The following are descriptions of the courses offered by the Women's Studies program. These courses fulfill requirements and electives for Women's Studies degrees and certificate from IPFW. Some also meet distribution requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences or General Education requirements across IPFW's colleges and schools.
An introduction to women’s studies via readings from core discipline areas and presentation of methodological/ bibliographical tools for social science research on gender issues. Examines women’s historic and contemporary status legally, politically, and economically, as well as women’s struggle in identity, expression, sexuality, and lifestyle. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Social and Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement.
Examination of popular cultural “makings” of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality through typical representation of gender within fiction, theatre, cinema, radio, music, television, journalism, and other secular mass media. Analysis of developing international telecommunications “superhighway” and struggles to secure increased representation of women and of feminist perspectives within existing culture industries. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
Exploration of feminist scholarship on a specific topic of current interest, e.g., women and social activism, pornography, reproductive rights, lesbian and gay studies, gender in early education, contemporary women’s movement. Specific topics announced in the Schedule of Classes. Suitable for students without previous women’s studies courses. Variable topic course. May be repeated with different topic for a maximum of 6 credits. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Social and Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement.
This course examines the health of women and the many influences upon their understanding, accessibility, experiences, and concerns from a personal and political perspective. Through exploration of the biomedical, socio-cultural, and holistic health care models, students will identify these various offerings in the health care system and analyze how these representations meet the needs of women from diverse backgrounds. Course topics include historical viewpoints of women's health care; the female reproductive system; women's sexuality; medicalization of women's health; nutritional and lifestyle trends; patient and health care provider relationships; violence against women; and advocacy for women's health. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Social and Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement.
What's the last thing you ate? As the saying goes, you are what you eat...and also how, where, and why you ate it. From dinner table traditions, to genetically modified foods, organic groceries, urban food deserts, the obesity epidemic, and ‘food stars’ on reality TV, we navigate a landscape ripe for feminist inquiry and intervention. This course explores how everyday eating habits relate to health and well-being: physical, emotional, local, and global. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Social and Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement.
This course will focus on the topic of women and power from the perspective of contemporary women who have achieved top leadership positions representing diferent secotrs of society: academic, business, entertainment, journalism, law, military, nonprofit, politics, religion, medicine, and sports. The course will be divided into three sections corresponding with a learning design that moves from knowedge, to acquisition, to research, to application. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Social and Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement.
This course integrates feminist theoretical perspectives on global politics with discussions of a wide range of women's issues. Specifically, it focuses on transnational feminism, world media and representations of women, global politics of the body, sexualities, politics of women's health, reproductive rights, and women's work within the global economy, while emphasizing issues of global justice and exploring the differences and similarities that simultaneously divide and unite women across the globe. Variable topic course. May be repeated once with a different topic. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Cultural Studies (Non-Western Culture) requirement. Also approved for General Education Area VI. Prerequisite: sophomore, junior, or senior standing or consent of instructor. Some sections also require WOST W210 as a prerequisite.
This course will take selected communities in North Africa and the Middle East as the “two or more cultures” to be explored. Egypt, as the crossroads between those regions (and the country that has been at the heart of the Arabo-Islamic feminist movement historically), will be emphasized. Materials on the legal and social status of women in Algeria, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia may also be included. The readings feature: a historic contextualization of the “legal, social, and economic status” of women in Islamic societies (Ahmed) up to the late 20th century (Atiya); short essays and speeches by Arab women, many of whom self-identify as feminists (Badran & Cooke); historical fiction by two of the leading ‘Western’ feminist activists of the Arab world (Zayyat and Saadawi) as well as one ‘Islamic’ feminist (Rifaat); and an analysis of the contemporary resurgence of voluntary veiling among women of the educated and employed middle- and upper-classes (Zuhur). Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Cultural Studies (Non-Western Culture) requirement. Also approved for General Education Area VI. Prerequisite: sophomore, junior, or senior standing or consent of instructor.
Interdisciplinary approach to selected ideas, trends, and problems in women’s studies. Specific topics to be announced each semester in the Schedule of Classes and the Women’s Studies course offerings brochure. Variable topic course. May be repeated when topic varies for a maximum of 9 credit hours. Prerequisite: varies by section/topic.
This course will examine the construct of the "girl" in American culture of the 20th and 21st centuries, focusing especially on representations of female adolescence and young adulthood. We will look, for example, at how mainstream culture instructs girls about how to "be" a "girl" and how girls have embraced, resisted, and/or struggled with such prescriptions. In our explorations of these issues, we will consider a variety of texts, including novels and memoirs about growing up female, films, magazines, photographs, etc. We will also consider several historical studies of girl culture in the 20th century in order to trace the origins of today's notion of girlhood, including its important connections to consumer culture in the first half of the 20th century. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
This course will examine the lives and social history of African American women during the Harlem Renaissance. No longer relegated solely to the laundry, kitchen and child care, the women featured in this course explored issues of gender, race, class and self identity, and in the process created some of the most important literature of the 20th century. An interdisciplinary approach will be used to place these women within the larger social context of the 1920's and 1930's. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
This course examines "manhood" and "masculinity" in U. S. history and culture from the 18th century to the present through a feminist perspective. Students will be introduced to gender theory and will explore the ways in which "manhood" and "masculinity" are socially constructed, including the identities boys and men are expected to perform to meet social and cultural expectations and earn cultural approval. It will explore how men of a variety of races and ethnicities, young and old, wealthy or working-class have responded to these performances of "manhood." Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
This multidisciplinary course acquaints students with the key debates and theoretical approaches involved in feminist human rights literature. We will also explore the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and discuss the reluctance of the U. S. to ratify this treaty. This course will examine human rights treaties and various ways they are often interpreted to exclude women, as well as strategies to change current gender discriminatory interpretations. Furthermore, we will study various feminist critiques of international human rights laws, as well as women and human rights success cases. The readings, videos, and other materials used in the class are global in focus in order to acquaint students with the similarities and differences in the development, implementation, and acceptance of women's human rights around the world. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
This course will explore from a feminist perspective constructions of gender through violence - and the construction of gendered violence - over the last fifty years of popular culture. We will interrogate the ways in which women in films and television, for example, are all too often positioned as helpless victims who suffer at the hands of an abusive partner, monsters who inflict violence upon others, or sexy "babes" who wreck havoc on deserving recipients. At the same time, however, we will look for cultural spaces that subvert these simplistic representations and will consider how some texts include both subversive and mainstream depictions of masculinity, femininity and violence. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
Since the emergence of U.S. Second Wave feminism in the early 1970s, the complex issue of women’s embodiment has been at the forefront of feminist activity. Women’s bodies have been thought of both as vessels containing some sort of innate feminine essence, as well as malleable surfaces on which gender is culturally inscribed. Moreover, theorists ranging from Catherine MacKinnon to bell hooks to Susan Bordo have noted the centrality of women’s bodies to U.S. advertising and entertainment industries. In this course, we will use various feminist interpretations of women’s embodiment to analyze both how U.S. women represent their own bodies and how women’s bodies have been represented in U.S. culture more generally. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
This course will focus on a range of works, literary and visual, published/created by women from either North or Central America since 1930. Its purpose, however, is not simply to “survey” the canon of women’s life writing and self-portraits but rather to investigate issues of genre, including what could be called the “crisis of representation” that is often fore grounded in twentieth-century women’s literature and art. We will look, for example, at modes of thinking about the gendered self that call attention to the limits of traditional discourse and that explore the question, “What does it mean for women to write about or visually depict the self?” Of particular interest to us will be the ways twentieth-century women writers and artists transgress both traditional genre boundaries and the expectations and aesthetic values of the literary and artistic establishments. Insofar as these women writers and artists do so self-consciously, often problematizing common assumptions about what it means to portray memory, experience, and identity, they will hopefully enrich and complicate our understanding of the (self) representational project in literature and art. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
Rhetocial history has long been considered a history of prominent males. While Plato, Cicero or Frederick Douglass are familiar names, many won't have heard of Aspasia, Hortensia or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. After this course, students will not only recognize these women's names, but they will also appreciate their contributions to our current perceptions and rights of women. In doing so, this course will provide students with a better understanding of women's role(s) in a number of historical situations in which they have been traditionally ignored. Students will not only learn how women contributed to rhetoric but also how gender expectations have altered over time. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
Overview, in historical context, of feminist texts that analyze gender asymmetry in society. Intersections of gender with other differences and unequal distribution of power. In-depth study of key debates in Western feminism. Selected readings by influential non-Western feminists. Students complete a research project. Required for WOST majors. Prerequisite: W210 or consent of instructor. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement.
This course examines, through the study of literary and/or visual texts, aspects of lesbian and gay culture, with attention to the artistic value of the texts as well as their significance as cultural documents. Variable topic course. May be repeated once when topic varies for a maximum of 6 credit hours.
This course will cover development of LGBT identity in the individual within the context of an emerging cultural and community identity. We will draw from the scientific literature on identity development, the psychology of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as historical accounts of milestones in the formation of LGBT culture.
An interdisciplinary approach to selected ideas, trends, and problems in women’s studies. The capstone course focuses on issues and controversies in the new scholarship on women. Specific topics announced in Schedule of Classes. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing, 12 credits of women’s studies course work or permission of instructor.
This capstone course will explore the history and state of women's studies within higher education today through an examination of the major questions that have defined the field. How, for example, do those working in the field of women's studies regard the issue of disciplinarity, the intersections between women's studies and gender and sexuality studies, and the role activism should play in academic study? The course's exploration of these questions is designed not only to provide students with an overview of the issues governing the history, present state, and possible future of women's studies within higher education, but also to give them the opportunity to reflect on the work they have done as a women's studies student at IPFW. The work of the semester culminates with a major research project of the student's own design.
Directed study of aspects of policy related to women’s issues based upon field experience. Directed readings, practicum in social agency, papers, and analytical journal required. Prerequisite: junior or senior class standing, 12 credits of women’s studies course work, and project approved by instructor; prerequisite: W210 (or equivalent).
Individual readings and research. May be repeated twice for credit with a different topic. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and program director.
This course considers anthropological approaches to feminism and gender studies. Course reading will include excerpts from major works of these fields. The focus will be on ethnographic and cross-cultural accounts of women, gender relations, and family life in order to introduce the diversity of roles gender plays in social life, as well as some of the complexities associated with talking and writing about gender cross-culturally.
An examination of modern concepts in biology. The scientific method will be examined and feminist criticisms of science will be discussed. The topics of reproduction and development, heredity, and ecology will be used as focal points for an in-depth discussion of the conceptual framework of biology and feminist criticism thereof. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. For non-majors.Cannot be used for Group A or B elective for biology majors. Credit given for only one of the following: BIOL 100, BIOL 250, or BIOL N200.
This course is designed to investigate the relationship between gender roles and communication; i.e., how gender roles are socially constructed, maintained, and enacted. The course also explores gender differences, similarities, and gender issues in personal and organizational contexts. Prerequisite: COM 11400.
An examination of the processes by which gender is constructed in the mass communication media. Students will be asked to consider how the technical, economic, and political constraints and capabilities of the media construct images of gender for audiences. Prerequisite: COM 25000, or permission of instructor.
In this course, students will study the works of European women authors in the medieval and early modern periods, focusing especially on English authors. It will look at the social contexts in which women wrote, especially the querelle des femmes and other public discourses regarding women's character and social roles. It will analyze the ways that female authors gained authority by writing on topics considered acceptable for women.
This course is a study of the way in which our identities are formed, sustained, and reformed, particularly with respect to gender, race, class, and sexuality. The course will focus on both exploratory and polished writing as well as works by various authors.
Study and analysis of selected historical issues and problems of limited scope from the perspective of the arts and humanities. Topics will vary and will usually cut across fields, regions, and periods.
This course will analyze women’s history as an integral component of the history of Europe from the French Revolution until the present. The class will trace the evolution of the “woman question”—question of the social, political, cultural and economic role and place of women in European society, looking at the ideas about gender, social organization of women’s work, women’s role in the family, political mobilization of women, etc. The class will look at the way liberalism, nationalism, socialism, imperialism and feminism contributed to the transformation of women in European societies. The class will highlight how women’s experiences have differed due to class, race, ethnicity, and political and national context, and seek to define the common ground that European women have shared.
The workforce of the future will represent multiple differences, including gender, race, culture, ethnicity, physical abilities, and age. Following this broad-based perspective of diversity, this course will focus on using knowledge of diversity to develop the leadership potential of individuals in organizations. Prerequisite: OLS 25200 or instructor permission; junior or senior class standing.
This course focuses on an analysis of ancient, medieval, and contemporary philosophical theories of gender and the role that these theories play in current political structures. In addition to classical readings, current philosophical issues such as pornography, abortion, family values ideology, body and self-image, biological determinism, and racism in the context of historical ideologies are discussed.
Analysis of women in contemporary political systems, domestic or foreign, with emphasis on political roles, participation, and public policy. Normative and/or empirical examination of how political systems affect women and the impact women have on the system. Topics vary semester to semester. May be repeated once for credit with a different topic.
Theories and current research on the psychological nature of women and their roles in society, including topics such as sex differences and similarities, sex-role socialization, sex-role stereotyping, female sexuality, achievement motivation, role conflict, mental-health issues, feminist therapy, rape, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, and topics of related interest. Prerequisite: PSY 12000 (or equivalent).
Considers basic concepts and the varying theoretical interpretations for the development of gender roles with special attention given to recent empirical findings with children. Measures used in this area will be demonstrated in class and critically evaluated.
This course will study the position of women in the ancient goddess and earth-centered traditions and neo-Paganism, as well as in the major religious traditions of the world. We will also explore the patriarchal and hierarchical patterns of domination in religion as well as the reforming and trans formative alternatives that exist within the religions themselves, even asking the question whether religion can be redeemed. Finally, we will examine the great diversity of women's spirituality and develop some theoretical models to help understand the nature and functions of women's religions beliefs and practices, paying special attention to the ways in which religion and women's societal roles mutually impact each other.