WGST 201. Introduction to Gender Studies. 3 Units.
This course introduces women and men students to the methods and concepts of gender studies, women's studies, and feminist theory. An interdisciplinary course, it covers approaches used in literary criticism, history, philosophy, political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, film studies, cultural studies, art history, and religion. It is the required introductory course for students taking the women's and gender studies major.
Offered as ENGL 270, HSTY 270, PHIL 270, RLGN 270, SOCI 201, and WGST 201. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
Prereq: ENGL 150 or passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in FSCC, FSNA, FSSO, FSSY, FSTS, or FSCS.
WGST 227. Women, Gender, and Islam. 3 Units.
Women and gender are central to understanding Muslim societies, past and present. From debates about the veil to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, gendered concerns have been especially prominent in contemporary debates about the status of Islam in the modern world. How have Muslim thinkers interpreted Islamic scriptures with respect to topics such as marriage, child custody, inheritance, and sexuality? How is masculinity and femininity constructed? In what ways do their interpretations reflect the political, economic, and social conditions in which they lived? How does gender structure authority and power in Muslim communities? How and why have Muslim women become so important in contemporary debates over religious and national identity around the world?
This course begins by examining the position of women and gender in the foundational Islamic texts, the Qur'an and Sunna (the practice of the Prophet Muhammad), and pre-modern interpretations of them. Then we will explore marriage and divorce in Muslim jurisprudence, in order to examine themes such as women's spiritual capacities, female leadership, sexuality, and slavery. Next, we will turn to the headscarf as a lens though which to explore modern configurations of gender and sexuality, as they intersect with conceptions of national belonging, religious identity, and individual freedom. Finally, we will study contemporary debates over polygyny, homosexuality, and female religious authority.
There are no prerequisites for this course. No prior knowledge of Islam is expected.
Offered as RLGN 227 and WGST 227. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 228. Sociology of Sexuality. 3 Units.
This course analyzes the issues of sex and sexuality from a sociological point of view. It is centered on the notion that what we consider to be 'normal' or 'natural' about sex and sexuality is, in reality, socially constructed. One's viewpoint on the issues surrounding sexuality are influenced by the social context in which they live, as opposed to the purely biological viewpoint that presupposes some sense of normalcy or naturalness regarding sexual relations. A range of topics will be covered, including readings that discuss the variations of sexuality and the notions of sexual ''deviance" in order to explore the cultural and societal variation that exists along the lines of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age and disability.
Offered as SOCI 228 and WGST 228.
WGST 257. Women's Histories in South Asia. 3 Units.
This course traces the history of women in South Asia from pre-colonial times to the present. Themes explored in the course will include (but not be limited to): the historical transformations of institutions shaping women's lives such as state, family, religious and legal traditions; the impact of colonialism, nationalism, and decolonization on women, as well as the history of women's movements in various parts of South Asia. As we acquaint ourselves with the vibrant historiography on women in South Asia, we will also examine the theoretical and methodological challenges involved in writing histories using the analytical lens of gender. While a significant portion of the readings will focus on South Asia, we will occasionally bring in insights from histories of women in other parts of the world to help develop comparative perspectives and evaluate the South Asian cases and examples within the broader field of women's history.
Offered as HSTY 157 and WGST 257. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 268. Women in the Bible: Ethnographic Approaches to Rite and Ritual, Story, Song, and Art. 3 Units.
Examination of women in Jewish and Christian Biblical texts, along with their Jewish, Christian (and occasionally Muslim) interpretations. Discussion of how these traditions have shaped images of, and attitudes toward, women in western civilization.
Offered as RLGN 268, WGST 268, and JDST 268.
WGST 301. Women, Creativity and the Arts. 3 Units.
In this course, students will focus on two areas of study: a) women and creativity and b) women and activism through the arts. A history of women in the arts will be covered, but the general focus of the course is on women in the arts since the 1960s in particular, and on artwork that reflects or provokes social change. "Arts" are defined in the broadest of sense. That is , students will study women's production in painting, photography, graphic design, sculpture, dance, film, music, and theater. A variety of learning techniques will be applied: Students will look at feminist theories on art, be introduced to the notion of cyberfeminism, study actual artwork and its reproductions, understand the role of are in feminist activism and how women "create" differently from men, and work closely with several feminist artists/activists through various programs on campus and the community in order to facilitate the planning and carrying out of artistic production. Subsequently, students will interact with children in Cleveland schools in conjunction with these artists giving master classes, and be exposed to art exhibits abroad through videoconferencing with the Algerian Cultural Center in Paris and locally through University Circle Institutions.
Offered as WGST 301 and ETHS 301. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 302. The Lemonade Class: Religion, Race, Sex and Black Music. 3 Units.
Charles Long suggests that black musical forms are creative responses to the particular circumstances of black peoples' presence in the U.S and black notions of the sacred. In April of 2016, Beyoncé released her visual album Lemonade two days after the death of Prince. This course is organized around the album's title cuts and links these two artists together in an examination of religion and musical performance as creative response to the racial and gendered conditions of black life. The course investigates how both artists have used music as a platform to explore issues of race, gender, commerce, sexuality, power and divinity. The course also looks at examples from the works of earlier artists who address similar themes such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Little Richard, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Aretha Franklin.
Offered as ETHS 302, MUHI 316, RLGN 302, RLGN 402, and WGST 302. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 304. Representations of Black Women and Religion in Film. 3 Units.
In this course we will explore cinematic representations of black women and religion in film. Each week we will view a film in class. We will begin the class with the film Imitation of Life and then the course with The Help. Throughout the course we will analyze the ways in which notations of gender, sexuality, intimate violence, and modern notions of race and color, have informed representations of black women and religion in film. In addition, we will discuss how these representations, in turn, have influenced cultural ideas about black women in the Americas. Offered as RLGN 304, RLGN 404, WGST 304, and ETHS 304. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 312. Women in the Ancient World. 3 Units.
The course offers a chronological survey of women's lives in Greece, Hellenistic Egypt, and Rome. It focuses on primary sources as well as scholarly interpretations of the ancient record with a view to defining the construction of gender and sexuality according to the Greco-Roman model. Additionally, the course aims to demonstrate how various methodological approaches have yielded significant insights into our own perception of sex and gender. Specific topics include matriarchy and patriarchy; the antagonism between male and female in myth; the legal, social, economic, and political status of women; the ancient family; women's role in religion and cult; ancient theories of medicine regarding women; paderasty and homosexuality.
Offered as CLSC 312 and WGST 312. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 315A. International Bioethics Policy and Practice: Women's Health in the Netherlands. 3 Units.
This 3-credit course allows students to familiarize themselves with social policies and practices related to women's health in the United States and the Netherlands. Issues covered in the course include birth control and family planning, abortion, prenatal testing, childbirth, health care disparities, cosmetic surgery, prostitution and trafficking in women. This course also addresses the US and Dutch national policies regarding the public provision of health care for women. The course places an emphasis on the ways in which social norms shape policies over time, which political actors are involved in shaping women's health policy, and the balance between women's health as a matter of the public good or individual responsibility. This course substantively explores gender-specific cultural values and practices in relation to women's health in the United States and the Netherlands and will help students develop the analytical skills necessary for evaluating social policy and ethical issues related to women's health.
Offered as BETH 315A and BETH 415A. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 318. History of Black Women in the U.S.. 3 Units.
Chronologically arranged around specific issues in black women's history organizations, participation in community and political movements, labor experiences, and expressive culture. The course will use a variety of materials, including autobiography, literature, music, and film.
Offered as ETHS 318, HSTY 318, and WGST 318.
WGST 325. Philosophy of Feminism. 3 Units.
Dimensions of gender difference. Definition of feminism. Critical examination of feminist critiques of culture, including especially politics, ideology, epistemology, ethics, and psychology. Readings from traditional and contemporary sources.
Offered as PHIL 325, PHIL 425 and WGST 325. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
Prereq: PHIL 101.
WGST 326. Gender, Inequality, and Globalization. 3 Units.
Using a sociological perspective, this course examines how major societal institutions, including the economy, polity, medicine, religion, education and family, are structured to reproduce gendered inequalities across the globe. Attention is given to the intersections of race/ethnicity, social class, gender and sexuality in social systems of power and privilege. Of critical importance is how gender figures in the relationship between Economic North and Economic South countries. We will elucidate how gender norms vary by culture and exert profound influence on the daily, lived experiences of women and men. The course will be informed by recent scholarship on feminism, women's movements, and globalization.
Offered as SOCI 326 and WGST 326. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
Prereq: SOCI 101 or permission of program director.
WGST 335. Women in Developing Countries. 3 Units.
This course will feature case studies, theory, and literature of current issues concerning women in developing countries primarily of the French-speaking world. Discussion and research topics include matriarchal traditions and FGM in Africa, the Tunisian feminist movement, women, Islam, and tradition in the Middle East, women-centered power structures in India (Kerala, Pondichery), and poverty and women in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Guest speakers and special projects are important elements of the course. Seminar-style format, taught in English, with significant disciplinary writing in English for WGST, ETHS, and some WLIT students, and writing in French for FRCH and WLIT students. Writing assignments include two shorter essays and a substantial research paper.
Offered as ETHS 335, FRCH 335, WLIT 335, WGST 335, FRCH 435 and WLIT 435. Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 337. Women in the Arab World. 3 Units.
The purpose of this course is twofold: It is a course that allows students an in-depth look at the diverse women who represent a number of cultures in the Arab world in nations from the Mashrek to the Maghreb. The second primary goal of the course is to study such women through the eyes of leading Arab women theorists who have made an impact not only in their own countries, but also on disciplines intersecting with women's studies worldwide. We will study the Arab woman's place in her respective society, in political and economic systems, in education, and in the family. We will also analyze her contributions to art and literature as well as to the sciences. The course will provide an overview of the Arab woman throughout history, from her origins to her place within recent movements within the Arab Spring and other current world events. As Arab women are Muslim, Christian, and Jewish, views of women within these major world religions will also be taken into account as we study the Arab woman as well as religion's impact on culture in the Middle East and in the Maghreb in particular. In the course, we will utilize theoretical texts, but also case studies as well as examples from media and the arts. During the semester, we will take advantage of teleconferencing opportunities between CWRU and two major academic units for Women's Studies in the Arab world: The Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) in Beirut, Lebanon, and the University of Jordan's Center for Women's Studies in Amman.
Offered as FRCH 337, FRCH 437, ARAB 337, ETHS 337 and WGST 337. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 339. Black Women and Religion. 3 Units.
This course is an exploration of the multidimensional religious experiences of black women in the United States. These experiences will be examined within particular historical periods and across diverse social and cultural contexts. Course topics and themes include black women and slave religion, spirituality and folk beliefs, religion and feminist/womanist discourse, perspectives on institutional roles, religion and activism, and spirituality and the arts.
Offered as ETHS 339, RLGN 338 and WGST 339. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 342. Latin American Feminist Voices. 3 Units.
Examination of the awakening of feminine and feminist consciousness in the literary production of Latin American women writers, particularly from the 1920s to the present. Close attention paid to the dominant themes of love and dependency; imagination as evasion; alienation and rebellion; sexuality and power; the search for identity and the self-preservation of subjectivity. Readings include prose, poetry, and dramatic texts of female Latin American writers contributing to the emerging of feminist ideologies and the mapping of feminist identities.
Offered as SPAN 342, SPAN 442, ETHS 342, WGST 342, WLIT 342, and WLIT 442.
WGST 343. Language and Gender. 3 Units.
This course introduces students to the study of language and gender by exploring historical and theoretical trends, methods, and research findings on the ways gender, sexuality, language, and discourse interact with and even shape each other. Topics may include "grammatical" versus "biological" gender, feminine ecriture, the women and language debate, speech acts and queer performativity, nonsexist language policy, discourses of gender and sexuality, feminist stylistics, and LGBT sociolinguistics.
Offered as ENGL 343, ENGL 443, and WGST 343. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
Prereq: ENGL 150 or passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in FSCC, FSNA, FSSO, FSSY, FSTS, or FSCS.
WGST 345. Topics in LGBT Studies. 3 Units.
This course will focus on selected topics in the study of LGBT literature, film, theory, and culture. Individual courses may focus on such topics as queer theory, LGBT literature, queer cinema, gay and lesbian poetry, LGBT graphic novels, the AIDS memoir, AIDS/Gay Drama, and queer rhetoric and protest. Maximum 6 credits.
Offered as ENGL 345, ENGL 445 and WGST 345. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
Prereq: ENGL 150 or passing letter grade in a 100 level first year seminar in FSCC, FSNA, FSSO, FSSY, FSTS, or FSCS.
WGST 346. Women and Politics. 3 Units.
Women and Politics involves a critical examination of the impact of gender on the forms and distributions of power and politics, with primary reference to the experience of women in the United States. Major concerns of the course include what we mean by "sex," "gender," and "politics"; the relationship between women and the state; how women organize collectively to influence state policies; and how the state facilitates and constrains women's access to and exercise of political power. The course is organized around four foci central to the study of women and politics. The first section of the course focuses on what we mean by "women," "gender," and "politics." In this section, we will consider how these concepts intersect and the ways in which each may be used to deepen our understanding of the workings of governments and political systems, and of women's relative political powerlessness. The second section of the course employs these concepts to understand the (re) emergence of the US feminist movement, its meanings, practices, and goals, and its transformation across US political history. In the third section, we turn to conventional electoral politics, focusing on women's candidacies, their campaigns, and women's voting behavior. In the final section of the course, we consider those general factors that might provide for increased gender equality and improved life status for women, in global, comparative perspective.
Offered as POSC 346, POSC 446 and WGST 346. Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar.
WGST 349. The Arab World Experience. 3 Units.
Taught and led by Case faculty, The Arab World Experience is a spring semester course with a spring break study abroad component in a Middle Eastern or North African country supplemented by course meetings before and after travel. It will rotate among countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, etc. and be taught by faculty with appropriate area expertise in Arabic, Women's and Gender Studies, and/or Ethnic Studies. The course focuses on topics such as history, politics, culture, and gender relations within the society of study. Workload and learning outcomes are commensurate with a semester-long three credit hour course. Guest lectures in the host country are an important component of the course as they bring a fresh, authentic perspective to the aforementioned topics discussed. There will be three three-hour meetings prior to travel, required reading, and one three-hour meeting after travel. In the host country, students will spend seven days (five-eight hours per day) in seminars, discussions, and site visits. Student grades are determined on the basis of participation, attendance, a daily experiential learning journal, interviews with guest speakers, and a final exam.
Offered as ARAB 349, ETHS 349 and WGST 349. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 352. African Feminisms. 3 Units.
This course traces the history of African feminism from its origins within traditions through to a more contemporary theoretical analysis of gender, marriage, and motherhood seen from a Afrocentric perspective. Approaches studied are those that pertain to anthropology, history, literature, sociology, and culture. African feminist theory of scholars such as Filomina Steady, Cheikh Anta Diop, Buchi Emecheta, Ifi Amadiume, Obioma Nnameka, Oyeronko Oyewumi, and Calixthe Beyala will be studied and there will be some comparative analysis of Western theories to show how African feminisms are clearly distinct. Theories on these feminisms will be presented, and in the process, students will look at cases of women in Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal. It is commonly believed that African women were defined for a long time according to constructs of Western anthropology. This course will thus look at social institutions such as woman-to-woman marriage, matriarchy, and various women's rituals in order to identify African constructs of gender, family, kinship, marriage, and motherhood.
Offered as ETHS 352 and WGST 352. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 353. Women in American History I. 3 Units.
The images and realities of women's social, political, and economic lives in early America. Uses primary documents and biographers to observe individuals and groups of women in relation to legal, religious, and social restrictions.
Offered as HSTY 353, WGST 353, and HSTY 453. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 354. Women in American History II. 3 Units.
With HSTY 353, forms a two-semester introduction to women's studies. The politics of suffrage and the modern woman's efforts to balance marriage, motherhood, and career. (HSTY 353 not a prerequisite.)
Offered as HSTY 354, WGST 354, and HSTY 454. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 359. Visual Culture of Medieval Women. 3 Units.
This course will consider the roles of women as patrons, subjects, producers and consumers of visual culture, focusing particularly on the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. Throughout the course, we will study the different ways medieval men and women perceived, read, figured, and interacted with the female body, which was frequently seen as a fraught site of desire and repulsion, fear and fascination. Students will be asked to read primary sources as well as critical materials that address contradictory constructions of gender and sex in medieval images and texts. The course, therefore, will not simply focus on artistic production, but will include readings and discussions of social and political history, theology, and literature of the Middle Ages. Offered as ARTH 359 and ARTH 459; cross-listed as WGST 359 since it focuses on the role of women in visual culture and so can satisfy a requirement in the program for the course on women in the arts.
Offered as ARTH 359, ARTH 459 and WGST 359. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 360. Global Politics of Fertility, Family Planning, and Population Control. 3 Units.
This course offers an anthropological examination of fertility behaviors around the world. In particular, it explores various historical, cultural, socioeconomic, political, and technological factors contributing to reproductive activities. After introducing the anthropological approaches to the study of fertility, the course will delve into the ways to regulate fertility in historical and contemporary times, various factors contributing to fertility change, state intervention in reproduction through voluntary and coercive family planning programs, and new reproductive technologies and ethical concerns surrounding assisted reproduction and abortion.
Offered as ANTH 360, ANTH 460 and WGST 360.
WGST 363. Gender and Sexuality in America. 3 Units.
This multicultural seminar uses a mixture of historical text, gender theory, personal biography, and artistic expression to explore changing notions of gender and sexuality over the past two centuries in the United States.
Offered as HSTY 363, HSTY 463 and WGST 363. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 365. Gender and Sex Differences: Cross-cultural Perspective. 3 Units.
Gender roles and sex differences throughout the life cycle considered from a cross-cultural perspective. Major approaches to explaining sex roles discussed in light of information from both Western and non-Western cultures.
Offered as ANTH 365, ANTH 465 and WGST 365.
WGST 370. Women and Men as Colleagues in Organizations. 3 Units.
The purpose of this course is to prepare students to succeed in the workforce by understanding and exploring the opportunities and challenges of work across the lifespan and developing necessary skills to be effective. The course broadens understanding of gender dynamics and gendered structures in the workplace, intersections of gender with other identities, and the leadership and managerial issues affecting women and men in work organizations. The course helps students create a personal framework for how to develop a successful, happy and integrated work life in the global economy.
Offered as ORBH 370 and WGST 370. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 372. Work and Family: U.S. and Abroad. 3 Units.
Covers the impact on human lives of the interface between work and family; the different ways gender structures the experience of work and family depending upon racial and ethnic background, social class, age, and partner preference; the impact of historical context on work-family experiences; work-family policies in the United States and other countries.
Offered as SOCI 372, WGST 372, and SOCI 472.
WGST 373. Women and Medicine in the United States. 3 Units.
Students in this seminar will investigate the experiences of American women as practitioners and as patients. We will meet weekly in the Dittrick Medical Museum for discussion of texts and use artifacts from the museum's collection. After a unit exploring how the female body was viewed by medical theorists from the Galenic period to the nineteenth-century, we will look at midwives, college-trained female doctors and nurses, and health advocacy among poor populations. We will then look at women's experiences in terms of menstruation, childbearing, and menopause, before exploring the cultural relationship between women and psychological disorders.
Offered as HSTY 373, HSTY 473, and WGST 373. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 383. Gender Issues in Feminist Art: The 20th/21st Century. 3 Units.
This course aims at understanding the myriad ways issues of gender have been encoded and/or played out in 20th and early 21st century art. A variety of paintings, sculpture, photographs and performances by women, gays and other marginalized groups, especially those that engage in "the discourse of the body," will be examined through a gender-oriented focus. Analysis of a variety of provocative readings will provide methodologies useful for assessing aesthetic and political meanings in modern and contemporary art across national boundaries. Special emphasis will be placed on women artists who have recently begun to integrate gender and ethnicity. Offered as ARTH 383, WGST 383 and ARTH 483. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.
WGST 396. SAGES Capstone. 3 Units.
Capstone experience in the fields of Women's and Gender Studies for an in-depth, independent project of particular interest to the student. Students are strongly encouraged to work with a WGST program faculty member, but some projects may be supervised by faculty in other areas or by other qualified professionals. All capstones require a WGST faculty advisor's approval of the proposal prior to registration. Open to juniors and seniors majoring in Women's and Gender Studies. Counts as SAGES Senior Capstone.
Prereq: WGST 201; Junior or Senior standing with major/minor in WGST.
WGST 399. Independent Study. 1 - 3 Units.
Independent research project in the fields of Women's and Gender Studies. Project proposals must be approved by a WGST faculty advisor. Students are strongly encouraged to work with a WGST program faculty member, but some projects may be supervised by faculty in other areas for by other qualified professionals with a WGST faculty advisor's approval. Credit varies with the scope and depth of the project.
Prereq: WGST 201.