Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies

GWSS 110 is the gateway to the major that provides an introductory overview and maps the field of gender, women’s and sexuality studies. GWSS 200 (Gender, Power and the Pursuit of Knowledge) examines feminist and queer theories of knowledge and provides methodological tools to conduct research. GWSS 212, Foundations of LGBTQ Studies is an intermediate level course that provides an 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. GWSS 334 (Feminist Theory) and GWSS 312 (Queer and Trans Theory) are upper level seminars focusing on the theory necessary for advanced work on gender, women’s and sexuality studies. The capstone course, GWSS 398, offers students the opportunity to study a topic in depth and to produce a substantial research paper. Topics will rotate and change depending on the expertise and interest of the faculty teaching them. The major culminates in a senior comprehensive project, directed by advisers from two different disciplines, that builds on the skills and interests developed in previous coursework in GWSS. Each student devises an appropriate program of courses in consultation with the major adviser (i.e. the director of GWSS).

Requirements for the Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies Major

Beginning with the Class of 2022

Total of 66 credits

  • One gateway course,
    • GWSS 110 Introduction to Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies
  • One methodology course,
    • GWSS 200 Gender, Sexuality & the Pursuit of Knowledge
  • One intermediate course,
  • One theory seminar
  • One Capstone Seminar,
    • GWSS 398 Capstone: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Popular Culture
    • GWSS 398 Transnational Feminist Activism
    GWSS Capstone Topics (a range of seminar topics can be taught by faculty under this number, depending on their expertise and interest, such as Transnational Feminist Activism; Race, Gender & Sexuality in Popular Culture).
  • Comprehensive Exercise, GWSS 400
  • In addition to the above listed five required courses and comps (36 credits), students must complete an additional five electives (30 credits) from the GWSS & WGST Elective/Additional Courses List below. These 30 credits must be spread across at least two disciplines, and include:
    • One 300-level elective and
    • Four any-level* electives (*Max two 100-level elective courses can count toward the major)    

Please note: a variety of courses are taught by visitors or offered only occasionally. These courses may still be considered. Contact the director for consideration of other courses to satisfy this requirement. 

Please consult the program director to approve use of WGST courses to complete the major requirements.

Students will plan 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 Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies across fields and depth of study in one discipline (normally at least two courses in one area or from one department).

OCS Programs: You may count up to two six credit courses taken on either Carleton or non-Carleton OCS programs toward the requirements of the GWSS major or minor. OCS program courses cannot be substituted for core GWSS courses on campus and will only count towards GWSS electives. Two courses from Carleton's Women's & Gender Studies in Europe program can  count as two GWSS elective courses. Students will need to get all OCS program courses approved by the director of GWSS.

Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies Minor

The Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies minor offers students the opportunity to complement their major field with an interdisciplinary focus on gender, women's and sexuality studies.

Requirements for the Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies Minor

Six courses (36 credits) will be required (three courses from GWSS and three courses from the GWSS & WGST Elective Additional Courses List.

  • One gateway course, GWSS 110 Introduction to Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies
  • One intermediate course, GWSS 212, Foundations of LGBTQ Studies
  • One capstone seminar, GWSS 398 GWSS Capstone Topics (a range of seminar topics can be taught by faculty under this number, depending on their expertise and interest, such as Transnational Feminist Activism; Race, Gender & Sexuality in Popular Culture)
  • Three courses (18 credits) from the GWSS & WGST Elective/Additional Courses List. These three courses must come from two different disciplines. Please note: A variety of courses are by visitors or offered only occasionally and may be considered. Contact the director for consideration of other courses to satisfy this requirement.

OCS Programs: You may count up to two six credit courses taken on either Carleton or non-Carleton OCS programs toward the requirements of the GWSS major or minor. OCS program courses cannot be substituted for core GWSS courses on campus and will only count towards GWSS electives. Two courses from Carleton's Women's & Gender Studies in Europe program can count as two GWSS elective courses. Students will need to get all OCS program courses approved by the director of GWSS.

Requirements for the Women's and Gender Studies Major

Class of 2021

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, Sociology/Anthropology 325, Sociology/Anthropology 395, Women's and Gender Studies 310, Women's and Gender Studies 389 or 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 GWSS & WGST Elective/Additional Courses List. 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).

Requirements for the Women's and Gender Studies Minor

Class of 2021 and 2022 only

Six courses will be required from the following three groups. The range of courses must include at least two disciplines.

  • Women's and Gender Studies 110: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies or Women's and Gender Studies 112: Introduction to LGBT/Queer Studies
  • Four courses (24 credits) from the list of GWSS & WGST Elective/Additional Course List. A variety of courses are by visitors or offered only occasionally and may be considered. Contact the director for consideration of other courses to satisfy this requirement.
  • Capstone Seminar: Sociology/Anthropology 325, Sociology/Anthropology 395, Women's and Gender Studies 310, Women's and Gender Studies 389 or Women's and Gender Studies 396. Other advanced seminars may be substituted for the designated capstone seminar only with the approval of both the instructor and the Women's and Gender Studies director.

GWSS & WGST Elective/Additional Courses List

  • AFST 100 Gender and Sex in African History
  • AFST 120 Gender and Sexuality in the African Diaspora (not offered in 2020-21)
  • AFST 220 Intersectionality (not offered in 2020-21)
  • AMST 225 Beauty and Race in America
  • AMST 396 Producing Latinidad
  • ARTH 214 Queer Art (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ARTH 220 The Origins of Manga: Japanese Prints
  • ARTH 240 Art Since 1945
  • BIOL 101 Human Reproduction and Sexuality
  • CAMS 225 Film Noir: The Dark Side of the American Dream
  • CAMS 258 Feminist and Queer Media (not offered in 2020-21)
  • CLAS 214 Gender and Sexuality in Classical Antiquity (not offered in 2020-21)
  • DANC 266 Reading The Dancing Body
  • ECON 257 Economics of Gender
  • ENGL 217 A Novel Education
  • ENGL 218 The Gothic Spirit
  • ENGL 227 Imagining the Borderlands (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ENGL 319 The Rise of the Novel
  • ENGL 327 Victorian Novel (not offered in 2020-21)
  • ENGL 345 Queer Literature (not offered in 2020-21)
  • FREN 241 The Lyric and Other Seductions
  • FREN 347 Gender and Sexuality in the Francophone World (not offered in 2020-21)
  • GERM 221 (re/ex)press yourself: Sexuality and Gender in Fin-de-Siècle Literature and Art (not offered in 2020-21)
  • GERM 320 Life under Socialism: Culture and Society in East Germany
  • GWSS 200 Gender, Sexuality & the Pursuit of Knowledge
  • GWSS 212 Foundations of LGBTQ Studies
  • GWSS 243 Women's and Gender Studies in Europe Program: Situated Feminisms: Socio-Political Systems and Gender Issues Across Europe
  • GWSS 244 Women's & Gender Studies in Europe Program: Cross-Cultural Feminist Methodologies
  • GWSS 325 Women's & Gender Studies in Europe Program: Continental Feminist, Queer, Trans* Theories
  • GWSS 398 Capstone: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Popular Culture
  • GWSS 398 Transnational Feminist Activism
  • HIST 122 U.S. Women's History to 1877 (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 123 U.S. Women's History Since 1877 (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 142 Women in Modern Europe (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 175 Gender and Sexuality in Latin American History
  • HIST 211 Revolts and Resistance in Early America
  • HIST 229 Working with Gender in U.S. History
  • HIST 236 Women and Gender in Europe before the French Revolution (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 259 Women in South Asia: Histories, Narratives, and Representations (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 270 Nuclear Nations: India and Pakistan as Rival Siblings (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 280 African in the Arab World (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 289 Gender and Ethics in Late Medieval France
  • HIST 310 Black Women Intellectuals (not offered in 2020-21)
  • HIST 359 Women in South Asia: Histories, Narratives, and Representations (not offered in 2020-21)
  • IDSC 203 Talking about Diversity
  • LTAM 250 Indigeneity and Power in the Andes: Land, Labor, Knowledge
  • MUSC 210 Women and Gender in Western Art Music (not offered in 2020-21)
  • PHIL 120 Philosophy of Sex (not offered in 2020-21)
  • PHIL 122 Identity and Leadership
  • POSC 276 Imagination in Politics: Resisting Totalitarianism
  • POSC 280 Feminist Security Studies (not offered in 2020-21)
  • POSC 280 COVID-19 and Globalization
  • POSC 324 Rebels and Risk Takers: Women and War in the Middle East*
  • RELG 161 The Jewish Bible (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 221 Judaism and Gender (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 227 Liberation Theologies (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 228 Martyrdom (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 232 Queer Religions
  • RELG 233 Gender and Power in the Catholic Church (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 234 Angels, Demons, and Evil (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 238 The Sacred Body (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 242 Oh My G*d: Christianity and Sexual Revolutions
  • RELG 265 Religion and Violence: Hindus, Muslims, Jews (not offered in 2020-21)
  • RELG 280 The Politics of Sex in Asian Religion
  • RELG 283 Mysticism and Gender
  • RELG 287 Many Marys
  • RELG 353 Saints, Goddesses, and Whores (not offered in 2020-21)
  • SOAN 114 Modern Families: An Introduction to the Sociology of the Family (not offered in 2020-21)
  • SOAN 226 Anthropology of Gender
  • SOAN 257 Culture and Politics in India
  • SOAN 323 Mother Earth: Women, Development and the Environment (not offered in 2020-21)
  • SOAN 325 Sociology of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction
  • SOAN 395 Ethnography of Reproduction
  • SPAN 244 Spain Today: Recent Changes through Narrative and Film
  • THEA 260 Space, Time, Body, Minds
  • THEA 270 Art and (Un)Freedom
  • WGST 112 Introduction to LGBT/Queer Studies (not offered in 2020-21)
  • WGST 140 Politics of Women's Health (not offered in 2020-21)
  • WGST 180 Power and Desire: Gender Relations in the Middle East (not offered in 2020-21)
  • WGST 200 Gender, Power and the Pursuit of Knowledge (not offered in 2020-21)
  • WGST 234 Feminist and Queer Theory (not offered in 2020-21)
  • WGST 240 Gender, Globalization and War (not offered in 2020-21)
  • WGST 310 Asian Mystiques Demystified (not offered in 2020-21)
  • WGST 396 Transnational Feminist Activism (not offered in 2020-21)

Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies Courses

GWSS 110 Introduction to Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies This course is an introduction to the ways in which gender and sexuality structure our world, and to the ways feminists challenge established intellectual frameworks. However, since gender and sexuality are not homogeneous categories, but are crosscut by class, race, ethnicity, citizenship and culture, we also consider the ways differences in social location intersect with gender and sexuality. 6 credits; SI; Fall, Winter; Iveta Jusová
GWSS 200 Gender, Sexuality & the Pursuit of Knowledge In this course we will examine whether there are feminist and/or queer ways of knowing, the criteria by which knowledge is classified as feminist and the various methods used by feminist and queer scholars 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? What is the relationship between knowledge, power and social justice? While answering these questions, we will consider how different feminist and queer studies researchers have dealt with them. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Winter; Meera Sehgal
GWSS 212 Foundations of LGBTQ Studies This course introduces students to foundational interdisciplinary works in sexuality and gender studies, while focusing on the construction of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities in the United States. In exploring sexual and gender diversity throughout the term, this seminar highlights the complexity and variability of experiences of desire, identification, embodiment, self-definition, and community-building across different historical periods, and in relation to intersections of race, class, ethnicity, and other identities. 6 credits; HI, IDS; Fall; Candace I Moore
GWSS 243 Women's and Gender Studies in Europe Program: Situated Feminisms: Socio-Political Systems and Gender Issues Across Europe This course examines the history and present of feminist and LGBTQ activisms across Western and East-Central Europe. We study the impact of the European colonial heritage on the lives of women and sexual/ethnic minorities across European communities, as well as the legacies of World War II, the Cold War, and the EU expansion into Eastern Europe. Reproductive rights, LGBTQ issues, “anti-genderism,” sex work, trafficking, and issues faced by ethnic minorities are among topics explored. These topics are addressed comparatively and historically, stressing their ‘situated’ nature and considering their divergent sociopolitical national frameworks. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the WGST Europe OCS Program required. 7-8 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Iveta Jusová
GWSS 244 Women's & Gender Studies in Europe Program: Cross-Cultural Feminist Methodologies This course explores the following questions: What is the relationship between methodology and knowledge claims in feminist research? How do language and narrative help shape experience? What are the power interests involved in keeping certain knowledges marginalized/subjugated? How do questions of gender and sexuality, of ethnicity and national location, figure in these debates? We will also pay close attention to questions arising from the hegemony of English as the global language of WGS as a discipline, and will reflect on what it means to move between different linguistic communities, with each being differently situated in the global power hierarchies. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the WGST Europe OCS Program required. 7-8 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Iveta Jusová
GWSS 312 Queer and Trans Theory This seminar offers students familiar with the foundational terms and concepts in gender and sexuality studies the opportunity to engage in more advanced explorations of relevant topics and debates in contemporary queer and trans theory. Seeing queer theory and trans theory as theoretical traditions that are historically and philosophically entangled but which at times necessarily diverge, the course focuses on “state of the field” essays from Gay and Lesbian Quarterly and Transgender Studies Quarterly as well as works that put gender and sexuality studies into conversation with disability studies, critical race theory, indigenous studies, and critiques of neoliberalism and imperialism. Prerequisite: Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies 110, 212 , 334 or Women's & Gender Studies 110, 112 or 200 or instructor consent. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Spring; Candace I Moore
GWSS 325 Women's & Gender Studies in Europe Program: Continental Feminist, Queer, Trans* Theories Addressing the impact of Anglo-American influences in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, this course examines European, including East-Central European, approaches to key gender and sexuality topics. It raises questions about the transfer of feminist concepts across cultures and languages. Some of the themes explored include nationalism and gender/sexuality, gendered dimensions of Western and East-Central European racisms, the historical influence of psychoanalysis on Continental feminist theories, the implications of European feminisms in the history of colonialism, the biopolitics of gender, homonationalism, as well as Eastern European socialist/communist theories of women’s emancipation. Prerequisite: Acceptance to WGST Europe OCS Program. 7-8 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Iveta Jusová
GWSS 334 Feminist Theory This seminar explores key feminist theoretical perspectives and debates, using a historical framework to situate these ideas in relationship to philosophical and political discourses produced during specific cultural moments. Focusing primarily on American feminist thought, this seminar ultimately aims to interrogate the positionality of the theorists we study, considering the cultural privileges as well as vectors of marginalization that influence those viewpoints. We follow feminist thinkers as they propose, challenge, critique, subvert, and revise theoretical traditions of liberalism, Marxism, Socialism, radicalism, separatism, utopianism, multiculturalism, postmodernism, queerness, and post-colonialism. We ask: What gets counted as feminist theory? What gets left out? 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Winter; Candace I Moore
GWSS 391 Women's & Gender Studies in Europe Program: Independent Field Research in Europe This is a self-designed project, and the topic will be determined by each student’s research interests. It will build on readings and work by European women and/or sexual minorities, feminist and queer theory, cross-cultural theory and (if applicable) principles of field research. It should be cross-cultural and comparative, and ideally should involve field work. Drawing on skills developed in feminist theory and methodology seminars, students select appropriate research methods and conduct sustained research in two of the countries visited. The progress of each project will be evaluated regularly in relation to parameters established in conjunction with the Program Director. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the WGST Europe OCS Program required. 7-8 credits; NE; Fall; Iveta Jusová
GWSS 398 Capstone: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Popular Culture This capstone seminar reads representations of racial, gender, and sexual minorities in popular culture through the lenses of feminist, critical race, queer, and trans theories. Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in the late 1980s to describe an approach to oppression that considered how structures of power act multiply on individuals based upon their interlocking racial, class, gender, sexual, and other identities. This seminar takes up the charge of intersectional analysis—rejecting essentialist theories of difference while exploring pluralities—to interpret diversity (or lack thereof) in forms of art and entertainment, focusing on film, TV, and digital media. Prerequisite: Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies 110 or 212 or Cinema and Media Studies 110 or Women's and Gender Studies 110 or 112 or instructor consent. 6 credits; HI, WR2, IDS; Fall; Candace I Moore
GWSS 398 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 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Spring; Meera Sehgal
GWSS 400 Integrative Exercise 1-6 credit; NE; Fall, Winter, Spring; Meera Sehgal