Introduction to Women’s Studies [CRN 29365]

Discipline: Women's Studies
Instructor: Morris
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1400
End: 1520
Field Work: Day 1 | February 28, 2019 | India
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course introduces students from all backgrounds and academic majors to the field of women’s and gender studies, and the roles assigned to women both in American history and in the cultures we’ll encounter port by port. Differences among women—ethnicity, race, class, sexuality, religion, gender expression, and caste—will be central to the curriculum, and readings will draw attention to social conditions which define and divide women today. What are the global movements for education and political inclusion of women? How do leaders and organizers negotiate the backlash against feminism in different societies? What does the future hold for greater empowerment of women and girls?

 Learning objectives: 

  1. Understand the history of the modern feminist movement and its emergence as a platform for female equality in work, education and politics.
  2. Explore cross-cultural, transnational perspectives on women’s roles in society and the construction comparative “good girl” and “bad woman” categories.
  3. Examine concepts of dress code, modesty and beauty and connect to cross-cultural challenges of public sexual harassment (and the U.S. “Me, Too” campaign.)
  4. Be open to experiencing the gendered landscapes we will encounter; participate with respect in port trips.
  5. In written work, engage critically with social and policy issues of gender, sex roles and the body.

Field Work

Country: India
Day: 1
Date: February 28, 2019

We will visit St. Theresa’s College for an interactive panel on issues of women’s health, gender/family roles, and female economic empowerment in South India, with the opportunity to meet both faculty and students; then visit a local Kudumbashree (women’s self-help unit in Kerala) to meet women entrepreneurs. Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about human rights issues for women and girls in India.
  2. Meet with women in non-governmental roles acting as change agents in gender politics and culture.
  3. Compare local efforts to promote gender equality, women’s health, and empowerment of women and girls in South India with similar challenges in the U.S. government and U.S. feminist organizations.