Courses Offered

WGS 180 (3 hours)/WGS 180R (4 hours). Gendered Lives

Prerequisite for WGS 180R: C or better in INT 101 or GBK 101.

An examination of how we live our lives as “men” and “women.” This course investigates the biological basis and cultural construction of gender, with particular attention to cross-cultural examples and the history of challenges to the status quo of gendered societies. The four-hour, R-designated course satisfies the writing instruction (WRT) requirement. (Every semester)

WGS 198. Special Introductory Topics in Women and Gender Studies: (Subtitle) (3 hours)

Study of an introductory topic in Women and Gender Studies not covered in any of the departmental offerings. This course may be applied to the Women and Gender Studies major or minor. (Occasionally)

WGS 201. Methods in Gender Studies Research (3 hours)

Prerequisite: WGS 180.

This course will explore and utilize methods for conducting gender studies research. In this course, we will learn how gender and feminist theory shapes the kinds of research questions we ask and how we go about conducting reliable, responsible, and ethical research on gender. Students will work with the instructor to develop and carry out a research project in their own area of interest. (Every year)

WGS 270. Psychology of Gender (3 hours)

(Same as PSY 270)

Prerequisite: PSY 101 or consent of instructor.

Examination of the theory and context in which the social construct of “gender” develops, and the impact this has on our perceptions of ourselves, how others perceive us, and how we relate to others. Emphasis will be placed on the diversity of such experiences. (Every two years)

WGS 285. Special Topics: (Subtitle) (3 hours)

A study of some significant topic in women’s and gender studies not covered in the regular offerings. May be repeated with different topics. (Every year)

WGS 310. Race, Gender and Media (3 hours)

(Same as AFR 310 and JMS 310)

This course will critically examine the role of the media in enabling, facilitating, or challenging the social constructions of race and gender in our society. We will consider the mass media to be one among many other social institutions such as religion, education, and family, which strongly influence our everyday notions of race and gender. The course will address a variety of entertainment and news content in print and electronic media. (Every other year)

WGS 312. Sociology of Gender and Sexuality (3 hours)

(Same as SOC 312)

This course examines the cultural influences upon the construction of gender and how we learn conceptions of masculinity and femininity in society. Students will explore gender inequality, violence against women, and issues related to masculinity. As the class takes a sociological approach to gender, it connects the concept to meanings of sexuality and discusses relevant social problems such as homophobia. (Every two years)

WGS 314. Women in Developing Countries (3 hours)

(Same as POL 314)

Prerequisite: POL 253/IAF 253 or consent of instructor.

This course offers an opportunity to learn about the status of women in developing countries, in general, and the role of women in development, in particular. The course examines the substance and direction of interactions among women, their political structures, and economic systems throughout the developing world. Multiple perspectives and models are explored, including, but not limited to, dependency theory, modernization theory, globalization, feminist sociology, and post modernism. (Every two years)

WGS 315. Gender and Communication (3 hours)

(Same as COM 315)

A study of gender in relation to the public sphere. The primary focus is on feminist approaches to rhetoric and rhetorical theory. Students will also examine how gender intersects with the study of human relationships. (Every other year)

WGS 318. Queer Cinema (3 hours)

(Same as JMS 318)

The course offers an overview of the aesthetic hallmarks, political impulses and critical responses that distinguish queer cinema as a unique, important tradition. Queer authorship, reading practices, and the queerness inherent in mainstream genres will be explored. The work of lesbian and gay filmmakers working in avant-garde and underground venues will also be discussed moving towards a consideration of the New Queer Cinema movement. (Every other year)

WGS 332. Women, Law and Politics (3 hours)

(Same as POL 332)

Prerequisite: POL 101 or consent of instructor.

This course examines the legal and political efforts of women to obtain equality in American society. The course focuses on 1) the landmark legal cases and the important political mile- stones on the path towards full gender equality; 2) the challenges facing women seeking leadership roles in politics and society; 3) the actual and potential impacts women have on political institutions and policy outcomes; and 4) current public policy areas that have a significant impact on the lives of women and girls. (Every two years)

WGS 334. Marriage and Family: Diversity and Change (3 hours)

(Same as SOC 334)

Prerequisite: SOC 101 or WGS 180.

The course examines marriage and family structures emphasizing their changing roles in history. It focuses on the increasing diversity of contemporary family relationships (marital and non-marital) including the disorganization and re-organization of marital and family life. (Every two years)

WGS 345. Health and Gender (3 hours)

(Same as GHS 345)

Prerequisite: GHS 200 or WGS 180.

An interdisciplinary examination of the gendered dimensions of health in a global context. The course will explore such topics as sexual and gender identity, gender-based violence, sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy prevention, and infertility. (Every two years)

WGS 350. Women, Crime, and Justice (3 hours)

(Same as SOC 350)

Prerequisite: CRJ 160 or SOC 101 or WGS 180

This course examines women’s involvement in crime, the criminal justice system, and women’s roles in the field of criminology. It also addresses women’s experiences with victimization and the criminal justice system’s responses. In addition, the course explores the multiple pathways to crime that women take and the role structural forces play in shaping their experiences. (Every two years)

WGS 361. The Biology of Sex and Gender (3 hours)

(Same as BIO 361)

Prerequisite: WGS 180.

The student will gain a knowledge base of the biology of sex, as well as, exposure to material that inspires one to study science with a critical eye, in particular, from a feminist frame- work. Topics covered may include the evolution of meiotic sex, human reproductive biology, environmental influences on reproductive biological development, socio-biological theories and sexual behavior in animals, and feminist analyses of the biological sciences. Pedagogy may include collaborative group work. (Every two years)

WGS 363. Women and Christianity (3 hours)

(Same as REL 363)

Prerequisite: REL 101 or REL 150, and WGS 180 or permission of the instructor.

A biblical, historical, and theological examination of the role of women within the Judaeo-Christian tradition. (Every three years)

WGS 370. Women in Art (3 hours)

(Same as ART 370)

The contributions of women in the field of art and the social context in which they have worked as well as the depiction of women in works of art are both considered in order to discover the criteria by which we judge works of art (and artists) and how visual images can reinforce or change our sense of reality, such as assumptions about gender roles. (Every three years)

WGS 375. Maternal and Child Health (3 hours)

(Same as GHS 375)

Prerequisite: GHS 200.

An exploration of material, neonatal, and child morbidity and mortality in the global context, with emphasis on conditions in developing nations. This course will focus on the sociocultural, political, and economic causes of poor maternal and child health, while introducing students to approaches in MCH health prevention, promotion, and program design. (Every two years)

WGS 377. U.S. Women’s History, Colonial Era to the Present (3 hours)

(Same as HIS 377)

A study of the meaning and place of women in U.S. society from the colonial era to the present through reading major secondary works and selected primary documents in the field. Students address major themes in U.S. women’s history, including family, sexuality, work, and reform, within the broader context of American history. In addition, this course addresses the historiography, implications, methodologies, and future directions of the discipline. (Every two years)

WGS 378. Images of Women in Literature (3 hours)

(Same as ENG 378)

A study of the literary representation of women, with emphasis on the lives and careers of women writers. Authors covered may include Austen, Bronte, Wharton, Woolf, Morrison, and others. (Every two years)

WGS 383. AIDS: Narratives of Disease (3 hours)

This interdisciplinary course gives students sufficient information for them to make informed decisions about their behaviors and their lives. Students will confront and grapple with the biological, social, historical, environmental, psychological, and cultural issues which the AIDS pandemic represents. The diverse populations affected by AIDS–gays, children, women, Africans–will be discussed. AIDS and other historic plagues raise numerous moraland ethical issues regarding public health, resource allocation, individual versus group rights, and the sweeping effects of trying to keep people healthy. Books, articles, speakers, films, and classroom discussion serve as the texts for the course. (Occasionally)

WGS 385. Special Topics (3 hours)

Prerequisite: to be determined by the instructor.

A study of some significant topic in women's and gender studies that is not covered by the department's regular course offerings. May be repeated with different topics. (Every year)

WGS 389. The Black Woman (3 hours)

(Same as AFR 389)

An historical and literary examination of the black woman and her role in American culture. (Every two years)

WGS 390. WGS Preceptorship (2 hours)

Prerequisite: WGS 180.

Selected upper-class students will serve as teaching facilitators in WGS 180. They will attend all classes, read the assigned work, and participate in class discussions. Each student will reflect on the preceptor experience by writing a learning journal during the semester. This course will be graded on an S/U basis, may be taken only once, and cannot be counted as one of the courses required for the WGS minor. (Every semester)

WGS 398. Internship in Women and Gender Studies (1-3 hours)

Prerequisites: junior or senior status

An intensive practicum experience at an approved business, organization, or academic institution. Senior-level students, under the direction of a faculty member and an on-site supervisor, are required to engage in projects or assignments requiring at least three on- site hours per week for every hour of credit. Students will learn through observation, regular discussions with the on-site supervisor and Mercer faculty member, and written reflection. In addition, students may be required to attend training events, workshops or weekly seminars. This course may be repeated for a total of 9 hours and does not count towards a major or minor in Women and Gender Studies. Graded S/U. (Every year)

WGS 401. Gender Theory and Feminist Thought (3 hours)

Prerequisites: WGS 180, WGS 201, and one WGS course numbered above 300, or consent of instructor.

An interdisciplinary examination of theoretical perspectives in women’s and gender studies, including the history of Western ideas on gender and the impact on traditional academic disciplines of the “new scholarship” on women and gender. Connections between critical theories and collective movements or social change will be emphasized. (Every third semester)

WGS 415. Southern Women in Popular Culture, History, and Literature (3 hours)

Prerequisite: WGS 180.

This seminar examines the intersection of gender, race, class, and region in the American South. By examining film, works of fiction, biography, and autobiography, we will look at the ways in which southern women have negotiated the often contested terrain of identity. Particular emphasis will be placed on the constructions of southern womanhood, and the ways in which southern women have created, confronted, accepted, rejected, and struggled with these constructions. (Every other year)

WGS 480. Internship (3-12 hours)

Prerequisites: WGS 180 and 201 and consent of WGS Director.

Open to WGS majors and minors only. Does not count toward the major or minor.

An internship offering majors and minors practical field work with local or national women-oriented organizations. Students are expected to work for the local or national agency for no fewer than 3 hours per week for each credit hour awarded. Graded on an S/U basis. (As requested)

WGS 485. Seminar (3 hours)

Prerequisite: to be determined by instructor.

Structured seminar-style discussion involving intensive study of an issue or topic in women’s and gender studies. May be repeated with different topics. (Every year)

WGS 490. Directed Independent Study (1-3 hours)

Prerequisite: consent of the instructor.

An intensive reading and research project culminating in either a research paper or an annotated bibliography. May be repeated with different topics. Students are required to engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. (1-3 hours credit, depending upon the scope of the project). (Occasionally)