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Women's and Gender Studies

WGST 103 (Q*) Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies. (Credit Hours: 3) This interdisciplinary course draws on a variety of disciplines, such as sociology, philosophy, politics, history, anthropology, biology, psychology, and literary studies. It is designed to offer an introduction to some of the current issues in women’s and gender studies, such as the construction of gender and its consequences for both women and men; family, work, wages, and welfare; sexuality, violence, reproduction, and body image; femininity, masculinity, race and class; international feminisms and cross-cultural gender issues; feminist theory, politics, and activism.

The proposed EL-activity for the course is an activism project where the student applies what he/she learns about course concepts to the project. The goals of the course include: identifying and recognizing concepts related to human behavior, such as gender, race, class, patriarchy, feminism, masculinity, sexism and inequality in relation to individual, local, national, and global concerns. Students learn about the central problems in gender studies such as sexuality, representations of gender in popular culture and media, reproduction, relationships and family, work, body image, interpersonal communication, and globalization.

Students research their chosen topic, plan and document how they will address their topic on campus (or in the community) in a project portfolio, engage in the activism project, and then reflect on their activism experience. These will be collected in the portfolio for presentation to their classmates. The portfolio will contain an orderly collection of materials used in the activism project: research articles, the rationale for the proposed project, photographs, letters, documentation of activism, and a summary of the student experience.

WGST 325 (Q) Civic Engagement (Credit Hours: 3) Students participate in public service with local agencies in order to understand the relationship between civic responsibility and higher education. In the classroom, students reflect upon the function and necessity of their service as well as on its limitations in responding to specific community needs and general social problems.

Students in this course volunteer with a local nonprofit organization of their choice for a minimum of 35 hours. In addition to the 35 hours of hands-on experiential learning, students spend time throughout the semester  doing academic research and writing a reflective, experience-based research paper on their chosen issue.

Students who complete this course will promote social sustainability through civic engagement and write a research paper that combines scholarly research on the social issue that their chosen organization addresses with their own experiences as a volunteer.