-level introductory course to the field, that aims to prepare students for advanced studies in this important area.  Having taken the course in Transnational Feminism may be helpful but is not required.

Feminist Research

Kendal L Broad-Wright
WST 6935-Section 112G
F, 5-7; CBD 0238; 3 Credits

This seminar is designed to allow graduate students to consider what it means to do feminist research. The first half of the semester will engage readings to foster discussion about core questions and strategies feminists have brought to the process of research. Centrally, the seminar will focus on how knowledge is conditioned by the socio-political, cultural, and historical contexts of thinkers, researchers, and research production. To explore these ideas in-depth, the second half of the course will focus on how these have impacted the project(s) of social science research by challenging central tenets of positivism and considering how that has translated into feminist methods of social science research (especially feminist ethnography and feminist interviewing). Throughout students will be working on individual projects to develop their strategies for doing feminist research.

The syllabus can be found here.

Women and Islam

Gwendolyn Simmons
WST 6935-Section 18C3
M, 10, W 10-11; AND 0032; 3 Credits

This course will cast a feminist insider perspective on the volatile subject of “Women and Islam.” Most non-Muslims credit Islam as being the root cause of the oppression of women in the Muslim world. However, a growing number of Muslim women scholars and activists have begun to challenge the notion that Islam is synonymous with the oppression of women. In this course we will review the history of the religion and women’s place in it, bringing to the foreground the significant role women played in Islam’s early history. We will also examine the situation of Muslim women contemporarily from both the perspectives of Islamic Nationalists and Islamists. Both groups see that women are a crucial component for the preservation of Islamic societies.

The syllabus can be found here.

Gender and Empowerment in Developing Nations

Renata Serra
WST 6935-Section 2A33
T, 6-8; TUR 2303; 3 Credits

This course examines the interface between research and development practice around questions of transformation of gender norms, social change, women’s empowerment and men’s involvement. We will review the latest research on gender equity and empowerment across different contexts, the main drivers of change, and different methods to assess and measure change – while paying attention to the diversity of feminist and other perspectives from the South. We will then examine the challenges encountered by development organizations in putting into practice the research findings and recommendations; as well as the pressures they face to demonstrate gender integration into their programming, in response to donors’ increased demand for evidence-based outcomes and impacts.

The course aims to develop not only knowledge but also expertise in a range of skills, such as leadership and training, survey design, focus group discussions, role-play, key informant interviews, or data analysis. For the main assignment, students will work in groups to organize a symposium at the end of the semester, presenting on the different perspectives on gender equity and women’s empowerment from the South. This is an advanced course. Students must have taken previous coursework in gender and development or women in development or have significant relevant field expertise.‚Äč

The syllabus can be found here.


Kendal L Broad-Wright
WST 6946-Section: Departmentally Controlled
Variable Credits

Prerequisite: Permission of Graduate Coordinator. Designed for students desiring practical experience in the community. Students intern with a local agency, group or business involved in women’s issues. Click here for more information and an on-line application.

Master’s Research

Kendal L Broad-Wright
WST 6971- Section: Departmentally Controlled
Variable Credits




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