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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alyssa Hellrung
GWSS 290
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Women Studies

Exploration of specific problems and issues relevant to the study of women. Offered by visiting or resident faculty members.

Class description

This course explores the way amateur and professional athletics construct and shape our ideas, perceptions, and assumptions about gender, race, socioeconomic status, and sexuality, and how dominant ideas about those qualities influence the way we experience and view sports. Athletic bodies, while often extraordinary, exist inside a larger social context, one that layers meaning onto those bodies. In particular we will look at how ideas of masculinity and femininity in sports both reflect and challenge social norms. We will also examine the idea of “the student athlete”, the function of the athlete in popular culture and national identity, and challenges to the athletic image brought about by injuries and other physical obstacles. We will draw upon films, academic articles, sports journalism, discussions, written journals, and other activities to consider these relationships and connections in both professional and amateur athletics.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture, group discussion.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

We will have several short writing assignments and one longer, research-based writing assignment.

Grades will be based on participation in class, writing assignments, one in-class midterm exam, and one final, research-based paper.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alyssa Hellrung
Date: 03/24/2013