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Spring 2023 WGSS Course Offerings

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 200
Course Title: Introduction to WGSS
Description: Interdisciplinary introduction to theories and scholarship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Examines the social construction of gender, how gender affects access to opportunity, and the experiences and contributions of women throughout history. Provides a foundation for subsequent work in the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies minor. 

Section: 0001 (40 seats)
Professor: Mary Thompson
Day/Time: MWF 9:10 – 10:05
Modality: In-person

Section: 0002 (40 seats)
Professor: Mallory Marsh
Day/Time: TT 2:20-3:35
Modality: In person

Section: 0003 (40 seats)
Professor: Noelle Paley
Day/Time: MW 5-6:15
Modality: Online

Section: 0004 (40 seats)
Professor: Kathryn Hobson
Day/Time: TT 9:35 – 10:50
Modality: In-person

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 301 (5 seats held for WGSS students) / SCOM 301
Course Title:  Feminist Blogging: Writing for Shout Out!
Professor: Mallory Marsh
Day/Time: TT 3:55-5:10
Description: The goal of this course is to work in a feminist collective to write daily blog posts for the Shout Out! JMU blog. Students will organize the blog, research and write blog posts, publicize the blog, and create dialogue by commenting on one another’s blog posts as a means of consciousness raising.

Course Subject/Number:  PSYC 310
Course Title: Gender and Psychology
Professor: Kala Melchiori
Day/Time: TuTh 9:35AM - 10:50AM (HBS 4041)
Modality: In-person
Description:   In this course, we will engage psychological research and theory to examine the influence of gender on the lives of men and women.  In general, emphasis will be placed on understanding gender as a social psychological construct. Consideration is given to biological, developmental and societal determinants of sex and gender. Course meets sociocultural requirement for the psychology major.

Course Subject/Number:  HIST 320 (5 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: American Women’s History
Professor: Emily Westkaemper
Day/Time: MWF 12:40 – 1:30
Modality: In-person
Description: Attention to women’s history transforms and enriches our understanding of the American past as a whole. In this course, we will examine the changing status of American women from the early 1600s through the early 2000s. Topics will include family, household labor, employment, religion, war, education, medicine, sexuality, organizations, feminism, and media depictions of gender. We will consider how race, class, ethnicity, and region have affected women’s status and women’s interactions with one another. Each student will have the opportunity to become the published author of an original, short biography of a participant in the 1977 National Women’s Conference. This research contributes to the “Sharing Stories from 1977” project, https://sharingstories1977.uh.edu/

Course Subject/Number:  HIST 321 (5 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe
Professor: Jessica Davidson
Day/Time: MW 1:50 – 3:05
Modality: In-person
Description:  This class examines categories of gender, masculinity and femininity, as well as patriarchy and sexuality in the context of Modern Europe. The course will cover the significance of Republican Motherhood, the birth of feminism, the effects of empire, war and dictatorship on gender and sexuality, and the contradictions of sexuality and morality in Europe from the 18th to 20th centuries. With an emphasis on transnationalism, the course gives special attention to issues of gender and sexuality in England, France, Germany and the former Soviet Union. These same topics will be discussed in the context of European Empire.

Course Subject/Number: WGSS  (10 seats held for WGSS students) /SOCI 337
Course Title: Sociology of Gender
Professor: Matt Ezzell
Day/Time: Tues/Thurs, 11:10-12:25 (Moody 101)
Modality: In-Person
Course Description: “What are you having, a boy or a girl?” This is a common question asked of expectant parents. But what does it mean to be a boy or a girl, a man or a woman? Are these even the only options on the table? What is the difference between sex and gender? How does gender affect our lives? What does it mean to “do gender”? These are just some of the questions that we, as a class community, will engage in this course. In many ways, gender is a defining aspect of our lives, at the same time that it is often un-questioned and taken-for-granted. In this course, we will critically examine gender in the context of “society at large” and in our own lives.

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 348 (10 seats held for WGSS students) / SCOM 348
Course Title: Gender and Communication
Professor: Melissa Aleman
Day/Time: TT 2:20-3:35
Modality: In person
Description: Study of theories and research regarding the influence of gender in various human communication contexts, both public and private. Emphasis on the critical analysis of existing theory and empirical research and the potential competent uses of communication for social change. Prerequisite(s): Any 100- level SCOM course.

Course Subject/Number: SOCI 336
Course Title: Race and Ethnicity
Professor: Bethany Bryson
Day/Time: Asynchronous
Modality: Online
Description:  This course examines the social construction of race and ethnicity around the world and how they influence social processes, institutions, change and ideology. The course will include discussions concerning the intersection of race and ethnicity with other aspects of social inequality such as class, gender, sexuality and nationality in contemporary society.

Course Subject/Number: ANTH 360
Course Title: Medical Anthropology
Professor: Becca Howes-Mischel
Day/Time: TT 2:20-3:35
Modality: In-person
Description: This course takes an anthropological approach to the study of health, illness and healing; how do different cultural systems and social institutions influence the experience and interpretation of different bodily states? Material covers critical analyses of Western medicine and ethnomedicine in both specific cultural settings and their global circulation. Topics include disease epidemics, illness narratives, public health, suffering, pharmaceuticals, disability and health care systems. Prerequisite(s): ANTH 195 or permission of the instructor.

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 383 (5 seats held for WGSS students) / POSC 383
Course Title: Women and Politics
Professor: Connie Pruitt
Course Description: A study of the causes and consequences of women’s political marginalization in the United States and abroad. The course examines socioeconomic and political dimensions of gender inequality, exploring how women have worked through social movements, electoral politics, and public policy initiatives to overcome obstacles to their political empowerment.

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 386 (5 seats held for WGSS students) / JUST 386
Course Title: Sexual Orientation, Law, and Justice
Professor: Christine Robinson
Day/Time: Thursday, 3:55PM - 6:25PM
Modality: hybrid
Description: This course explores considerations of justice in shaping law and policy related to sexual orientation. The concept of sexual orientation is a relatively recent development in academic, legal, medical and other policy contexts in the United States and globally. Topics addressed in the course include the dehumanization, criminalization, medicalization and oppression of sexual orientation minorities, and legal and regulatory interventions and movements for social justice, criminal justice reform and human rights. Prerequisite(s): JUST 200 and one other 200-level JUST course, not including JUST 225.

Course Subject/Number: ENG 423 (5 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: Reproductive Dystopias
Professor: Mary Thompson
Day/Time: MWF 11:20 – 12:10
Modality: In-person
Description:  The emerging genre of 21st century dystopian fictions by women points to an interest in and anxiety over reproduction, new technologies, and power dynamics. We might ask, though, whose interest do these novels seek to engage? This course examines reproductive dystopias to consider relationships of power, technology, and family-making in the context of systemic oppressions based on race, gender and sexuality.

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 485E (12 seats held for WGSS students) / BIO 426E  *with permission of instructor
Course Title: Gender, Biology and Society
Professor: Cynthia Bauerle
Day/Time: TT 2:20 – 3:35
Modality: In-person
Description: Students in this course will explore the biology of sex and gender and consider their interactions interrelationships through a lens that considers intersectional identities and societal expectations. Topics include reproductive biology, sexual differentiation, gender development and expression, and the interactions between science and society that inform gendered bodies and practices. Prerequisites: Bio 150, GEO 110, GEO 210, ISAT 112 or permission of instructor

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 492
Course Title: Internship: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression Office (1 credit)
Supervisor: Cassidy Melchaske
Day/Time: TBD
Description: This intern for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) will primarily focus on overseeing social media for the department. This would require content creation and navigating a posting schedule. This intern will be entirely responsible for all the creation and posting of large event graphics, staff highlights, and social media series. It is the responsibility of this intern to hold an intersectional lens with content. This would include the topics of the posts as well as ensuring the graphics created are accessible through color contrast, font, and alt text features. Contact Cassidy Mechalske, Assistant Director of SOGIE, to apply: Cassidy Mechalske, M.Ed. (She, her, hers), Assistant Director, SOGIE, Student Success Center, 1st Floor | MSC 3504  O: 540.568.5470 E: mechalcn@jmu.edu 

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 492
Course Title: Internship: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression Office (1 credit)
Supervisor: Cassidy Melchaske
Day/Time: TBD
Description:  This intern for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) will primarily focus on a history project for the department. This will require communication with Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Students to gather information about LGBTQ+ history on campus. The project is spanning the creation of Madison Equality, SOGIE, and Shades of Pride as well as what it was like to be queer on campus prior to the department creation. Contact Cassidy Mechalske, Assistant Director of SOGIE, to apply: Cassidy Mechalske, M.Ed. (She, her, hers), Assistant Director, SOGIE, Student Success Center, 1st Floor | MSC 3504
O: 540.568.5470 E: mechalcn@jmu.edu 

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 492
Course Title: Internship: WGSS Social Media (1 credit)
Professor: Mary Thompson
Day/Time: TBD
Description:  Provide content and design for WGSS program social media accounts (Fb, IG, and Twitter). Contact Dr. Mary Thompson thompsmx@jmu.edu to apply.

Course Subject/Number: WGSS 492
Course Title: Internship: WGSS Program Ambassador (1 credit)
Professor: Mary Thompson
Day/Time: TBD
Description:  The WGSS Program Student Ambassador will promote campus awareness of the minor and anticipated major in WGSS by attending events and assisting with program engagement. Contact Dr. Mary Thompson thompsmx@jmu.edu to apply.

The following require a course directive to count for WGSS credit (contact WGSS coordinator after enrollment):

Course Subject/Number:  HUM 200
Course Title: Women’s Voices in the Francophone World
Professor: Doe Polanz
Day/Time: MW 8-9:15
Modality: In-person
Description: Discover Francophone cultures trough the study of translated canonical French texts written by women through the particular lens of feminist visions. Read and learn how to analyze literature in many forms: plays, essays, novels, poems, comic books, and movie adaptations. Understand how to organize your arguments through the drafting of a proposal, and how to use rhetorical tools to improve your academic writing. 

Course Subject/Number: ENG 221-0002
Course Title: Literature / Culture / Ideas [C2L]: The Fantastic Feminine: History, Gender and Wonder
Professor: María José Delgadillo
Day/Time: MW, 9:35am – 10:50am 
Description: In this class we’ll read the work of Latin American women writers from the 20th and 21st centuries. While the class is centered around historical and social processes, we will focus on authors who have crafted narrative pieces that subvert what testimony and history mean, through the use of research and archives; but also –and most importantly– of the fantastic, wonder, and horror. Be aware that due to the topics, both fictional and historical, some of the writing will include depictions of violence. May be used for general education credit.

Course Subject/Number: HUM 252 / 0002
Course Title: Feminisms in Latinx Pop Culture
Professor: Dávila Ellis
Day/Times: M&W 1:50-3:05pm
Modality: In-person
Description:  Following the guiding principles of the Cluster Two, this course introduces students to the history of cultural production by communities of Latin American descent across the Americas. We will examine U.S. Latinx/a/o literature, music, and visual art production from the 1960s to the present, focusing on how these cultural materials have been embedded within the political and social movements of these communities, in particular Feminist and Queer activism. Some of the questions explored in our course will be: How do cultural productions address the myriad issues particular to the heterogeneous populations of Latin American descent in the US? In turn, how do Latin American and Latinx audiences make sense of the representations offered by mainstream media? How do different stakeholders impact the production and consumption of these expressive cultures? And, how do these manifestations blur and complicate the distinctions between popular culture, entertainment, and political and social movements?

Course Number: HON 300 (5 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: American Woment at War
Professor: Amelia Underwood 
Day/Time: W 1:30-4:00
Modality: In-Person
Description: American Women at War examines the experiences and contributions of women in the U.S. during times of war to include the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War, World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War(s). Also included in the scope of this course is an examination of how women in military service, both past and present, are an instrument for societal change in America, specifically in promoting the cause of women's rights. This is a very relevant topic as our society is currently grappling with how to integrate women into combat roles in our military. Students will lead the discussions, present profiles of military women, and analyze media and movies on a variety of topics pertaining to the role of American women in the military. During the second half of the semester, we take a field trip to the Army Women's Museum in Fort Lee, Virginia. Student teams examine the archival documents of a particular woman who served in World War I or II and create a research finding aide and an exhibit to be used by the museum. Students are actually discovering "new" history about these women's experiences in war and are making an impact in the historical interpretation of women's roles in the American military.

Course Subject/Number:  THEA 303
Course Title: Community-Engaged & Activist Theatre
Professor: Rachel Rhoades
Day/Time: Thursdays 2:20-3:35 and Sundays 2:30-4
Modality: In person
Description: The art and ethics of community-based professional practice and public advocacy are at the core of the course. This course offers the opportunity for JMU students to contribute to the local refugee resettlement community in a partnership with five Harrisonburg non-profits while also developing vital skills for their professional futures. This would be an opportunity for developing empathy and critical insights on global issues, improving inclusive practice across fields, and utilizing performing arts to educate and inspire our community to support our local refugee and newcomer population. Students will also engage with material on topics such as trauma-informed practice, cross-cultural engagement, global citizenship, ethics of non-profit/university partnerships, and immigration justice from readings as well as guest professor speakers from across JMU departments.

Course Subject/Number:  ENG 348 (5 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: Studies in Linguistics and the English Language: Language and Gender
Professor: Becky Childs
Day/Time: MW 9:35-10:50
Modality: In-person
Description: How do we construct femininity and masculinity in our speech? What are the stereotypes about male and female speech? Are there really quantifiable differences in male and female speech? In this class we will examine how gender is reflected in language use and mediated by social constructions of gender and sexuality. We will look at the historical development of the field of language and gender study as we come to understand its interdisciplinary focus and the directions of contemporary research in the field. In this class students can expect to read scholarly texts, complete reflection essays, collect and analyze "data", and develop a final project on a topic in language and gender.

Course Subject/Number: JUST 301/0002 (3 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: Black Feminist Abolitionist Praxis
Professor: Tatiana Benjamin
Day/Time: 3:55- 6:25pm
Modality: In Person
Description: This course focuses on various social justice issues that impact our everyday lives on both the personal and institutional level. It will explore Black feminist theory in order to introduce topics  such as racial justice, gender violence, , immigrant rights, LGBTQ,  and disability justice. By applying Black feminist theory students will engage with how intersectionality and womanism provide road maps for abolishing systems of inequality. As the feminist adage states, “the personal is political.” Students will learn how to interrogate and dismantle hegemonic ideologies that do not align with liberation for all people. They will read writings that center the experiences of marginalized communities. Lastly, this course asks students to reimagine how our social, economic, and political systems can be transformed to reflect justice within our society. 

Course Subject/Number:  ENG 362 (5 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: African American Womyn’s Poetry
Professor: L. Renee
Day/Time: TT 2:20 – 3:35
Modality: In-person
Description:  How have African American poets who identify as women described their experiences in the United States? What role has Black feminist and womanist thought played in the crafting of their work? And what themes have been raised, remixed, or renunciated across, at least, the last three centuries when we hold the lines of these poets and writers up closely to the light? In this course, we will learn the basics of poetic craft and use these craft tools in our analysis of both individual poems and poetry/hybrid collections. We will examine Black feminist and womanist thought through prose articles, contextualized with relevant history, and probe how these principles impacted the publishing of African American poets and writers from Phillis Wheatley to Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez to Nikki Giovanni, and Claudia Rankine to Tiana Clark, among others. While this is a literature course, we will use multimodal learning methods. This means, in addition to our readings, we'll be listening to audio recordings, watching short videos, taking trips to the library's special collections to engage with archival material, and chatting with class guests. Be prepared to read closely, to collaborate with care, and lean into creative thinking.

Course Subject/Number:  ANTH 395 (5 seats held for WGSS students)
Course Title: Women, Culture and Power in Africa
Section: 0001
Professor: Miriam Kilimo
Day/Time: MW 3:25PM - 4:40
Modality: In-person
Description:  How did women access political power in precolonial Africa? What role did African women play in liberation struggles? How are African women today agitating for increased political spaces? This course invites students to explore African women's experiences in light of cultural, economic, and political transformations on the continent. Students will engage with African feminist thought and explore African women's writing and histories. We will examine how the experiences of African women were influenced by forces such as colonialism, independence struggles, women’s movements, political activism, human rights discourses, development aid, among others. Throughout the course, we will see how African women have shaped their communities and cultivated spaces for agency, autonomy, and renewal amidst hegemonic cultural and political forces.

Course Number: SOCI 395-0001 (12945)
Course Title:  Special Topics in Sociology: The Black Family 
Instructor: Dr. Deborwah Faulk
Day/Time: TTh 9:35 AM - 10:50 AM
Modality: In-person 
Description: This course approaches the study of the Black family through the context of neighborhoods, schools, work, and other social spaces. Students will discuss how racial status intersects with class, gender, and place and how these forces manifest in the lives and stories of Black families. Students will also design, write, and present a research project which addresses a question pertaining to the family.

Course Number:  ENG 403
Course Title: Women Writers of the British 18th Century
Instructor: Dawn Goode
Day/Time: T/Th 12:45-2:00pm
Modality: in-person
Description: This course will focus on the origins and development of the English novel through the works of 18th-century female novelists.  As 18th-century Britain experienced profound social, economic, and political change, so too did the form and purpose of the period’s fiction, culminating in the rise of the novel genre. We will chart this rise by reading some of the period’s major works by women.  Along with critical scholarship on the novel genre and the 18th-century book-trade, we will read texts representative of some of the most popular novel genres in the period.  We will look also at the period’s socio-cultural landscape that impacted both the evolution of the novel and the lives of the women who boldly entered the literary arena.  Finally, we will consider the limitations placed upon these writers and how they maneuvered around these limitations. 


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