Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Courses

Wss 501 Sexuality, Race, and Class in Science and Health (4)

This seminar will investigate the rich and problematic relationship between the sciences and issues of sex/gender, sexuality, race, class, and ableness, including cultural biasis in science and health. within an historical context, the course will emphasize the impact of antiracist feminism on the sciences and health in the past three decades. Key analytical questions include: How is scientific knowledge made, believed, and used? What forces control its production and use? What constitutes evidence in science--for scientists and for citizens, and how is the decided? What role do "western" science and technology play in globalization and its impact on peolpe's lives within the U.S. and throughout the world? What forces are working to transform science to increase social, political, and economic justice? what theoretical and practical insights accrue from "intersectional feminist analyses (working with the intersections of sex/gender, racial/ethnic heritage, class, ableness, and global status) of science and health? What is the potential for feminist science studies to transform the sciences and health? Examples of specific topics may be addressed are biological determinism, environmental pollution, and breast cancer science and politics.

Wss 510 Graduate Orientation in Women’s Studies (1-2)

Wss 510, required for all new master’s students in Women’s Studies, is an introduction to the UAlbany Women’s Studies master’s program, the Department, and the field. Topics covered include the role of Women’s Studies within the academy, the challenges of interdisciplinarity and of intersectional feminist analysis, and the role of research and teaching in feminist activism. Women’s Studies faculty will meet with the class to discuss their teaching, research, and activism. Students will also learn about the option of participating as instructors-of-record in Introduction to Feminisms (the Teaching Collective) for the spring semester. Prerequisite: Admission to M.A. program in Women’s Studies or permission of instructor. Course carries variable credit; most students enroll for 2 credits but enrollment for 1 credit is possible with permission of Department.

Wss 512 Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics in the Asian Diaspora (4)

This course has an emphasis on historical perspectives as well as the intersections of gender, class, and race/ethnicity.  It studies the phenomenon of the Asian Diaspora dating from late 18th century to the present.  Topics include: immigration laws; labor and work; family and community formation; the processes of reconstruction of history and memory; politics of media representation.  In a given semester, the focus may be on Asians in one geographic region such as the Americas, Europe, Africa, or the Pacific Rim.  Research project required.

Wss 515 (Soc 515) Global Politics of Women’s Bodies (4)

This course is a critical examination of the politics of women’s bodies across national boundaries, in diverse cultures, and in relation to pressing social forces, such as militarization, economic globalization, religious fundamentalisms, colonial legacies, and global policies with health and environmental impacts.  Ideas, practices, and policies affecting women’s bodies in different countries will be examined not only in relation to particular cultural milieus, but also in connection to more global trends, including historical, economic, social, and political linkages among countries.  Possible topics include embodiment and social suffering; transnational sexualities; reproductive politics; beauty and the media; bodies as sites of violence; women’s bodies, racism, and colonialism; embodiment and political protest; bodily scars of neoliberalism; environment, health, and disability; and transnational activism centered on women’s bodies.

Wss 520 Advanced Feminist Pedagogy and Theory (2)

Continuation of Wss 510. Advanced students with experience in feminist teaching work in a collaborative collective mode to apply feminist pedagogical and political theory to specific teaching situations. Work may be coordinated with "teaching collective" group in Wss 310, 320, and 322 when possible. Analysis of current scholarship on pedagogy required, along with analysis of the practical applications of theory in specific teaching situations. Prerequisite: Wss 510.

Wss 525 (Pad 525, Pos 525Q, Aps 525) Feminist Thought and Public Policy (4)

Examination of the implications of public policy research and implementation from a feminist perspective; the coherence or lack of it amongst different models of public policy formation, different perspectives on specific public policy issues, and different orientations within the women's movement.

Wss 530 (Aas 529, Lcs 530) Environmental Justice: Racism, Classism, Sexism (4)

In Environmental Justice: Racism, Classism, and Sexism we will explore how, racism, classism and sexism effect current environmental "events", including environmental policy-making, public health outcomes, and the rhetoric and politics of environmentalism. Surveying the development of environmental awareness among the public, philosophies behind such awareness and resulting shifts in policy, we will focus on the growth of the environmental justice movement, and will consider how various groups have addressed environmental degradation and justice. Also, under consideration will be a set of related issues: how globalization has effected these events, the feminist critique of science and its impact, relationships between grass-roots activism (for example, native American activists and other Environmental Justice group) and between these groups and more scholarly approaches and contributions by artists, labor-rights groups, religious leaders, animal rights activists, and deep ecologists. Prerequisite: Students, at whatever level, are welcome. The requirements will differ for graduate and undergraduate students. For example, graduate students will be reading more theoretical articles, and will be responsible for explaining these to the undergraduate students. In addition, graduate students will be required to submit a final research paper that is much longer (12-20 pages) than that required for undergraduate students.

Wss 540 (Aas 541, His 540) Black Women in U.S. History (4)

This reading and research seminar will examine the history of black women in the United States. It will focus upon the range of demands placed on black women during the Gilded and Progressive eras--the founding of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896, their participation in the women's suffrage movement and other liberation struggles. Their creative expressions and labor force participation, and interracial activities also will be discussed.

Wss 545 (Aas 545, Lcs 545) Black Diasporas, Feminisms, and Sexual Politics (4)

This course will explore in global perspective concepts of blackness and its relationship to feminist and other women-led and gender-based political movements that have shaped complex discourses on the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality.  Challenging such terms as the “African Diaspora” – a reference to the dispersed locations of African-descended people across the globe – or even the “Black Atlantic” – as coined by Paul Gilroy – we will expand the geopolitical spheres of Europe, America, Africa, and the Caribbean to traverse different oceanic spaces that include “Black Australia” and Afro-Asia.  Through these transnational lenses, we will question how blackness, and black femininity in particular, shift meanings in varied locations but also converge in formations of global identities, marginalized experiences, and political movements.  Topics covered may include history-telling and memory-making, cultural representations of the “black” body in arts and popular culture, sex trafficking and migrations, articulations of “black feminisms” and sexual identities, and social crises and social change. 

Wss 550 The Literature of Feminism: An Interdisciplinary Seminar (4)

Draws upon the entire body of writing (fictional and nonfictional) that concerns feminism In different semesters, it may focus on different themes, periods, ideas, or issues related to feminism. Combines readings, lectures, seminar discussions, and research. May be repeated for credit when topics differ.

Wss 551 (Lcs 551, His 551) Gender and Class in Latin American Development (3)

The study of the historical interplay of cultural, ideological, and structural factors affecting women's lives during the course of Latin America's experience with modernization and industrialization during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Topics covered may include: household work, paid work, migration, growth of female headed households, women's political participation, and women's participation in social movements. Prerequisite(s): Any course in Latin American Studies and/or Women's Studies and/or History.

Wss 560 Families (3)

Introduction to research literature on families, with emphasis on contemporary industrial societies, and on diversity among family types. Topics include theoretical perspectives, formation and dissolution, interactions and power, economic issues, parent-child relations, extended family, and family policy.

Wss 561 (Arh 561) Women in Film (3)

Women in Film gives a multi-dimensional look at women in cinema – as they are seen in films, as they make films, as they see films. The course will examine the contributions of women through the first 100 years of cinema and analyze various genres. Women to be studied include: Dorothy Arzner, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Anita Loos, Frances Marion, Ida Lupino, Verna Fields, Barbara Streisand, Lillian Gish, Lenore Coffee, and others. Prerequisite: Arh 260

Wss 562 (Ant 562) Folklore and Feminist Theory (4)

Focuses on feminist theoretical approaches to the study of folklore. Course material investigates how expressive cultural behavior is shaped by gender, in conjunction with other factors, such as race, ethnicity, class, and sexual identity. The course examines how women and men create folklore and manipulate it to inscribe gender identity in a wide array of cultural circumstances. Prerequisite: At least one course in women's studies or anthropology.

Wss 565 Feminist Theory (4)

Examination of key changes in feminist theory from the late 1960s to the present. Assessment of changes in the way feminists have thought about such topics as: motherhood, sexuality, the origin and nature of women's oppression, class, race, and differences amongst women. Attention to the political implications of changes in theory. Written analysis required of feminist theory in relation to the foundation of traditional disciplines studied by students. Prerequisites: Wss 490Z, 590 recommended.

Wss 575 (Arh 575) Women in Art (3)

Surveys of women artists from 1550 to the present, including Artemesia Gentileschi, Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun, Mary Cassatt, Alice Neel. Also includes a feminist analysis of images of women since the Renaissance.

Wss 590 Research Seminar in Women's Studies (4)

Seminar in the theory and practice of women's studies research to examine: what distinguishes women's studies from other disciplines; the relationship between research and community/political activism; how research is changing the traditional disciplines and the methods used in research. Permission of instructor required.

Wss 592 Graduate Internship (2)

The graduate internship gives M.A. students either professional experience in the non-profit or local government sector or hands-on participation in an ongoing departmental Institutional Review Board-approved action research project in the community outside the University. There are two components of the internship. (1) Students are expected to spend 6-8 hours per week at their placements or engaged in action research. Each student works closely with a feminist mentor or faculty member who provides guidance on projects as well as an analysis of the structure and function of the non-profit or community organization and its role in social change. (2) Students attend a weekly 80-minute academic seminar where they apply feminist theory and analysis to their work in their placement or their community action research project and complete a final paper summarizing their work. Prerequisites: Wss590 and/or permission of instructor.

Wss 597 Independent Study (1-4)

Study in an area of special interest not treated in courses currently offered. Work performed under direction of a professor chosen by the student on a topic approved by the program. May be repeated with approval. Not open to undergraduates.

Wss 599 Topics in Women's Studies (1-4)

Consideration of topics or issues in women's studies selected on the basis of faculty and student interest. May be taken more than once with different content. Potential topics include seminar in sex role development or cross-cultural study of women. Consult schedule for specific title.

Wss 604 (Pos 604, Pad 604) Inequality and Public Policy (4)

This course addresses the formulation and implementation of public policies that seek to end inequalities based on gender, race, class, sexual identity and/or other categories of marginalization.  Theoretical and case study readings focus on the challenges, paradoxes and successes of a variety of social change initiatives.  Prerequisite: Wss 525 (Feminist Thought and Public Policy) recommended.

Wss 617 (Pad 617) Equal Employment Opportunity (4)

Equal employment opportunity and affirmative action (EEO-AA) from historical, legal, administrative as well as normative perspectives. Primary emphasis placed on EEO-AA in the public sector employment. Prerequisites: Pad 500 and Pad 506.

Wss 639 (His 639) Readings in Gender and Society (4)

Examination from a theoretical and historical perspective of the ways that gender analysis has shaped discussion of a variety of historical issues. Readings may focus on one or more geographic areas, themes, or historical periods. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor.

Wss 640 (Soc 640) Gender Inequality (3)

Recent data, theories, and policies regarding earnings and employment differentials, occupational segregation, and political power differences between men and women, including an examination of racial, ethnic and class differences among women.

Wss 641 (His 640) Seminar in Gender and Society (4)

Individual research in historical materials resulting in a scholarly paper on some aspects of gender studies. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor.

Wss 644 (Soc 644) Global Gender Inequalities (3)

Using feminist theories and research drawn from sociology, political economy, demography, and development studies, the course examines a variety of gender-related international issues including the topics of survival (health, reproductive rights, education, war); population issues (sex ratios, female headed households); economics (informal economy, micro-enterprises, export processing, tourism, migration, transition economies); politics and policies; and social movements (nationalism, environmental movements, women’s movements, lesbian and gay movements). Special emphasis is placed on how global economic and political transformations affect women.

Wss 645 (Soc 645) Selected Topics in Gender Research (3)

Intensive investigation of theories and research findings pertaining to a specific topic in the area of sociology of gender, such as feminization of poverty, gender and politics, women's role in economic development, reproductive technology, gender and aging, and work and family roles. Topic will be announced. May be repeated for credit.

Wss 689 Master’s Project Proposal Writing (1-4)

Preparation and planning for M.A. Final Project, under direction of M.A. committee. This independent study course is optional for those planning to take Wss 690 the following semester. Prerequisite: Admission to M.A. program in Women’s Studies and permission of Women’s Studies Graduate Faculty Advisor.

Wss 690 MA Final Project (3-4)

Research leading to successful completion of a three hour written examination; or a 25-30 page paper; or presentation of creative work or a project involving political action. Prerequisite: admission to MA program in Women's Studies and permission of Women's Studies Graduate Faculty Adviser.

Wss 695 Topics in Women's Studies (1-4)

Advanced treatment of topics or issues in women's studies selected on the basis of faculty and student interest. May be taken more than once with different content. Consult schedule for specific title. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

Wss 697 Advanced Independent Study (1-4)

Study by a student in an area of special interest not treated in courses currently offered. Work performed under direction of a professor chosen by the student on a topic approved by the department. May be repeated with approval. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Wss 698 Advanced Topics in Women's Studies (3-4)

Consideration of topics in women's studies. May be taken once with different content. Consult semester schedule for specific title. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

Wss 797 Advanced Independent Study (1-4)

Study by a student in an area of special interest not treated in courses currently offered. Work performed under direction of a professor chosen by the student on a topic approved by the department. May be repeated with approval. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Wss 798 Special Topics in Women's Studies (3-4)

Advanced topics in women's studies offered in conjunction with other departments. May be taken more than once with different content.