Course Descriptions

WGS 101 three credits
Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies

Basic concepts and perspectives in Women's & Gender Studies, placing women's experiences at the center of interpretation. With focus on women's history and contemporary issues, this course examines women's lives with emphasis on how gender interacts with race, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. The central aim is to foster critical reading and thinking about women's lives: how the interlocking systems of oppressions, colonialism, racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism, shape women's lives; and how women have worked to resist these oppressions.

WGS 201 three credits
Introduction to Feminist Theory

Overview of the different frameworks within feminist theory: cultural feminism, liberal feminism, Marxist/socialist feminism, radical feminism, womanist feminism/multicultural, French feminism, third wave, and lesbian. These theories will be examined through the work of founders of feminist theory like Adrienne Rich, Simone DeBeauvoir, Robin Morgan, Charlotte Bunch, Audre Lorde, and Betty Friedan, among others.

WGS 208 three credits
Global Perspectives on Women

Prerequisite: WMS 101 recommended

Cultural, social, and political issues involved in women's movements for development and change around the world explored through history, political theory, sociology, anthropology, literature, and art.

WGS 246 (ENL 246) three credits
Women Writers

Examination of the relationship between the woman writer and her work through a study of literature by and about women.

WGS 270 (HST 270) three credits
Latin American Civilizations

Critical understanding of contemporary Latin America from a comparative historical perspective. Through the lens of gender, race, ethnicity, and class, course surveys Latin American history from European contact, colonial rule, independence, integration in the world economy in the 19th century, the development of industry and agriculture in the 20th century, to globalization. This course addresses issues linked to the formation of gendered and racial identities and economic inequalities by centering on social exclusion and on the experiences of ordinary people.

WGS 298 one to six credits
Experiential Learning

Prerequisites: At least sophomore standing; permission of the instructor, department chairperson, and college dean

Work experience at an elective level supervised for academic credit by a faculty member in an appropriate academic field. Conditions and hours to be arranged. Graded CR/NC. For specific procedures and regulations, see selection of catalogue on Other Learning Experiences.

WGS 300 three credits
Topics in Women's & Gender Studies

Special topics in Women's Studies. The topics will be determined by the faculty member and will therefore vary. May be repeated with change of topic.

WGS 305 three credits
Contemporary Feminist Theory and Practice

Prerequisites: WMS 101 or permission of instructor

The theoretical works of contemporary feminism (1945-present), covering such theorists as Simone de Beauvoir, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, and Gloria Anzaldua. Readings and discussions examine feminist theories and their applications to the lives of individual women and the practices of women's organizations and institutions. Satisfies a social science distribution requirement for a BA in the College of Arts and Sciences.

WGS 306 three credits
Third Wave Feminism

Prerequisites: WMS 101, WMS 201; permission of instructor

Course examines First and Second Waves of the women's movement in the United States, then turns to Third Wave, term given to feminist movement from 1990 forward. Contributions and future of women's rights and issues in the United States analyzed through 3rd Wave feminist readings, with a particular focus on women of color.

WGS 307 (PHL 307) three credits
Ecofeminism: Theory and Practice

Study of ecofeminism as systems of oppressions based on race, class, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity that stem from a cultural ideology that enables the oppression of nature. This course explores ecofeminist theories, literature, and practice, including ecofeminist ethics, and the applications of ecofeminism to the lives of individual men and women, as well as cultural institutions and organizations.

WGS 312 three credits
Feminist Research Methods

Framework for thinking and learning about research in women's studies. The course provides an overview of the terminology and key concepts in feminist research methods. It begins with an examination of feminist critiques of traditional methods of research and conceptions of knowledge. The course then covers, among other things, work on standpoint theory, research methods in the natural and social sciences, ethical/political issues in research and the practice of cross-cultural research.

WGS 321 (CJS 321) three credits
Women, Crime, and the Law

Explores the impact that women have on the criminal legal system, as well as the impact that the system has upon women's lives. Despite women's involvement in all aspects of the criminal legal system, research in the field has historically focused on the roles of men. This course will broaden that study by exploring issues relevant to understanding the experiences of women and girls as both offenders and victims. In addition, we will look at the changing roles of women as prison guards, police officers and other officers of the court.

WMS 332 (PSC 332) three credits
Sex Roles and Politics

Prerequisites: PSC 101 or PSC 238 or WMS 100, and upper-division standing

An examination of the impact of gender as a variable in American politics. The course analyzes women in the electorate as candidates, as office holders, and as political participants, including participation in political organizations and lobbying groups.

WGS 333 three credits
Mothers and Daughters

Prerequisite: ENL 101

Mother/daughter relationships: biological mothers and daughters, adopted mothers and daughters, motherless daughters. Explorations are based on a multicultural perspective. The course examines how culture, patriarchy, and stereotypes of the family affect mother/daughter relationships. Topics include competition between mothers and daughters, the women's movement in their lives, feminist parenting, Lesbian mothers or daughters, and motherhood as an institution.

WGS 336 (SOC/ANT 336) three credits
Women and Social Policy

Family policy issues in the U.S. such as child care, family leave, job equity, and marriage and family relationships. U.S. public policy is compared with that of other countries.

WGS 339 (PSC 339) three credits
Women and Public Policy

Prerequisites: PSC 101, and upper-division standing

Examines public policies and landmark Supreme Court opinions relating to gender equality and women's interests in the United States. Topics may include educational policies, employment policies, child care policies, health care policies, reproductive rights, and policies relating to women as criminals.

WGS 347 (ENL 347) three credits
Special Topics in Women's Literature

Advanced study of a specialized topic chosen by the instructor. May be repeated with change of content.

WGS 348 (ENL 348) three credits
American Women Playwrights

Prerequisite: ENL 102

Analysis, evaluation, comparison, and appreciation of plays by 20th-century American women playwrights and insights into their themes and the images of women which they create.

WGS 359 (SOC/ANT 359) three credits
Men and Masculinities

Prerequisite: SOC 101 or equivalent

The social construction of male identity and culture. Male sexualities, relationships, sports, health, work, violence, warfare, and changing male culture are explored.

WGS 368 (HST 368) three credits
History of Feminist Thought

Examination of proto-feminist and feminist thought from ancient Greece to the early 1900’s. The course will also examine the ways in which some early feminist thought and activism intersected with other political goals and movements, such as the anti-slavery movement or the pacifist movement. In addition, the goals of activist movements and an analysis of their different methods will be examined.

WGS 380 (ARH 380) three credits
Feminist Perspectives on Art History

Prerequisites: ARH 101, 102, WMS 101; or permission of instructor

Analyzes the feminist critique of the history of art. This course will review recent critiques of both art and culture through an investigation of the production and evaluation of art and the role of the artist in Western and non-Western cultures.

WGS 399 three credits
Women's & Gender Studies Internship

Over the course of one semester, students earn academic credit by working in area public, private or non-profit organizations that provide services for women. Students work under the supervision of a women's studies faculty member and a sponsor at the selected organization.

WGS 490 three credits
Advanced Special Topic in Women's Studies

Special topics are offered. May be repeated with change of content. This course may be cross-listed with an academic department.

WGS 495 variable credit
Independent Study

Prerequisites: Upper-division standing; permission of instructor, department chairperson, and college dean

Study under the supervision of a faculty member in an area not otherwise part of the discipline’s course offerings. Conditions and hours to be arranged.

WGS 499 three credits
Women's & Gender Studies Capstone

Prerequisites: WMS 101, WMS 312 (Research Methods)

The WMS capstone course is designed to cohere a major student’s core curriculum work. While the subject matter may change depending on the interdisciplinary connections, the course will be grounded in feminist scholarship and require a research project that draws upon feminist theories and feminist research methods, along with a public presentation at the end of the semester to the class and WMS faculty. This course will be an opportunity for students to integrate their major course knowledge and demonstrate their ability to apply feminist theory and research methods.

WGS 196, 296, 396, 496 variable credit
Directed Study

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor, department chairperson, and college dean

Study under the supervision of a faculty member in an area covered in a regular course not currently being offered. Conditions and hours to be arranged.

Online programs and courses are offered by the Departments and Colleges of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth through UMass Dartmouth University Extension.