BA MA Track
Women in Leadership
Naomi Klein
Women in Leadership
Naomi Klein
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Welcome to the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Undergraduate Fall 2014 Courses

Click here to view the undergraduate Fall 2014 schedule.

Course Descriptions:


TTH6 (5:35-6:55) HSB-201 C/D

Professor Carolina Alonso

Every single person living in the world today has had her life shaped by the European colonial venture. This is the main premise of our class, and it is from this perspective that we will be approaching the study of the production of identity. We will engage thinkers from across the American continent (North, Central, South America and the Caribbean) and reflect with them upon three questions regarding identity: How has the colonization of the Americas and its aftermath influenced what Western Modernity understands as “the human”? How has the concept of identity been mobilized by colonized peoples across the Americas to advance a decolonial agenda? And, what do we mean by “decolonial”? Our discussions regarding these questions will propel two “on the ground” projects throughout the semester, which will help us reflect upon our locations as U.S. residents and as Rutgers students.


01:988:396:03 Topics in WGS: History of Native American Women

MW5 (3:55-5:15) LOR-115 C/D

Professor: Alison Bernstein

The History of Native American Women is a three credit history course, which is cross listed with women's studies, that explores the histories, roles, contributions and struggles of American Indian women. Particular emphasis will be given to the experiences of Indian women in the 20th century. It does so by placing issues of gender at the center of the debates around American Indian history and the social/political/cultural movements among Indians to secure self-determination, freedom of expression and tribal sovereignty. The course also focuses on understanding changing gender roles between Indian women and men within American Indian communities and the degree to which Indian women have assumed leadership roles within specific tribes and nationally.

The course encompasses a broad perspective, including overviews of major historical events beginning with tribal-colonists’ relations, colonization, the founding of the United States, Manifest Destiny, Indian Wars culminating in the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, forced assimilation, the reforms of Indian New Deal in the 1930s, Indians and World War Two, the drive for Termination in the 1950s and 1960s and recent legal claims and victories regarding tribal sovereignty. It does so by emphasizing the roles of women, leading women activists and tribal leaders whose contributions have often been hidden, submerged, and/or devalued. The course also examines the impact of diverse Indian women’s expressions of cultural and political resistance to social inequality and injustice at the tribal, Pan-Indian and national levels. The course content includes primary texts, historical documents, documentary media, biographies and literary texts written by American Indian women as well as secondary sources and scholarly analyses. The often unheard voice of American Indian women is one of the key features of this course.

We will explore the diverse forms of expression of American Indian women including poetry, song, film, theatre and visual art; and the ways in which gender interacts with race/ethnicity, class, sexuality and culture to both catalyze and limit Indian women’s activism and self-expression within tribes and in broader political spheres. Finally, the course probes continuing issues related to Indian survival, self determination and identity in the 21st century -- the persistent poverty, poor education and health outcomes and the persistence of negative (and “positive”) stereotyping, racism, prejudice and discrimination against Indians in general, and Indian women in particular.                                       

The course is an elective that is open to juniors and seniors and sophomores with the professor’s permission.


01:988:240 - Gender & Science

TTH4 (2:15-3:35) TH-206 C/D

Professor: Catherine Read

What does gender have to do with science? What is science? Is science, by definition, the objective, value-neutral study of nature? What is participatory or phenomenological science? How do values related to gender affect the practice of science? In this course we will use a lecture/discussion format to cover material in feminist science studies in the areas of biology and psychology and their intersection. Alternative pratices in science will be considered.

We will examine concepts of nature and objectivity, including examples of research in evolutionary biology and psychology, genetics, and sex/gender identity in psychology. Examples of research will be discussed and critiqued. Finally, we will move further-into the actual practice of science and what that practice involves in terms of values and self-critique. Each student carries out observations of a natural object/process and records their observations in a journal.

Each week a thought question is given; students choose one of these on which to write a short response. Further, a short paper on the biography of a scientist relating the scientist's work to the context of their life is required. There are also two quizzes. The final requirement is a 15 page research paper detailing the student's observations and relating them to relevant published scientific work, written according to APA style guidelines. Guest speakers, films, and literary sources will form part of the course.

Women’s Global Health Movements (01:988: 407) Professor Wartenburg - ONLINE

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 nongovernmental 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.

The Growth Imperative, Global Ecology, and Women’s Health (01:988:409 ) Professor Wartenburg - ONLINE

Over the past half-century, scholars have debated the relationship between the quest for “endless growth”--capital accumulation on a global scale--and resource exhaustion. This course situates women’s health in the context of these debates, investigating the health consequences of environmental crises linked to various market-based development strategies and technological innovations. Analyzing externalized business costs in the currency of human health, the course investigates illness caused by toxic industrial products and byproducts, injury from resource extraction processes such as nuclear fission and deep-water oil drilling, the manifold health hazards stemming from violent conflict over control of scarce resources in postcolonial states, and dangers that attend dislocation resulting from climate change.

Debt, Crisis, and Women’s Health (01:988: 410 ) Professor Hoechst - ONLINE

Growing national debt has become a feature of increasing numbers of nations over the past 60 years, heightening dependence on international financial institutions and restricting the sphere of freedom of national policy makers. Health care provision has been subjected to severe cuts as nations struggle to meet their debt obligations and stabilize their economies. Framing ongoing global economic crisis as a consequence of excess rather than scarcity, this course unsettles the conventional moral calculus of credit and debt, exploring the relationship between debt and economic crisis, and examining the impacts of austerity policies on women’s health. Comparing experiences of nations in various regions of the world, the course considers the effects of continued borrowing to pay debt interest on humanitarian concerns. In particular, the course analyzes who suffers for the sake of debt repayment and the magnitude of that gendered suffering in highly leveraged societies.








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