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Upcoming Courses: Spring 2020

The WGSS Curriculum is divided into categories.
Feminist and Queer Theories (WGFQ); Methods for Knowledge Production (WGKP); Gender and Violence (WGGV); Transnational Perspectives (WGTP); Historical Perspectives (WGHP); and Free Electices (WGSS)


AMST 381 SEM: Collab Arts: Dance, Humanities, and Technology  (Diaz, Herrera)  WGFQ
W 3:00-5:40 pm
This co-taught course explores how to use dance and the arts as a vehicle for, what historical strategist Free Egunfemi calls, Commemorative Justice. Using the University of Richmond as a site of inquiry, we will reckon with the history of our own campus from a plantation before the Civil War to a black-owned land and home of a mutual aid society. Gravesites are constant reminders of people’s living stories. When we deny the existence of a cemetery, we deny the existence of people. We will thus pay particular attention to three burial grounds—the burial ground for enslaved people located behind the administrative offices of UR, the Sons and Daughters of Ham Cemetery on the outskirts of campus and the East End Cemetery in the City of Richmond. We will work on two site-specific commemorative projects that will engage with the history of these burial grounds and honor the lives of black people who are buried beneath the land we walk on. It is in the process of embodying this history that we can collectively grapple with a racial past that still haunts us today.
AMST 391 ST: Gender, Race & Performance (Mendez, Herrera)  WGTP
MW 10:30-11:45 am
The body serves as a site of negotiation, discipline, and a means of expression and meaning. This co-taught class examines how bodies throughout the Americas articulate race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and gender. Drawing from critical race studies, feminist and queer theory, and performance studies, we will unpack how race, gender, and sexuality are constructed and maintained through performance—both on-stage and off.  We will pay special attention to the politics of the body locally and globally. From commemorative performances to interventionist performances, we will wrestle with issues that invite us to think in new ways about gender, race, and the construction of identities across the Americas. This course is  designed for students who have some communicative ability in Spanish. Our readings and discussions will be conducted in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. A cohort of 8-10 students from the class will travel to Cuba to the biennial Havana Theater Festival—Mayo Teatral. Enrollment in the course pending conversation with professors. If you are interested in the class or have any questions, contact Professor Patricia Herrera at pherrera@richmond and Professor Mariela Méndez at  (Crosslisted as LAIS 497 & THTR 312)

ANTH 279-03 Women’s Reproductive Health in Global/Anthropological Perspective (Nourse) WGTP
MW 3-4:15 pm
This is an introductory course to learn about the cultural diversity in women’s reproductive health attitudes, and outcomes, in the sphere of pre-natal, birth, and post-natal treatment. Participants in the course will read anthropological research about birth around the globe, and learn discriminatory practices against minoritized women in the USA and beyond. The course requires no pre-requisites, but an open mind about alternative practices and ways in which women around the globe circumvent and conquer discrimination, while fighting for their right to make their own decisions about how to bring their children into the world.  

ANTH 303 Biopolitics in Medical Anthropology (Sweis) Special Contract WGGV
TR 3:00-4:15 pm
This advanced anthropology course examines the intersections of culture, politics and medicine from a variety of theoretical and scholarly approaches. Students will study conceptualizations of the body, health, healing, illness and personhood from a global and transhistorical perspective. Student will also learn the various methods anthropologists use to understand these conceptualizations. With a strong emphasis on state and transnational processes, the readings focus on how biology and politics—or biopolitics—converge in a myriad of ways to shape intimate human experience, past and present.

Topics covered in class include: the history and culture of modern western biomedicine; religious perspectives of the body; organ donation, trafficking and transplantation; sex, gender and reproductive technologies; relations between illness, disease and racial inequality; poverty and social suffering; the global politics of HIV AIDS, Ebola and other infectious diseases; medical humanitarianism and human rights; capitalism and the pharmaceutical industry; the local effects of contemporary legal healthcare regimes.

ANTH 328 Anthropology of Human Rights (French)
TR 10:30-11:45 am; TR 12:00-1:15pm
Examines the origins of human rights discourse and practice in the 20th century and the elaboration and dissemination of human rights concepts in the post-World War II period, including analysis of institutional grounding in United Nations and non-governmental organizations. Considers human rights from a cross-cultural, anthropological perspective.
Prerequisite(s):  Anthropology 101, Global Studies 290, Political Science 240, Political Science 250, Political Science 260, Sociology 101, or Leadership Studies 101.

CLSC 301 Greek Art and Archaeology (Baughan) Special Contract WGHP
TR 10:30-11:45 am
A survey of architecture, sculpture, ceramics, and painting in the Greek world, from the Bronze Age through the Classical period, and an exploration of how art and buildings functioned in Greek society. Introduces students to basic methods of analyzing and interpreting archaeological remains.

DANC 319 SEM: Collab Arts Dance, Humanities, and Technology (Diaz, Herrera)  WGFQ
W 3:00-5:40 pm
See description under AMST 381

ENGL 216 Literature, Technology, Culture (Snaza) Special Contract  WGFQ
TR 10:30-11:45 am; 12:00-1:15 pm
In general, this course looks at literary and nonliterary texts that react, in given societies and periods of history, to technological change and the social effects of technology.  The course content will change from semester to semester, but a recently repeated topic has been "The Road," a survey of films and literary texts that concern themselves with cars, the experience of automotive travel, and the way writers, filmmakers, and urban-planners depict a "car culture."

FYS 100-51 Politics of Sexual Education (Snaza) WGFQ
TR 1:30-2:45 pm

HIST 199 Joan of Arc & Marie Antoinette (Watts) WGHP
TR 9:00-10:15 am
This course examines the history of European women who lived prior to the era of the women's suffrage movement of the late nineteenth century. This semester we will focus on two, iconic, female leaders: Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette. We will, in turn, examine each of their lives through memoirs, trial records, diaries, and pamphlet literature. The course focuses on putting these women into proper historical context through the study of gender, sexuality, military history, social structures, court politics, and religious practices.

Students will engage in independent work, seeing how various portrayals of these women and the historical interpretation of their lives have changed over the centuries through an array of media (film, portraiture, popular and scholarly literature, advertising, and propaganda). Students will become skilled in historical thinking through reading, writing and oral assignments that ask them to be attentive to the use and distortion of historical fact, and to critically examine the range of interpretation, aims of historical revision, and modes of representation as a culturally constituted practice.

HIST 218 State & Society Modern America (Yellin) Special Contract WGHP
TR 1:30-2:45 pm
Survey of United States political and social development in the twentieth century. Topics include immigration and ethnicity, the American labor movement, the New Deal, World War II, urban crises and suburbanization, the postwar civil rights movements, the politics of gender and sexuality, the career of the modern American welfare state, and how all of these movements intertwined and connected to form the political and social the ideas of twentieth-century America.

HIST 265 Gender & Sexuality in Latin American History (Meyer) WGGV
TR 1:30-2:45 pm
Exploration of the socio-political, cultural and economic processes through which gender, sexuality, class, and ethnic/cultural dynamics are interconnected and constructed in Latin America from the colonial era to the contemporary period. Focus will be on the complicated relationships between historically specific ideologies and socio-economic systems of production and domination, and the respective privileged or unprivileged positions of women and men under the colonialist, capitalist, socialist, and neoliberal states of Latin America.

LAIS 497-01 ST: Gender, Race & Performance (Mendez, Herrera)  WGTP
MW 10:30-11:45 am
See description under AMST 391.

LDST 386 Leadership in a Diverse Society (Hoyt) WGSS
TR 9:00-10:15 am
The goal of this course is to understand how diversity affects social relations with an emphasis on leadership.  To this end, we will examine diversity, primarily through the lens of social psychology, by examining individual and collective dynamics in pluralistic settings.  We will examine the phenomena and processes associated with one’s beliefs about members of social groups (stereotypes), attitudes and evaluative responses toward group members (prejudice), and behaviors toward members of a social group based on their group membership (discrimination). On the flip side, we will examine how stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination shape the experiences of members of low-status or minority groups. We will focus primarily on large societal groups that differ on cultural dimensions of identity such as gender, sexuality, and race & ethnicity. We will also address approaches to ameliorating these problems and will apply the theoretical and empirical work to current events and relevant policy issues.

LING 203 Introduction to Linguistics (Bonfiglio) Special Contract WGSS
TR 3:00-4:15 pm
General, historical and/or descriptive linguistics. Prerequisites: Completion of Communication Skills II-Language requirement.

LLC 322 From Pushkin to Pornography: Sexuality and the Body in Russian Literature (MCauley) Special Contract WGTP
TR 3:00-4:15 pm
Censorship is a fascinating concept.  When a society decides what can and cannot appear in media, it inadvertently reveals more about its own mores than that of what it bans.  By following the course of one taboo topic, sexuality and the body, we will explore the changing values in Russian literature and culture through the 20th century, eventually learning just as much about Soviet cultural history as about the literature itself. We will ask ourselves the questions: What appears in this text, what is omitted, and what is felt?  Which types of bodies are “allowed” and which aren’t?  How are political policies played out on bodies and how does the State utilize individual bodies for its own gains?  What can individuals do with their bodies and what is prohibited?  What happens when someone breaks with the dominant patterns?

Sex, it seems, is the perfect lens through which to examine cultural nuances.  It is at the same time private and public, specific to the individual and universal to humankind, constantly inferred but not always named.  In tracing the paths of sexuality and the body in 20th century Russian literature, students in this course will engage in discourse about the changing views on gender, corporeality, and power.  Beginning with the turn of the century, we will examine the norms of pre-revolutionary Russian literature and follow their drastic, at times erratic changes as the Soviet Union developed its stance on the arts.  At the same time, we will complicate the expectations of Soviet censorship to explore how writers were able to work around and even challenge state-assigned regulations.  As we approach the late Soviet era, we will look at some of the explicit, vulgar, and even grotesque scenes of perestroika and post-Soviet Russian prose that shocked generations, keeping in mind how material that may seem to be purely about the body is often about much more, such as politics, ideology, and power.  By the end of the semester, students should walk away from this course with not only a familiarity of 20th-century Russian canonical and non-canonical texts, but also an understanding of how sexuality and the body reveal so much more about a society than just physical contact. 

MUS 235 “I Want My MTV” Music Video and Transformation of the Culture Identity (Love) Special Contract WGHP
MW 1:30-2:45 pm
Engagement with early music videos, as well as corresponding albums and related cultural multimedia as primary sources, to analyze the critical relationships between the music and images that premiered on the MTV network in its first decades. Situation of videos in their historical and cultural contexts using methodologies from a variety of disciplines, including film and cinema studies, sociology, the music industry, ethnomusicology and musicology.

PLSC 379-02 ST: Autoethnography (Simpson) Special contract WGKP
M 4:00-6:40 pm
This course explores a scholarly methodology known as autoethnography. It is the practice of taking the personal and placing it in the context of larger social and cultural dynamics. When you work on an autoethnographic narrative, you will focus on an experience or period of your life. The result will be a first-person narrative that will include other actors who you will interview regarding your subject. There is value in acquiring knowledge through this method, which requires that you analyze your own subjectivity in the light of events, such as cultural norms and phenomena. This course will include new students who are in transition from carceral institutions. It will be the first course of its kind taught at the University of Richmond, and is sponsored by the Arc of Justice Institute out of the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences. The class location is UR Downtown.

PLSC 379-03 ST: Gender, Politics, Prisons (Simpson) WGGV
T 1:30-4:10 pm
Women’s incarceration has doubled the pace of men’s incarceration in recent decades. More women are in local jails than men. State prisons for women have fewer rehabilitative programs than prisons for men. One state, Oklahoma, imprisons more women than any other state. What is causing this increase in the incarceration of women? Why do women have fewer opportunities than men to learn and develop skills? These are the questions driving our inquiry. We will visit at least one women’s prison during the semester as well as explore the theory, history, and policies that inform how gender shapes and limits rehabilitation in jails and prisons. Also listed as WGSS 379-01.

PSYC 299-02 ST: Women’s Health (Nonterah) WGSS
TR 12:00-1:15 pm
Several physiological, social and psychological factors contribute to a woman’s health. This introductory course seeks to provide broad knowledge of the physical and mental health concerns of women using a biological, historical, cultural, economic, psychological and political framework. Course material will highlight historical events such as the role of feminism in shaping the women’s health movement, the impact of public policy on women’s health and research related to women’s health concerns. A specific emphasis will be on women’s reproductive health and reproductive rights by exploring the impact of laws, practices and belief systems that influence women’s decision making about having children, birth control and abortion. Discussions will also focus on the association between women’s role in society and different forms of sexual violence such as rape and sexual harassment. The influence of lifestyle choices and the health behaviors of women (e.g., nutrition, weight management and substance use) as well as medical conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease and cancer) and mental health disorders (e.g., eating disorders and depression) prevalent among women will be addressed. The experiences of women from marginalized groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, sexual minorities) will be highlighted throughout the course.  Also listed as WGSS 279-02.

RELG 253 Body/Sex in World Lit (Geaney) WGGV
MW 12:00-1:15 pm; MW 1:30-2:45 pm
Exploration of theoretical ideas about body and sexuality in world religious literature focusing on connection between sexuality and construction of identity in various religious perspectives.

RHCS 105 Media, Culture, and Identity (Staff) Special Contract   WGKP
MW 1:30-2:45 pm
Basic theoretical frameworks and concepts in media studies. Through close analysis of a variety of texts including, but not limited to, films, music, television programs, newspapers, magazines, and websites, explores the ways in which culture is produced and consumed. Case studies and other examples will provide entry points into thinking about how culture shapes and also is informed by individual and collective identities.

SOC 216 Social Inequalities (Grollman) Special Contract WGSS
MW 3:00-4:15 pm
In this course, we will examine how race, gender, class, and sexuality structure individual, interactional, and institutional levels of the social world.  We will also examine how these axes of stratification intersect and mutually reinforce one another.

THTR 312 ST: Gender, Race, and Performance Across the Americas (Herrera, Mendez) WGTP
MW 10:30-11:45 am
See description under AMST 391.

WGSS 200 Introduction to Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies (McWhorter)
TR 3:00-4:15 pm
An introduction to the broad, interdisciplinary field of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Special attention will be paid to the meaning and history of the terms "gender" and "sexuality" and to the political movements mobilized around those terms. Students will read both contemporary and historical materials and both primary and secondary sources. No Prerequisite. 1 unit.

WGSS 201 WILL* Colloquium: Gender, Race, and Activism (Blake & Ooten)
MW 3:00-4:15 pm
This course explores the link between knowledge/power and between theory/practice by examining and applying foundational terms and concepts central to social justice work.  Prerequisite:  WILL* Program. 1 unit.

WGSS 202 Queer Theories (McWhorter) WGFQ
TR 12:00-1:15 pm
Explores a range of queer theoretical approaches. Special attention will be paid to intersectionality, the social construction of identities, and how these constructed identities impact knowing, ethical reasoning, and conduct. Engagement of the theoretical underpinnings of political, ethical, or cultural issues.

WGSS 279-01 ST: Feminist Theories (Damer) WGFQ
MW 1:30-2:45 pm
This course introduces students to critical approaches in the development of feminist and queer theories during the past several decades. We will read work by key intellectuals who have offered contestable contributions to our analysis of the roots and consequences of gender differences. We will consider how these theoretical interventions continue to open and anticipate pathways for social justice

WGSS 279-02 ST: Women’s Health (Nonterah) WGSS
TR 12:00-1:15 pm
See description under PYSC 299-02

WGSS 301 WILL* Senior Seminar (Blake)
W 12:00-1:15 pm
This community based learning course enables students to connect WGSS theory and praxis, a central tenet of the WILL* program, and reflect on their WGSS learning.  Prerequisite:  WILL* Program. .5 units.  

WGSS 379-01 ST: Gender, Politics and Prisons (Simpson) WGGV
T 1:30-4:10 pm
See description under PLSC 379-03

WGSS 379-02 ST: Gender, Sexuality, and Law (Skerrett) WGKP
TR 10:30-11:45 am
This seminar introduces the field of gender, sexuality and law through several topics, including: the pursuit of civil and political rights before judicial and legislative bodies; the emergence of intersectional analysis and critical race theory among legal scholars; the creation of regulations to protect against sex discrimination in employment and educational environments; revisions to marriage, reproductive, and family law; religious liberty and civil rights for sexual minorities; reform of criminal laws against sexual and gender-based violence; the impact of mass incarceration on women/queer people; the entry and impact of women/queer people within the legal profession.  Each of these topics will be approached with intersectional and trans critiques in view, i.e., critical awareness of those intersections or liminal spaces where individuals are burdened by multiple indices of oppression.  We will explore how legal actors both construct, contest, and adjudicate classificatory systems as the basis for civil and political rights in the United States.  Prerequisite: WGSS 200

*WGSS courses are open to all students regardless of major. Some courses listed may have specific prerequisites, but you should always check with the professor if you are interested. Please contact the program coordinator, Dr. Erika Damer with any questions.

**NOTE: Courses designated as "Special Contract" carry WGSS credit only if students make a contract with the professor at the beginning of the semester to do work specific to the WGSS component of the course. Interested students should consult with the professor within the first couple of weeks of class to complete paperwork for WGSS credit.

Updated 11/13/2019