Women's and Gender Studies (WGST)
The Women's and Gender Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary meeting ground for exploring questions about women and gender that are transforming knowledge across disciplinary lines in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Its goal is to include gender, along with class, sexuality and race, as a central category of social and cultural analysis. Courses focusing on women and gender are offered by the departments of Asian Languages and Literatures, Classics, English, German and Russian, French and Spanish, History, Cinema and Media Studies, Music, Religion, Philosophy, Political Science, Art, Sociology and Anthropology, as well as Women's and Gender Studies itself. Carleton offers both a Major and a Concentration in Women's and Gender Studies that allows students to complement their major field with an interdisciplinary focus on women and gender. All courses are open to all students, if they have fulfilled the prerequisites.
Women's and Gender Studies 110, an entry point to the major, is a topical introduction to the field. Women's and Gender Studies 200 and 234 provide the theoretical and methodological tools for advanced work on women and gender. The capstone course, Women's and Gender Studies 396, offers students the opportunity to study a topic in depth and to produce a substantial research paper. The major culminates in a senior comprehensive project, directed by advisers from two disciplines, that builds on the skills and interests developed in previous coursework in Women's and Gender Studies. Each student devises an appropriate program of courses in consultation with the major adviser.
Requirements for a Major
Total of 66 credits
One introductory course, Women's and Gender Studies 110 or 112
One methodology course, Women's and Gender Studies 200 or 234
One capstone seminar, Women's and Gender Studies 396
Comprehensive Exercise, Women's and Gender Studies 400
In addition to these 24 credits, students must complete an additional 42 credits from the Women's and Gender Studies offerings listed below. Of these 42, no more than 12 credits should be at the 100-level and at least 12 credits should be at the 300-level. Ordinarily, no more than 18 credits may be applied to the major from outside of Carleton.
Students will plan these courses in consultation with the Program Director or a designated faculty adviser when they declare their major, and review their plan each term. The major they design should provide both breadth of exposure to Women's and Gender Studies across fields and depth of study in one discipline (normally at least two courses in one area or from one department).
Women's and Gender Studies Courses
WGST 110. Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies This course is an introduction to the ways in which gender structures our world, and to the ways feminists challenge established intellectual frameworks. However, because gender is not a homogeneous category but is differentiated by class, race, sexualities, ethnicity, and culture, we also consider the ways differences in social location intersect with gender. 6 cr., HI, Fall,Winter,SpringA. Igra, M. Sehgal, S. Sippy
WGST 112. Introduction to LGBT/Queer Studies This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary examination of sexual desires, sexual orientations, and the concept of sexuality generally, with a particular focus on the construction of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities. The course will look specifically at how these identities interact with other phenomena such as government, family, and popular culture. In exploring sexual diversity, we will highlight the complexity and variability of sexualities, both across different historical periods, and in relation to identities of race, class, and ethnicity. 6 cr., HI, IDS, Not offered in 2014-2015.
WGST 200. Gender, Power and the Pursuit of Knowledge In this course we will examine whether there are feminist ways of knowing, the criteria by which knowledge is classified as feminist and the various methods used by feminists to produce this knowledge. Some questions that will occupy us are: How do we know what we know? Who does research? Does it matter who the researcher is? How does the social location (race, class, gender, sexuality) of the researcher affect research? Who is the research for? How can research relate to efforts for social change? While answering these questions, we will consider how different feminist researchers have dealt with them. 6 cr., SI, IS, FallM. Sehgal
WGST 205. The Politics of Women's Health This course will explore the politics of women's health from the perspective of women of different races, ethnicities, classes and sexual orientations in the U.S. The organization of the health care system and women's activism (as consumers and health care practitioners) shall frame our explorations of menstruation, sexuality, nutrition, body image, fertility control, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. We will cover basic facts about the female body and pay particular attention to adjustments the body makes during physiological events (i.e. menstruation, sexual and reproductive activity, and menopause). We will focus on the medicalization of these processes and explore alternatives to this medicalization. 6 cr., SI, WR2, IDS, Not offered in 2014-2015.
WGST 210. Sexuality and Religious Controversies in the United States and Beyond From pulpits to political campaigns, notions of sexuality are deployed in religious discourse to develop definitions of morality, ethics, family, marriage, gender, citizenship, civil liberties, righteousness and sinfulness. Religious concepts have also been used as creative tools to repress, liberate, legislate, and re-vision various conceptions of sexuality. This course will examine the ways in which religious ideologies, theologies, motivations, and practices function in both public and private contexts in debates over a range of topics, including homosexuality, abortion, and public comportment. We will consider questions about how ideas of sexuality are established as normative through scriptural, ritual, and rhetorical devices. 6 cr., HI, IDS, Offered in alternate years. Not offered in 2014-2015.
WGST 215. Feminist Practices, Activism and Social Change This course introduces students to the study of feminist practices. What is the relationship of feminist theory to feminist practice? What is feminist activism? What tactics and strategies have feminist individuals and collectives undertaken for social change? How have some strategies been successful, while others have failed? Through a set of course readings and open small-group dialogue the course will look at a variety of tactics and strategies feminists have undertaken for social change. The course will enable students to experiment with some strategies, learn through the process of doing and reflect on theory and practice through hands-on learning projects. 6 cr., SI, IDS, Not offered in 2014-2015.
WGST 234. Feminist Theory Feminism has to do with changing the world. We will explore feminist debates about changing the world using a historical framework to situate feminist theories in the context of the philosophical and political thought of specific time periods and cultures. Thus, we will follow feminist theories as they challenged, critiqued, subverted and revised liberalism, Marxism, existentialism, socialism, anarchism, critical race theories, multiculturalism, postmodernism and post-colonialism. We will focus on how theory emerges from and informs matters of practice. We will ask: What counts as theory? Who does it? How is it institutionalized? Who gets to ask the questions and to provide the answers? 6 cr., SI, IS, Not offered in 2014-2015.
WGST 240. Gender, Globalization and War This course examines the relationship between globalization, gender and militarism to understand how globalization and militarism are gendered, and processes through which gender becomes globalized and militarized. We will focus on the field of transnational feminist theorizing which both "genders the international" and "internationalizes gender." We will take up the different theoretical and disciplinary approaches to this project, as well as the perspectives and methods put forth for studying gender, race and class transnationally. We will explore how economic development, human rights, and the politics of resistance (particularly in the NGO sector) are gendered. 6 cr., SI, SpringM. Sehgal
WGST 255. Gender, Justice and Community Engagement This civic engagement course will have a changing thematic focus on a social issue that will bring feminist theory and practice together into a fieldwork setting. Beginning from a vision of gender justice that necessarily involves racial, sexual, and economic dimensions, we will explore feminist politics through collaborations with communities on and off-campus. The course will enable students to engage in self-reflexive activism, learn through the process of doing, explore theories of gender and contribute to local community organization's efforts to bring about gender justice. Prerequisite: Womens and Gender Studies 234 or permission of instructor. 6 cr., SI, IDS, Not offered in 2014-2015.
WGST 310. Asian Mystiques Demystified This class will focus on the topic of Asian sexuality and gender, considering traditional, transnational, and transgressive representations of Asian sexualities, femininities, masculinities and bodies. Often associated with paradoxical images of sensuality, spirituality, repression, and femininity, Asian sexuality has a long history, shaped by enduring colonial imaginaries and our transnational, capitalist present. Tracing a genealogy of Asian mystiques, we will study classical sources that have served as "prooftexts" for these images, and will then focus our attention on Asian literature, film, art, religious traditions, and social movements that have produced their own, often alternative, conceptions of Asian sexualities and gender. 6 cr., HI, IS, Offered in alternate years. Not offered in 2014-2015.
WGST 396. Transnational Feminist Activism This course focuses on transnational feminist activism in an era of globalization, militarism and religious fundamentalism. We will learn about the debates around different theories of social change, the challenges and pitfalls of global sisterhood and the various "pedagogies of crossing" borders. We will explore case studies of how feminists have collaborated, built networks, mobilized resources and coalitions for collective action, in addition to the obstacles and constraints they have encountered and surmounted in their search for gender and sexual justice. 6 cr., WR; SI, WR2, IS, WinterM. Sehgal