Women's and Gender Studies

Course Number: WGS 101
Transcript Title: Women's and Gender Studies
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 8, 2020
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Prerequisites

MTH 20 or equivalent placement

Prerequisite / Concurrent

Course Description

Examines the diverse gender-related experiences, status, and contributions of people across the gender spectrum in the United States, both current and historically since the early 1900’s. Covers social construction of gender, race, sexualities, intersectionality, work, religion, class, violence, and health. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate and apply concepts basic to feminist thought in order to develop new understandings of historical, current, and personally experienced events acrosss the gender spectrum.
  2. Articulate and analyze ways that systems of power, privilege and oppression are created and maintained by social, cultural forces
  3. Describe the influences that systems of oppression have on people across the gender spectrum.
  4. Identify and analyze social processes that construct gender roles.
  5. Communicate effectively by writing, speaking, and collaborating.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

Major 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)

Major

2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)

Not addressed

3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)

Major

4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)

Minor

5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Student mastery of outcomes may be assessed by any combination of the following:

  • Written or oral assignments
  • Objective or essay examinations
  • Research projects
  • Participation in class discussions, small group activities, exercises, or role plays
  • Performances or plays
  • Service learning activities
  • Participating in or organizing community or professional events
  • Discussions

Texts and Materials

Introduction to Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies by Miliann Kang, Donovan Lessard, Laura Heston, Sonny Nordmarken and Kang, Miliann. It may be found at http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/BookDetail.aspx?bookId=461 and accessed as a pdf, ePub or online text.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Outcome #1: Articulate and apply concepts basic to feminist thought in order to develop new understandings of historical, current, and personally experienced events across the gender spectrum.

In support of this outcome, we offer an overview of the three waves of feminism as well as movements related to the LGBTQ+ movement. We explore issues of body image and media representation of women and other non-dominant genders, as well as family and intimate relationship dynamics, including violence against women and other non-dominant genders. We spend time analyzing sexuality and sexual identity and we look at the role of women, LGBTQ+ and don-dominant genders in the arts and media

Outcome #2: Articulate and analyze ways that systems of power, privilege and oppression are created and maintained by social, cultural forces

This is the backbone of the course and begins with a conceptualization of “Structures of Power.” We draw on and theorize about our own lived experiences as we question traditional binary Systems (sexualities, race, and class) in light of new paradigms of intersectionality. We look at institutions, Cultures, and Structures as agents that support and maintain dominant power groups. We look at the causes, effects and realities of violence Against women, media oppression of women and racialized, gendered, and sexualized labor in the global economy.

Outcome #3: Describe the influences that systems of oppression have on people across the gender spectrum.

WGS 101 begins by identifying terms like patriarchy, sexism, oppression, racism, classism, and homophobia, among many others. We look at social control, socialization, conformity, and health and reproductive rights as tools and systems of oppression. We also look at gender-based oppression through the lenses of economics, religion, the judicial system, politics, sports and other societal structures.

Outcome #4: Identify and analyze social processes that construct gender role.

Again, this is one of the foundational points of WGS 101. Early in the course we examine what gender roles are, how they arise (gender socialization), how they operate and are perpetuated (through language, communication and media) and ways to address oppression from gender expectations. We take an in-depth look at identity terms related to gender and intersectionality, and we explore the difference between gender and Sex. We explore and promote alternatives to binary systems.

Outcome #5: Communicate effectively by writing, speaking, and collaborating.

We provide instruction and support in critical writing skills including summary, analysis, effective research and citation of courses, plagiarism avoidance and MLA format. We also model and promote strong, respectful communication skills and collaboration through our in-class and onsite discussion forums and activities.