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Women's and Gender Studies Courses

Many of the courses offered through Saint Louis University’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies are cross-listed with political science; history; English; languages, literature and cultures; sociology; theology; philosophy; psychology; and communication, among others.

For the purpose of the major or minor, you may take these courses under either the women's and gender studies number or the home department number. The courses listed below are just a sampling of our courses. Please contact the department for current listings for that semester.

Undergraduate Courses

WGST 1900: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
This course examines issues concerning women in a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, the social sciences, the sciences, and art. Special focus given to enabling students to recognize and critically analyze the notion of gender and patterns of gender roles.

WGST 2400: Gender and Popular Culture
Cross-listed with American studies and film studies
Popular culture provides the stories and images that enable us to imagine and practice femininities and masculinities. This course explores popular culture's influence on understandings of gender and its intersections with other identity markers and focuses on how feminist concepts raise awareness of discrimination and oppression in pop culture.

WGST 2800: Men and Masculinities
Cross-listed with political science
The course introduces research on men and masculinity, and gender more generally, and explores from a feminist perspective the personal and political issues this research - and the current state of our world - raise for men and women. Topics include socialization, college life, media, personal relations, politics, sports, and war.

WGST 3230: Gender and Society
Cross-listed with sociology
Examination of the impact of large-scale forces on how gender roles are structured and enacted in our society. Particular attention to be paid to the different experiences of men and women in the labor force, politics and the family.

WGST 3240: Female Bildungsroman
Cross-listed with English and film studies
The Bildungsroman has traditionally traced the intellectual, social, and moral education of a male hero. This course addresses how female artists modify this narrative genre to tell alternate stories about intellectual, social and sexual development. Through critical examination of the female Bildungsroman, students explore how gender affects selfhood, citizenship and authorship.

WGST 3300: Intercultural Communications
Cross-listed with communications
Introduces the role of culture in the process of human interaction and encourages in-depth analysis of the unique challenges posed by intercultural encounters. Develops a better understanding of culture and the many ways in which it influences interaction between individuals and groups.

WGST 3320: Mary and Her Sisters
Cross-listed with theology
This course looks at a series of important female figures from the scriptural roots of Christianity, especially the multiple Marys of the New Testament. We will read the primary canonical and apocryphal texts describing these women and examine their depiction in art, literature and music throughout history.

WGST 3430: Marriage and the Family
Cross-listed with sociology
Examination of theories and data on different types of families, role assignments, and definitions, pertaining to various types of societies through space and time. modern aspects of family institutions and problems, with an emphasis on the issue of equality of marriage.

WGST 3510: The Structure of Poverty
Cross-listed with sociology
This course examines the structural causes of poverty at the global and local levels from a multidisciplinary perspective. The course focuses on the social, political, and economic structures that produce and perpetuates poverty. The global dimension of the course focuses on developing countries, while the local dimension focuses especially in the St. Louis area.

WGST 3540: African Diaspora Writing
Cross-listed with African American studies.  An introduction to the fiction and poetry of Black African and African-American writers.

WGST 3560: 20th-century U.S. Women's History
This course surveys social, economic, and political developments to explore changes and continuities in women's lives in the United States over the course of the twentieth century. Themes include: ideals of gender and sexuality; family structures; class, racial, and ethnic diversity; labor; and social and political movements. No prerequisites.

WGST 3600: Women in Literature
Cross-listed with English
Reading and analysis of works authored by and about women; studied from a feminist perspective.

WGST 3630: Sex, Gender and Christian Ethics
Cross-listed with theology
An introduction to contemporary Christian thinking on sexuality. Students are encouraged to understand the diversity of the Christian tradition, debate the available alternatives, and come to their own well-reasoned positions. Issues covered include premarital sex, gender, contraception, and homosexuality. Prerequisites: Any 200 level Theology course.

WGST 3770: Postmodern Politics: Sex/Race/Class
This course will examine postmodern thought with a focus on poststructuralism, semiotics, and deconstruction. The course will critically interrogate these approaches and examine the politics of the construction of self, communities, cosmologies, understandings of agency and responsibility, and issues of social justice by focusing on class, race, and sex.

WGST 3775: Feminist Theory-Gender Justice
Cross-listed with political science and philosophy
Feminist Theory: Gender Justice examines the various ways of understanding gender by looking at a variety of theories and philosophical perspectives within feminist thought, especially as it is formed by political philosophy including liberal, radical, Marxist and postmodern feminism.

WGST 3780: Disability Theory and Politics
Cross-listed with political science
This course applies insights from disability studies to Western political thought in order to examine the political nature of disability and the disabling nature of politics. In this course, students are exposed to varying definitions, cultural representations, social justice issues, human rights concerns, and bioethical debates related to disability.

WGST 3800: Violence Against Women
Cross-listed with sociology
This course focuses on the causes, effects, and institutional responses to several types of gender-based violence, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking. Includes examination of the psychological, legal, sociological, and political discourse surrounding these issues. No prerequisites.

WGST 3850: Feminism in Action
Cross-listed with political science
This course addresses feminist activism on a wide range of issues (including domestic violence, rape, education and health care), and in a variety of forms (including writing, theater, public protests and coalition building). It gives students the opportunity to study the scholarship of activism and to participate in feminist action.

WGST 4200: Psychology of Women
Cross-listed with psychology
The study of girls' and women's development, including gender roles, gender role stereotyping, the biology of being female, psychological theories about gender, violence against women, women in families, in relationships, and in the workplace. The course addresses women's diversity by race, ethnicity, culture, age, nationality, sexual orientation, and economic condition.

WGST 4300: Gender and Communication
Cross-listed with communication
Explores the ways in which communication in families, schools, media, and society creates and perpetuates gender rules. Discusses how men and women enact gender differences in public and private, and how such experiences affect success, satisfaction, and self-esteem.

WGST 4310: Contemporary Women Writers in France
Cross-listed with French
20th-Century Women's fiction in French examined in light of French and Quebecois feminist theory. De Beauvoir, Duras, Sarraute, Brossard, Maillet, Cixous, Irigaray, Redonnet, etc. Taught in French.

WGST 4330: Psychology of Oppression
Cross-listed with psychology
This course uses a family-centered approach to the study of the health care needs of women, infants, children, and adolescents. Emphasis is placed on theoretical knowledge and research findings as the basis for nursing strategies to promote, maintain, and restore health. Priority is given to significant health care issues within these populations.

WGST 4340: Nursing Care of Childbearing
This practicum provides an opportunity for students to apply theoretical knowledge and research findings in the care of selected women, infants, children, and adolescents. The use of a family-centered approach in the nursing process is emphasized. Learning experiences are provided in a variety of settings.

WGST 4350: Stereotyping and Bias in Mass Media
Cross-listed with communication
Examines debates over stereotyping and bias in the mass media. Considers the types of materials that have aroused charges of bias, and surveys the historical, economic, political, sexual, and sociological perspectives that help explain stereotyping as a cultural practice.

WGST 4380: Early Women Writers
Cross-listed with English
An examination of the writings of Englishwomen in the period from 1600 to 1700, including autobiographies, tracts, letters, fiction, poetry, and plays.

WGST 4650: Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival: Gender, Race and Otherness
Cross-listed with German
In this course, students will read and critically reflect on Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival (ca. 1220). They will read the text in modern German. While this text is fictional, it is grounded in ‘reality' and reflects upon its times and its discourses on politics, religion, race, gender, and otherness, the focus of this course. This course is taught in German, therefore knowledge of German required. Prerequisites: GR 3200 and GR 3250, or instructor permission.

WGST 4750: American Political Thought
Cross-listed with political science
From 1765 to the present. Eighteenth-century consensus, nationalism versus sectionalism, nineteenth-century reform movements, pragmatism and progressivism, current liberalism and conservatism.

WGST 4770: Spanish Women Poets
Historical analysis and literary interpretation of a representative selection of modern and contemporary Spanish women poetry. Discussion of the topics and preoccupations present in their work, and analysis of their contribution to reformulating the male canon in general. Authors: Carolina Coronado, Rosalia de Castro, Concha Zardoya, Gloria Fuertes, and Maria Victoria Atencia.

WGST 4800: Black Women in Society
Cross-listed with African American studies
This course is designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach for the study of African women in the context of a changing society and the impact of the context from social, historical, cultural, political and economic perspectives. Attention will be devoted to the examination of relationships that have emerged between systems and societal conditions.

WGST 4810: Philosophy of Feminism
Cross-listed with philosophy
A critical examination of the feminist challenge to traditional conceptions of law, morality and epistemology. The philosophical and methodological assumptions underlying the feminist challenge will be explored.

WGST 4860: Global and Transnational Feminism
Cross-listed with political science
This course offers an advanced survey of the field of theory and political activism referred to as transnational feminism. Students are introduced to the history of feminist work in international political and economic forums (e.g. the UN and World Bank), as well as to on-going feminist efforts in the context of current social movements around the globe.

WGST 4919: Women Leadership Internship
Cross-listed with political science
Interns work with women in leadership positions in governmental or non-governmental civic organizations, or collaborate on research projects related to women leaders in the public sector. Students keep journals and write an essay relating their experiences to assigned readings on gender justice and the role of women in public policy.

WGST 4960: Women's and Gender Studies Capstone
The synthesizing course; students do an independent study, research paper or practicum.

Graduate Courses

WGST 5010: Feminist Theory
Cross-listed with political science
Begins with the history of feminist scholarship from the pre-modern period and 19th century and proceeds to examine liberal, socialist/Marxist, radical, postmodern, and global feminism. Critical reviews of each theory will include issues of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, and spirituality. Offered each fall semester.

WGST 5020: Feminist Epistemologies
Cross-listed with political science and philosophy
Examination of how feminist scholarship has recontextualized epistemological issues in the philosophy of science, eco-feminism, hermeneutics, mysticism, and phenomenology. Students will write and present papers to demonstrate their integration of feminist theory and feminist epistemological issues within their own major fields of study. Offered each spring semester.

WGST 5030: Cultural Methods: Gender, Politics and Power
Cross-listed with political science
Course covers methods of studying issues of culture, gender, and power, such as focus groups, interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork, often described as qualitative methods. Emphasis on learning by completing small research exercises, considering research ethics, and writing a major research proposal.

WGST 5040: Current Issues and Debates
This course examines historical and contemporary debates about controversial issues involving women, gender, social change for equality, and sexuality. Students learn to locate, express, and evaluate arguments on multiple sides of the controversies. (Offered: Annually in the Fall)

WGST 5150: Gender and American Politics
Cross-listed with political science
This course examines the ways in which women shape, and are shaped by, American politics and public policy. We explore the history, approaches, findings and controversy in research about women in American politics and political science from a range of theoretical and methodological approaches.

WGST 5210: Women's Movements in the U.S. and Beyond
The course surveys the evolutions of women's movements in the U.S. from the mid-19th century to the present. Incorporating the study of both feminist and anti-feminist activism, the course investigates direct action protest efforts, mobilizations in the formal political sphere and coalition building. Offered every fall.

WGST 5290: Women and Global Issues
Cross-listed with French
In this class, we will explore how globalization is bringing to the fore issues that are affecting and shaping women's lives throughout the world. Through essays, various literary pieces and films, we will examine how dichotomies that are usually identified in feminist discourse take on a renewed life as increased interconnectedness that comes with globalization shapes religious, economic, cultural and political issues.

WGST 5360: Written by Herself: Latin-American Women Writers
Cross-listed with Spanish
This course introduces the students to the work of Latin American women writers from the Colonial period to the 21st century. The discussion will focus on the history of women's education, concepts of beauty, the role of women in society and the construction of women's identity. (Offered occasionally)

WGST 5690: Advanced Nursing Practice: Gynecological Issues
This course will focus on gynecologic health-care issues for advanced nursing practice. Health promotion, disease prevention, and management of common disorders seen in gynecologic and primary-care settings will be examined. By using nursing research and practice standards, students will analyze strategies in the physiological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual dimensions in caring for women. Trends in health-care ethical issues and the sociopolitical environment of women will be analyzed to optimize care management.

WGST 5716: Diversity and Anti-Oppression Practices
Cross-listed with political science and social work
This course will examine several aspects of the embodied nature of citizenship. Looking specifically at the interplay between citizenship (as an identity, legal status, and practice) and socially constructed identities predicated upon perceived bodily differences (gender, race, and disability), we will examine the following preliminary questions: Historically, how and why has the American state denied women, people of color, and people with disabilities citizenship status? Should civil, social, and political rights, which are contingent upon citizenship status, be universal rights, or group-differentiated rights? How should we expand/amend conventional definitions of citizenship and political participation to account for the lived experiences of women, people of color, and people with disabilities? How do socially constructed and maintained inequalities- via sexism, racism, and ableism- influence the practice of citizenship? Overall, this course will attempt to integrate the insights from feminist theory, critical race theory, and disability studies into an analysis of what it means to be an American citizen.

WGST 5771: Intimate Partner Violence
Cross-listed with social work
The focus of the course is on ways to reduce the incidence and impact of intimate partner violence. Students address and examine the theoretical understandings for violence against women and other intimate partner violence as well as the need for direct services, community organizing, and public policy changes that will help end intimate partner violence

WGST 6300: Feminist Ethics
Extensive examination of such questions as how ethical claims are distinctive and whether and how they can be rationally based. Offered annually.

WGST 6500: Romanticism
Cross-listed with English
Selected writers and works of the Romantic period in British literature.

WGST 6650: 20th-century Postcolonial Literature
Cross-listed with English
This course will focus on postcolonial literature and film with attention to current critical theories and approaches. We will examine how novels, poetry, drama and films from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean have impacted postmodern culture as a whole. We will look at the various approaches that have been used to study postcolonial literature and film, including Marxist, feminist and poststructuralist. We will discuss such questions as: how have postcolonial writers and filmmakers used literature and film as tools for social change? How have they chosen to represent their identities?

WGST 6700: American Political Thought
Cross-listed with political science
This course focuses on selected ideas, issues, and institutions that have been central to the U.S. Constitution and the practice of American constitutionalism, from the founding era to the present. Readings emphasize seminal works in American political thought, which are supplemented by historical accounts, illustrative literature, and contemporary analyses. Offered every year.

WGST 6790: Feminist Approach: Not for Women Only

WGST 6680: School of Law Seminars
Cross-listed with law
Seminars involve a small number of students, usually no more than 12, who engage in extensive research and discussion under a faculty member's supervision. Seminars must include a substantial writing component, for example, a paper of 20 to 25 pages. Ordinarily, the student writing requirement must include a preliminary draft critiqued by the faculty member and returned prior to the preparation of the final written product; and a final written product. See the School of Law website for individual seminar descriptions.

WGST 6833: Employment Discrimination
Cross-listed with law
This course will provide an in-depth study of current problems win employment discrimination, including theories of discrimination, order and allocation of the burden of proof and other related issues; emphasis on the use of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and amendments, and on the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Grade will be based on a final exam.

WGST 6875: Family Law
Cross-listed with law
Legal relations of husband and wife with respect to person and property; conflict of laws; ante nuptial agreements; legal consequences of annulment, separation and divorce; separation agreements; division of property; alimony and maintenance; child support; child custody.