WGSS Courses

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Courses

From women’s health to sociology of gender, to media and popular culture, to global perspectives, to LGBTQ+ Studies, WGSS courses explore multiple topics across disciplines. Below is a list of our current course offerings.

 

Spring 2022

 
Undergraduate Courses
 

AWSS 101: Introduction to Feminisms (3 cr.)
Instructors: Teaching Collective
Sections:
Tu/Th 9:00-10:20am (BB 213)
Tu/Th 10:30-11:50am (BB 125)
Tu/Th 3:00-4:20pm (BB 231)
Tu/Th 4:30-5:50 (BB 231)
Tu/Th 6:00-7:20pm (BB 231)

The origins and development of feminist thought, with emphasis on the political, social, and economic conditions of contemporary women’s lives in the United States and abroad, will be explored. Emphasis will be placed on student exploration of issues that confront people across the range of their differences in race, class, gender, and sexual orientation and that produce multiple orientations to feminism. This course is based on a pedagogy of peer learning and will be co-facilitated by undergraduate members of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Teaching Collective. Co-facilitators work under the supervision of WGSS faculty and graduate students.

 

AWSS 109: Women, Biology, and Health (3 cr.)
Instructor: Louise-Ann McNutt
MW 4:30-5:50pm
HU 129

This introduction to an integrated approach to women’s biology analyzes biological and social influences affecting women’s physical and mental health. Attention is given to similarities and differences in biology and health across gender, racial/ethnic, and class groupings. Intended for freshmen and sophomores.

 

AWSS 202: Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies (3 cr.)
Instructor: Courtney D’Allaird
MW 3:00-4:20pm
LC 3A

This course will provide an interdisciplinary introduction to the field of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Studies. This course will be informed through multiple schools of thought or “ways of knowing” that draw together our understanding of history, society, art, the body, power, privilege, and resistance. Students will learn how social stratification roots itself in the body and utilize critical race, postcolonial and disability studies to unpack sex, sexuality and gender as tools of power and privilege today as well as throughout time. How has modern history and western ideas about sex, gender and sexuality shaped our understanding of ourselves and the institutions we navigate? Students will use a local to global approach as we situate our individual experience in the context of national and international discourse.

 

AWSS 217: Women and Music (3 cr.)
Instructor: Ellen Burns
MW 6:00-7:20pm
PC 78

This course will examine the overlooked roles that women have played throughout the history of music. Our primary focus will be on women composers of Western “Classical” Music. As the course has no prerequisites, we will be combining introductory information to enhance listening skills and applying them to women’s works.  Students will apply those listening methods and techniques in their term projects where they will present works of their own choosing via PowerPoint presentations. 

Through readings and listening, students will become aware of the roles of women in music: patrons, performers, composers, publishers, and muses.

 

AWSS 240: Classism, Racism, and Sexism (cross-listed with AAFS/ALCS 240) (3 cr.)
Instructor: Kate Roos
Tu/Th 12:00-1:20pm
HU 129

This course will explore the “-isms” (classism, racism, and sexism) through an intersectional lens. We will interrogate the social constructions of race, class, sex and gender, and their relationship to intersections like ability, sexuality, nation, among many others. The concepts of privilege, oppression, and domination will be examined through media, readings, social media, and film. Through understanding and deconstructing these systems, we can begin to imagine more equitable futures.

 

AWSS 308: Global Perspectives on Women (3 cr.)
Instructor: Susan Cumings
Tu/Th 3:00-4:20pm
ES 144

This interdisciplinary course will explore women's lives, representations, political movements, and expressive culture from different world regions, using a broad understanding of the term “women” that may variously concern cis women and girls, transgender women, non-binary people that claim aspects of the feminine, and female masculinities. We will investigate feminist reclamations of culture and identities as persistence and resistance to the ongoing legacies of Western colonization throughout the world, including settler colonialism in North America. We will examine contemporary issues, including feminist environmental justice, sexual politics, social reproduction, and intersectional analyses of reproductive health by pairing critical studies with performative, cultural and artistic works, steeping ourselves in “women in the vernacular,” and valuing expressive traditions, literature, film, and the arts as crucial tools of localized and global anticolonial feminist activisms.

 

AWSS 320: Feminist Pedagogy in Theory (3 cr.)
Instructor: Siiri Koski
Mondays 6:00-8:50pm
BB 007

This course is a continuation of AWSS 310 for students who are members of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Teaching Collective.  Theory and feminist pedagogy will be discussed as it relates to students serving as facilitators of AWSS 101.  Students will work under supervision in a collaborative, collective mode of shared responsibility and leadership.  Taken concurrently with AWSS 322Y.  Prerequisites: AWSS 310, AWSS 360, and permission of the chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

 

AWSS 322Y: Feminist Pedagogy in Practice (3 cr.)
Instructor: Siiri Koski
Arranged through Teaching Collective

With preparation from AWSS 310 and concurrently with AWSS 320, students serve as facilitators in sections of AWSS 101 under supervision.  This course can only be taken once for credit.  Prerequisites: AWSS 310, AWSS 360, and permission of the Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

 

AWSS 328: Gender, Space, and Place (cross-listed with AGOG 328) (3 cr.)
Instructor: Professor Kate Coddington
MW 11:40am-1:00pm
SS 255

Power relations and categories of social difference are reflected by dramatic inequalities in local environments, and in the quantity and quality of available space. This course examines, through the lenses of feminist geography and planning, how space is invested with social meaning. It discusses how the built environment affects and reflects relations of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, and considers how these social classifications produce “geographies of difference.” Gender is also related to nationalism, colonialism, “geographic skills,” and feminist research methodologies. Only one version may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A GOG/A USP 125, A USP 201, or permission of instructor.

 

AWSS 363: Sociology of Sexualities (cross-listed with ASOC 362) (3 cr.)
Instructor: TBA
Sections:
MWF 8:00-8:55am (LC 6)
Fully Online Section

This course reviews the core of the sociology of sexuality from a socio-historical perspective. Among the topics to be discussed are the theoretical approaches to sexuality, the making of sexual identities, the relationship between sexuality and social institutions, and sexual politics and ethics. Specific examples include hip-hop sexualities, gay marriage, sexual tourism, transgender identities, and heterosexual intimacy. Only one version of A WSS 363 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A SOC 115.

 

AWSS 385: Music, Power, and Digital Tech (cross-listed with AMUS 385) (3 cr.)
Instructor: Kyra Gaunt
Thursdays 4:30-7:20pm
PC 78

Which aspect of YouTube or online music video perpetuates patriarchy the most--musical sounds, visual communication, body politics, or sexist lyrics against Black women?  Since 2013, YouTube has been the #1 music discovery channel on the Internet (over Spotify) and the number one destination for kids under 13. We will research and study how music becomes an instrument of violence against girls and women, particularly young Black girls who twerk, online.

YouTube, which began as a dating site on Valentine’s Day, exploited the public shaming since Justin Timberlake inadvertently ripped off Janet Jackson's bodice during the halftime show of the 2004 Superbowl. The YouTube Founders’ willingness to kickstart their entrepreneurial dreams on the back of Jackson's misery speaks to the roots of misogynoir on the platform. Music often exploits Black girls on YouTube despite their innovations.

Students will conduct ethnography by creating react videos and vlogs as a collaborative investigation of the adultification and sexualization through music that grooms girls for misogynoir and sexual exploitation. Musical misogynoir has driven attention to some of the most popular memes set to music online. TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions will include online child sexual grooming and exploitation, rape culture, and #MeToo.

 

AWSS 399: Feminism, Science, and the Body (3 cr.)
Instructor: Kate Roos
Tu/Th 10:30-11:50am
HU 129

This course will explore topics in feminist epistemology and feminist science through critical studies of the body. Students will become familiar with the body as a sociomedical and culturally specific concept in varying contexts, such as the medical industrial complex, biological sciences, and the law. Through these examples, students will examine knowledge as a construction that affects the social categories and structures under which we live. 

 

AWSS 399: History of Women in the U.S. (cross-listed with AHIS 315) (3 cr.)
Instructor: Kori A. Graves
Fully Online (MWF 10:35-11:30am) – Mixed Asynchronous/Synchronous

As mothers, activists, laborers, institution builders, and reformers, women have pushed to create cultural, political, social and economic changes in U.S. laws and customs. Collectively, these efforts have dramatically altered women’s experiences throughout U.S. society. Such change has not been easy or uncontested, however. As some groups have pushed for women’s greater access to opportunities, others have resisted reform. Additionally, the advances made by some created the conditions for greater inequality between women based on differences of class, status, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. In this survey, we will consider the reasons for this seeming contradiction by exploring the nature of women’s involvement in a range of U.S. institutions from the seventeenth century to the present. Through the analysis of primary evidence, scholarly journal articles, monographs, documentaries, and popular media, students will investigate topics that expose the significance of productive and reproductive labor, education, and politics in determining a woman’s place in U.S. society.

 

AWSS 492Y: Internship in WGSS
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Mondays 3:00-5:50pm
AS 15

The Internship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is rooted in the department’s commitment to link feminist education with community activism for social justice. The course is designed to provide students with opportunities for learning and working in organizations in ways that connect their coursework in women’s, gender & sexuality studies to specific issues in community settings. The internship program provides a venue for students to put theory into practice, to participate in community-based organizations, to engage in a service-learning course and to think critically about participating as feminists in activism.

The seminar focuses on linking learning and doing through reading, reflection, and classroom discussion. Together, we will explore the meaning of active citizenship, community engagement, and public leadership. Overall, the goal of the course is to deepen student understanding of contemporary social issues, strengthen relationships between the SUNY campus and the larger community, and create an intellectual environment of learning by doing.
 

For a complete list of WGSS courses, see the Undergraduate Bulletin

 

Other Courses of Interest in Other Departments:
 

AAFS 432: Afro-American Woman Contemporary Issues
Instructor: Michelle Harris
Tu/Th 9:00-10:20am
HU 123

 

AARH 461/561: Women in Cinema (3 cr.)
Instructor: Shira Segal
Wednesdays 3:00-5:50pm
HS 106A
 

Graduate Courses

 

AWSS 509: Reproductive Justice (3-4 cr.)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Wednesdays 3:00-5:50pm
BB 368

Classic feminist theorizations and advocacy on reproduction collectively asserted “choice,” “control,” “self-determination,” “freedom,” and “rights,” but pointed to a central tension between the individual and social dimensions of reproduction.  By the end of the 20th century women of color began to elaborate “reproductive justice” (RJ) as an alternative framework to rights-based approaches focused on the individual.  In addition to RJ, this class will engage a variety of interdisciplinary concepts invoked by scholars of reproduction including biological and social reproduction; reproductive rights, health, and justice; reproductive governance, Malthusianism, medicalization, commodification, and kinship.  We will study the experience of reproductive oppression and abuses alongside related ideologies and politics at the heart of RJ struggles.  In addition, the class will focus on newer iterations of RJ through the conceptualization of birth justice in the context of birth outcome disparities, criminalization of pregnant women, and obstetric violence.  We will also cover RJ issues related to adoption and explore contentious issues arising within the context of reprotech used within genetic and fertility medicine. These include sex selection, disability deselection; markets involving third party reproducers such as egg donors and gestational surrogates; egg freezing for fertility preservation; and LGBTQ reproductive possibilities and practices.  

The course utilizes a “theory/practice learning” approach. Theory/practice learning is a holistic approach to education, which holds that students need a strong theoretical and factual grounding, as well as time to evaluate and analyze their experiences, when they engage in community-based research, learning and activism. Through concrete experience in collaboration with community members, mentors and peers, students test what they have been taught and synthesize their own ideas and strategies for change.

 

AWSS 515: Global Politics of Women's Bodies (cross-listed with ASOC 515) (3-4 cr.)
Instructor: Barbara Sutton
Thursdays 3:00PM - 5:50PM
HD B003

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, nationalism, economic globalization, cultural norms of femininity and beauty, religion, colonial legacies, and global policies with health and environmental impacts. Ideologies and practices affecting women’s bodies in various countries will be examined not only in relation to specific cultural milieus, but also in connection to more global trends historically and in contemporary society. At the same time, the very category “women’s bodies” will be interrogated, considering how the category is itself historically and socially inflected and produced through specific operations of power. The topics covered by this course include the following: embodiment and social suffering; bodies and gender fluidity; transnational sexualities; reproductive politics; beauty and appearance; bodies as sites of violence; corporeal experiences of racism and colonialism; embodiment and political protest; bodies and globalization; health and disability; and transnational activism centered on women’s bodies. We will collectively address selected themes, and each student will have opportunities to explore a topic of their choice with greater depth.

 

AWSS 525: Feminist Thought and Public Policy (cross-listed with RPOS/RPAD 525) (3 cr.)
Instructor: Virginia Eubanks
Thursdays 6:00-8:50 PM
Husted Hall (Downtown campus)

The course is designed to give students a theoretical and historical background on public policy in the United States. We will use feminist perspectives on justice, citizenship and inequality as tools to analyze policy. The operation of public policy discourse to structure citizenship and modes of participation differentially according to gender, race and class will also be examined.

 

AWSS 590: Research Seminar in WGSS (3-4 cr.)
Instructor: Janell Hobson
Tuesdays 12:00-2:50pm
BB 007

This seminar will focus on the feminist theories and practices that shape research in women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS). We will also explore what is meant by “feminist research” and the best practices associated with such research. In analyzing these issues, we will engage in hands-on exercises, collaborate on public projects, foster inquiries into the links between research and feminist praxis, and examine structures of interdisciplinary scholarship based in intersectionality. Expect to develop your literature review assignment from AWSS 565 into a research proposal. This will serve as the culmination of what you have learned in this seminar as well as a model for your eventual M.A. Final Project.

 

AWSS 592: Graduate Internship (3-4 cr.)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Mondays 3:00-5:50pm
AS 15

The Internship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is rooted in the department’s commitment to link feminist education with community activism for social justice. The course is designed to provide students with opportunities for learning and working in organizations in ways that connect their coursework in women’s, gender & sexuality studies to specific issues in community settings. The internship program provides a venue for students to put theory into practice, to participate in community-based organizations, to engage in a service-learning course and to think critically about participating as feminists in activism.

The seminar focuses on linking learning and doing through reading, reflection, and classroom discussion. Together, we will explore the meaning of active citizenship, community engagement, and public leadership. Overall, the goal of the course is to deepen student understanding of contemporary social issues, strengthen relationships between the SUNY campus and the larger community, and create an intellectual environment of learning by doing.

 

AWSS 604: Inequality and Public Policy (cross-listed with RPOS/RPAD 604) (4 cr.)
Instructor: Jennifer Dodge
Tuesdays 6:00-9:40pm
Husted Hall (Downtown Campus)

This course addresses the politics of formulating and implementing public policies that address diverse inequities. Specifically, this course will explore alternative definitions of equity and their implications for public policy; the role of issue definition and agenda-setting in policy making; the causes and politics of inequity; the design of policy solutions and their implications for equity; and the ways that inequity can arise through policy implementation to either produce, exacerbate or ameliorate inequities.  The course will equip students with a variety of policy analytic tools to help them analyze inequities and the various public policies used to address them.

To learn how to apply course concepts to real policy issues, the course will examine 1-3 policy areas in detail. In addition, teams of students, in consultation with the professor, will select a specific policy issue involving an inequity in a policy domain of their own choosing (e.g., immigration, security, the environment, reproduction, policing, housing/homelessness, etc.). Assignments will focus on providing students with ample opportunities to apply course concepts and practice various policy analytic tools within their chosen policy domain. Class sessions will provide opportunities for students to share and develop their analyses. 

 

AWSS 607: Anthropology of Gender (cross-listed with AANT 607) (4 cr.)
Instructor: Elise Andaya
Tuesdays 3:00-6:40pm
AS 104

Feminist anthropologists have long argued that constructions of gender are central to the exercise of power, and a key lens through which to view larger social struggles. Putting into conversation both classic and recent work by leading feminists and feminist anthropologists, this course investigates the centrality of gender and sexuality to contemporary processes around the world. By critically examining issues of gender and power, we will consider: 1) the historical and cultural contexts in which gender is produced as a meaningful social category and, 2) how ideologies and practices of gender shape and re-shape social hierarchies within families, communities, the nation-state, and in larger global flows.

As part of the feminist effort to speak back to power, a structuring goal of this class is to introduce students to, and to amplify, the works of women and people of color writing on gender and sexuality in anthropology. To this end, we begin with an overview of the central historical debates in the anthropology of gender and feminist anthropology, as well as a critical discussion of gender and the production of (racialized) knowledge in the academy. Informed by these insights, we explore the production of gender through women and work in mining; basketball, race, and masculinity; transgender beauty contests in Venezuela, and religiosity, nonliberal femininities, and the making of “good” ultraorthodox girls. We follow with a section on reproductive health, reading first about the effects of racism on Black women’s prenatal health in the US and then about the gendered, raced, and classed stigma of cervical cancer in Venezuela. We end the semester by exploring some of the dilemmas of (transnational) activism.

For a complete list of WGSS courses, see the Graduate Bulletin.