Women's Studies

Students gain knowledge of contemporary feminist theories and research methods. They experience and participate in the making of women’s history in Washington, D.C. Part of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ arts and humanities programs, women’s studies examines women’s lives, literature, histories and cultures through the lens of feminist theory and practice.

Associate Professors C. Deitch, D. Moshenberg (Director), A. Zucker, R. Riedner, K. Pemberton

Assistant Professor J. Nash

Adjunct Professors B. Morris, T. Ramlow

Professorial Lecturer M. Frost

Committee on Women’s Studies N. Cahn, E. Chacko, L. Chang, K. Daiya, C. Deitch, C. Gamber, B. Gault, C.E. Harrison, H. Hartmann, L. Jacobson, D. Moshenberg, J. Nash, B. Obler, K. Pemberton, R. Riedner, G. Weiss, S. Wolchik, A. Zucker

Explanation of Course Numbers

  • Courses in the 1000s are primarily introductory undergraduate courses
  • Those in the 2000–4000s are upper-division undergraduate courses that can also be taken for graduate credit with permission and additional work
  • Those in the 6000s and 8000s are for master’s, doctoral, and professional-level students
  • The 6000s are open to advanced undergraduate students with approval of the instructor and the dean or advising office

Note: Excluding students enrolled in the Women’s Studies Program, completion of WSTU 2120 Intro to Women's Studies and WSTU 2125 Varieties of Feminist Theory or equivalent, or permission of instructor, is prerequisite to all graduate-level women’s studies courses.

WSTU 1000. Dean's Seminar. 3 Credits.

WSTU 1020. Approaches to Women's History. 3 Credits.

Exploration of critical periods of intellectual and cultural change in Western societies as influenced by and affecting women. Examination of images of women and of changing ideal types of femininity and masculinity. Aspects of law, religion, art, culture, work, and politics in relation to these topics. Same as HIST 1020.

WSTU 2120. Intro to Women's Studies. 3 Credits.

A multidisciplinary examination of historical conditions, cultural norms, and social institutions that define women’s status in Western culture. Experiences of girls and women in various racial–ethnic, class, and age groups. Alternative visions for women’s (and, by implication, men’s) roles and status.

WSTU 2120W. Intro to Women's Studies. 3 Credits.

A multidisciplinary examination of historical conditions, cultural norms, and social institutions that define women’s status in Western culture. Experiences of girls and women in various racial–ethnic, class, and age groups. Alternative visions for women’s (and, by implication, men’s) roles and status. Sophomore standing required.

WSTU 2121. The Anthropology of Gender: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. 3 Credits.

Anthropological representations of gender relations in “other” cultures have provided important case material for feminist theorizing of sex differences and gender roles and statuses. How a cross-cultural approach can inform our understanding of gender. Same as ANTH 2501.

WSTU 2125. Varieties of Feminist Theory. 3 Credits.

Classical and contemporary texts on feminist explanations of women’s status. Relationships within the sex/gender system and arrangements based on class and race. Evaluation, through the lens of feminist theory, of several academic disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Prerequisite: WSTU 1020 or WSTU 2120 or permission of instructor.

WSTU 2135. A Study of Women and Media. 3 Credits.

The role media plays in women’s lives. The limits and effects of a “dominant” media; representations of women in print media and television, especially advertising, and in books and film. How women have attempted to articulate a culture that serves their personal, political, and social interests.

WSTU 2380. Sexuality in US Cultural Hist. 3 Credits.

Examination of the changing social organization and meaning of sexual practices and desires in American culture, with particular attention to the relationship between sexuality and gendered racial and class identities and politics. Same as AMST 2380/ HIST 2380.

WSTU 3136. Chinese Women in Myth, Literature, and Film. 3 Credits.

Women’s position in Chinese cultural and political life from prehistoric myth to the present time. Confucian writing, traditional theatre, and films and novels set in China. A general survey of Chinese history establishes the context for discussions of cultural and political phenomena, such as foot binding and the one-child policy. Course conducted in English. Same as CHIN 3136.

WSTU 3136W. Chinese Women in Myth, Literature, and Film. 3 Credits.

Women’s position in Chinese cultural and political life from prehistoric myth to the present time. Confucian writing, traditional theatre, and films and novels set in China. A general survey of Chinese history establishes the context for discussions of cultural and political phenomena, such as foot binding and the one-child policy. Course conducted in English. Same as CHIN 3136.

WSTU 3170. Selected Topics. 0-4 Credits.

Examination and analysis of central issues in women’s studies, such as women and difference, women in media, women and violence, athletics and gender. Topic changes each semester; may be repeated for credit.    (Fall and spring).

WSTU 3170W. Selected Topics. 0-4 Credits.

Examination and analysis of central issues in women’s studies, such as women and difference, women in media, women and violence, athletics and gender. Topic changes each semester; may be repeated for credit.

WSTU 3195. Undergraduate Research. 1-3 Credits.

A written proposal approved by the member of the faculty who will supervise the research is required prior to registration.

WSTU 3210. Athletics and Gender. 3 Credits.

WSTU 3281. Women in Judaism. 3 Credits.

Jewish women’s spirituality as reflected in personal writings, ritual, liturgy, and midrash. Jewish women’s history and legal status. Same as REL 3281.

WSTU 3310. Women and War. 3 Credits.

WSTU 3352. Women in the United States I. 3 Credits.

Survey of women’s experience in U.S. history, the way gender has organized relations of power, and the impact of race, region, class, and ethnicity on women and on gender roles. Same as HIST 3352/ AMST 3352.

WSTU 3352W. Women in the United States I. 3 Credits.

Survey of women’s experience in U.S. history, the way gender has organized relations of power, and the impact of race, region, class, and ethnicity on women and on gender roles. Same as HIST 3352/ AMST 3352.

WSTU 3353. Women in the United States II. 3 Credits.

Continuation of WSTU 3352. Survey of women’s experience in U.S. history, the way gender has organized relations of power, and the impact of race, region, class, and ethnicity on women and on gender roles. Same as HIST 3353/ AMST 3353.

WSTU 3362. Black Women in U.S. History. 3 Credits.

Black women from the Middle Passage to contemporary times. Same as AMST 3362/ HIST 3362.

WSTU 3362W. Black Women in U.S. History. 3 Credits.

Black women from the Middle Passage to contemporary times. Same as AMST 3362/ HIST 3362.

WSTU 3481. Women in Islam. 3 Credits.

The ways in which Islam has articulated gender identity and male–female relationships, and conversely, how women have constructed, interpreted, and articulated Islam and their places within it. Same as REL 3481.

WSTU 3530. Women in Africa. 3 Credits.

African women from prehistory to the present, focusing on culture, the role of gender, and outside influences and their impact on women’s history. Same as HIST 3530.

WSTU 3881. Women, Gender, and Religion in China. 3 Credits.

A historical introduction to the concepts of body, gender, and womanhood in Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, and popular Chinese religious traditions. Women’s roles in religious ritual and practices; the influence of Christianity and modernity. Same as REL 3881.

WSTU 3981. Women in Western Religion. 3 Credits.

WSTU 4183. Practicum in Women's Studies. 3-6 Credits.

Study of the changing status of women through supervised assignment to public and private agencies engaged in policymaking, education, political action, and research. Usually for seniors. Placement arrangements must be made the semester prior to registration; departmental permission is required.

WSTU 4199. Senior Seminar. 3 Credits.

For students completing a major or minor in women’s studies. Writings of contemporary scholars and writers whose work provides critical frameworks for feminist scholarship and research. Individual or collaborative research projects are presented and submitted as written papers.

WSTU 6220. Fundamentals of Feminist Theory. 3 Credits.

A survey of historical theories significant to feminist thought, such as liberalism, socialism, evolution, psychoanalysis, and gendered spheres of social action. How these theories were revived and revised by the Second Wave of feminism since the 1960s. Brief examination of postmodernist and Third Wave feminist theorizing.    (Fall).

WSTU 6221. Research Issues in Women’s Studies. 3 Credits.

Analysis of the contribution of feminist or gender-relations perspectives from humanities and social science disciplines to the issues and methods of social research and social policy and practice. Topics include a review of feminist frameworks, a critique and re-evaluation of traditional academic disciplines, and analysis of current research on and for women.    (Fall).

WSTU 6225. Contemporary Feminist Theory. 3 Credits.

Developments in feminist theory in the past 20 years, with a primary focus on American feminism and some consideration of European and Third World thought.

WSTU 6230. Global Feminisms. 3 Credits.

The individuals, groups, and policies that shape global agenda for women; local and international fora in which global feminisms are forged.

WSTU 6238. Feminist Ethics and Policy Implications. 3 Credits.

Feminist critiques of traditional ethical reasoning; alternative feminist ethical frameworks examined and applied to contemporary social problems (e.g., respecting cultural differences, dependency, disability). Same as PHIL 6238. Prerequisite: PHIL 2125 or 2131 or permission of instructor.

WSTU 6240. Women and Public Policy. 3 Credits.

Analysis of gender-related U.S. policy issues, such as domestic violence, military service, abortion rights, equal employment opportunity, child and dependent care, welfare, social security, and international development assistance.    (Spring).

WSTU 6241. Women and the Law. 3 Credits.

Legal status of women in the United States on both the federal and state levels. Emphasis on constitutional equality, employment law, family law, reproduction and sexuality, and the criminal justice system.    (Fall).

WSTU 6251. Women and Writing. 3 Credits.

Selected topics in the traditions, theory, and texts of women’s literary production and culture. Same as ENGL 6540.

WSTU 6257. Gender and Sexuality. 3 Credits.

Study of new theoretical and methodological approaches developed in the anthropology of gender. Topics include postcolonialism, sexuality, and literary representations of gender. Same as ANTH 6501.

WSTU 6265. Women, Welfare & Poverty. 3 Credits.

Examination of how the causes and consequences of poverty differ for women and men; how race, class, and gender shape policy responses to poverty. The history of family assistance policy in the United States and the impact of various welfare reform efforts. Same as SOC 6265.

WSTU 6266. Gender & Criminal Justice. 3 Credits.

How understandings, practices, and theories of gender shape the workings of criminal justice systems, including issues of criminality and responses to crime, victimization and violence, and definitions of illegal behaviors. Same as SOC 6266.

WSTU 6268. Race, Gender and Class. 3 Credits.

How social structures are constructed through race, gender, and class and how they shape experience. The intersections of race, gender, and class in education, science, politics, labor markets, and social welfare policies. Same as SOC 6268.

WSTU 6270. Seminar: Selected Topics. 3 Credits.

Investigation of a current policy issue of particular concern to women, or consideration of women’s status in a particular social system. Topics have included women and health; sexualities; women and Judaism; black women; gender, race, and class. May be repeated for credit.    (Fall and spring).

WSTU 6271. Gender and Society. 3 Credits.

Examination of current empirical and theoretical work on gender as an organizing principle of social relations. Consideration of the relationship of gender to sex and sexuality. Same as SOC 6271.

WSTU 6280. Independent Study. 3 Credits.

May be repeated for credit. Arrangements must be made with sponsoring faculty member prior to registration.

WSTU 6283. Practicum in Women's Studies. 3-6 Credits.

Study of the changing status of women through supervised assignment to public and private agencies engaged in policymaking, education, political action, and research. Placement arrangements must be made the semester prior to registration; departmental permission is required. May be repeated for credit to a maximum of 6 credits.

WSTU 6295. Independent Research in Women’s Studies. 1-3 Credits.

Individual library or field research. Arrangements must be made with the sponsoring faculty member prior to registration; a written proposal is required.

WSTU 6430. Gender, Sexuality, and American Culture. 3 Credits.

The changing social organization, cultural representation, and meaning of gender and sexuality in the United States, with emphasis on their relationship to race, class, region, nationality, empire, and globalization. Pre-Columbian settlement to 1876. Same as AMST 6430/ HIST 6430.

WSTU 6431. Gender, Sexuality, and American Culture. 3 Credits.

Continuation of WSTU 6430. The changing social organization, cultural representation, and meaning of gender and sexuality in the United States, with emphasis on their relationship to race, class, region, nationality, empire, and globalization. 1877 to present. Same as AMST 6431/ HIST 6431.

WSTU 6435. Readings on Women in American History. 3 Credits.

Important works in American women’s history; evolution of the field in historiographical context. Same as AMST6435/HIST 6435.

WSTU 6998. Thesis Research. 3 Credits.

WSTU 6999. Thesis Research. 3 Credits.

WSTU 8275. Women and Health. 3 Credits.

Theoretical and empirical analyses of women’s health: how women’s health is constructed by medical, psychological, and critical theorists; how sexism, racism, and classism contribute to women’s health problems; and identification of conditions that lead to optimal health and well-being. Same as PSYC 8275.