WGSS Courses

Upcoming WGSS Courses

From women’s health to media and popular culture to global perspectives to LGBTQ Studies, WGSS courses cover a wide array of topics.


Summer 2020
 

AWSS 220 - Introduction to Feminist Theory
Instructor: Jessina Emmert
Summer Session 6W2 (Fully Online)

This course offers multidisciplinary, introductory perspectives on intersectional feminist theory and considers the range of frameworks for analysis from the beginnings of “second wave” feminism to the present, including liberal, lesbian/radical, socialist/materialist, women of color, psychoanalytic, standpoint, and ecofeminist perspectives. 

 

AWSS 281 - Women and the Media
Cross-listed with AJRL 281
Instructor: Janell Hobson
Summer Session 6W1 (Fully Online)

This course will explore how intersections of race, gender, class, nationality, sexuality, age, and (dis)ability shape representations of women in mass media and popular culture. We will also learn to research and analyze various media sources, as well as engage in creative projects to examine such representations and challenge issues of sexual objectification and societal dominance.


Fall 2020

Undergraduate Courses
 

AWSS 100 – Women Creating Change
Instructor: Wen Liu
TTH 10:30-11:50pm PH 123

This is a gateway course to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Through the use of biographies, media, artifacts, oral histories, etc., students will recognize diverse ways that women contribute to and change culture and societies. Students will be introduced to the interdisciplinary features of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies as an academic field of study.

 

AWSS 202 – Introduction to LGBTQ Studies
Instructor: Wen Liu
TTH 1:30-2:5pm LC3A

Topics may include the history of lesbian and gay culture(s) in the U.S., lesbian and gay civil rights movements, questions of sexual identity formation in historical and cultural contexts, lesbian and gay literature, and how these communities have responded to societal issues such as racism, classism, sexism, healthcare crises, and anti-gay violence. Only one version of A WSS 202 may be taken for credit.

 

AWSS 262 (cross-listed with ASOC 262) – Sociology of Gender

Sections
Instructor: TBA
TTH 12:00-2:20pm LC 6

Instructor: Kate Avarett
TTH 3:00-4:20pm LC 6

This course examines how gender is socially constructed in contemporary U.S. society. The course examines how gender orders our everyday lives-our sense of self, our friendships, romances, conversations, clothing, body image, entertainment, work, sexuality, and parenthood. Students will learn how conceptions about gender create and enforce a system of gender difference and inequality. This course will examine the lives, experiences and representations of heterosexual and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) persons. The course will reveal the “common sense” world of gender that surrounds us by exposing the workings of institutions such as the family, the classroom, the workplace, and the media. Throughout the course we will emphasize the ways in which people experience gender opportunities and constraints differently according to their race, gender, class, and sexuality. 

 

A WSS 270 (cross-listed with AEAS 270) – Women in East Asian Literature
Instructor: Fan Pen Chen
TTH 6:00-7:20pm HU 129

East Asia is a culturally rich and complex area of the world that includes societies as diverse as China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea. Frequently, the cultures of these societies are presented through discourses that assume the supremacy of patriarchal values. In this course, we will examine one of the most fascinating yet neglected aspects of these societies, the portrayals of women through historical and literary works. The course will focus on China and Japan, two of the most complex and influential societies globally.  It will treat questions such as: “What can one deduce from the early literary sources concerning women and their societies?”; “Why do some people perceive gender related issues certain ways?”; “Why are women depicted certain ways?”; and “How do matrilineal customs and patriarchy influence the evolution of societies?” 

 

AWSS 310 – Introduction to Feminist Pedagogy
Instructor: Ashley Casale
Mondays 6:00-8:50pm BB 362

This course serves as the fall primer course for undergraduate students who have been selected as members of the UAlbany Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department Teaching Collective. This seminar examines themes central to feminism, feminist movements, and feminist pedagogy in order to help prepare the members of the cohort to peer facilitate the undergraduate sections of Feminisms 101 the following spring. Reading material and assignments require critical analysis and reflection upon pedagogical practices—in course and syllabus design, lesson planning, and teaching methods—in addition to reading and thinking philosophically about the alternative frameworks and evaluative perspectives presented within the Critical Theory assigned for this course (and for Feminisms 101). You are expected to think with your peers, collectively, about the texts and contexts that articulate our conversations and, if appropriate, to politely disagree with. 

 

AWSS 360 – Feminist Social and Political Thought
Instructor: Zanetta Graham

Thursdays 3:00-5:50pm LC 3B

This course will examine contemporary feminist thought and the directions feminism has taken, both as a historical movement and as a body of political theory. Particular attention will be paid to diversity within feminist theory. The literature that informs this exploration combines select classics with new readings that reflect the growth in depth and complexity of the field. Through a variety of texts, we will investigate diverse gendered experiences as they intersect with hierarchies of race, class, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, age and ability. 

 

AWSS 363 (cross-listed with ASOC 362) – Sociology of Sexualities
Instructor: TBA

TTH 3:00-4:20pm LC 21

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. 


AWSS 368 (cross-listed with AENG 368) – Pain and Writing: Women Writers
Instructor: Vesna Kuiken

TTH 1:30-2:50pm SS 133

This course explores how American women writers who suffered from depression, disability, bodily pain, or social marginalization, used the environment and its literary representations to redefine the categories of gender, ability, and personhood. Prior to their inclusion into the public sphere through the US Constitution’s 19th Amendment, which exactly a hundred years ago granted women the right to vote, American artists had to be particularly resourceful in devising apt strategies to counter the political and aesthetic demands that had historically dispossessed them of voice, power, and body. The course focuses on the women writers who conceptualized their own surroundings (home, marriage, country, and natural world) as an agent that actively and decisively participates in the construction and dissolution of persons. In doing so, they attempted to annul the separation of the public (politics) and the private (home) as an exclusively male and a female sphere, respectively, and in this way importantly contributed to the suffragist debates of their time.

The course is divided into three clusters, and structured thematically rather than chronologically. 


AWSS 476 (cross-listed with AART 476, shared resource with AWSS/AART 576) 
– Women in Art: From New Woman to Now
Instructor: Sarah Cohen

MW 1:10-2:30pm FA 126

This course examines the ways in which women artists living within diverse historical and cultural contexts gained social agency through visual imagery and material construction. Beginning with the "New Woman" movement around the turn of the 20th century, it examines women's contribution to avant-garde movements in Europe and North America; the feminist art movement of the 1960s and 70s; "post-modern" feminist art which critiqued the very notion of social identity; and women artists' continuing efforts to enrich, question, and challenge the global art world of the 21st century. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing plus either one 100 or 200 level Art History course or 6 credits of Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies courses; or permission of instructor.


AWSS 490 – Research Seminar in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Instructor: Rajani Bhatia

Wednesdays 3:00-5:50pm BB 217

This senior seminar will explore research practices in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  From basic research approaches to asking feminist questions, we will examine the difference it makes to apply feminist theories and practices to different research agendas and what the relationship might be between feminist research and feminist activism. This seminar is a hands-on, writing intensive experience that will immerse students in practical approaches to these issues. Open only to seniors in the major.


A WSS 498 (shared resource with AWSS 599: Topics in WGSS) – Controversies in Health
Instructor: Louise-Ann McNutt

Tuesdays 6:00-8:50pm HU 19

This course utilizes controversies in health to understand how health care and policies are influenced by science, medical traditions, culture, politics and economic forces. The course will focus on (1) developing skills to assess the quality of scientific data utilized to support preventive care and treatment recommendations, and (2) developing students’ insights on how they utilize information to make both personal and policy decisions. The course will include current controversies in health. Possible topics: How does structural racism and sexism impact health and health care? Why do physicians recommend against self-breast exams? What are the health hazards in my cosmetics? What is going on with the COVID-19 pandemic? Additionally, we will use a React to the Past exercise to learn how health issues have changed, and haven’t changed, over a century.   
 

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

 

Graduate Courses
 

AWSS 510 – Graduate Orientation in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Mondays 11:40-1:30pm SS 117

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.

 

AWSS 565 – Feminist Theory
Instructor: Janell Hobson
Mondays 3:00-5:50pm BB 217

This seminar will explore contemporary feminist theory, with some considerations for historical developments of different schools of feminist thought. Specifically, we will examine the challenges of theorizing and complicating the category “woman” and how this gender concept shifts through intersectional and transnational analyses. Gender itself will be dismantled through analytical studies of various systems of oppression. Expect to develop reviews and edit anthologies of feminist thought.

 

AWSS 576 (cross-listed with AART 576, shared resource with AWSS/AART 476) 
– Women in Art: From New Woman to Now

Instructor: Sarah Cohen
MW 1:10-2:30pm FA 126

This course examines the ways in which women artists living within diverse historical and cultural contexts gained social agency through visual imagery and material construction. Beginning with the "New Woman" movement around the turn of the 20th century, it examines women's contribution to avant-garde movements in Europe and North America; the feminist art movement of the 1960s and 70s; "post-modern" feminist art which critiqued the very notion of social identity; and women artists' continuing efforts to enrich, question, and challenge the global art world of the 21st century. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing plus either one 100 or 200 level Art History course or 6 credits of Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies courses; or permission of instructor.


A WSS 599 (shared resource with AWSS 498: Topics in WGSS) – Controversies in Health
Instructor: Louise-Ann McNutt
Tuesdays 6:00-8:50pm HU 19

This course utilizes controversies in health to understand how health care and policies are influenced by science, medical traditions, culture, politics and economic forces. The course will focus on (1) developing skills to assess the quality of scientific data utilized to support preventive care and treatment recommendations, and (2) developing students’ insights on how they utilize information to make both personal and policy decisions. The course will include current controversies in health. Possible topics: How does structural racism and sexism impact health and health care? Why do physicians recommend against self-breast exams? What are the health hazards in my cosmetics? What is going on with the COVID-19 pandemic? Additionally, we will use a React to the Past exercise to learn how health issues have changed, and haven’t changed, over a century.   

 

AWSS 607 (cross-listed with AANT 607) – Anthropology of Gender 
Instructor: Elise Andaya
Mondays 3:00-6:40pm AS 104

Feminist anthropologists have long argued that gender is 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.  Through attention to theory, ethnography, and methodology, we examine the cultural production of gender and sexuality, as well as the way that ideologies and practices around gender/sexuality inform the reproduction and transformation of social hierarchies within families, communities, the nation-state, and in larger global flows. We begin with an overview of the central historical debates in the anthropology of gender and feminist anthropology. Informed by these discussions, we then explore how gender articulates with other forms of difference such as race, class and nation, discuss what a gendered lens lends to the study of topics such as reproduction, globalization and work, religiosity and nonliberal femininities, and transgendered identities, and end by exploring some of the dilemmas of (transnational) activism. This course may count toward the interdisciplinary requirement.

 

AWSS 645 (cross-listed with ASOC 645) – Intersectionality
Instructor: Karyn Loscocco 
Tuesdays 12:00-2:50pm HU 19

Introduction to the conceptual, methodological and “real-world” implications of race, gender, class and sexuality. Review of, and practice with, intersectional frameworks. Analysis of four overlapping arenas: media, education, family and paid work. This course may count toward the intersections requirement.

Related Course in Africana Studies (may count toward the intersections requirement):

 

AAFS 599 – Environmental Justice: Racism, Classism, Sexism (Topics in Africana Studies)
Instructor: Michelle Harris
Tuesdays 3:00-5:50pm BB B104

This course will explore the intersection of social justice and environmental stewardship, with particular attention to issues of environmental justice (EJ). Students will learn the history of environmental justice and its relationship to the larger environmental movement. Students will also explore the political and ethical issues underpinning environmental justice work and develop the ability to reason about and critique environmental and health policy, and their uneven impact on publics. Among the deepest roots of environmental injustice we find Capitalism’s processes of discommoning and enclosure, and the related, relentless cultural assault on collective ways of belonging to what Aldo Leopold called “the land community.” This assault, which disproportionately affects low-income communities, women and communities of color, play out in urban as well as rural places. This class will assist students in becoming familiar with the literature on (and methods used to study) environmental justice, and how racism, sexism and classism, in particular, complicates injustice, activism and change. 
 

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