Course Description & Course Goals

Course Description

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of gender and how it’s been shaped (and imagined!) by power in the U.S. We’ll concentrate on the expansiveness of what it means to be a woman or a gender non-conforming person in a country that, historically, has always really wanted two genders to look and operate only two ways. We’ll pull apart the material and social constructions of sex and gender, and pay close attention to the power dynamics that drive and structure every person’s lives, with women and gender minorities bearing the brunt of the harm that does. We’ll also maintain an intersectional framework, recognizing that to properly do women’s studies, you need gender studies, critical race studies, Black studies and ethnic studies, queer studies, and trans studies. 


This course satisfies the Pathways Flexible Core US Experience in Its Diversity requirement.


Course Objectives

  • To understand gender as a socially constructed and inherently political set of experiences inflected by social power 
  • To re-examine any pre-conceived ideas about gender you might have been taught or have absorbed from the world around you
  • To understand gender’s interwovenness with race and class through intersectional frameworks of power
  • To continue learning how to write and discuss thoughtfully and judiciously in/to different kinds of public spaces/audiences


Learning Objectives 

  • Demonstrate research skills through gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources.
  • Develop and support a claim/thesis with well-reasoned arguments, and communicate persuasively across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media. 
  • Develop fluency in different elements of discussion, writing, and reception—including framing, analysis, evidence, context, argument, and audience—and the socio-cultural constructs that influence them.
  • Use writing as a process of discovery and build habits of critical thinking, and foster and develop a personal writing style.
  • Write accessible, interesting, and evidence-based prose in public venues (that your family and friends might enjoy)
  • Read actively, carefully, and thoroughly, looking both at details and at the piece as a whole. Formulate questions as you read in anticipation of class discussions.