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2009-2010 CLA Catalog


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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Course Listings

Women's and Gender Studies

WGS 134 (AR) Thinking Sex (1)

This course examines assumptions, arguments, evidence and underlying values about biological sex differences, sexuality and gender construction and asks: Who is a wo/man? 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.

Prerequisite: Open to 1st and 2nd year students only.

General Education Requirement: Analyzing Arguments, Reasons, and Values

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

WGS 245 Feminism, Gender and Society (1)

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.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Michel, Markowitz, Dunlap

WGS 256 (IT) Goddesses and Ghosts: Images of Women in Chinese Tradition (1)

[Crosslisted with REL 256]

This course examines images of women represented in various forms of texts including Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist scriptures, novels, poetry, Chinese art and films. Through close reading of these texts from 600 BCE to modern times, the course seeks to explore women's power, spirituality, and gender roles in different periods of Chinese history. The course will also focus on a comparison between the "woman" as an ideological construct and the actual living experiences of women, and between images constructed by male and female writers.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts; Asia Cluster

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Zhou

WGS 258 (TH) Women in the Arts (1)

This seminar in women's history examines the lives and contributions of women in the fine arts primarily in Western Europe from the medieval period through the twenty-first century. A series of case studies facilitates historical understanding of women fine artists in the church, in secular society, in the domestic sphere, and in popular culture. Topics include: women's artistic products (music compositions; works of visual art; literature and poetry; videos); women's lives as fine artists in their respective historical period, demographic, and cultural milieu; women's representations of themselves as fine artists in letters and other documents; and present-day biographical narratives of women fine artists.

Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Duerksen

WGS 336 Philosophy and Feminism (1)

[Crosslisted with PHIL 336]

Do traditional philosophical theories promote ways of thinking that perpetuate gender inequality? We will evaluate feminist criticisms of epistemology, ethics, social theory and aesthetics. We will also examine feminist alternatives to traditional philosophical perspectives.

  • Offering: Alternate years in fall
  • Instructor: Markowitz

WGS 342 Topics in Feminist Analysis (1)

[Crosslisted with POLI 303]

This course provides an opportunity for qualified students to examine, from an interdisciplinary perspective, a particular topic in feminist analysis. Seminar topics and staff will change from year to year. Closed to freshmen. May be taken a second time.

Prerequisite: Two previous courses focusing on feminist scholarship or instructor's permission

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Markowitz

WGS 353 (W) Feminist Theory (1)

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). Closed to freshmen.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

Prerequisite: One previous Women's Studies course

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

WGS 358 Topics in Women's and Gender Studies (1)

This course enables faculty and students to focus on a specific topic in Women's and Gender Studies within an interdisciplinary framework. Topics will involve an exploration of some combination of sex, gender, sexuality. Designation of specific topics and relevant cases and theories will be made at the time of course offering.

Prerequisite: One credit in Women's and Gender Studies or consent of instructor.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

WGS 390 Independent Study in Women's and Gender Studies (1)

Qualified students will undertake a program of independent research with a Women's and Gender Studies faculty member. Closed to freshmen.

Prerequisite: WGS major or minor and consent of instructor

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

WGS 499 Senior Thesis (1)

Senior Women's and Gender Studies major will research and write senior papers on topics of their choice.

Prerequisite: Senior Women's and Gender Studies majors

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff