Women and Gender Studies - Interdisciplinary

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Women and Gender Studies - Interdisciplinary Program

119 Smith Hall
(585) 395-5700
Interim Director: Barbara Le Savoy

Faculty: 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 Copelton (Sociology), Rynetta Davis (English), Patti A. Follansbee (Health Science), Elyse Gruttadauria (Health Science), Janie Hinds (English), Patricia Huntington-Sigel (Criminal Justice), Owen S. Ireland (History), Barbara Kasper (Social Work), Gary Krowlikowski (Psychology), Jeffrey Lashbrook (Sociology), Jennifer M. Lloyd, (History), John K. Marah (African and African-American Studies), Catherine McKeen (Philosophy), Anne Macpherson (History), Morag Martin (History), Andrea Parada (Foreign Languages and Literatures), Alison Parker (History), Toni Plummer (Health Science), Rashna Richards (English), Andrea Rubery (Political Science), Patricia Sharkey (Nursing), Joan Spade (Sociology), Patricia Tweet (Sociology), Gary Voelkl (Sociology), C.T. White (Anthropology), LouAnn Wurst (Anthropology). Associate Faculty: Mary Buggie Hunt, Colleen Donaldson, Amber Humphrey, Sharon Jacobson, Jennie Lightweis-Goff, Barbara Mitrano, Barbara Thompson.



The Women and Gender Studies program at SUNY Brockport is a multidisciplinary, College-wide program which focuses on questions, issues and theories related to gender and women’s multiple lives, roles, status, and contributions. Women and gender studies aims to understand the complex ways that gender intersects with race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, religion and other social identities. Women and gender studies concerns how human beings become gendered people and how gender functions within specific social, historical and cultural contexts. The Women and Gender Studies program is committed to valuing women’s experiences, perspectives and accomplishments, and is committed to valuing diverse perspectives in an inclusive theoretical framework.

Courses in women and gender studies cover a wide range of topics such as: women in American history; feminist theory; gender and psychology; sociology of gender; philosophical issues concerning gender; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered history and social identities; women in art; African-American women writers; gender and film; women in sport; human sexuality; and feminist research methods.

Women and gender studies as a major provides preparation for graduate study in women and gender studies. Women and gender studies emphasizes understanding of a diverse world and so, a women and gender studies major also provides valuable preparation for careers in public service, law, social work, education, criminal justice, the health professions, and many other fields.

Course of Study

Major in Women and Gender 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 from the list of approved, interdisciplinary women’s studies cross-listed electives. These electives are updated regularly, so students are encouraged to choose courses with advisement.

Course Number Course Name Credits
WMS 101 Introduction to Women’s Studies 3
WMS 271 Gender, Race and Class 3
WMS 360 Sex and Culture 3
WMS 301 Feminist Theory 3
WMS 411 Feminist Research Methods 3
WMS 401 Senior Seminar in Women’s Studies 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
Must choose five electives in approved, interdisciplinary cross-listed courses. (At least 10 electives are offered every semester.) 15
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 additional approved course. (15 credits total electives)

Total Credits in the Women and Gender Studies Major: 36

Minor in Women and Gender Studies

A minor in women and gender 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 and gender studies (nine credits) must be taken at SUNY Brockport.

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

Women and Gender 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 271 Gender, Race and Class (A,D,W). Cross-listed as SOC 271. Examines the intersecting socio-political forces of gender, race and class, and how these forces interact. Looks at how these forces affect individuals, and individual and social responses to these forces. Investigates the history of efforts to end discrimination, and the ways these efforts translate into issues of current concern in the U.S. 3 Cr. Every Semester

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 requirement. 3 Cr. Every Semester

WMS 303 Native American Women (A,I,W). Cross-listed as ANT 303. Representations of Native American women generally conform to two stereotypes: the submissive drudge or the Indian princess. Both ignore the complexity and diversity of Native women’s roles in their respective societies. Taught primarily from a Native women’s perspective, this course moves beyond the two-dimensional portrait to engage life experience and social institutions, emphasizing strength and endurance, the complementary nature of traditional gender roles and contemporary strategies for cultural survival. 3 Cr.

WMS 307 Gendering the Past (A,I,W). Crosslisted 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. Spring

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 maledominated 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.

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 324 Gender, Power and Politics in America (A,W). Cross-listed as HST 324. Explores American politics from the 18th century until today, emphasizing central tendencies and longterm patterns in the distribution and exercise of power in America, with special attention to gender, interests, and ideologies. 3 Cr.

WMS 328 Women in America (A,D,W). Crosslisted as HST 328. Focuses on cultural images of American women, such as the Victorian lady, the fl apper, 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. Spring

WMS 335 Feminism and Philosophy (A,D,I,W). Cross-listed with PHL 335. Explores the philosophical foundations of some major strands in feminist theory. Examines the philosophical commitments of, e.g., liberal, radical, lesbian, Marxist, postmodern, and cyber feminisms. Investigates how these feminisms respond to contemporary concerns about work, parenthood, sexuality and technology. 3 Cr.

WMS 339 Writings By African-American Women (A,D,I,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 infl uence the portrayals and functions of women in black American literature. 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.

WMS 355 Women in Film (A). Examines the role of women in film narratives as on-screen representations, spectators and fi lmmakers. Surveys some of the most infl uential writings in the field of feminist film theory. Approaches these representations of women in film through theoretical arguments about topics such as audience spectatorship, the psychological interplay of desire and identification, construction of sexual difference in film narrative and society, and selected representations of women and men by various filmmakers of diverse cultures. 3 Cr.

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.

WMS 361 Sociology of Sex, Marriage and Family (A,I,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.

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 364 Gender and Social Change (A,I,W). Cross-listed as SOC 364. 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 365 Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Cultures in America (A,D,I,W). Cross-listed as ANT 365. Explores the history and emergence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender cultures in the U.S. from the 1940s to present. Topics include the history of the movement before and after Stonewall; the intersections between sexuality and ethnicity, gender, and social status; and urban/rural/suburban differences in attitudes and approaches within the homosexual rights movement. 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.

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 380 Issues in Women’s and Men’s Health (A, I, D, W). Cross-listed as NUR 380. Examines various perspectives and issues related to the health care of women and men across the lifespan. Past and present historical, biological, psychosocial, political, cultural, religious, ethical, moral and legal issues affecting health care will be investigated. Develops an awareness about the roles men and women play in health and healing; providing a framework for appropriate decision making on health care issues, and exploring preventative and holistic health care. Topics include sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, birth control methods, rape, violence in the family, eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, reproductive technology, pregnancy, healthy aging, health promotion, and interacting with the medical system. Includes discussion of relevant biological, sociological, psychological, cultural, religious, ethical, moral and legal factors that infl uence them. 3 Cr.

WMS 396 Women in Sport (A,I,W). 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). Prerequisites: WMS 101 and WMS 301. Integrates service-learning and research on gender and women’s studies. Students complete an internship experience in connection with this course. Students also produce a senior-level paper based on their internship experience and connected research under the directorship of the faculty leader. Major requirement. 3 Cr.

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 403 Biography and Life History (A,W). 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 405 Gender Issues K-12 (A,W). Course focuses on the issue of gender in schools K-12. It identifies and examines the ways in which gender roles are reinforced in schools. It studies the ways in which race and class interact with gender to infl uence the schooling experience. Students learn the ways in which teachers and other educators can promote equitable educational experience for all students. 3 Cr. Every Semester

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). Feminist research methods challenges traditional quantitative and qualitative research methods in the social sciences. Feminist research methods are explicitly concerned with the choice of research subjects, the standpoint of the researcher, the effects of social structures on knowledge creation, and with aspects of social reality that may be hidWomen and Gender Studies 369 den from traditional research methods. Students will complete a research project that responds to the main themes of the course. Major requirement. 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). Gives students the opportunity to work on a service-learning project under faculty direction. Students will complete an internship in an organization where they work on gender and/or women’s issues. Students will devise a project that makes use of their internship experience, and places that experience within a larger theoretical and research framework. With approval of WMS director. 3 Cr.

WMS 422 Women’s Education in the Developed World: Comparative Perspective (A,C,I,W). This course looks at women’s education in the developing world. It raises questions on social mobility, inequality, women’s role in the economic and social development of the third world society. Recent research on the topic will be reviewed; case studies will be drawn from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A comparative analysis approach will be used throughout this course. 3 Cr.

WMS 425 Women and Safety (A,W). Examines issues of violent crime and personal victimization, especially for women, and the implications for personal crime prevention. Includes an in-depth examination of these violent crimes (e.g.: sexual assault, relationship violence), followed by a focus on individual strategies for maintaining personal safety and reducing crime risks. Considers crime prevention for children and other special populations. 3 Cr.

WMS 427 Women in the Novel (A,W). Crosslisted 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 429 American Women: History and Theory (A,W). Cross-listed as HST 429. A reading seminar. Investigates how women’s history is constructed as social and cultural history with an emphasis on class, and how the discipline interacts with cultural studies in analyzing representations of women in popular culture, biography, and visual media. 3 Cr.

WMS 433 Psychology of Gender (A,W). Crosslisted 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.

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, antislavery and temperance, slave narratives; historical novels; and representations of urban and industrial experience. 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 370 Women and Gender Studies 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,D,I,W). Crosslisted 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.

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 20thcentury 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.

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.

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. Specifi cally 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 8/19/19

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