Women's and Gender Studies


Women’s and Gender Studies explores women’s past and present contributions to societies as persons, creators and thinkers. It also explores the cultural, racial, and economic diversity of women’s experiences as well as the scholarship concerned with the factors that affect women's and men's lives. The minor prepares students to think critically about issues with which they will be faced all of their lives. Thus, Women’s and Gender Studies is an essential component of a liberal arts education.

Women’s and Gender Studies draws upon methods and content from a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, literature and the arts, biology, economics, history, political science, psychology, religion and sociology. It seeks to extend students’ intellectual development by helping them to understand women’s accomplishments and capabilities, and by looking beyond the limits of traditional gender-differentiated roles.

Any student may elect Women’s and Gender Studies as a minor in addition to their chosen major. The minor is excellent preparation for further study in law as well as for graduate programs in women’s studies, psychology, social work, literature and education. Graduates with Women’s and Gender Studies minors are working in a variety of fields, including business, child and family services, education, journalism and social service administration.

Illene N Cupit; Professor; Ph.D., Temple University

Heidi S Fencl; Professor; Ph.D., The Ohio State University*

Alison A Gates; Professor; M.F.A., University of Washington

Rebecca A Meacham; Professor; Ph.D., University of Cincinnati

Sarah A Meredith; Professor; D.M.A., University of Iowa

Laura E Riddle; Professor; M.F.A., De Paul University, Goodman School of Drama

Andrew W Austin; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Tennessee

Kathleen C Burns; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Massachusetts

Bryan James Carr; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

Stefan T Hall; Associate Professor; Ph.D., Saint Louis University

Doreen K Higgins; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Kansas*

Daniel J Meinhardt; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Kansas*

Lisa M Poupart; Associate Professor; Ph.D., Arizona State University

Jolanda M Sallmann; Associate Professor; M.A., University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee*

Christine A Smith; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, chair

Alison K Staudinger; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Maryland

Jessica VanSlooten; Associate Professor; Ph.D., Auburn University

Kristin M Vespia; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Iowa

Le Zhu; Associate Professor; Ph.D., Cornell University

Kimberley A Reilly; Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Chicago


WOST 198. First Year Seminar. 3 Credits.

First Year Seminar, topics vary.
Reserved for New Incoming Freshman.

WOST 205. Women in Literature. 3 Credits.

Surveys both women as writers and women as characters in literature; emphasizes the wisdom, experiences and insights of women writers and women in literature; concerned with literature from two or more cultures and comparison of the social and human values reflected in the literature of those cultures.
Fall Only.

WOST 206. Fertility, Reproduction, and Family Planning. 3 Credits.

Factors that influence reproduction and fertility, i.e., physiological, psychological, social, cultural, and ethical; the methods available for limiting or increasing reproduction; the nature of family planning programs.
P: HUM BIOL 102 or BIOLOGY 201/202.
Fall and Spring.

WOST 241. Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies. 3 Credits.

Interdisciplinary introduction to the study of gender, including identity, expression, and sexuality; the influence of gender on social institutions and structures; and an intersectional examination of women, men, and LGBTQ+ lives in the United States historically and today.
Fall and Spring.

WOST 272. Women in the Performing Arts. 3 Credits.

This interdisciplinary course examines the contributions of women in the performing arts and looks closely at the factors which constrain and further women's creativity in a variety of performing genres: dance, theater, opera, musical theater, conducting, composition, etc.
Spring Even.

WOST 299. Travel Course. 1-4 Credits.

Travel courses are conducted to various parts of the world and are led by one or more faculty members. May be repeated to different locations.
P: cons of instr & prior trip arr & financial deposit.

WOST 324. The Biology of Women. 3 Credits.

This course will examine the physiology of the adult female body and will address health issues that are unique to or different in women. Emphasis will be placed on the effects of female sex hormones on multiple processes (reproductive, nervous, endocrine, and cardiovascular) in the body.
P: HUM BIOL 102 with at least a C grade or BIOLOGY 201/202 with at least a C grade.

WOST 336. Gender Development Across the Lifespan. 3 Credits.

An interdisciplinary analysis of changes in biological, social, and identity development for males and females throughout the life span. The development and variation of sexual orientation and gender expression will be discussed.
P: HUM DEV 102 or DJS 241. REC: COMM SCI 301 or HUM DEV 302
Fall and Spring.

WOST 338. World Literatures. 3 Credits.

A study of selected works from world literatures. A variable content course. Course is repeatable for credit if topics differ; may be taken 2 times for a total of 6 credits.
P: ENGLISH 290 or concurrent enrollment, Jr st.

WOST 348. Gender and the Law. 3 Credits.

The changing legal status of women and LGBTQ+ people in relationship to other social forces; major historical landmarks in the development of their legal rights and current status in such areas as property rights, family law and employment opportunity; legal tools in the struggle for equality.
P: sophomore standing
Fall Even.

WOST 350. Topics in Women's Studies. 3 Credits.

Explores a single theme in Women's Studies scholarship from an interdisciplinary perspective. Variable content.

WOST 360. Women and Gender in First Nations Communities. 3 Credits.

This course examines the traditional and contemporary status of First Nations women. The course focuses on the fluid definitions and constructions of gender identity before and after Euro-American contact, exploring the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, colonialism, globalization. Decolonization and resistance are primary themes of the course.
REC: FNS 225, FNS 226 or WOST 241.

WOST 370. History of Sexuality in the U.S.. 3 Credits.

Historical introduction to sexual behaviors and attitudes in the U.S. from the period of colonization to the present. Includes analyses of the impact of economic, racial, gender, political, and technological change on sexual norms and behaviors.
P: DJS/WOST 241 or HISTORY 205 or 206

WOST 379. Women, Art and Image. 3 Credits.

Examines the impact women have made on art historically as of artists, muses, models, dealers, benefactors and critics with emphasis on images of women in visual culture, deconstructing notions of identify, others and beauty in contemporary society and in the past.
P: jr st; REC: ART 202 or WOST 241
Spring Odd.

WOST 380. U.S. Women's History. 3 Credits.

In this course our goal is a richer understanding of women's experiences in the past, ranging from pregnancy and single motherhood to women's struggles to win the right to vote. Through lectures, discussions and films we will explore a variety of women's lives, consider the ways studying women changes our historical perspectives and focus on how interpretations of the past influence our understanding of current social issues.
P: none; REC: jr st and one cse in U.S. history, U.S. lit or Women's Studies.
Fall Only.

WOST 401. Psychology of Women. 3 Credits.

The psychology of women examines traditional and feminist approaches to women in psychological theory and research as frameworks for understanding women's development and experience in family, academic, work, and relationship roles. The interacting influences of biology, socialization, and cultural context are considered.
P: PSYCH 102.
Fall and Spring.

WOST 437. Feminist Theory. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to feminist theories from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; we will examine the development of feminist theories, their practice and contrasting viewpoints.
P: DJS 241.
Spring Even.

WOST 497. Internship. 1-12 Credits.

Supervised practical experience in an organization or activity appropriate to a student's career and educational interests. Internships are supervised by faculty members and require periodic student/faculty meetings.
P: jr st.
Fall and Spring.

WOST 498. Independent Study. 1-4 Credits.

Independent study is offered on an individual basis at the student's request and consists of a program of learning activities planned in consultation with a faculty member. A student wishing to study or conduct research in an area not represented in available scheduled courses should develop a preliminary proposal and seek the sponsorship of a faculty member. The student's advisor can direct him or her to instructors with appropriate interests. A written report or equivalent is required for evaluation, and a short title describing the program must be sent early in the semester to the registrar for entry on the student's transcript.
P: fr or so st with cum gpa > or = 2.50; or jr or sr st with cum gpa > or = 2.00.
Fall and Spring.

WOST 499. Travel Course. 1-6 Credits.

Travel courses are conducted to various parts of the world and are led by one or more faculty members. May be repeated to different locations.
P: cons of instr & prior trip arr & financial deposit.