Course Offerings

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BA/MA TRACK

Students will complete criteria for both a BA in WGSS, as well as for the WGSS MA degree with a Track in Feminist Practices for Social Change.

First, students will complete all core and elective courses required of the BA and toward their major in WGSS. In the final semesters of their undergraduate degree, students will initiate coursework for the WGSS Masters degree: sophomores accepted into the WGSS BA/MA Program will begin graduate work in the spring of their junior year, and juniors accepted into the WGSS MA Program will begin work in the fall of their senior year.

After students are awarded their BA in WGSS, they will be enrolled as full-time graduate students in the WGSS MA Program. They will then complete coursework as well as a Practicum toward the WGSS Masters degree.

All students enrolled in the MA track must complete 30 credits total, as follows:

  • Three Core Courses (12 credits): Feminism Theory and Practices (515), Social Justice Movements (516), and Advocacy Tactics and Techniques (517).
  • Five Electives (15 credits) from a range of WGSS graduate courses, including: Gender and Human Rights, Gender and Development, Feminist Knowledge Production, Feminist Genealogies, Feminist Advocacy at the UN
  • 6 credits applied toward Practicum Research work (at the time when the student is completing Practicum work)

Students completing the BA/M.A. track must complete 9 credits of core coursework and an additional 15 credits of elective coursework.

REQUIRED CORE COURSEWORK (9 CREDITS)

Feminism: Theory and Practice (988:515)
This course aims to illuminate the interconnections of theory and practice by exploring particular modes of feminist activism and the complex theoretical issues that feminist praxis raises. The course seeks to foster an understanding of the multiple ways that feminist theory opens imaginations to the possibilities for inclusive democratic practices, and expands the repertoire of strategies for realizing social change.

Social Justice Movements (988:516)
When excluded by law from official institutions of governance and subjected to multiple modes of discrimination and injustice, many people turn their energies to the politics of transformation. This course examines collective mobilization across multiple scales (grassroots, ethnic, local, regional, national, transnational, international and virtual) to create a different world—more attuned to more equitable distributions of social, economic, and political resources. Using both historical and contemporary examples, the class explores how these transformative efforts are influenced by regimes in power and influences beyond the nation-state and analyzes the conditions for social movement success and failure.

Advocacy: Tactics and Techniques (988:517)
Certain skills are essential for advocacy, regardless of the cause one seeks to promote. This course will assist students in developing basic capacities such a public speaking, agenda-setting, issue identification, event planning, publicity campaigns, harnessing free media, group facilitation, social media mobilization, fundraising, grant writing, networking, coalition building, petitioning, lobbying, organizational planning and budgeting, consensus-building, and participatory decision-making. Drawing ON examples from feminist activism and organizations across the Global North and South, the class will prepare students for the demands of social change activism and advocacy. 

Students must complete 15 credits of elective coursework to be counted towardS the MA Degree. No more than 9 elective credits may be taken at the 400 level. Students must complete additional work, to qualify the course as reflective of graduate-level work, stipulated by the instructor for any 400-level course.

TENTATIVE ELECTIVES COURSEWORK (15 CREDITS)

WGS ELECTIVES:

Agency, Subjectivity, and Social Change (988:520)
This course investigates women’s mobilizations to transform social and political institutions, which also transform women activists themselves. Examining global feminist movements in the past as well as in the contemporary world, this class seeks to explicate how women’s activism and agency continue to challenge dominant discourses on agency, subjectivity, culture, politics, authority, religion, and society.

Gender and Human Rights (988:535)
The history and discourse of women's human rights. United Nations instruments; reframing of human rights as women's rights; gender-based violence; health; sexuality.

Gender and Development (988:536)
This course analyzes women’s location in economic development processes within theoretical frameworks; reflects upon linkages between the global economy and gendered processes of development; and examines a rights-based approach to gender justice.

Poverty, Inequality, and Gender (988:537) 
This course examines the intersection of poverty, inequality and gender by exploring feminist approaches to theorizing, measuring, and experiencing the relationship between capitalist development and gender and race/ethnic inequality and poverty.

Feminist Advocacy for Women’s Rights Through the United Nations (988:445)
The course aims to bridge feminist theory and praxis through readings, discussions and concrete experiences at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and dialogue with feminist activists from around the world. A priority of the UN Commission on the Status of Women is women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, including the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls and an emerging issue being the empowerment of indigenous women. The course explores four broad themes: global strategies for women’s economic empowerment; strategies for the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development; human rights and macroeconomic policies; empowerment of indigenous women and the contributions and insights of feminist perspectives on women’s economic rights and development in general and the possibilities and liabilities of the United Nations as a venue for feminist advocacy. The course will encourage the use of an intersectional lens to explore these themes.

The Color of Aids: The Politics of Race during the AIDS Crisis (988:396)
In recent years, the visibility of people of color (particularly women) infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States has sparked discussions about the influences of individual and structural factors in how people negotiate risk,
protection, mobilization and access to care and medications. This course focuses on AIDS and the way it is represented in scholarly, popular and community discussions. One of our key concerns will be to discuss the role that race thinking has in shaping the representations of communities, the problems, and the solutions identifies. The course explores cultural narratives of the spread of HIV among women and men from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, in addition to debating recent controversies caused by phenomena within the framework of contested social meanings of illness and deviance, or what Paula Treichler has aptly called “an epidemic of signification.” The course also explores linkages between how we imagine and represent illness and already existing notions of racial/ethnic/sexual difference. Discussions of selected moments throughout the crisis will help us understand debates about the meanings of race, from the designation of Haitians as a risk group in the earliest stages of the epidemic to current debates about African Americans makes as AIDS carriers and women of color in the epidemic. Discussions of gender, sexuality and the status of AIDS among African Americans, Latinas/os, Asian Americans and Native Americans will foreground the problematic nature of “culture” and “visibility” in health policy, research and care provision.

Women’s Global Health Movements (988: 407)
Informed by the history of the International Women and Health Meetings (IWHMs), this course investigates the political vision and organizational structure for women’s health movements around the world. It contrasts early strategies driven by coalitions of activists from the North, which focused on reproductive rights, self-help, and a definition of health-based largely in the physiology of women’s bodies with approaches advanced by activists from the global South, which attend to the social, cultural, and economic factors that affect women’s access to the most basic healthcare. This course examines how and why contemporary feminist conceptions of health are grounded in a comprehensive framework attentive to international power dynamics, globalization, macroeconomic policy, national and global poverty, conflict and war, and debt crises in various countries. Beginning with an overview of women’s contemporary health challenges, the class then analyzes the political tactics and strategies women have devised to secure access to healthcare for themselves, their families, households and communities. Introducing students to the global institutions, organizations, and policies that impact health, course material also traces how women’s non-governmental organizations have attempted to transform existing institutions and policies of global health governance to enable women in all regions of the world to lead physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally healthier, more dignified lives.

Impacts of Economic Inequality on Women’s Health (988: 408)
Domestic and global economic inequality places significant numbers of people at high risk for health crises even as they are denied access to care. This course investigates the “pathogenic” aspects of economic inequality. It examines how systems of unequal resource distribution grounded in class, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality and sexuality contribute to wide disparities of health risk, access to health care, and clinical outcomes. It explores how global trade and transnational migration affect health costs, health care delivery systems, and the availability of health care professionals. By tracing links between macro-economic policies and access to health care, the course analyzes pathologies suffered by individual women in the context of structural violence, which is exacerbated by the intersections of gender, class, race, national belonging, and geopolitical power.

Gendered Professions and the Transnational Care Economy (988: 414)
Nursing and teaching—two women-dominated professions—lie at the heart of the “care economy.” Involving work that requires intensive physical labor, person-to-person communication, and spatial proximity, the intimate nature of care work resists mechanization. In contrast to the production of commodities, the highly personalized labor of care is driven by human need rather than profit maximization. This course provides an overview of distinctive gendered professions whose object of labor is the human subject. In nursing and teaching, skill entails the effective exercise of professional judgment. Focused on the cultivation and preservation of human capacities, this professional labor resists routinization and automation. In addition to examining the distinctive nature of these caring professions, the course explores recent efforts to heighten the profit-making potential of the care economy, and it considers the long-term implications of efforts to deskill and outsource care work.

Electives in Related Disciplines:

Anthropology
Anthropology of Gender, 070: 511
Sexualities in Cross-Cultural Perspective, 070: 516
Anthropology of Violence, 070: 517
Power, State, Nation, 070: 518
Inequality: Race, Class, and Ethnicity, 070:527
Racialization, Immigration, and the Politics of Citizenship, 070:529
Anthropology of Human Rights, 070:537

History
Colloquium on Women and Gender History, 539:510
Protest and Consciousness: African Labor History in Comparative Global Context, 539:518
Seminar in the History of Women, 539:549-550

Political Science
Human Rights and the United Nations, 790:515
Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment, and the UN, 790:5
Women and Public Policy, 790:591
Gender and Comparative Politics, 790:593

Social Work
Women, Work and Single Parent Families, 910:542
Poverty, Inequality, Discrimination and Public Policy, 910:544
LGBTQ Issues, 910:559

Sociology
Sociology of Environmental Health, 920: 507
Domination and Resistance, 920:570
Space, Place, and Inequality, 920: 571
Sociology of Sexualities, 920:572
Race, Ethnicity, Inequality, 920:614