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Women's and Gender Studies (WGST)

Director: Associate Professor Annette Igra

Senior Lecturer: Jane T. McDonnell

Mellon Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow: Karina A. Eileraas


Committee Members: Barbara Allen, Carol Donelan, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Clara Hardy, Annette Igra, Diane M. Nemec Ignashev, Annette Nierobisz, Éva Pósfay, Matt Rand, Kathleen Ryor, Parna Sengupta, Kathryn Sparling, Dana J. Strand


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, sexual orientation and race, as a central category of social and cultural analysis. Courses focusing on women are offered by the departments of Asian Languages and Literatures, Classics, English, German and Russian, Romance Languages and Literatures, History, 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 234 provides 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

One methodology course, Women's and Gender Studies 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, to theories of women's oppression and liberation, and to the ways feminist thought challenges established intellectual frameworks. However, because gender is not a homogeneous category but is differentiated by class, race, ethnicity, and culture, we also consider both the differences among women and the difficulties of inter-cultural dialogue. 6 credits cr., HU,RAD, Fall,Winter,SpringK. Eileraas, A. Igra, Jn. McDonnell, P. SenGupta


WGST 220. The Politics of Reproduction This course deals with new reproductive technologies and their impact on the lives of women. Topics studied include surrogacy, abortion, infertility treatments, sterilization abuse, contraception, "fetal rights," fetal imaging, and disability rights. The course deals with the intersection of medical ethics, contract law, and feminist thinking, and will address issues of interest to pre-med and pre-law students, as well as to students in the Women's and Gender Studies program. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringJn. McDonnell


WGST 234. Feminist Theory Our aim in this course is to explore contemporary debates in feminist theory, paying special attention to the relationship between feminist theory and practice. The course will introduce students to theoretical approaches that have informed feminist inquiry, including theories of knowledge (e.g. standpoint epistemology), subjectivity, language, sexuality, culture, representation, violence, and embodiment. By situating gender as a complex analytical category intersected by race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality, our readings and discussions will encourage students to think critically about conflicting interpretations of "difference," and to reflect on the global politics of knowledge production highlighted by transnational feminist scholars and activists. 6 credits cr., ND, WinterK. Eileraas


WGST 340. From Memory to Memoir: The Art of the Personal Narrative Cross-listed with ENGL 231. This is a writing class, designed to help students transform personal experience into finished narrative. Classes will feature visits from published writers, practical writing exercises, informal workshops and discussions about this new and important genre. This is the perfect place to ponder and reshape personal, family and cross-cultural experiences. Prerequisite: Part 1 of the writing requirement. 6 credits cr., AL, WinterJn. McDonnell


WGST 396. Sexuality, Revolution and Exile in the Middle East and North Africa Taking as a point of departure the myriad voices that have "spoken for" women in the Middle East and North Africa in recent history, we will foreground women's critical perspectives on colonization, nationalism, anti-colonial revolution, "Western feminism," religious fundamentalism, sexual violence, intercultural conflict, and exile. Readings for the first half of the class will draw from feminist postcolonial theory, historical essays, and comparative analyses of revolution in Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In the latter half of class, we will highlight women's voices and feminist spaces of resistance as expressed in art and autobiography, including post-9/11 artistic production. 6 credits cr., ND, SpringK. Eileraas


Other Courses Pertinent to Women's and Gender Studies:

ARTH 220 Gender and Genre in the Floating World: Japanese Prints

ARTH 223 Women in Art

CHIN 242 Women and World Cinema (not offered in 2004-2005)

CAMS 235 Film and the Melodramatic Imagination

CAMS 240 European Women Filmmakers

CLAS 114 Gender and Sexuality in Classical Antiquity (not offered in 2004-2005)

EDUC 260 Gender, Sexuality and Schooling

ENGL 318 The Gothic Spirit

ENGL 351 Women Playwrights/Women's Roles (not offered in 2004-2005)

HIST 222 U.S. Women's History to 1877

HIST 223 U.S. Women's History Since 1877

HIST 229 Gender and Work in U.S. History (not offered in 2004-2005)

HIST 236 Courtly Queens to Revolutionary Heroines: European Women 1100-1800

HIST 238 The World of Bede

HIST 238 Topics in Medieval History: Church, Papacy and Empire

HIST 283 Topics in Medieval History: Gender and Ethics in Medieval France

HIST 259 Women in South Asia: Histories, Narratives, and Representation (not offered in 2004-2005)

HIST 395 Feminist Movements

JAPN 236 Classical Japanese Fiction: The Tale of Genji and Its World in Translation (not offered in 2004-2005)

LCST 150 Amazons, Valkyries, Naiads, Dykes: Woman Identified and Lesbian Artists in Europe (not offered in 2004-2005)

MUSC 213 Music and Gender (not offered in 2004-2005)

PHIL 235 Feminist Philosophy (not offered in 2004-2005)

POSC 353 Feminist and American Separatist Movements

POSC 354 Feminist Political Theory (not offered in 2004-2005)

POSC 355 Contemporary Feminist Thought: Identity, Culture and Rights (not offered in 2004-2005)

RELG 224 Women and Christianity (not offered in 2004-2005)

RELG 235 Women and Islamic Constructions of Gender (not offered in 2004-2005)

RELG 258 Women in Buddhist Tradition

RELG 322 Gender and God-Talk: Christian Feminist Theologies

SOAN 226 Anthropology of Gender

SOAN 395 Ethnography of Reporduction

SPAN 255 Women Dramatists in Latin America: Staging Conflicts (not offered in 2004-2005)

SPAN 344 Women Writers in Latin America: Challenging Gender and Genre (not offered in 2004-2005)