Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies

Institution: Roanoke College

Department: Women’s and Gender Studies Concentration

Course-level: Undergraduate seminar

Format:  Seminar

Description: What is gender? Is gender inborn or a product of society? Are women and men essentially different? Are there more than two genders? What counts as gender inequality?  How might we achieve “gender justice”? Is it possible to separate a study of gender from a study of race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality?  These are all central questions at the heart of Gender &Women’s studies. This course aims to tackle these questions by tracing the historical development of gender theory in the West from its roots in (so-called) first wave feminism (centered on women’s suffrage), through the second wave (of the 1960s and 1970s), and up to contemporary debates of today. Along the way we will see how studies from a variety of different disciplines (including sociology, psychology, philosophy, literature, history, religion, sciences etc.) have come together to offer important contributions to our developing understanding of gender.  Our guest faculty speakers working on Gender & Women’s studies from across the curriculum will aid us in seeing the interdisciplinary nature of the field.