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Undergraduate Studies Catalog 2003-2005

Women's Studies
Interdisciplinary Program

119 Smith Hall
(585) 395-5700

Director: Kathleen J. Hunter

Faculty: Margaret Blackman (Anthropology); Davida Bloom (Theater); Miriam Burstein (English); Michele Carron (Physical Education and Sport); Patti A. Follansbee (Health Science); Kathleen Hunter (Health Science); Owen S. Ireland (History); Barbara Kasper (Social Work); Jeffrey Lashbrook (Sociology); Jennifer M. Lloyd, (History); John K. Marah (African and Afro-American Studies); Catherine McKeen (Philosophy); Anne Macpherson (History); Evelyn S. Newlyn (English); Greta Niu (English); Eileen O'Brien (Sociology); Andrea Parada (Foreign Languages and Literatures); Andrea Rubery (Political Science); Patricia Sharkey (Nursing); and LouAnn Wurst (Anthropology).



The Women's Studies program at SUNY Brockport is a multidisciplinary, College-wide program which engenders in students an inclusive perspective, and provides students and faculty a framework within which to focus on questions, issues, and theories related to women's lives, roles, status, and contributions. The Women's Studies program is also committed to the integration of women's experiences, values, and accomplishments into all College curricula.

Courses deal with topics such as the diversity of women's experiences; gender similarities and differences; women's self-perceptions; images of women in folklore, film, and literature; and the intersection of race, class, and gender. A central objective is the development of knowledge and methodologies relevant to the shaping of social policies affecting women's lives in institutions such as the health-care system, the workplace, the family, and the judicial system.

Women's Studies, as a first or second major, strengthens both individual and career development, and is valuable preparation for fields such as law, administration, social work, education, sociology, criminal justice, the health professions, government services, business, counseling, journalism, recreation, and library science. Students may take courses for the women's studies major, a minor, as electives, or for independent study. Women's Studies offers at least one online, 24/7, SUNY Learning Network (SLN) core course per semester.

Women's Studies Program Mission Statement

Mission Statement:

Women's Studies is:

  • Committed to the integration of women's experiences, values, and contributions to all aspects of life.
  • Dedicated to heightening awareness of the political, socio-economic, and cultural dimensions of the nature of knowledge.
  • Focused upon student success in their academic, professional, and personal lives.

Program Goals:

  • Provide a curriculum with an inclusive view of the human experience.
  • Teach and learn about women's experiences.
  • Value personal experience as a way of knowing.
  • Create and produce new scholarship and new knowledge about women and apply it to personal, political, and institutional change.
  • Empower women on campus through mentoring and leadership training.

Major in Women's Studies

A major in women's studies requires 36 credits, with 21 credits in approved, interdisciplinary core courses. The remaining 15 credits in electives are chosen with advisement, from the list of approved, interdisciplinary, women's studies cross-listed electives.

  • WMS 101 Introduction to Women's Studies 3
  • WMS 271 Gender, Race and Class 3
  • WMS 301 Feminist Theory 3
  • WMS 360 Sex and Culture 3
  • WMS 401 Senior Seminar in Women's Studies 3
  • WMS 411 Feminist Research Methodology 3

Must chose at least one of the following courses in Women's History 3

  • WMS 323 History of European and American Women
  • WMS 328 Women in America
  • WMS 359 European Women
  • WMS 495 Women, Gender, and Class

Total: 21 Credits


Must choose five electives in approved, interdisciplinary cross-listed courses: 15 Credits

(At least 10 electives are offered every semester)


At least nine credits from one of the following concentrations:

Humanities; Social Sciences; or Behavioral and Physical Sciences, and two more approved courses. (15 credits in total electives)


At least six credits in one of the above concentrations, plus at least one course in each of the other two concentrations, and one more approved course. (15 credit total electives)

Minor in Women's Studies
A minor in women 's studies requires 18 credits, with nine in interdisciplinary core courses: WMS 101, 301, and 401. The remaining nine credits are chosen, with advisement, from the list of approved women's studies electives. At least one elective must be an upper-division course. Half the credits for the minor in women's studies (nine credits) must be taken at SUNY Brockport.

The required core courses for the minor are:

WMS 101 Introduction to Women's Studies

  WMS 301 Feminist Theory
  WMS 401 Senior Seminar in Women's Studies

Women and Gender Studies Courses

WMS 101 Introduction to Women's Studies (A,S,W,D). Provides an introduction to women's studies, its perspective, and its interdisciplinary nature. Using several disciplines, examines women's position in culture and society and explores the genesis, development, and impact of our culture's assumptions about women's nature and women's roles. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 102 Women and Men (A). Examines women's position and representations of women in society, culture, the economy and politics. Investigates women's continuing subordination to men. 3 Cr.

WMS 121 Women and Men Do Science (A,L,W). Cross-listed with CHM 121. As a physical science General Education course with laboratory, deals with the principles and techniques of chemistry science as they apply to everyday life. Uses the contributions of women and minority scientists as examples of the development of these principles and their applications. Provides practice in the correct terminology and standard English in written and oral communication. Suitable for non-science majors. 3 Cr.

WMS 200 Topics in Women's Studies (A). To be defined by the instructor in accordance with the specific topic to be covered in that semester. Typically, topic areas are gender and language or women on the margins of society. 3 Cr.

WMS 244 Women and Courtly Love (A,H,W). Cross-listed with ENL 244. Studies the role of women in literature of the courtly love tradition in European and British Middle Ages, and the influence of that literature on sex and gender roles at present. Requires reading, thinking, writing and speaking. 3 Cr.

WMS 262 Female: Myth and Reality (A). Explores the roles and status of females from a cross-cultural perspective; how females perceive themselves and how they are perceived by others in different societies; and biological differences between males and females as these are used to arrive at socially significant distinctions. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 271 Gender, Race, and Class (A,W,D). Cross-listed with AAS 271 and SOC 271. Examines the interesting experiences of gender, race, and class, and responses to the institutional and interpersonal discrimination in women's and men's lives. Investigates the history of efforts to end discrimination, and the ways these efforts translate into issues of current concern in the US. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 301 Feminist Theory (A). Prerequisite: WMS 101 or instructor's permission. Provides an advanced interdisciplinary and multicultural introduction to the main traditions of feminist theory, to the impact of feminist theory on a variety of disciplines, and to feminist theory as applied to various issues in society and culture. 3 Cr. Fall

WMS 307 Gendering The Past (A,J,W). Cross-listed as ANT 307. Explores the relationship between past and present in the context of interpreting gender roles. Evaluates claims or interpretations based on historical or archeological data. Introduces a wide range of historically conditioned gender roles. 3 Cr.

WMS 310 Women in Art (A). Cross-listed as ARH 310. Until recently art history texts contained no references to either women artists or to the role that women played in the arts. First addresses a number of questions in order to discover the reasons why women were ignored when art history texts were written, and finally examines the accomplishments of women artists throughout recorded history. 3 Cr.

WMS 312 Sex, Evolution, and Behavior (A). Cross-listed as BIO 312. Studies the relationship between genetics, anatomy, physiology, and behavior from the point of view of sexual reproduction, competition, and fitness. Also explores the relationship between reproductive mating systems and specific ecological environments. Examines invertebrates and vertebrates, with a final discussion on whether humans " fit" the typical patterns encountered in other mammalian species. For non-biology majors. 3 Cr.

WMS 313 Gender Politics (A,I,W). Cross-listed as PLS 313. Explores, from a feminist perspective, socio-political barriers that have made women the "majority minority" or "silenced majority." Includes barriers such as discriminatory legislation, political folkways, sex and gender roles, and myths that have created and perpetuated a male-dominated society. 3 Cr. Fall

WMS 315 Contemporary Black Women (A,I,W,D). Cross-listed as AAS 315. Eclectically explores the various positions and roles played by black women in contemporary times against their historical back drop. Focuses on the roles of black women in traditional and contemporary contexts in Africa, black women in rural and urban areas, black women in the Caribbean, and professional black women and their characteristics. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 323 History of European and American Women (A,U,W). Cross-listed with HST 323. Surveys the history of women in Europe and North America from 1700 to the present. Examines changes in women's economic, social, and cultural and political roles, and in images and stereotypes of women, and explores the growing emphasis on reproduction and mothering in the modern era. Focuses on ordinary women's experiences. 3 Cr. Fall

WMS 328 Women in America (A,W,D). Cross-listed as HST 328. Focuses on cultural images of American women, such as the Victorian lady, the flapper, and Rosie the Riveter, as prescriptions within specific socio-economic contexts, from the ante-bellum period to the present; individual as well as organized resistance to conventional definitions of woman hood; and contemporary issues, including employment, reproductive freedom, and the significance of the media, and historigraphical issues in women's history. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 335 Feminism and Philosophy (A,J,W,D). Cross-listed as PHL 335. Covers feminist theory and philosophy as they converge on some basic questions of enduring importance, e.g. personhood, knowledge, and reality. Explores some varieties of feminism (liberal, radical, multicultural, postmodern and cyberfeminism). Investigates how these feminisms engage issues of contemporary moment such as work equity, sexuality, pornography, and technology, and examines the philosophical significance of these engagements. 3 Cr.

WMS 339 Writings by African-American Women (A,U,W,D). Cross-listed as ENL 339 and AAS 339. Explores the literary representations of women in Afro-American fiction from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. Examines the degree to which sexism, cultural stereotypes and racism influence the portrayals and function of women in black American literature. To what extent is the author concerned with women's issues? How has the emergence of the feminist movement influenced contemporary authors. 3 Cr.

WMS 344 Sex, Sin and Sorority: Women in the Early American Republic (A,U,W). Cross-listed as HST 344. Explores the origins of the modern American woman. Seeks to describe and explain the ways women in America transformed their reproductive, productive, political, and personal lives during the first century of the Great American Republic, c.1776-1876. Aimed at a general audience. Entails lectures, reading, discussion, quizzes, and essay exams. 3 Cr. Fall

WMS 350 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Western Women (A). Cross-listed as GEP 350. Examines and explores Western women's experience from ancient Greece to the present from many perspectives: historical, professional, political, social, familial, and legal. 3 Cr. Summer

WMS 354 American Film Genres (A). Cross- listed as HST 354. Focuses on American film genres such as musicals, film noir, westerns, science fiction and horror, and melodrama, stressing an understanding of film technique; theories about genre formulation; the evolution of genres within specific socioeconomic contexts during the 30s, 40s, and 50s; the relevance of genres to contemporary filmmakers; and the ideological function of film. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 359 European Women (A,U,W). Cross-listed as HST 359. Examines the history of European women since 1500, including traditional roles in political, cultural, and social life. Focuses on change over the centuries. 3 Cr.

WMS 360 Sex and Culture (A,J,W,D). Explores human sexuality as variously and richly patterned by different cultures. Covers the evolution of human sexuality; cultural significance of biological sex differences; sex roles; patterning of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and transsexuality in selected world cultures; and changing patterns of sexual behavior in the US. Emphasizes the female perspective and the interplay of biological, psychological, and cultural factors in the patterning of human sexuality. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 361 Sociology of Sex, Marriage and the Family (A,W). Prerequisite: Any lower-division sociology course. Cross-listed as SOC 361. Examines social variations in sex, marriage and family behavior; and social theories and research. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 362 Women in Western Political Thought (A,J,W,D). Cross-listed as PLS 362. Covers major theories of sexual politics, including Freud's theory of femininity, reform liberalism, socialist theory, and the theory of radical feminism. 3 Cr.

WMS 375 Latin-American Women (A,D,I,W). Cross-listed as FCE 375. Analyzes women's roles within the societies of the Caribbean and Latin America to develop an understanding of the double standards imposed on men and women. Studies the impact of socialization and the development of a critical consciousness. Offered one semester each in English and Spanish. 3 Cr.

WMS 378 Women Writers in American Literature (A,J,W,D). Cross-listed as ENL 378. Examines the ways in which American women writers address the particular circumstances of women's lives during particular decades. Explores the diversity of women's writing by including the works of best-selling writers, women of color, working-class women, and radical experimentalists. Provides students with an historical, social and cultural context in which to locate various works. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 380 Issues and Perspectives on Women's Health Care (A,U,W). Cross-listed as NUR 380. Analyzes and examines issues and needs related to the health care of women, from both an individual and societal focus. Includes women's changing roles and lifestyles, and traditional and non-traditional modes of health care. Includes topics such as the menstrual cycle, reproductive technology and feminist analysis of health care, presented from a biopsychosocial context. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 390 Gender Apartheid (A). Examines the issue of forced segregation of women (gender apartheid) from domestic and global perspectives. Discusses contemporary US movements that promote gender apartheid and analyzes fictional and non-fictional accounts of cultures that practice it. Explores in depth the status of women and children in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. 3 Cr.

WMS 396 Women in Sport (A). Cross-listed as PES 396. Examines the historical, contemporary, and future perspectives of women in sport. Reviews insights from history, psychology, and sociology related to women in sport, as well as athletes' perceptions of their performance. Focuses on information and issues which are fundamental to understanding women's participation in sport. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 401 Senior Seminar in Women's Studies (A,W). Prerequisites: WMS 101 and 301, and senior status; or instructor's permission. Provides advanced study of a significant topic in women 's studies through an integrative interdisciplinary and multicultural approach. Also provides students the opportunity to think critically and analytically about women's lives, experiences, values, and contributions; and requires students to produce a well-reasoned seminar paper. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 402 Women's Health (A,W). Cross-listed as HLS 402. Explores many facets of the health-care system and addresses many issues pertaining to the emergence of women taking an active role in maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. Presented in a non-medical manner to provide useful information any woman can understand and use. 3 Cr. Summer

WMS 403 Biography and Life History (A). Cross-listed as ANT 403. Explores the expression of life stories, their collection and recording, and their presentation in written format. Covers the evolution of the life history in anthropology and oral history; life history as a Western genre; life stories in non-Western form; gender and life stories; the life history as an expression of the self versus the life history as a window on culture; and the limitations of life history research. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 410 /510 Contemporary Women Playwrights (A,I,W). Cross-listed with THE 410/510. Examines selected works by 20th-century female playwrights from America, (with units on African American, Chicana, Lesbian, and Asian-American writers) Africa, China, and England, in conjunction with an investigation of feminist theory as it applies to theater practices. Also explores the ways in which contemporary female playwrights present gender and gendered experiences, and how the construction of women is staged in a variety of cultural contexts. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 411 Feminist Research Methods Focuses on questions of theory and practice (A,U). Basic goal is to better understand what feminist research is and how to do it. Discusses specific issues of data gathering and interpretation, and the research process in general. Requires class readings, written assignments, and a final project. 3 Cr.

WMS 419 Human Sexuality (A,W). Cross-listed as HLS 419. Provides each student with the opportunity to gain an awareness of him/herself and others as sexual beings. Examines sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors throughout the various life stages, in order to integrate human sexuality into one's total health and well-being. 3 Cr.

WMS 420 Practicum in Women's Studies (A). Allows students to put feminist theory into practice in a structured setting. Provides a faculty-supervised opportunity to work in a woman- centered organization, to devise and complete projects within the organization, and to study the organization from a feminist perspective. 3 Cr.

WMS 427 Women in the English Novel (A,U,W). Cross-listed as ENL 427. Provides an in-depth examination of some of the great English novels, with some attention to novels from other countries, to consider their thematic forms and functions, their literary significance, and especially what they reveal about the roles of women and attitudes to patriarchy. 3 Cr.

WMS 433 Psychology of Gender (A). Prerequisite: A general psychology course (PSH 101, 110, or 112). Cross-listed as PSH 333. Surveys the psychological and social impact of sex differences, sex roles, and the development of gender identity on behavior. Examines historical antecedents of gender differences, development of gender identity, and sex differences in performance, attribution, achievement, cognition, interpersonal behavior, psychopathology, and response to therapy to illustrate facts and fictions in gender research. 3 Cr.

WMS 435 Legal Rights of the Disadvantaged (A,I,W,D). Cross-listed as AAS 435 and PLS 435. As an issue-oriented course, provides an understanding of how the US system can be used to improve the status of the disadvantaged, such as blacks, Hispanics, women, prisoners, the poor, students, Native Americans, homosexuals, and those with mental and physical disabilities. 3 Cr.

WMS 438 Latin-American Women's History (A). Cross-listed as HST 438. Examines at an advanced level the diversity of Latin-American and Caribbean women's experiences from Iberian conquest to the 20th century. Analyzes the gender dynamics of colonial, national, dictatorial, and revolutionary states, economies, and cultures, as well as the importance of women's movements and feminism. Discusses Latina history in the US and of Latin-American and Caribbean masculinity in historical perspective. 3 Cr.

WMS 441 American Literature: 19th-century Women's Novel (A,U,W). Cross-listed as ENL 441. Provides an advanced study of women in literature and women's literature, focusing, for example, on some aspect of female lives, such as adolescence; on one or more female authors writing in a shared tradition, genre, or period; or on women writing on a common topic or from perspectives held in common. 3 Cr.

WMS 451 Women and Work (A). Cross-listed as SOC 451. Examines women's work from cross-cultural, historical, and sociological perspectives, with particular emphasis on the analysis of the role assigned to women in late industrial society as housewives. 3 Cr.

WMS 452 Women and Health (A). Cross-listed as SOC 452. Analyzes the myths and realities of women, health and illness. Includes a review of the place of women in the health-care system as patients and health-care providers. Concentrates on women/health/illness in the 20th-century US, but uses cross-cultural and historical materials to give an added dimension to the theories and substantive materials of this field. 3 Cr.

WMS 453 Contemporary Women's Issues (A). Cross-listed as SOC 453. Focuses on issues concerning women and their changing role in today's society. Although various issues are singled out for analysis through reading, lecture, and class discussion, all of them are interrelated by virtue of their focus on women. 3 Cr.

WMS 457 Women and Film (A,J,W,D). Cross-listed as ENL 457. Focusing on films directed by women, considers the following questions: Have women filmmakers depicted the world differently from "dominant" cinema? What possibilities exist for forms of " feminine" film discourse which are truly different from dominant film discourse? What has been the history of women filmmakers? How many of these women have indeed tried to speak a different language?. 3 Cr.

WMS 464 Gender Roles and Social Change (A). Cross-listed as SOC 464. Prerequisite: SOC 100, 210, or 220. Examines gender inequality in the US, and the relation of the economic, political, and social changes in gender roles. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 465 Sociology of the Aging (A). Cross-listed as SOC 465. Prerequisite: SOC 100, 210, or 220. Provides information and theories about the social aspects of aging, including health, income, family relationships, role change, and social policy. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 470 Women's Popular Culture (A,J,W,D). Cross-listed as ENL 470. Explores women's popular culture to engender a cultural analysis. Considers questions such as how women's popular culture responds to women's psychosocial needs, and how it functions within the dominant culture. Examines samples of the fictional films that represent 20th-century women's popular culture. 3 Cr.

WMS 475 Women's Lives (A,W). Cross-listed as SWO 475. Examines women as clients, helpers, and policy makers in the context of social forces, values, and attitudes. Explores the theoretical, developmental, political, and social implications of women's changing roles. Open to selected upper-division undergraduates. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 479 Victimology (A). Prerequisite: Junior or senior status. Cross-listed as CRJ 479. Develops an understanding of crime victimization, both direct and indirect. Focuses on street crime, social and political oppression, victimization of women, and victims of corporate deviance. Emphasizes theory and policy analysis. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 481 Women and Criminal Justice (A). Prerequisite: Junior or senior status. Cross-listed as CRJ 481. Examines women's relationship with crime and the criminal justice system. Specifically provides a study of women and crime: victimization, occupational obstacles and opportunities; and develops an understanding of how social, political, and economic conditions affect these problems. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 495 Women, Gender, and Class (A). Cross-listed as HST 495. Examines and analyzes European and US women's experiences between the two world wars in terms of gender and class. Introduces theories of women's and gender history and of gender and class analysis. Seminar format; requires committed student participation. 3 Cr.

WMS 496 Sex and Censorship (A). Prerequisite: ENL 112 or equivalent. Cross-listed as ENL 496. Considers the expression of sexual themesand their censorshipin contemporary literature, film, and media. Includes topics such as the erotic in art; definitions of pornography and obscenity; evolution of censorship standards and practices; the Hollywood Code; the US Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970) and its critics; and recent feminist perspectives. 3 Cr. Spring

WMS 499 Independent Study. Arranged in consultation with the professor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.


The information in this publication was current as of December 2002 when the text was compiled. Changes, including but not restricted to, tuition and fees, course descriptions, degree and program requirements, policies, and financial aid availability may have occurred since that time. Whether or not a specific course is scheduled for a given term is contingent on enrollment, budget and staffing. The college reserves the right to make any changes it finds necessary and may announce such changes for student notification in publications other than the College catalogs. For the purpose of degree and program completion, students are bound by the requirements in effect as stated in the printed catalog at the time of their matriculation at SUNY Brockport. Inquiries on the current status of requirements can be addressed to the appropriate College department of office. Also refer to the Brockport Web site home page at for current information.