What to Expect from WGS Core Courses

Willamette University's Women's and Gender Studies core courses are both engaging and challenging.  Each core course will provide different expectations and experiences. This page will show you a glance of what you could expect from WGS core courses.

WGS 134 Thinking Sex

This course examines assumptions, arguments, evidence and underlying values about biological sex differences, sexuality and gender construction and asks: Who is a woman? Is sex a stable category? What is the future of sex and why does it matter? Drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches, we further analyze the packaging of sex by consumer culture, global markets and social movements with the goal of exposing some of the varied uses of sex and the implications of what we view as sex differences.

WGS 245 Feminism, Gender, and Society

This interdisciplinary course will explore the ways that gender inequality structures aspects of personal lives and social institutions. We will examine a variety of feminist perspectives on work, family, sexuality and culture and will consider the role of class, race and ethnicity in feminist thought. Emphases will vary with instructor.

WGS 353W Feminist Theory

This interdisciplinary course will examine such basic issues as gender difference and its relationship to women's subordination; the intersections of gender with other dimensions of social identity and power (e.g., class, race/ethnicity, sexuality, nation); the way gendered discourse shapes social reality. These issues will be discussed from a variety of feminist theoretical perspective (e.g., those influenced by liberalism, Marxism/socialism, psychoanalysis, radical feminism, post-modernism, and post-colonialism).

One component of Dr. Hobgood’s “Feminist Theory” course is to create a syllabus of one’s own design for a course that emphasizes feminist theory. Some students choose to draw heavily from our course reading list, while some find entirely different sources and topics that engage the central concepts, questions, and architecture of “feminism” more broadly.

Syllabi address courses of study at various levels, and are highly interdisciplinary. Topics have ranged from “Modified Bodies,” a course examining forms of bodily modifications (e.g., cosmetic surgery, eating disorders, body-building, “reconstructive” genital surgeries, tattooing, and piercing), to a feminist-religious studies course entitled “Early Patriarchal Developments” that explored ancient Israel and Mesopotamia as sources for our “modern,” Western patriarchal system, to a course on “Rape Culture and the Media” that used print and visual media to analyze how contemporary media framing contributes to rape culture.

Student produced syllabi from previous Feminist Theory classes:

 

WGS 499 Senior Thesis

In this course, senior WGS majors will get instruction and support from WGS faculty as they do research and write senior papers on topics of their choice.  The senior thesis process, itself, will require that students work with a first and second reader on their thesis independently of WGS 499. To enroll in WGS 499, students must have completed WGS 353W Feminist Theory and have taken at least one disciplinary methods course (to be selected based on the student's thesis topic) prior to enrollment.  This course is offered in the fall semester only.