Introduction to Womens Studies - 1st year

An introductory, comparative, and interdisciplinary course that surveys the diverse status of women, the course will examine the ways in which race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality as well as society, economy, culture, and politics shape the complex experiences of women. The course will also explore the history of women’s activism and participation in social and political movements. It will assess current efforts by various international groups of women to set terms for their own lives and to promote more profound transformations in society.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Define and identify fundamental concepts such as: biology as destiny, patriarchy, matriarchy, androcentrism, feminism;

2. Demonstrate awareness of current issues regarding women;

3. Evaluate written and visual media critically;

4. Demonstrate knowledge of women’s status in history and myth;

5. Demonstrate an ability to speculate about the future roles of women;

6. Critically assess and analyze course themes;


Course topics will include the following:

1. Race, gender, class, age

2. Immigrant women (special problems of gender in a different culture)

3. Women and myth: multicultural examination of goddesses; basic female mythic types

4. Women and media: media portrayals of women as objects of beauty and its role in creating beauty standards; women as newsworthy; women’s roles in media production

5. Women’s issues as they apply to: health; family, workplace; and politics

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Class discussions

3. Small group activities

4. Class activities

5. Student presentations

6. Role playing

7. Use of library for research projects

8. Videos

Types of Assignments:

1. Students will read approximately a chapter-length assignment per week

2. Students must take notes from their textbook and supplementary readings and from the lectures.

3. Short presentation

4. Students will view and critique videos. (Orally or in writing)

5. Short papers

6. Students must be able to write well-organized papers.

Sample Text:

1. Gender, Race and Class in Media: A Text-Reader, (Gail Dines and Jean McMahon Humez, editors, Sage Publications, 1995)