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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rebecca Aanerud
GWSS 200
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Women Studies

Feminist analysis of the construction and enforcement of gender differences and gender inequalities in various contexts. Emphasis on the intersection of race, class, sexuality, and nationality in the lives of women. Topics include feminist theory, motherhood, popular culture, sexual autonomy, racism, and activism in the United States, Asia, Latin America. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

This is an introductory-level course designed to familiarize students with current debates in the field of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and feminist theory. The course examines the cultural construction and maintenance of gender inequalities in a range of social and political contexts, emphasizing the interrelation between race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality. The class is organized around questions of the body. We each “live in” a body. These bodies are, in turn, situated within social structures: they are “raced,” “gendered,” “classed,” etc. The kind of body we occupy—the way it looks and its location on the globe—has everything to do with the ways in which we act and the ways in which we are acted upon. The central question of this course, then, is: “What do Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies and feminism have to do with the bodies we occupy?”

Student learning goals

Students are able to examine the cultural construction and maintenance of gender inequalities in a range of social and political contexts, emphasizing the interrelation between race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation.

Students increase their understanding of the difference between description writing and critical analytic writing.

Students are introduced the concept of interdisciplinarity and begin to have a working knowledge of interdisciplinarity in terms of writing styles, methodological approaches, audience, research questions, etc.

Critical thinking skills Students obtain or build on their critical thinking and reading skills I want students to get in a habit of questioning what they know, have been taught, assume to be true, etc. I want their questioning skills to be grounded in a systematic approach in terms of epistemology and methodology. I want students to ask basic questions, such as: Where is this information from? What perspective does it represent? What kind of writing style is used and why? Are supporting sources used? And if so, how and of what sort? What are some other ways to think about this information? How did the author/s generate this information? How does this information fit with other information I have access to? How does this information fit with my lived experience? What are the epistemological frameworks that I can draw from to assess this information? What are the methodological frameworks I can draw from to assess this information?

Students learn to think creatively and critically reflect on the politics of knowledge production

Students understand that the course material is connected to the lived experiences of all of us. Students gain a sense of agency to be active in the world in a range of ways.

General method of instruction

The class uses a range of instructional approaches: interactive lectures, readings, small group discussion, service learning.

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequistes for this class.

Class assignments and grading

There are short writing assignments that emphasize the difference between decriptive and analytic writing. These writing assignments are designed to further student understanding about the ways in which various different identies (such as, for instance, our racial identities and gender idenities) intersect. There are weekly readings assigned that complement but do not replace the lecture material.

Grades are based on 2 multiple choice exams, weekly very short quizzes, three short writing assignments, and section participation.


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 Rebecca Aanerud
Date: 08/23/2012