WMST 1101: Introduction to Women's Studies
Introduction to Women's Studies is designed to explore the diversity of women's experiences across time, culture, and social class. As a field, Women's and Gender Studies is interdisciplinary—it extends into all majors and discourse communities. Its foundation in identifying, assessing, and working to eliminate sexist oppression intersects with movements working to end oppression based on race, class, sexual and gender identity, physical ability, age, and other diverse identities.
As we discuss key ideas associated with feminism, we will talk broadly about a variety of topics, including: the history of the women's movement; gender representation; masculinity; health and reproductive rights; motherhood and familial expectations; heterosexism; work, wages, and welfare; and gender and violence. We will also explore how activism and community involvement plays a part in feminist work.
While foundational critical texts will inform our larger understanding of key issues and ideas, we will also spend time examining coverage of current issues and local debates in light of this critical context.
Did you know that you can use WMST 1101 as an Area F Elective for tracks in several majors, including English, Foreign Languages, History, Sociology, Communications, and Psychology. The course is also the gateway course to the Women's Studies Minor.
What will we be reading?
We will be using bell hooks' brief and accessible text Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics (2000), as well as Rory Dicker's short book A History of U.S. Feminisms (2008), to introduce us to key debates and conversations in the field of Women's and Gender Studies.
From there, your reading will take the form of articles—both scholarly articles and articles appearing in public forums—which you will be responsible for printing off of Desire2Learn.
What if I'm not so sure what I think
That's okay! The class in no way requires that you hold a particular worldview or change your position on the important issues we discuss in class. All are welcome--men, included! A fundamental expectation of the course, and of gender studies as a field, is respectful dialogue. Making an effort to understand, discuss, and think critically about diverse concepts--some with which you may not agree--will be part of our everyday practice.