Courses in the Curriculum

WGSS 200: Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Section 0001 | Emily Westkaemper | MW 3:35-4:50pm
Section 0002 | Pia Antolic-Piper | TuTh 9:30-10:45am
Section 0003 | Kathryn Hobson | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm
Section 0004 | Larissa Brian | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

Cross disciplinary 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. Provides a foundation for subsequent work in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor.

WGSS 300: Special Topics in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Topic: Social Practice: Gender, Art and the Body Politic
Section 0001 | Beth Hinderliter | MW 2:30-3:45pm

How do contemporary art works illuminate the gendered, sexual, racial, and national character of life today? This class will critically engage how visual art practices and theory make legible forms of power and social forces which produce and discipline bodies and identities.

WGSS 337: Sociology of Gender
Section 0001 | Matt Ezzell | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

Examination of theories of sex role development, the roles of men and women in society and gender as a social construction. Cross-listed with SOCI 337.

WGSS 355: American Women at War
Section 0001 | Amelia Underwood | M 5:40-7:40pm

This course invites students to engage a series of issues about the role of women in the US military. This course will examine the contributions & experiences of women who served during the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War, WW I & II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War(s). Also included in 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. Cross-listed with MSCI 355.

WGSS 369: Feminist Literary Theory
Section 0001 | Mary Thompson | MWF 11:15-12:05

An intensive study of a variety of feminist critical approaches and their applications to literature.

HIST 321: European Women's History
Section 0001 | Jessica Davidson | MWF 3:35-4:25pm

A survey of women's history from the Enlightenment to the Modern Era. Attention will focus on women in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as the former Soviet Union. The course traces the birth of modern feminism in the European context and explores gender expectations, paying particular attention to women's entrance into the public, political world.

HIST 327: Technology in America
Section TBD | Kevin Borg | Days/times TBD

A historical survey of the complex and changing relationship between technology and American society from Native American canoes to the Internet. Attention is given to technology’s role in relations of power, in the home, on the farm, in the workplace and on the battlefield.

SOCI 354: Social Inequality
Section 0001 | Bethany Bryson | Online

Course covers the systems of stratification and inequality in the United States including race, class, gender, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, and nationality. Discussion will center on their role in providing rationales for oppression and discrimination in society and their relationship to the distribution of power and ideological control.

Courses that will Receive Substitute Credit

AFST 300: Special Topics in Africana Studies
Topic: Africana Women in the Media 
Section 0001 | Besi Muhonja | TuTh 11:00am - 12:15pm

AFST 400: Selected Topics in Africana Studies
Topic: Gender, Sexuality, and Ubuntu in Africana Literature
Section 0001 | Besi Muhonja | TuTh 9:30-10:45am

ARTH 489: Topics in Art History
Topic: Women in Early Film
Section TBD | Maureen Shanahan | Tu 5:00-7:10pm

This course investigates women’s roles as makers of film and as screen stars from the silent era through the 1940s. Actresses Anna May Wong (1905-61), Dolores del Rio (1905-83), Josephine Baker (1906-75), Irie Takako (1911-95) and others constructed successful careers in France, Japan, Mexico, the U.S. and the U.K. despite and through alienating Orientalist and exoticizing discourses, reductive racial and gender typologies, and oppressive legal codes (segregation, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882). Actresses in early film, such as Musidora in the French classic Les Vampires (Feuillade, France 1915) and Alla Nazimova in Salomé (Bryand, U.S. 1920), enact the mobility and sexual liberty identified with the “new woman” of 1920s. Women filmmakers in France, the U.S., and Canada such as Alice Guy Blaché (1873-1968), Germaine Dulac (1882-1942), Dorothy Arzner (1897-1979), and Nell Shipman (1892-1970), were innovators in narrative, technique and genre. Female characters in the silent era possess an agency and sexual knowledge that were later eclipsed by more regressive ideologies of femininity, especially in Hollywood after the enactment of the Hays Codes in 1930. The course will thus explore the way that female identities and subjectivities are constructed in film and through film-making.

ENG 302: Special Topics in Literature and Language
Topic: Queer Studies and Literature
Section 0002 | Dawn Goode | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

Study of a particular literary or linguistics topic. May be repeated for credit when course content changes but not more than once, except with the approval of the department head.

ENG 407: Advanced Studies in American Literature
Topic: Literary Activists: Race, Gender and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century Protest Movements
Section 0001 | Laura Henigman | MWF 11:15am-12:05pm

A study of two blockbuster nineteenth-century novels, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona (1884), and their cultural aftermaths. These popular novels were political interventions within the abolitionist movement and the Indian land rights movement, respectively. We will examine the place of the novels in the literary careers of these two white women writers; the ways in which imagery and ideas from these novels entered further into popular consciousness and discourses about race through their performances as plays; and works by 19th , 20th, and 21st century African-American, Latino, and Native American writers who responded to these works, playing with and pushing back against their racial ideologies. In addition to Stowe and Jackson, other authors may include Robert Alexander, Colson Whitehead, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Sarah Winnemucca, Jose Marti, and Deborah Miranda.  

ENG 410: Advanced Studies in Author
Topic: Novels of Louise Erdrich
Section 0001 | Mary Thompson | MW 2:30-3:45pm

Study of the works of one (or two) British, American, or Anglophone writers. May be repeated for credit when course content changes.

HIST 150: Critical Issues in Recent Global History
Section 0004 | Jessica Davidson | MWF 10:10-11:15am
Section 0005 | Jessica Davidson | MWF 11:15am-12:05pm

This course examines issues in recent history as a means to introduce, develop and enhance critical thinking skills and to supplement writing, oral communication, library and computing skills objectives for General Education Cluster One. A seminar format allows for careful examination of issues in both oral and written formats. The course emphasizes the development and articulation of well-reasoned arguments in organized and grammatically acceptable prose. May be used for general education credit. May not be used for major credit.

HRD 101 & 201: Leadership Styles, Theory & Application  
D.E.E.P. Impact: Developing Multicultural Competency for Effective Facilitation  
Center for Multicultural Student Services & College of Education Diversity Educator Course (3 credits)  
Thursdays, 1:00-4:00

Developing Multicultural Competency for Effective Facilitation will provide students with a deeper understanding of social identities and gain the necessary skills to facilitate training, programs, and dialogues focusing on areas of diversity, multiculturalism, inclusion, and access. Students enrolled in this course will be prepared to become a diversity educator in the Diversity Education Empowerment Program sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Student Services at James Madison University.

MSCI 360: Gender and Leadership
Section 0001 | Amelia Underwood | Th 5:00-7:45pm

Explore gender in leadership by focusing on social scientific research in sociology, psychology, political science, economics, management, organizational behavior, women’s studies and leadership that illuminates the difficulties women experience in attaining and being seen as effective in top leadership positions.

SCOM 330: Special Topics in Interpersonal Communication
Topic: Mother-Daughter Communication
Section TBD | Melissa Alemán | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

This course will explore the social construction of motherhood and daughterhood across the lifepsan. Using an intersectional lens, students will examine cultural representations of motherhood and daughterhood, performance of mother and daughter identities, and communication within those relationships across the lifespan. Further, students will discuss topics in the contexts of diverse family forms and systems, and institutional discourses of genderNon-SCOM students: For permission to enroll, contact Dr. Alemán at

SPAN 455: Women in Hispanic Literature
Section TBD | Lucy Morris | Days/times TBD
This course is conducted in Spanish.

Study of women in literature in the Hispanic world. Focus on women authors, female characters in literature or both. The course may include works from Spain or Latin America from any time period. Examination of feminist literary criticism, canon formation and other critical topics. Emphasis may vary according to the instructor. Instruction is in Spanish.

THEA 303: Topics in Theatre
Topic: Feminism and Performance
Section 0002 | Jessica Del Vecchio | TuTh 11:00-12:15pm
The pre-requisite will be waived for WGS minors.

This course explores the relationship between feminism—as a body of theory, a mode of political activism, and an identity-practice—and performance. In it, we will study the work of feminist playwrights and theatre artists working in a wide variety of styles, alongside feminist theories—both scholarly and popular. We will examine these performances in their socio-political contexts, considering the ways artists use performance to respond to the feminist concerns of their particular time and place. We will track shifts in feminist politics from the early 20th c. to today, studying, for example, the writings of the First, Second, and Third “Waves”; Women of Color feminisms; Postfeminism; Eco Feminism, and Global Feminism. We will analyze performances for the kinds of feminisms they enact, but we will also consider feminist protests as their own kinds of performance (looking at, for example, suffrage pageants, 70s “zaps,” Black Lives Matter movement’s “die-ins,” and the recent Women’s Marches).The course aims to deepen students’ understanding of both theatrical practice and feminist theory and politics. Assignments will include regular low-stakes writing and speaking exercises, a performance analysis paper, and a final project that can take the shape of either a critical essay or an original feminist performance.

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