Courses in the Curriculum

WGSS 200: Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Section 0001 | Jessica Davidson | MWF 10:10-11:00am
Section 0002 | Dawn Goode | TuTh 11:00-12:15pm
Section 0003 | Besi Muhonja | TuTh 9:30-10:45am
Section 0004 | Beth Hinderliter | 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: Sister Speak: An Intersectional Feminist Zine
Section 0001 | Mary Thompson | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Students will study the history of zines and feminist print culture, feminist creative expression and DIY culture, the feminist art movement, and the fundamentals of intersectional feminist theory in preparation for constructing individual zines. We will also produce a collaborative group zine. Texts will include: Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider, Cherrie Moraga & Gloria Anzaldua, This Bridge Called My Back, Adela Licona, Zines in Third Space, Alison Piepmeier, Girl Zines, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Thick… additional readings as pdf’s. As a class we will visit the JMU Libraries Special Collection to look at back issues of Sister Speak, attend the Richmond Zine Fest (October) and VCU zine archive, and attend the Feminisms and Rhetorics conference at JMU (November). Students will also prepare to host a zine workshop with Harrisonburg community members. Crosslisted with ENG 302


WGSS 341: Gender and Justice
Section 0001 | Sue Spivey | Th 2:00-4:30pm

This course is an interdisciplinary examination of the causes, structure and consequences of gender oppression. Consistent with the social justice track of the major, notions of fairness, justice, and equality with respect to gendered social, political and economic relations will be examined. Crosslisted with JUST 341.

WGSS 368: Women's Literature
Topic: Women and the Kunstlerroman
Section 0001 | Mary Thompson | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

This course explores women’s literature through a focus on the Kunstlerroman or artist’s novel. By comparing these texts to the traditional Bildungsroman and drawing on relevant feminist literary criticism, we will explore issues faced by women artists, the suppression and expression of their art, and its relationship to the unique experiences of women within patriarchal societies. We will also examine the politics of canon formation and consider the intersection of gender with other salient markers of identity such as race/ethnicity, social class, and sexuality. Crosslisted with ENG 368

WGSS 370: Queer Literature
Topic: Queer Identites, Queer Communities
Section 0001 | Dawn Goode |TuTh 3:30-4:45pm & Th film session 5:00-7:00pm

This course is an introductory survey of LGBTQ+ literary and social history. While the majority of our texts will be novels, we will supplement these with poems, short stories, and personal essays.  Through the texts of LGBTQ-identified authors, we will trace the evolving construction of queer identities and queer communities.  We will also explore how queer subjectivity intersects with other forms of social identity, including gender, class, race, and nationality. As a mandatory component to the course, we will view documentaries / films relevant to both queer history and contemporary queer reality. These screenings will take place Thursday evenings from 5:00—7:00pm. Crosslisted with ENG 370. 

WGSS 420: Feminist Rhetorics 
Section 0001 | Jen Almjeld |TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Surveys key women figures in classical and contemporary rhetorical traditions and challenges the strategies used to historicize this tradition from feminist perspectives. Explores diverse feminist rhetorical discourses informed by race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and social class. 

WGSS 492: Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference Intern
Section 0001 | Jen Almjeld | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Organizers of the 12th Biennial Feminisms and Rhetoric Conference seek a student to serve as an assistant conference coordinator. The student intern will report to the conference chair and will assist in a number of tasks in preparation for the November 2019 conference as well as participating in the conference events held Nov 13-19, 2019. Some possible responsibilities include: event planning, program editing, communication with conference attendees, help meeting accessibility requirements for the conference, working registration table at the conference, serve as contact for keynote speakers, etc.. Internship is available for 1-3 credit hours. Those interested, should submit a 1-page letter or interest outlining the student’s interest in the position as well as any past coursework, work experience or other experience that might recommend the student to the position. Inquiries and letters of interest should be sent to Dr. Jen Almjeld at by April 15, 2019.

ANTH 370: Topics in the Anthropology of Gender
Section 0001 | Clare Terni | MWF 9:05-9:55am

This course examines the many ways in which gender is constructed and negotiated in different historical and social contexts. Topics will vary with the instructor to include both cultural and biocultural perspectives.


Courses that will Receive Substitute Credit


ENG 222: Genre(s)
Topic: Gender and the Short Story
Section 0002 | Dawn Goode | TuTh 12:00-1:45pm

An examination of representative works in a literary genre, in a set of related literary subgenres, or in both a literary genre and one or more closely connected genres in other humanities disciplines. May be used for general education credit.

ENG 362: African American Poetry
Topic: Anthologizing African American Poetry
Section 0001 | Mollie Godfrey | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

This course examines a broad range of African American poetry from the 18th century to the present day by looking at the way African American Poetry has been defined and selected for publication in major anthologies at key moments in history. Students will also consider the longer publication histories of certain poems to see what light these different contexts shed on the poems, and vice versa. *Final project must have gender or sexuality as the focus

ENG 414: The Many Lives of Jane Eye
Section 0001 | Heidi Pennington | MWF 12:20-1:10pm

Since Jane Eyre’s publication in 1847, there have been a number of adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel about the eponymous governess, who is “poor, obscure, plain” but distinctly independent-minded. Jane famously “resists all the way” as she struggles in and writes her way through a class-conscious, patriarchal world. In this course we’ll ask what it is about Jane Eyre that makes it so consistently compelling to audiences in different times and places. What changes with each new imagining? And how do we, as readers or viewers, identify a “Jane Eyre” story across these different media? Beginning with an extended analysis of Brontë’s classic novel and diverse critical approaches to it, we will then examine its reincarnation in several texts of literature and film. These will include the play Jane Eyre by John Brougham, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye, Rebecca by Alfred Hitchcock, and Jane Eyre by Cary Fukunaga. Throughout the semester we will pay close attention to narrative and filmic form, theories of adaptation, and representations of gender, race, and class to inform our understanding of Jane Eyre’s persistence and cultural significance. 

HIST 319: Women at Work in U.S. History
Section 0001 | Emily Westkaemper | MWF 9:05-9:55am

This course examines the experiences of women employed in a variety of industries and workplaces in twentieth-century U.S. history. Topics include women’s employment opportunities, experiences of sexism and other biases, collective action to change working conditions, innovation and entrepreneurship of women, and popular culture portrayals of gender in workplaces.

REL 306: Women and Gender in Islam
Section 0001 | Rahel Fischbach | TuTh 5:00-6:15pm

This course investigates how particular gender roles, identities, and relationships become signified as Islamic, and the ways in which Muslim women continually re-negotiate the boundaries of gender in living an authentic religious life. Topics will include Qur`anic revelations, the formation of Islamic jurisprudence, sexual ethics, representations of Muslim women in colonial discourse, as well as the role of women in ritual practice and feminist movements.

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. This course is restricted to sociology students during early enrollment. WGSS majors will need to add themselves to the waiting list during their early appointment window for a shot at ultimately finding a spot.

SOCI 367: Sociology of Sexuality
Section 0001 | Bethany Bryson | Online

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. This course is restricted to sociology students during early enrollment. WGSS majors will need to add themselves to the waiting list during their early appointment window for a shot at ultimately finding a spot.


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