How Our Peers Do It

Amherst College

The Cross-Cultural Construction of Gender:  This course introduces students to the issues involved in the social and historical construction of gender and gender roles from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective. Topics change from year-to-year and have included women and social change; male and female sexualities including homosexualities; the uses and limits of biology in explaining human gender differences; women’s participation in production and reproduction; the relationship among gender, race and class as intertwining oppressions; women, men and globalization; and gender and warfare.  Amherst Syllabus

Feminist Theory: In this course we will investigate contemporary feminist thought from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will focus on key issues in feminist theory, such as the sex/gender debate, sexual desire and the body, the political economy of gender, the creation of the “queer” as subject, and the construction of masculinity, among others. This course aims also to think through the ways in which these concerns intersect with issues of race, class, the environment and the nation. Texts include feminist philosopher Judith Butler’sGender Trouble, anthropologist Kamala Visweswaran’s Fictions of Feminist Ethnography, and feminist economist Bina Agarwal’s The Structure of Patriarchy.

Ideas and Methods in the Study of Gender: This seminar will explore the influence of gender studies and of feminism on our research questions, methods and the way we situate ourselves in relationship to our scholarship. For example, how can we employ ethnography, textual analysis, empirical data and archival sources in studying the complex ties between the local and the global, and the national and the transnational? Which ideas and methods are best suited to analyzing the varied forms of women’s resistance across ideological, class, racial and national differences? Our major goal will be to foster students’ critical skills as inter-disciplinary, cross cultural writers and researchers. This course counts as a proseminar designed for juniors and seniors in WAGS.

Bowdoin College

Introduction to Gender and Women Studies: An interdisciplinary introduction to the issues, perspectives, and findings of the new scholarship that examines the role of gender in the construction of knowledge. Explores what happens when women become the subjects of study; what is learned about women; what is learned about gender; and how disciplinary knowledge itself is changed.

Feminist Theory: The history of women’s studies and its transformation into gender studies and feminist theory has always included a tension between creating “woman,” and political and theoretical challenges to that unity. Examines that tension in two dimensions: the development of critical perspectives on gender and power relations both within existing fields of knowledge, and within the continuous evolution of feminist discourse itself.

Bates College


Colby College

Introduction to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies: An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, using classical and contemporary texts. An examination of the variety of feminist and queer theoretical approaches to understanding gendered and sexual lives in historical contexts.

Topics in Feminist Theory: Takes an interdisciplinary, intersectional, and progressively transnational approach to feminist theory of the past three decades. Equally premised in the convictions that the “personal is political” and “the political is gendered.” Fosters critical consciousness of the many and varied ways in which sex, gender, and sexuality shape our daily lives. Taking seriously the challenges posed from within and outside feminism to acknowledge and grapple with the gaps between theory and practice born of the many and varied differences between and among women, we closely examine not only what Estelle Freedman terms the “historical case for feminism” but also the historical case for feminist theory. Prerequisite:  Junior standing as a WGSS major or minor.

Swarthmore College

GSST 001. Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies

This interdisciplinary core course is an introduction to key concepts, questions, and analytical tools developed by scholars of gender and sexuality studies. Through this course, students will become familiar with key contemporary debates in the field, as well as the historical formation of these debates. Substantial attention will be paid to the development and application of queer theory within the history of the field. We will explore gender and sexuality in relation to topics such as media representation, embodiment, technology, and violence. In addition to written work, students will work together in groups to develop an in-class presentation.

Williams College


Wellesley College


MIT — open course ware:

Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies

Sexuality and Gender Identities

Gender and Media Studies

See other open courses on the MIT site.

Oberlin College

Introductory Courses:

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