The College of New Jersey

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Spring 2021 Advising Guide


Academic Advisement Information & Tips to Prepare for Registration

Course Offerings


Spring 2021 Course Descriptions

WGS 150/SOC 150 – Intro to Social Justice
(LL: Gender and Race and Ethnicity)
This introductory course examines how racism, classism, sexism, ableism and other patterns of inequality intersect, and thus create barriers to the realization of a more equal and just society. The course will begin with a theoretical examination of what we mean by justice, social justice and why these matter. Students will then examine the social constructions of gender, race, and sexuality and how they are shaped by particular contexts, times, and places. Using an intersectional framework, the course will then examine pressing current social justice issues such as poverty, race and incarceration, immigration, etc. and how the intersectionality of social identities and forces amplify the impact of these issues on oppressed populations. Students will examine strategies to create change, including organizing, campaigns, and advocacy.

WGS 170.01 – Topics in WGSS: Gender and Sport
(LL: Behavioral, Social and Cultural Perspectives and Gender)
While this course will revolve around American sport as an institution that seeks to maintain gender normative structures, we will also focus on how sports intersects with sexual orientation, social class, race, ethnicity, (dis)ability, and politics to illuminate how American sport functions as a type of microcosm of United States society in which hegemonic norms are constantly being reinforced.

WGS 170.02 & 03 – Topics in WGSS: Gendering US History
(LL: Social Change in Historical Perspective and Gender)
This course examines the historical development of the United States from the early colonial period to the present day through the lens of gender. While the actions, words, and lives of American women will form the basis of our inquiry, we will also explore the construction of manhood and womanhood in the past. Though often treated as immutable facts, the meaning of manhood and womanhood in the United States has fluctuated significantly over the course of four centuries. These categories are crosscut by other identities, such as race, class, sexuality, language, and national origin. Students will use primary sources and secondary readings to understand the how gender informed the historical experience of a diverse group of Americans and shaped the meaning of citizenship, politics, social roles, identity and national belonging.

WGS 200 – Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
(LL: Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives; Gender)
WGS 200 is a foundational course and an introduction to the field.  Using an interdisciplinary lens, the course provides students with an introduction to the literature and the historical evolution of the discipline, as well as an understanding of how systems of privilege and inequality shape how we experience gender, sexuality, race, and other socially constructed identities.  Using an intersectional method, this course encourages students to understand the ways identities form and impact one another.  Course subtitles indicate the emphasis that each section will take in applying the core concepts.

WGS 209 – Reproductive Justice: Transnational Perspectives
(LL: Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives; Gender)
This course examines the politics of women’s reproductive justice around the world. Approaching reproductive justice from an interdisciplinary framework, students will examine the ways reproduction is culturally defined and constructed through the lenses of race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality. We will also investigate how ideas, ideologies, and narratives about reproduction travel across borders and boundaries. Our exploration into reproductive politics will rely on knowledge-production from a variety of sources: academic disciplines, ethnographic studies, popular narratives, and personal stories.

WGS 210: Women and Health: Power, Politics, and Change
(LL: Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives; Gender)
This course concerns the domain of women’s bodies and the on-going struggle for sovereignty therein. Students will examine how in addition to pathophysiology, women’s health is impacted by social constructs, specifically history, politics, economics, and research. As a result of this exploration, students will enhance their ability to care for themselves and for others, to use and understand power and empowerment of self and others, and to advocate and be an activist for themselves and for others.

WGS 220 – Gender and Popular Culture
(LL: Literary, Visual & Performing Arts; Gender)
This course offers a critical examination of the messages and “knowledge” that popular culture employs, disseminates and constructs about men and women, masculinity and femininity. We will take our objects of study from a wide range of sources including advertisements, magazines, television, film, cyberspace, hip hop, and sports. Be ready to watch TV, go to the movies, and listen to music as a scholar of gender.

WGS 222/HGS 210 – Non Violence and Peace Action
(LL: Gender, Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspective, and Global Perspective)
This course offers an overview of key areas of theory and practice in Peace and Justice Studies, a growing interdisciplinary field with applications from the local community to international relations. Aimed at achieving social transformation through active nonviolence, peace studies promotes in-depth understanding of structures that promote and perpetuate violence and offers methods for transforming the terms of conflict.

WGS 225 – Gender in Children’s Literature
(LL: Literary, Visual & Performing Arts; Gender)
Our purpose in this course will be to develop a critical appreciation of the roles of children’s literature in the social construction of gender–not only how it prescribes or resists normative gender roles, but how it represents the subjective experience of growing up gendered. With a grounding in gender theory and critical texts, we will explore classics and contemporary favorites, limiting our scope to works for young children and pre-teens.

WGS 235 – Gender and Violence
(LL: Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives and Gender)
This course explores the relationship between gender and violence. It is comprised of theoretical perspectives as well as the study of specific forms of violence. Topics include: domestic and intimate partner violence; sexual violence; child abuse; socially institutionalized forms of violence against women; attitudes and reactions to violence; national and global contexts of violence; the gendered character of violence in patriarchal societies; the intersections between violence, race, class and sexuality; men and violence.

WGS 240 – Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies
(LL: Gender; Behavioral, Cultural or Social Perspective)
Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies provides students with an introduction to a quickly evolving field of study that is focused on gay and lesbian identity, politics, culture. Although focused primarily on the categories of “gay” and “lesbian,” this course situates its focus within a larger exploration of queer studies, gender analysis, and sexuality studies.

WGS 250 – Politics of Sexuality
(LL: Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives; Gender; Community Engagement)
The political nature of personal life is a central critical concept of Women’s and Gender Studies. Politics of Sexuality introduces students to implications of this concept through the study of contested topics concerning sexuality, such as gendered sexual socialization, sexual violence, family structures, poverty and welfare, sexual identities, transgenderism, commodification, risky sexual behaviors, AIDS, sexual exploitation, pornography, prostitution, and the traffic in women.

WGS 260/AAS 280 – Africana Women in Historical Perspective
(LL: Gender; Race & Ethnicity; Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives)
Africana Women in Historical Perspective is a global, cross-cultural survey of the lives and contributions of women of African ancestry.  Emphasis will be placed upon shared elements of African culture that, when impacted by colonialism and/or the Atlantic slave trade, resulted in similar types of resistance to oppression, and analogous cultural expression among the women of four locales- Africa, South America and The Caribbean, North America and Europe.

WGS 317/LIT 317 – The Witch in Literature
(LL: Literary, Visual & Performing Arts; Gender)
The witch has been a figure in literary history since the beginning of time. Who is she, and what does she embody? Who creates her, and to what end? This course will explore the socio-historical constructions of this figure and trace her through a wide spectrum of literary texts, including legal and historical treatises, fair tales, short stories, drama, film, children’s literature, poetry, and even cartoons. Ultimately, we will analyze the literary cultures that have persisted in creating, recreating, and reviving this timeless, powerful, and equally feared character throughout the ages.

WGS 320/LIT 315 – Men and Masculinities: Literary Perspectives
(LL: Literary, Visual & Performing Arts; Gender)
This course focuses on representations of men and masculinity in literary texts, although we may also look at film, video, television, advertising, and music. of the issues we will be thinking about include: the construction of modern male identities, the diversity of men’s lives, the complex dynamics of men’s relationships, and questions of power and social justice within the contemporary gender order.

WGS 325 – Feminist Theories/WGST 510– Graduate Section
(Prerequisite: at least one WGS course) (LL: World View; Gender)
This course explores the diverse ways in which feminist theorists conceptualize women’s status in society, systems of inequality and the category of “woman” itself. Students will gain an understanding of evolving ideas and debates in feminist theory, relate those to feminist practices, and develop their own theoretical abilities. The course will address the social construction of gender, the relation between feminist theory and activism, and how feminists have responded to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality in current feminist thinking, as well as the classic feminist texts.

WGS 328.HIS 365 Gender in 20th Century United States
(LL: Social Change in Historical Perspective and Gender)
This course examines the lives of Americans as men and women. It explores the ways in which gender determines and is determined by historical experiences. It employs feminist and historical theories and methodologies in the examination of the sex/gender/race system of US politics, economics, culture and society and gives students an alternative lens from which to view history.

WGS 342 – LGBTQ Issues in K-12 Education
(LL: Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Persp.; Gender)
This course examines LGBTQ issues within the context and concerns of K-12 schooling/education. Specifically, we will focus on several themes: heterosexism in schools; homophobic and transphobic forms of bullying and violence; the history of LGBTQ educational struggles; emerging legal rights of LGBTQ students and teachers; the coming out process in high school; LGBTQ and teacher education; queer pedagogies; the politics of gay-straight alliances; and the politics of queer youth.

WGS 342 – LGBTQ Issues in K-12 Education
(LL: Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Persp.; Gender)
This course examines LGBTQ issues within the context and concerns of K-12 schooling/education. Specifically, we will focus on several themes: heterosexism in schools; homophobic and transphobic forms of bullying and violence; the history of LGBTQ educational struggles; emerging legal rights of LGBTQ students and teachers; the coming out process in high school; LGBTQ and teacher education; queer pedagogies; the politics of gay-straight alliances; and the politics of queer youth.

WGS 344 Transgender Studies
(LL: Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Perspective; Gender)
This course examines the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. It provides an overview of major concepts, terms, and debates, as well as a cross-section of recent scholarly work and a snapshot of emerging trends, within this rapidly evolving field of study. One general focus of the course is to examine the ongoing development of the concept of transgender as it is situated across historical, social, cultural, legal, biomedical, and political contexts and discussions within the scholarly literature and beyond. Questions raised during the semester include: What is transgender studies and how does it differ from other forms of scholarship within gender and sexuality studies? In what complex ways is the concept of transgender “remapping” the relationship among biological sex, gender, and sexuality, as well as reconstituting the meanings of these categories?

WGS 350/WGST 520 Gender Equity in the Classroom
(LL: Gender and Behavioral, Social and Cultural Perspectives)
This seminar examines theoretical writings on feminist pedagogy and also addresses practical issues related to teaching Women’s and Gender Studies. Participants will develop familiarity with feminist pedagogies and their significance for the field of Women’s and Gender Studies; interpret their own educational experiences within the context of feminist reflections on education; formulate their own philosophies of education; and develop and test pedagogical strategies for developing critical consciousness about social inequalities.

WGS 363/HIS 373/AAS 373 Slavery & Black Womanhood
Enslaved women in early and antebellum America not only endured the legal classification of being chattel property, but also the legal
vulnerability of being sexual objects. The everyday sexual violation of black women by slaveholders, overseers, and others, not only tested legal definitions of sexual assault and rape, but also shaped the lives of enslaved women. Using primary source materials, biographies, monographs, and small group discussion, students will examine the challenges that enslaved black women faced in the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. Specifically, this course will focus on unpaid labor, rape, exclusion from first-wave feminism, resistance, incarceration, and reproduction as core experiences of black girlhood and womanhood.

WGS 373/REL 373 Women and Spirituality
(LL: World Views/Ways of Knowing; Gender; Writing Intensive.)

This course focuses on the intersections of feminism and spirituality, examines the experiences of women in a variety of spiritual traditions, and examines how worldview is shaped by historical context. The question of how feminists connect to, critique, transform, and remember spiritual experiences will be considered. The course explores several aspects of spirituality including language, ritual, and creativity; it also considers what happens when feminists alter, shape, retell and interpret rituals and traditions.

WGS 375 – Transnational Feminisims
(LL: Gender; Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Persp., Global)
“Transnational feminisms” refers to the growing transnational network of movements and organizations working on behalf of women at many levels of civil and state society, from grassroots organizing to global governance, together with a growing body of writing and research on women’s status, gender oppression, and priorities for change around the world. This course’s purpose is to prepare students, as world citizens, to participate in this network by exposing them not only to issues and movements but also to the conceptual, methodological, and affective challenges of building solidarity across a vast range of differences-differences in identity, locale, worldview, focus, strategy, and stand point in relation to global systems of power.

WGS 376 -Ecofeminism
(LL: Gender; World Views/Ways of Knowing)
Building on the core precept that the domination of women and the domination of nature are fundamentally connected, ecofeminism offers a distinctive, interdisciplinary lens on the world, drawing on not only feminism and ecology, but also historical analysis, philosophy of science, cultural study, the arts, community development, spirituality, and a commitment to challenging oppression in all its forms. We will explore ways in which systemic social inequalities shape human relationships to the natural environment; challenge common abuses of the environment and offer alternatives; and study current movements globally.

WGS 398 – Feminism in the Workplace
(LL: Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Perspectives; Gender)
This internship course is a chance for students to consolidate and enrich their undergraduate learning while building the transition to life beyond college. A WGS education trains students to think critically and act strategically on issues of social inequity, particularly relating to gender and sexuality. Graduates enter a wide variety of careers. WGS 398, therefore, focuses not on the nature and demands of particular worksites, but on work itself and organizational practices that arise from feminist theory and scholarship.

WGS 470/AAS 470/HON 370.02 – Topics in WGSS: Black Women Prisoners
(LL: Social Change in Historical Perspective; Gender and Race and Ethnicity)
(Pre-requisites: 1 AAS/WGS course OR approval of instructor.)

This seminar is an intensive intersectional exploration of Black women’s experiences of confinement and incarceration from the slavery to the present. The course centers on student-driven discussion of primary and secondary sources — textual and visual — that examine the following: gendered white supremacist constructions of crime and the criminal, the variety, complexity, and interconnectivity of historical institutional forces driving the criminalization, disproportionate arrests, convictions, and incarceration of Black women, carceral state violence targeting Black women, and the resistive practices of Black women in conflict with the law. Students also consider the inner lives of Black women prisoners – their ambitions, hopes, needs, sorrow, fears, family concerns, and the ways in which they love. Finally, students engage the concept and reality that certain categories of crime are a labor, resistive, and/or strategic survival practice. Ultimately, students leave the course with an understanding of Black women’s location in the history of mass incarceration in the United States.

WGS 498 – Senior Seminar: Research and Methods
(LL: Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Perspectives; Gender)
Capstone course for the Women’s and Gender Studies major. Students are expected to use the expertise gained from their previous WGS courses to research and write their senior theses. Drawing on the methodologies and theories learned in previously taken courses, students work in a small focused seminar that not only emphasizes their own work but also constructively critiques the work of their peers.

WGS 499 – Seminar: WILL Capstone in Women’s Leadership
(LL: Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Perspectives; Gender)
In this W.I.L.L. capstone seminar course, students will experience the interfaces between empirical knowledge and social policies through selecting, organizing, and implementing a class activism project. This course is the culmination of the W.I.L.L. Program in which students will expand and enhance their leadership skills using acquired strategies and tactics to influence social, political, or economic change.