Women's Studies Course Descriptions
Women's Studies 100
4 credit hours
"Women, Culture, Politics, and Society" is an introductory Women's Studies course. Participants in this course will bring differing backgrounds, levels of experience, interests, and talents, which this course will seek to recognize and value as a strength. Together, we'll strive to become more fully aware of the complexity of experience and variety of women lives from around the world, and to ask hard questions about the economic and social structure and traditions that currently maintain a status quo in which women around the world typically have smaller incomes, less total wealth and land ownership, are less represented in politics, and have lower rates of education and literacy than their male counterparts, and work longer hours both inside and outside the home. And, increasingly, studies show that when women are poor and lack a voice in family decision-making, children of both genders lose out, and societies as a whole are weaker. For example, in December 2006, a UNICEF study showed that there would be 13 million fewer malnourished children in South Asia if women had a greater say in how their family funds are used. One major premise of Women's Studies is that a focus on women's lives can help us to create new frameworks for exploring gender, sexuality, and social relations of all kinds--frameworks that help us more accurately describe and understand the variety of lived experiences of all people, regardless of gender. As a class we will think critically about the influence of historical events, religion, economics, race, gender, sex, sexuality, class on women's lives and the way those lives are told-or silenced and likely to be forgotten. In doing so, we will work with the research methods of traditional fields (religion, history, psychology, sociology, literature), and their attendant theories, but also invoke the creative challenge that Women's Studies offers to traditional, academic ways of knowing social and cultural life. In particular, since it arose out of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 70s, Women's Studies insists on an intense and necessary relationship between theory and practice, that requires some sort of action to arise from the knowledge. This course is writing intensive.