Women and Gender Studies

Contact Information:
Phone: (217) 206-6962
Email: wgs@uis.edu
Website: www.uis.edu/womenandgenderstudies/

Women and Gender Studies combines the substance and methodologies of many disciplines as we study women and gender.

Our goal is to introduce students to the basic approaches of this study in a variety of fields so that they will be prepared for the challenges of leadership in the 21st century.

Degree Options

Undergraduate students at UIS may pursue a Women and Gender Studies minor through completion of 15 hours of WGS course work. Graduate students may add a graduate certificate in Women & Gender Studies through the completion of WGS 501 and eight-12 hours of WGS electives. All students are welcome to take WGS classes as electives.

Students may also pursue a self-designed undergraduate or graduate degree concentrating in Women and Gender Studies. Anyone interested in pursuing one of these degrees should contact the Liberal Studies or Liberal and Integrative Studies (LIS or LNT) programs.

All students pursuing the minor, graduate certificate, or LNT degree should contact a faculty advisor in the WGS department. Women and Gender Studies faculty assist students in planning a course of study, as well as in identifying internship opportunities.

Courses

WGS 104. Harry Potter, Gender and Class. 3 Hours.

Do Harry and Hermoine conform to gender expectations? What is socioeconomic class? Is there a gender and class hierarchy? What does equality look like? We will analyze Rowling's work using challenging academic articles. As a freshman seminar, this course is designed to whet your academic appetite and develop college skills. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Freshman Seminar or at UIS in the area of Humanities.

WGS 133. Women and Gender in Mexico and the US. 3 Hours.

Course examines the gendered lives of women and men in Mexico and the U.S. By comparing gender across cultures, students inquire into whether masculinity and femininity is universal or open to change. Stereotypes about Mexicans are challenged. Course Information: Same as SOA 133. Students enrolled in WGS 133 or SOA 133 cannot also enroll in WGS 301 or SOA 301 or SWK 382. This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Comparative Societies Social Sciences.

WGS 150. Topics in Comparative Society. 3 Hours.

Introduction to comparative study of women's roles and gender issues across cultures. Course Information: Same as SOA 150. This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Comparative Societies Social Sciences.

WGS 161. Women in American Literature. 3 Hours.

This course will explore female characters in various works of American literature from the 20th century. Specifically, the course will examine ways in which various patriarchal systems marginalize female characters and devalue care work. In addition to fiction, the reading list will include some political and feminist theory. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Freshman Seminar and a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Humanities (IAI Code:H3 911 D.).

WGS 202. Human Sexualities. 3 Hours.

Introductory survey of major concepts, themes, and terminology in human sexuality; sexual anatomy and physiology; reproduction and contraception; sexual (dys)function and communication; STDs, sexual violence, and sexuality in the media. Course Information: Same as COM 202. Intended for Freshmen and Sophomores. This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

WGS 203. ECCE: Fight Like a Girl. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to address the different ways in which women have sought and seek to change the world. One of the central goals of this course is to understand the terms agency and resistance, and overcome presumptions that women with less privilege exercise neither. Course Information: This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the areas of U.S. Communities.

WGS 204. ECCE: Global Women. 4 Hours.

Women are actively changing the world and yet continue to face issues of gender stereotypes, undervalued work and unequal access. How have women in Somalia been active in the face of war? What does it mean for women to work the night shift in a call center in India? Course Information: Same as PSC 205 and SOA 204. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of Global Awareness.

WGS 301. ECCE: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies. 4 Hours.

Introduction to basic concepts and terminology in Women and Gender Studies: history of women's movements; feminist theories and concepts; issues such as socialization, work, violence, sexuality, marriage, media representation. Course Information: Same as SOA 301 and SWK 382. Not intended for first year students. Students enrolled in WGS 301 or SOA 301 or SWK 382 cannot also enroll in WGS 133 or SOA 133. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 305. ECCE: Women and Work in India and the US. 3 Hours.

Work is going global, drawing more women into paid work. This course is an adventure into the challenges of work and home for women in two countries: the ongoing occupational segregation of women, comparable worth, and fair treatment. How can women earn a living wage, recognition and have a life? Course Information: Same as SOA 305. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of Global Awareness.

WGS 322. ECCE: Gay and Lesbian Studies. 4 Hours.

Interdisciplinary survey of topics, questions, issues, and approaches in the field of gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans/queer studies: thinking outside the sex/gender binary; LGBTQ history, society, and culture; cross-cultural variations in sex/gender; contemporary issues of heterosexism, homophobia, violence, outing, bullying, HIV/AIDS, marriage, media representation. Course Information: Same as SOA 322. Intended for students with junior or senior standing. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 324. Working Class and Poor Women. 4 Hours.

Interdisciplinary examination of women and class that includes sociological, economic, and feminist philosophical analyses, as well as, first-hand accounts focused on working class and poor women. We will look at action research situated within poor women's communities through the paradigm of community informatics.

WGS 331. ECCE:Asian American Women. 4 Hours.

This course explores the complex nature of Asian-American literature to discover its diverse themes, foci, narrative strategies, and approaches to culture and history, with a particular focus on women. Course Information: Same as ENG 331. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the areas of Global Awareness.

WGS 332. Women Playwrights. 3 Hours.

Examination / analysis of plays by and about women, focusing primarily on US women playwrights. The course covers the intellectual, emotional, cultural, social, and political qualities of these plays and how they shed light on social issues involving women in the US - such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and social inequalities. Course Information: Same as ENG 332 and THE 325.

WGS 333. ECCE: Sexual Orientation and Public Policy. 3 Hours.

Interdisciplinary examination of factual basis of majority ideas about sexual orientation, gender identity, or sexuality used to assign important legal rights and disabilities to lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and queer communities. Explores political movements and issues involved in the struggle for civil rights for sexual minorities. Requires an open mind. Course Information: Same as LES 333, PSC 333, and SOA 333. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 334. ECCE: Sexuality, Law, and Politics. 3 Hours.

This course examines the U.S. sexual minority community through the prism of politics and law. It explores the history and contemporary dynamics of the LGBT rights movement and investigates the ways in which dynamics in U.S. law politics have limited and advanced the movement. Course Information: Same as LES 334, PSC 334, and SOA 334. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 338. ECCE: Sex, Gender, and Popular Culture. 4 Hours.

Survey of sex, gender and sexuality in production, reception, and content of contemporary U.S. popular culture. Themes: definitions, approaches, and functions of pop culture; race, class, gender, and sexuality in production and reception of media; representation and stylization of the body; masculinity and media violence; strategies for resisting media messages. Course Information: Same as SOA 338. Previous WGS coursework recommended, but not required. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 343. ECCE: Women & Criminal Justice. 3 Hours.

Examines women as perpetrators and victims of crime and as criminal justice professionals. Evaluates factors that contribute to women becoming involved with the criminal justice system in each of these capacities and assesses the degree to which the criminal justice system provides women with equitable treatment. Course Information: Same as CCJ 343. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of ECCE U.S. Communities.

WGS 345. ECCE: US Women's History. 3 Hours.

Explores the history of U.S. women beginning with Native Americans. Examines themes of women in colonial society, domesticity, suffrage, reproduction, and work. Course Information: Same as HIS 345. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of ECCE U. S. Communities.

WGS 348. Violence Against Women and Children. 3 Hours.

Explores the two most common crimes against women and children: sexual assault and abuse and domestic violence. Examines nature and frequency of these assaults, legal definitions and treatment, victim and survivor experiences, criminal justice and social service responses, offender characteristics, victim services and treatment, and local community resources. May be taught online; check schedule. Course Information: Same as CCJ 348 and SWK 348.

WGS 353. ECCE: Women Across Cultures. 4 Hours.

Addresses the complexity of "Third World" women's lives including development and structural adjustment, reproductive rights and other health issues, violence against women, and highly effective activism. Course Information: Same as PSC 353 and SOA 353. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of Global Awareness.

WGS 356. ECCE: Coffee, Chocolate and Justice. 3 Hours.

Food has been a major trade item for millennia, connecting us around the corner and across vast distances. What we eat and drink is a political, economic, and just plain comforting, from our everyday socializing to global economics. Should we buy fair trade or eat locally grown food? What are the ways we use food to signal home, difference, or even escape? Course Information: Same as SOA 356. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of Global Awareness.

WGS 357. ECCE: LGBTQ and Allies Peer Education. 3 Hours.

Experiential learning course that seeks to combat homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism by training students in peer-education skills focused on LGBTQ issues. Interdisciplinary course materials and topics focusing on interpersonal communication, group facilitation, multicultural/social justice, and queer theory. Students become peer educators that provide workshop activities throughout the year on campus. Course Information: Same as SOA 357 and PSC 357. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of Engagement Experience.

WGS 360. Topics in Women and Gender Studies. 2-8 Hours.

Selected topics in women and gender studies, to be announced each time course is offered. Course Information: Variable credit; may be repeated for different topics.

WGS 365. ECCE: Black Women in Film History. 3 Hours.

This course examines representations of women of African descent in motion pictures from a historical perspective. By viewing Hollywood films from the 1950s through the beginning of the new millennium, students gain a broader context for understanding and appreciation today's films and stars. In addition to briefly examining independently produced films from the African continent and the Caribbean, students will critically discuss such issues as characterization and stereotypes, genre and the use of the musical; the construction of race, gender and sexuality in film and television; and the construction of Hollywood stardom and celebrity. Course Information: Same as AAS 335. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 366. Culture, Diversity, and Social Work. 4 Hours.

Examination of the concepts of race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, and disability in terms of causes and effects in the generation of social problems and the roles of social workers. Particular emphasis on personal and cultural attitudes toward diversity. Course Information: Same as SWK 366. Prerequisite: SWK 322, or equivalent, or instructor approval.

WGS 381. ECCE: The Politics of Harry Potter. 3 Hours.

Does the world of Harry Potter give us clues to analyzing discrimination, privilege and empowerment in the United States? In this course, we will use Rowling's Harry Potter series to analyze US race, class and gender. Is Dobby, the house elf facing racism? Is Hermione, a girl, clearly leadership material? Do Draco and Ron's lives mirror US class inequality? Course Information: Same as SOA 381. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 403. ECCE: Women of Color and Minority Women. 4 Hours.

This course examines the experiences of African American, Latina, Asian American, indigenous, and immigrant women in the U. S. By placing women of color at the center, we explore ways of transforming knowledge about culture and society. We also address issues facing other minorities (lesbians and disabled, poor, rural, and aging women). Course Information: Same as AAS 403, HIS 453, SOA 451, and SWK 462. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 411. Feminist Theories. 4 Hours.

A range of feminist political theories including liberal, radical, socialist, postmodern, and global feminisms which offer different solutions to social issues such as the division of labor in the home and beyond, reproductive rights, and sexuality (spring semester). Course Information: Same as PHI 411, PSC 433, and SOA 408. Prerequisite: WGS 301 is recommended but not required.

WGS 415. Women's Studies Practicum. 2-4 Hours.

Group or individual research or community action projects relating to women. Projects designed jointly by students and faculty. Regular participation in colloquium, practicum journal, and research paper/project report required. Course Information: May be repeated if topics vary.

WGS 418. Queer Theory. 4 Hours.

Advanced survey of texts, theories and applications of "queer theory." Topics: social, economic and political roots of queer theory; social construction of normative and deviant genders/sexualities; possibilities of queer history; uneasy relationship between sex, gender, and sexualities; gender performativity; queer interventions into popular culture. Course Information: Same as PSC 482.

WGS 423. ECCE: Women and Politics. 4 Hours.

Why are there so few women in elected positions within American Government, and how does their absence affect public policy? In this class we will consider the electoral experiences of women who run for office. We will also consider whether the women who are elected to public office behave differently, and what, if any, implications such a difference might have for public policy. Course Information: Same as PSC 423. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 424. Gender Communication. 4 Hours.

Examines male/female communication in dating relationships, marriage, education, mass media, and the workplace. Analysis of the effects of verbal and nonverbal differences in each context. Course Information: Same as COM 424. Not intended for students with Freshman or Sophomore standing.

WGS 434. ECCE: Women and Work. 4 Hours.

In spite of decades of public laws and policies that mandate non-discrimination, women still face profound sex, race and class discrimination in the workplace in the U.S., reinforcing their status as outsiders. Topics will include wage and home labor, the double workday, comparable worth, occupational segregation, and sexual harassment. Course Information: Same as SOA 434. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 441. Poverty, Law, and Justice. 3,4 Hours.

Addresses questions concerning what poverty is and why it exists. Will consider historical and current welfare policies in the U. S. and their implications with respect to societal well-being, individual rights, and justice. Discussion of the intersection of race, gender, and poverty, and possible solutions to the problem. Course Information: Same as LES 441, PSC 441, and SWK 441.

WGS 442. ECCE: International Women Writers. 4 Hours.

This course examines literary works written by women writers, poets, literary critics and philosophers from around the world. Course Information: Same as LIS 442. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of Global Awareness.

WGS 445. Law and Inequality. 4 Hours.

The role of law and the legal system in creating, maintaining, and reducing inequality, with emphasis on race, class, and gender inequality in the United States. The relationship between law and the legal system and political/economic institutions and ideologies. Course Information: Same as LES 404, PSC 421, and SOA 425.

WGS 446. Family Law. 3,4 Hours.

Topics include divorce, domestic violence, illegitimacy, adoption, child support and custody, parental control, abuse and neglect laws, issues affecting the elderly, domestic law reform, and the impact of the women's rights movement. Course Information: Same as HDC 446, SOA 454, SWK 446, and LES 446. Not for Freshman or Sophomores.

WGS 447. Women in American Law. 3,4 Hours.

Identification of sexism in American law, including constitutional standards, the ERA, employment, education, family and procreative concerns, and crime. Course Information: Same as LES 447.

WGS 449. Employment Discrimination Law. 3,4 Hours.

Development and implementation of anti-discrimination laws in employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, terms and conditions, benefits and pay, with respect to race, gender, disability, religion, and national origin, among others. Course Information: Same as PAD 452 and LES 449.

WGS 452. Sociology of Gender. 4 Hours.

Analyzes creation, maintenance, and enforcement of female and male roles. Socialization processes, cultural definitions, major social institutions, and structured social inequality. Course Information: Same as SOA 452.

WGS 454. ECCE: History of the Family. 4 Hours.

The modern family in comparative and historical perspective. Selected themes -- changing patterns of household, intimacy, gender -- explored historically to understand their present importance. Course Information: Same as HIS 454, and SWK 454. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 455. Global Masculinities. 4 Hours.

Interdisciplinary survey of expressions of masculinity in global and transnational perspective, with emphasis on non-Western cultures. Themes and topics include motives for, and ethnographic and systematic approaches to study of men and masculinities interspersed with case studies of specific forms of masculinity in various geographic regions. Course Information: Same as GBL 455 and SOA 456. Prerequisite: Prior mastery of fundamental concepts, theories and terminology in WGS.

WGS 456. Women in Political Movements. 4 Hours.

Investigates gender dynamics of political movements in several countries around the world, including the United States, Brazil, Russia, Egypt, Iran, and India. The course examines gender as a dynamic social institution, interacting with class, race, nationality, sexual orientation, and culture. Course Information: Same as SOA 455.

WGS 457. ECCE: Masculinities. 4 Hours.

This course is an introductory and inter-disciplinary survey of the study of men and masculinities primarily in the contemporary United States. Major themes are the rationale for study men and masculinities; gender, power, and male privilege; the utility of the plural term 'masculinities'; the social construction of masculinities; masculine cultures of sports, war, and violence; masculinity in popular culture; and alternative masculinities. Course Information: Same as SOA 457.

WGS 458. Women, Health, and Healing. 4 Hours.

Traces women's past as healers and medical practitioners, as well as issues of women's health and medicine. Includes a multicultural emphasis and focuses primarily on the United States.

WGS 460. Special Topics in Women's Studies. 2-8 Hours.

Independent study, structured reading, or research in the field of women's studies. Student should make arrangements with an appropriate faculty member. Course Information: May be repeated if topics vary. Students may register in more than one section per term.

WGS 461. Major Women Writers. 4 Hours.

Novels or longer works in other genres (e.g., drama, film, etc.) by female authors or directors.

WGS 462. Images of Women in Literature. 4 Hours.

Literary works created by and about women through the ages.

WGS 463. Native American Women's Literature and Culture. 4 Hours.

Novels, short stories, poetry, and literary and cultural criticism by Native American women writers, such as Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko, Joy Harjo, and Louise Erdrich.

WGS 464. Women's Spirituality. 4 Hours.

Exploration of women's spirituality, spiritual autobiographies, devotional literatures, novels, poetry, and essays. Course Information: Same as AAS 464.

WGS 465. ECCE: Black Women Writers. 4 Hours.

Explores diverse writings by Black women: autobiography, fictions, poetry, social and literary criticism, and essays. Black Women Writers illuminate how they transcend under-representation in literature and academia, as well as the double oppression of being Black and female. Course Information: Same as AAS 465. This course fulfills an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirement at UIS in the area of U.S. Communities.

WGS 466. Multicultural American Women's Literature. 4 Hours.

Explores the writings of women from a variety of American cultures and subcultures, which may include (but are not limited to) Asian, American Indian, Latina, and African.

WGS 467. Women Centered Literature. 4 Hours.

Examines works by women authors who identify themselves emotionally and/or erotically with other women, such as Radclyffe Hall, Rita Mae Brown, Dorothy Allison, Audre Lorde, and Jane Rule. Course emphasizes both the literature and its social history. May be repeated if topics vary.

WGS 473. The Politics of Reproduction. 4 Hours.

This interdisciplinary, discussion-based course will provide a critical examination of political and ideological influences on women and reproduction. Readings will focus on such themes as: birthing practices, birth control, eugenics, race and sterilization, abortion, reproductive technologies, and the political economy of wombs in the world of adoption. Course Information: Same as PSC 453 and LES 453.

WGS 481. Women in Chinese and Japanese History. 4 Hours.

Exploration of the histories of women in China and Japan over the last several centuries, with special attention to their changing roles and status in the 20th century. Course Information: Same as HIS 481.

WGS 484. History of Sexuality in America. 4 Hours.

Undergraduate seminar on sexual behaviors, discourses, and identities in US history. Topics include sexuality and conquest, race, slavery; prostitution and sex reform movements; sex education, birth control, obscenity law and pornography; medicalization of sexuality, sexology and sexual science; sexual revolutions; historical emergence of sexual identities. Course Information: Same as HIS 484. Intended for upper division students.

WGS 486. Childhood's Past. 4 Hours.

Examines the history of childhood through fiction. Emphasis will be primarily on U.S. history. In addition to reading history and literature, students will engage in self-reflexive consideration of childhood with oral histories and personal memories.

WGS 489. Sex, Science, History. 4 Hours.

Advanced survey of scientific knowledge production on human sexual difference in Western culture from the Greeks until now. Course Information: Intended for Juniors, Seniors, Grad students. Same as HIS 489 and PSC 489.

WGS 499. Independent Study in Women's Studies. 2-8 Hours.

Independent study, structured reading, or research in the field of women's studies. Student should make arrangements with an appropriate faculty member. Course Information: May be repeated if topics vary. Students may register in more than one section per term.

WGS 501. Feminist Theories II. 4 Hours.

This seminar offers close readings of major theories and accompanying methodology such as socialist, postmodernist, queer and postcolonial feminism. Our analysis will draw on political studies, communications, history, anthropology, sociology and literary criticism. Topics can include sexuality, race/ethnicity, labor and subjectivity. Course Information: Same as PSC 533, PHI 512, or SOA 501. Prerequisite: WGS 411, or SOA 408, or PSC 433, or PHI 411.

WGS 540. Seminar: Major Figures in American Literature. 4 Hours.

One or two major authors, including significant research. Course Information: May be repeated if topics vary. Students may register in more than one section per term.

WGS 555. Women and Media. 4 Hours.

Seminar exploring the role of women in media today. Examination of women as participants in the media business and as subjects of the media and the impact of both on society. Course Information: Same as COM 555.

WGS 590. Topics In Women's Studies. 2,4 Hours.

May be repeated if topics vary.

WGS 599. Independent Study. 2-8 Hours.

Independent study, structured reading, or research in the field of women's studies. Student should make arrangements with an appropriate faculty member. Course Information: May be repeated if topics vary. Students may register in more than one section per term.