Women's Studies 101

WMST 101: Women in the World: Introduction to Women’s Studies

Credit Hours: (3)

An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Women’s Studies through global and multicultural perspectives. It provides an overview of women’s experiences and their activism to achieve equality over time and across the world, with attention to differences of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and nation. This course establishes a foundation for further coursework in the Women’s Studies minor. This course has been approved for credit in the Global Perspectives Area of the Core Curriculum.


Detailed Description of Course

INTERDISCIPLINARY, GLOBAL, AND CROSS-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES: What is Women’s Studies? Women’s Activism to Create Equality and Social Justice The Social Construction of Gender (Femininity and Masculinity) The Role of Language and Media Representations in Shaping Cultural Attitudes toward Gender and Other Categories of Human Difference; The Intersecting and Mutually Reinforcing Systems of Domination Based on Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Class, Sexuality, Physical Ability, and Nation; Women’s Health and Women’s Bodies Women in the Developing World Women’s Work and the Globalized Economy Women and Sexuality Women and the Environment Violence against Women Feminist Theories

REPRESENTATIVE READINGS: Gloria Anzaldua, “La conciencia de la mestiza—Toward a New Consciousness” Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education” Michael Kimmel, “Men and Women’s Studies: Premises, Perils, and Promise” bell hooks, “Men in the Feminist Struggle—The Necessary Movement” Allan Johnson, “Patriarchy, the System: An It, not a He, a Them, or an Us” Lois Gould, “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story” Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye Rigoberta Menchu, I, Rigoberta Menchu Alicia Partnoy, The Little Schools: Tales of Disappearance and Torture in Argentina Nawal El Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of my Name Edward Clark, “Sex in Education” Margaret Conway, David Ahern, and Gertrude Steuernagel, “Women in Educational Policy” Thomas M. Carey, “The Present Tendencies in Women’s College and University Education”
Deborah Woo, “The Gap between Striving and Achieving: The Case of Asian-American Women” Nancy Krieger and Elizabeth Fee, “Man-Made Medicine and Women’s Health—The Biopolitics of Sex/Gender and Race/Ethnicity” Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman?” Ann Elizabeth Mayer, "Cultural Particularism as a Bar to Women’s Rights—Reflections on the Middle Eastern Experience" Charlotte Bunch, "Transforming Human Rights from a Feminist Perspective" Claire Robertson, "Grassroots in Kenya: Women, Genital Mutilation, and Collective Action, 1920-1990" Pierrette Hondagney-Sotelo, "Women and Children First: New Directions in Anti-Immigrant Politics" Becky Thompson, "Time Travelling and Border Crossing: Reflections on White Identity"


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

WMST 101 emphasizes respectful, constructive, critical dialogue about the assigned readings and the issues they raise; lectures by the instructor as needed on the major topics addressed in the course; student presentations on international women’s issues; and sharing of student writing and/or conversations in small and large groups. It may use a Web CT platform so that students can use interactive learning tools, including the chat room and bulletin board, where students can post their group presentations and post and respond to each other’s writing. Guest speakers may deliver lectures on their areas of specialization. Films and/or other media as well as electronic technology will be used to forge connections among students in this class and women worldwide and to sharpen students’ information literacy skills. The course incorporates a high degree of student engagement, interaction and collaboration, and may include such activities as an experiential learning component involving field work, a group presentation on an international issue, and a culminating


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed wmst 101, students will be able to: analyze women's historical roles and agency in global societies; analyze how differences in race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation affect individual lives and society in general; analyze contemporary international issues that affect the lives of women; explain some of the major issues that women face both in the U. S. and internationally, such as pay inequity and sexual harassment, health care, body image, violence against women; explain how the global economy affects women’s lives domestically and internationally; explain similarities and differences in the challenges that women face domestically and internationally; explain how language and media representations of gender, race, ethnicity, class, or nation affect cultural attitudes and behaviors; explain how women activists in the U. S. and internationally have effectively faced the challenges confronting women; analyze the impact that decisions made in the U. S. have upon women in other parts of the world.

With respect to Goal 11 of College Core A, having successfully completed WMST 101, Radford University students will understand how social and cultural (for example, political, historical, economic, environmental, religious, or geographic) forces shape experiences in the global setting. Radford University students will be able to: compare and contrast different perspectives used to explain the world or international issues; use material studied to explain cross-cultural issues in the world; evaluate differences and similarities among world cultures that affect perceptions, beliefs, or behaviors, and thus relationships between those cultures.


Assessment Measures

WMST 101 employs a variety of assessment strategies, many of which are both learning and assessment tools grounded in the principles of a collaborative, student-centered pedagogy. These may include a number of the following: reading journals, group research project and oral presentation on an international issue and women’s activism in response to it, experiential learning project and report on an issue of concern to women, oral history essay based on an interview with an older woman, three generational oral history project and essay, in-class writing assignments, quizzes on readings, final reflection essay, midterm exam, final exam.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval
Nov. 3, 2007        Moira Baker

December 1, 2008    Moira Baker