Women's Studies-Interdisciplinary Program

Main Page Content

Women’s Studies—Interdisciplinary Program

119 Smith Hall
(585) 395-5700 or (585) 395-2026
Director: Catherine McKeen

Faculty: Margaret Blackman (Anthropology), Davida Bloom (Theater), Melissa Brown (Psychology), Miriam Burstein (English), Rikki Cannioto (Physical Education and Sport), Michelle Carron (Physical Education and Sport), Alisia Chase (Art), Ruth Childs (Theatre), Denise Copleten (Sociology), Patti A. Follansbee (Health Science), Elyse Gruttadauria (Health Science), Patricia Huntington Sigel (Criminal Justice), 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), Andrea Parada (Foreign Languages and Literatures), Alison Parker (History), Toni Plummer (Health Science), Andrea Rubery (Political Science), Janine Santiago (Foreign Languages and Literature), Patricia Sharkey (Nursing), Joan Spade (Sociology), Melissa Syder (Social Work), Patricia Tweet (Sociology), Gary Voelkl (Sociology), and LouAnn Wurst (Anthropology). Associate Faculty: Mary Buggie Hunt, Colleen Donaldson, Barbara LeSavoy, Sharon Jacobson, Barbara Mitrano, Barbara Thompson, Katherine Marsh.

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 gender and 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 the College curricula.

Courses deal with topics such as the diversity of women’s experiences; gender similarities as a whole 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 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.

Course of Study
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.

Numbers Class Credits
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 Methods 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
Electives: Must choose five electives in approved, interdisciplinary cross-listed courses:
(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 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)

Total Credits in the Women’s Studies Major: 36

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.

Number The required core courses for the minor are: Credits
WMS 101 Introduction to Women's Studies 3
WMS 301 Feminist Theory 3
WMS 360 Sex and Culture 3 3
Core Total: 9
Women’s Studies Electives: 9
Total for Minor: 18

Women’s Studies Courses

WMS 101 Introduction to Women's Studies (A,D,S,W). 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. Major and minor requirement. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 200 Topics in Women's Studies (A,W). 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 262 The Female: Myth and Reality (A,C,S,W). Cross-listed as ANT 262. 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; investigates 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,D,W). Cross-listed as AAS 271, SOC 271. Examines the intersecting 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.

WMS 301 Feminist Theory (A). Prerequisite: WMS 101. 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. Major and minor requirement. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 307 Gendering the Past (A,I,W). Cross-listed as ANT 307. Explores the relationship between past and present in the context of interpreting gender roles, with a focus on gender in the present versus gender in the past. Teaches students how to evaluate claims or interpretations based on historic or archaeological data. Introduces students to a wide range of historically conditioned gender roles. By examining this diversity, allows students to realize that gender is not a simple or natural construct. 3 Cr.

WMS 310 Women in Art (A,C,W). Cross-listed as ARH 310. Examines the contributions and creations of women to the visual arts throughout history, with an emphasis on the women artists of the last two centuries. Students will gain an understanding of artistic techniques and movements and become familiar with the social and political history of women, in order to understand how such conditions affect artistic production. 3 Cr.

WMS 312 Sex, Evolution and Behavior (A,I,W). 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.

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

WMS 323 History of European and American Women (A,W). 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.

WMS 328 Women in America (A,D,W). Cross-listed as HST 328. Focuses on cultural images of American women, such as the Victorian lady, the flapper, and Rosie the Riveter, individual as well as organized resistance to conventional definitions of womanhood; and contemporary issues, including employment, reproductive freedom, and historiographical issues in women's history. 3 Cr.

WMS 335 Feminism and Philosophy (A,D,I,W). Cross-listed as PHL 335. Feminist theory and philosophy converge on some basic questions of enduring importance—questions concerning, e.g., personhood, knowledge and reality. Explores some varieties of feminism, such as 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,D,W). Cross-listed as AAS 339, ENL 339. Explores literary representations of women in Afro-American fiction from the Harlem Renaissance to today. Examines the degree to which sexism, cultural stereotypes and racism influence the portrayals and functions 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 Early American Republic (A,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. Is aimed at a general audience and has no prerequisites. Entails lectures, reading, discussion, quizzes, and essay exams. 3 Cr. Fall

WMS 350 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Western Women (A,I,W). 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,W). 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 History of European Women (A,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,D,I,W). 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. Major and minor requirement. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 361 Sociology of Sex, Marriage and Family (A,W). Cross-listed as SOC 361. Provides an introduction to sociological theory and research on intimate relationships and families in the US. Examines historical and contemporary variations, with the main focus on the gendered nature of marriage and family life. Looks at intimacy and family formation through topics such as love, marriage and sexuality. Investigates key concerns in family life such as the balance of power, negotiating work/family roles, parenthood and divorce. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 362 Women in Western Political Thought (A,D,I,W). 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,C,I,W). Cross-listed FCE 375. Analyzes women's roles within the societies of the Caribbean and Latin America. Develops an understanding of the double standards imposed on men and women. Studies the impact of socialization and the development of a critical consciousness. 3 Cr. Fall

WMS 378 Women Writers in American Literature (A,D,I,W). 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 396 Women in Sport (A,I,W). 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). Prerequisites: WMS 101 and WMS 301. 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. Major requirement. 3 Cr. Fall

WMS 402 Women's Health (A,W). Cross-listed as HLS 402. Provides a study of women as healthy functioning human beings. Includes lecture and discussion with guest speakers (when available) to present positive information and insights on the anatomical, physiological, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of contemporary women. 3 Cr.

WMS 410 Contemporary Women Playwrights (A,D,W). Cross-listed as THE 410. Explores 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 through an examination of selected works by 20th-century female playwrights from America, Africa,China and England (with units on African-American,Chicana,Lesbian and Asian-American writers). Includes an investigation of feminist theory as it applies to theatre practices. 3 Cr.

WMS 411 Feminist Research Methods (A). 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. Fall

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. Every Semester

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 an organization that does work on gender-related issues to devise and complete projects within the organization, and to study the organization from a feminist perspective. 3 Cr.

WMS 427 Women in the Novel (A,W). Cross-listed as ENL 427. Provides in-depth examination of select novels, with some touching upon 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,W). Cross-listed as PSH 433. Prerequisites: PSH 101, PSH 110 or PSH 112. 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,D,I,W). Cross-listed as AAS 435, 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. Fall

WMS 438 Women and Gender in Latin American History (A). Cross-listed as HST 438. As an advanced course, examines the diversity of Latin-American and Caribbean women's experiences from the Iberian conquest to the 20th-century. Analyzes the gender dynamics of colonial, national, dictatorial and revolutionary states, economies and cultures, and the importance of women's movements and feminism. Includes discussion of 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,W). Cross-listed as ENL 441. Provides an intensive study of the novel as a form of women's self-representation and cultural criticism. May include novels about family life, anti-slavery and temperance, slave narratives; historical novels; and representations of urban and industrial experience. 3 Cr.

WMS 451 Women and Work (A,W). 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,W). 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,I,W). 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,I,W). Cross-listed as ENL 457. Focuses on films 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 that 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. Spring

WMS 464 Gender and Social Change (A,W). Cross-listed as SOC 464. Examines gender as a social construction, embedded in interpersonal interactions, social institutions, and cultural systems, comparing gender in the US to gender in other cultures. Explores topics such as how we learn gender, how gender serves to maintain systems of inequality for men and women, and how the meanings of gender have changed over time. 3 Cr.

WMS 465 Sociology of Aging (A,W). Cross-listed as SOC 465. 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,D,I,W). 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 fiction and films that represent 20th-century women's popular culture. 3 Cr.

WMS 475 Women's Lives (A,D,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,W). 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 the Criminal Justice System (A,W). Cross-listed as CRJ 481. Examines women's relationships with crime and the criminal justice system. Specifically provides a study of women and crime, victimization and occupational obstacles and opportunities. Develops students' understanding of how social, political and economic conditions affect these problems. 3 Cr.

WMS 495 Women, Gender and Class — 1920-1940 (A). Cross-listed as HST 495. Examines and analyzes US women's experiences in terms of gender, class and work. Introduces theories of women's and gender history and of gender and class analysis. Entails a seminar format and expects committed student participation. 3 Cr.

WMS 496 Sex and Censorship in Literature and the Media (A,I,W). Cross-listed as ENL 496. Prerequisite: ENL 112. Considers the expression of sexual themes–and censorship of them–in 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.

WMS 499 Independent Study in Women's Studies (A). Arranged in consultation with the professor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.

Last Updated 11/20/18

Close mobile navigation