Women's and Gender Studies
The Course of Study for the Women's and Gender Studies Minor

Alfred University offers a minor in Women's & Gender Studies which requires that students take a core course, Women in Society, and perform an independent study project in their senior year, which serves as a capstone experience. The additional hours necessary to complete the minor include 12 elective credits in courses taught in the following disciplines: Art History, Business, Creative Writing, Communications Studies, English, Fine Arts, History, Literature, Modern Languages, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology.

The Women's & Gender Studies minor is supportive of various majors. Students are invited to complete a minor in Women's & Gender Studies, or to select courses of particular interest that might enhance their work in another minor or major.

The program aims to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Acquire, synthesize and communicate knowledge about feminist and gender theories and scholarship, and apply feminist perspectives across multiple disciplines.
  • Identify, compare, and evaluate culturally and historically specific constructions of gender.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct interdisciplinary feminist research and analysis.
  • Engage in critical debates concerning women's and gender issues and understand the relationship between Women's and Gender Studies scholarship and social action.
  • Understand the intersections of sex, sexuality, and gender with other culturally constructed identities, such as those based on race, ethnicity, class, and age.

Required Core Courses for the Minor:
WGST 101 Women in Society (4 credits)
WGST 450 Independent Study (1-4 credits)

Elective Courses (Choose 12 or more credits from at least two groups (I, II, III, IV))

Courses listed below are examples of those that qualify toward the 12 elective credits. Most elective courses are cross-listed with other disciplines, making it easier to complete the minor in conjunction with a particular major and/or another minor.

I: Humanities

WGST 412 Gender and American Film (4 credits)
WGST 465 Gender, Race, Class & Media (4 credits)

WGST 254 Women Writers (2-4 credits)
WGST 256 Multicultural American Literature (2 credits)
WGST 300 Major Figures: Faulkner/ Morrison (4 credits)
WGST 300 Major Figures: Jane Austen (4 credits)
WGST 300 Major Figures: Willa Cather (2 credits)
WGST 408 Women Writers in the Middle Ages (4 credits)

WGST 300 Topics: Modern European Women's History (4 credits)
WGST 300 Topics: Queer Hollywood
WGST 324 Queer American History

Modern Languages
WGST 200 Cuba: Film and Revolution (4 credits)
WGST 300 Topics: French Women Writers (4 credits)
WGST 300 Topics: Framing Gender (4 credits)
WGST 400 Topics: Violence, Memory and Trauma in Latin American Women's Writings (4 credits)

WGST 200 Women and Religion (4 credits)

II: Social Sciences

Political Science
WGST 246 Sex and the Body Politic (4 credits)

WGST 320 Parenting Seminar (2 credits)
WGST 351 Human Sexuality (4 credits)
WGST 372 Psychology of Gender (4 credits)

WGST 253 Social Welfare Institutions (2-4 credits)
WGST 346 Sociology of Sex and Gender (4 credits)
WGST 348 Sociology of Families (4 credits)

III: Fine and Performing Arts

Fine Arts
WGST 382 Women|Art|History (4 credits)

IV: Women's and Gender Studies

WGST 201 Gender and Leadership (2 credits)
WGST 300 Topics: Gender and Organizations (3 credits)
WGST 475 Women's Leadership Academy Practicum (2 credits)

WGST 101 - Women in Society 4 credits.
This interdisciplinary course is the foundation of Women's Studies. It examines the relationship of women worldwide to institutions and developments in the social, political, and economic spheres. Topics include biological issues, women and work, women as family members, media portrayal of women, and the origins and development of modern feminism.

WGST 200/ 300/ 400 Special Topics 1 to 4 credits
Topics courses are offered across the university in various fields. Recent courses have included Women in Religion, Jane Austen, Modern European Women History, Queer Hollywood, French Women Writers, and Gender & Organizations.

WGST 201 - Gender and Leadership 2 credits
In this course, members of the Women's Leadership Academy explore leadership theory and issues of gender and leadership. They examine questions such as: what qualities make an effective leader, why are so few women in leadership roles in certain professions, and what might feminist theory or chaos theory have to do with leadership? Students approach these questions from both a personal and academic perspective. Participants assess their own leadership style and develop a personal philosophy of leadership. Class assignments include team-building activities and attendance at skill-building workshops. Prerequisite: Membership in the Women's Leadership Academy and instructor's permission.

WGST 246 - Sex and the Body Politic 4 credits
This course examines how citizens' ideas about gender shape politics and how politics shapes the perceptions of gender of citizens. Studying the politics of sex and gender provides interesting perspectives on issues and even challenges our very understanding of what politics is. (Cross listed as POLS 246)

WGST 253 - Social Welfare Institutions 2 credits.
Examines social welfare institutions in the context of change brought about by industrialization and urbanization. Focus on types of welfare, welfare policy and the structure of services. (Cross-listed as SOCI 253) (Sufficient demand)

WGST 254 - Women Writers 2-4 credits.
A course that examines issues of language, gender, and culture portrayed through the lens of the woman writer. Texts may include novels, stories, autobiographies, essays, letters, and poetry. (Cross-listed as ENGL 254)

WGST 256 - Multicultural American Literature 2 to 4 credits.
This course explores the rich diversity of American literature, focusing either on one cultural tradition or on different ethnic communities in relation to one another. African American, Asian American, Latino/a, Jewish American, Italian American, or Native American literatures may be included. (Cross-listed as ENGL 256) (A)

WGST 320 - Parenting Seminar 2 credits
This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about effective parenting through reading of literature and group discussion. The course explore a wide variety of issues, concerns, and problems that parents often face as well as the joy and gratification that effective parenting brings. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 (Cross listed as PSYC 320)

WGST 324 - Queer American History 4 credits.
What is queer history? Why write it? Who should be included? The course addresses the possible content and theoretical issues in the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people in American since the seventeenth century. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed as HIST 324) (Alternate years)

WGST 346 - Sociology of Sex and Gender 4 credits.
Examines the concepts of sex and gender as they are defined in sociological literature, focusing on how social contexts (i.e., education, employment, family, sexuality and reproduction, etc.) construct gender which, in turn, shapes future opportunities for individuals in society. Prerequisite: SOCI 110 or ANTH 110. (Cross-listed as SOCI 346)

WGST 348 - Sociology of Families 4 credits.
An investigation of the relationship between the family and other social institutions, particularly in regard to the family functions of population maintenance, socialization and social placement. Prerequisite: SOCI 110 or ANTH 110. (Cross-listed as SOCI 348)

WGST 351 - Human Sexuality 4 credits
A discussion of sexual attribute and behavior, gender roles, love and intimacy, contraception and abortion, pregnancy and childbirth, marriage and family life, variation in sexualities, STDs, and the many psychological and cultural factors that affect human sexual behavior. (Cross-listed as PSYC 351)

WGST 372 - Psychology of Gender 3 credits.
This course examines the psychological, biological, social and life-span development differences and similarities of the genders. Topics include cognitive abilities and achievement, personality characteristics, work issues, violence prevention, love relationships and sexualities, reproductive concerns, and physical and mental health issues. Prerequisite: PSYC 101. (Cross-listed as PSYC 372)

WGST 382 - Women in Art 4 credits.
The course considers various gender issues in art history including the role of women artists in western and non-western cultures, feminist reevaluation of art history, and the existence of a "feminine art." Students are assigned research papers or oral reports on topics generated by readings, lectures, and class discussions. (Cross-listed as ARTH 382)

WGST 412 - Gender and American Film 4 credits
This course is an open-minded but necessarily limited overview of how mainstream Hollywood films reflect gender images expressed in stereotypes, power relationships, sexuality, etc.  The class is cross-listed as both COMM and WGST because it examines gender as a social construct.  The goal is to amass a working knowledge of the theories associated with gender and film criticism, as well as to determine how students have been influenced by these cinematic representations. (Cross listed as COMM 306)

WGST 450 - Independent Study 1 to 4 credits.

WGST 465 - Gender, Race, Class and Media 4 credits
Investigates how women and minorities (including sexual minorities) are covered/portrayed by the news and entertainment media and how underlying economic, political and sociological factors affect such coverage. It explores how media portrayals influence the public's views regarding women and minorities and how women and minorities view themselves. And it examines critics' charges that the media portray women and minorities in a negative light and strategies used to counteract possible resulting harm. Prerequisite: COMM 110 or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed as WGST 465)

WGST 475 - Women's Leadership Academy Practicum 2 credits
The practicum is a semester-long experience in active, authentic leadership around a service project conducted by members Women's Leadership Academy. Prerequisite: WGST 201

WGST 485 - Internship 1 to 4 credits.