In today’s society, there is constant debate about whether or not Women’s Studies, or feminism more broadly, is necessary. Many people believe that women, men, and people of different genders and sexualities have achieved full equality. Yet, women and people of marginalized genders still must justify their access to equal pay and employment, housing and public spaces, reproductive rights, healthcare, and protection from (sexual) violence. Additionally, these issues are further exacerbated in the contexts of sex, race, class, sexuality, ability, religion, and other systems of inequality.
Gender is not just an individual identity—it works as a social system of power that is present in the private, public, political, personal aspects of life. This interdisciplinary introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies strives to examine different approaches to the ways in understanding how gender emerges and shapes various social spheres through culturally specific practices such as sexual identities and practices, body politics, health, education, family and work, representations in the media, violence, and local and global contexts. As such, Women’s and Gender Studies is not just the study of women, but rather it is the study of social relations, power, and how all gender is constructed by/constructs our very lives. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the field of Women’s and Gender Studies through collaboration, theory, critical thinking, and personal experiences. Through our readings, activities, and discussions, we will continually build a community of scholars that are able to critically think and discuss about the world around us.
Our learning goals through this website include:
- Create and maintain a collaborative and inclusive classroom community through contributing to the classroom website
- Identify the fundamental concepts, theories, history, and contemporary positions within Women’s and Gender Studies as a social movement
- Analyze the social construction of gender and its intersections with other socially-constructed categories of difference
- Explore activism through the building of an online community of collaborative knowledge building and sharing
- Investigate the roles that systems of oppression play in the lives of marginalized genders and locate our own identities within such institutions
- Practice using tools to analyze gender and sexuality issues