Gender and Women's Studies Gender and Women's Studies Gender and Women's Studies Gender and Women's Studies Gender and Women's Studies

Interdisciplinary Programs

Gender and Women's Studies

Questions?

Suzanne Chod

+1 630 637 5245

smchod@noctrl.edu

How do we make distinctions among human beings based on their physical sex?

How are we gendered –– that is, how are we taught to become men and women, both here in the United States and in other cultures?

How is our sexual identity intertwined with cultural understandings of our physical sex, gender roles and behaviors?

These crucial questions inspire the gender and women’s studies (GWS) program, an exciting interdisciplinary field of study.

If you choose to minor in gender and women’s studies, or create your own individualized major, you will

  • undertake in-depth studies of  women and men in history, language and literature, the arts, sciences, education, religion, philosophy and the business world
  • take courses from our passionately committed faculty of 20 men and women from across campus who are engaged in contemporary debates on sex, gender and sexual identity 
  • be prepared for careers in education, childcare, social and community work, counseling, healthcare and medicine, law and communications fields, among others
  • gain an academic foundation for graduate studies in gender and women’s studies.

Gender and Women's Studies Minor

For additional information and courses in this department, see Gender and Women's Studies.

Minor Requirements

21 credit hours, including:

  • GWS 100 - Introduction to Sex, Gender and Sexuality

    GWS 100 - Introduction to Sex, Gender and Sexuality

    3.00 credit hours

    "Gender" as practice, performance and representation has differed for women and men according to race, class and other divisions throughout time. This interdisciplinary course places critical focus on "gender," or the cultural invention and representation of femininity and masculinity. Lectures and discussions examine areas such as: appearance, health, relationships, birth control and pornography; access to political institutions and power; gender in the workplace; sexuality and sexual orientation; gender representation in popular culture; the impact of women's perspectives on research, knowledge, history and other cultural institutions; feminism and cultural politics.

    Core

    Humanities or Social Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 370 - Feminisms

    GWS 370 - Feminisms

    3.00 credit hours

    A rigorous study of theories and histories of multiple intellectual and activist movements categorized under the term "feminisms." The course examines feminisms not just as scholarly modes of inquiry but as activist leadership methodologies.

    Prerequisite(s)


    GWS 100 or instructor consent.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 375 - Theories of Gender and Sexuality

    GWS 375 - Theories of Gender and Sexuality

    3.00 credit hours

    A rigorous study that draws on the academic field of queer theory to consider gender and sexuality as constructed categories with powerful material consequences. The course also grapples with a) the question of what it means to be an ally to oppressed populations and b) controversies about the notion of a relationship between biology, genders and sexualities. The course includes a significant comparative element, considering theories of gender and sexuality across cultural and national borders.

    Prerequisite(s)


    GWS 100 or instructor consent.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:

Nine credit hours from the following:

  • GWS 315 - Sociology of Gender and Sexualities

    GWS 315 - Sociology of Gender and Sexualities

    3.00 credit hours

    The study of gender as a social product, including theoretical frameworks, gender-defining institutions and feminism.

    Prerequisite(s)


    SOA 100 or SOA 190.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 220 - Families and Intimate Relationships

    GWS 220 - Families and Intimate Relationships

    3.00 credit hours

    The sociological study of the family and other intimate relationships. Topics examined from a sociological and feminist perspective include the history of the family, the relationship between work and family, the changing definition of the family and the impact of class, race and gender on the family structure.

    Core

    Social Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 230 - Gender in the Judeo-Christian Traditions

    GWS 230 - Gender in the Judeo-Christian Traditions

    3.00 credit hours

    The study of how gender affects religious practices, beliefs and experiences in Christianity and Judaism.

    Core

    Humanities.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 250 - U.S. Women's History

    GWS 250 - U.S. Women's History

    3.00 credit hours

    A survey of American women's history from colonial times to the present. An examination of women's legal and political status, educational and occupational opportunities, family relations and health with special attention on how and why lives and experiences of women have changed over time. An exploration of the history that women share as a group as well as differences among specific groups of women.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One humanities or social science course.

    Core

    Humanities or Social Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 280 - Women and Literature

    GWS 280 - Women and Literature

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the broad spectrum of women's writing-across time, cultures and genres-studying the literary and political significance of the female voice in creative and critical texts. Through an exploration of texts which may include the poems of Sappho, the speeches of Queen Elizabeth I, the plays of Lillian Hellman, the novels of Toni Morrison, the films of Kathryn Bigelow, to the theoretical writings of Luce Irigaray, students will also delve into the ways that literature provides a space to interrogate the intersections between gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability/disability and class.

    Core

    Humanities.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 301 - Human Sexuality: A Clash of Values

    GWS 301 - Human Sexuality: A Clash of Values

    3.00 credit hours

    In traditional topics in human sexuality (e.g., natural essence of sexuality, reproductive biology, sex research, marriage and other arrangements, reproductive issues), there is a clash of values both within a culture and between cultures. This course includes such controversial issues as religious perspectives, pornography, the media, prostitution and female circumcision. The latter components serve to explore problems resulting from the clash of values.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 312 - Women and American Politics

    GWS 312 - Women and American Politics

    3.00 credit hours

    Study of women as citizens, candidates and office holders within the American political system. Topics include, but are not limited to, social movements, electoral politics and interest group activities.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One of PSC 101, GWS 100 or LEV 121.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 350 - Gender and World Religions

    GWS 350 - Gender and World Religions

    3.00 credit hours

    An analysis of feminist thought in non-Western religious traditions. The course discusses women's redefinition of traditional concepts, rituals and practices in a number of religious traditions across the globe.

    Prerequisite(s)


    REL 100 or a course in non-Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 389 - Gender and the Mass Media

    GWS 389 - Gender and the Mass Media

    3.00 credit hours

    The critical analysis of the complex relations between gender and the mass media. Special emphasis is placed on the social construction of gender, representations of the body and the cultural significance of the media.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Junior standing or consent of instructor.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 390 - Intercultural Seminar in Gender and Women's Studies

    GWS 390 - Intercultural Seminar in Gender and Women's Studies

    3.00 credit hours

    Specialized topics considered from a global, intercultural and/or multicultural position through the lens of gender and women's studies. Content defined by the individual instructor.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 395 - Leadership, Ethics and Values Seminar in Gender and Women's Studies

    GWS 395 - Leadership, Ethics and Values Seminar in Gender and Women's Studies

    3.00 credit hours

    Specialized topics exploring the concepts of leadership, ethics and values through the lens of gender and women's studies. Content defined by the individual instructor.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 497 - Internship

    GWS 497 - Internship

    0.00-9.00 credit hours

    Schedule Of Classes

  • GWS 499 - Independent Study

    GWS 499 - Independent Study

    1.00-9.00 credit hours

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENG 307 - Studies in Literature of Cultural Identity - African American Women Writers*

    ENG 307 - Studies in Literature of Cultural Identity

    3.00 credit hours

    Specialized topics in a literature of cultural identity originating within a particular racial, ethnic, economic or sexual community. Recent topics include Southeast Asian-American literature, white identity in South African literature and queering identity. This course may be repeated once with different content.

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENG 201 and one 200-level literature course.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENG 405 - Seminar in Poetry - Representations of Women in Poetry*

    ENG 405 - Seminar in Poetry

    3.00 credit hours

    An intensive study of some aspect of poetry, including individual poets, movements, historical periods or approaches to the genre. Recent topics include Chaucer, Romantic poetry and modern American Poetry. This course may be repeated once with different content.

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENG 201 and one 200-level literature course.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENG 409 - Seminar in Theory - Queer Theory*
     

    ENG 409 - Seminar in Theory

    3.00 credit hours

    A study of major theorists or theoretical movements that have shaped the selection of texts and how they are read within cultures. This course may be repeated once with different content.

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENG 201 and one 200-level literature course.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • KIN 272 - Sport and Art - Representations of American Masculinity*

    KIN 272 - Sport and Art

    2.00 credit hours

    An examination of the aesthetic relationships between sport and art and analyzes sports subjects and their representation in art. Topics of interest may include visual art, film and literature. An example might be an analysis of the works of Frederic Remington, Thomas Eakins and George Bellows and their role in the representation of American masculinity.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • IDS 390 - Topics - Hispanic Women in Translation*

    IDS 390 - Topics

    3.00 credit hours

    Intensive study of an interdisciplinary topic. Content varies from year to year. Typically, the course carries an honors designation.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • IDS 460 - Seminar - Gender and Art; Feminist Perspectives: Literature, Theory and Public Life*

    IDS 460 - Seminar

    3.00 credit hours

    Advanced study of an interdisciplinary subject within a seminar format. Content varies from year to year. Typically, the course carries an honors designation.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • IDS 490 - Seminar *

    IDS 490 - Seminar

    3.00 credit hours

    Advanced study of an interdisciplinary subject within a seminar format. Content varies from year to year. Typically, the course carries an honors designation.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • LEV 495 - Applied Leadership (subject to approval of the Gender and Women's Study Committee)*

    LEV 495 - Applied Leadership

    3.00 credit hours

    A structured seminar reflection upon experience of leadership relations gained in an approved experiential setting. Students spend approximately 10 to 12 hours per week in their experiential setting. One two-hour class meeting per week.

    Prerequisite(s)


    LEV 390 or Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSC 313 - Politics of Race, Gender and Class

    PSC 313 - Politics of Race, Gender and Class

    3.00 credit hours

    This course analyzes the interrelationship of race, class and gender to explore how each has shaped the experiences of all people in the United States. It investigates these interlocking categories of experiences and conceptualizes them as interactive systems, not just as separate features of experience. The underlying perspective of this course is that race, class and gender are part of the whole fabric of experience for all groups, not just women and people of color. As such, the course focuses on the institutional or structural basis for race, class and gender relations; the influence of race, class and gender in shaping social and political policy; the extent to which politics affects our understanding of race, class and gender, and how these categories illuminate or obscure our understanding of contemporary political issues.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SPN 490 - Seminar - Gender and Power in latin American Performance*

    SPN 490 - Seminar

    3.00 credit hours

    In-depth study of a literary genre, movement, author or a topic on Hispanic culture or language. Repeatable with different topic.

    Prerequisite(s)


    A minimum of one Spanish literature course at the 300-level; senior standing or instructor consent.

    Schedule Of Classes

Note:

* Designated Topics Courses: Since the subject matter of topics courses changes from term to term, they only count toward the minor if specifically designated by the GWS committee. The topics of LEV 495 are determined in part by the student's work/internship experiences, and thus need the approval of the GWS faculty to count toward the minor.

In rare cases, students may seek approval from the committee for other courses to be counted toward the minor.

If you want to major in gender and women’s studies, a faculty member will work with you to design an individualized program that relates to your personal and professional goals.

NOTE: This page contains all of the regular course descriptions for this discipline or program. Academic credit for each course is noted in parenthesis after the course title. Prerequisites (if any) and the general education requirements, both Core and All-College Requirements (ACRs), which each course fulfills (if any) are noted following each course description. Not all courses are offered every year. Check Merlin, our searchable course schedule, to see which courses are being offered in upcoming terms.

GWS 100 Introduction to Sex, Gender, and Sexuality (3.00)
Gender as practice, performance, and representation has differed for women and men according to race, class, and other divisions throughout time. This interdisciplinary course places critical focus on gender, or the cultural invention and representation of femininity and masculinity. Lectures and discussions examine areas such as: appearance, health, relationships, birth control, and pornography; access to political institutions and power; gender in the workplace; sexuality and sexual orientation; gender representation in popular culture; the impact of women's perspectives on research, knowledge, history, and other cultural institutions; feminisms and cultural politics. Core: Humanities or Social Science.

GWS 220 Family and Intimate Relationships (3.00)
The sociological study of the family and other intimate relationships. Topics examined from a sociological and feminist perspective include the history of the family, the relationship between work and family, the changing definition of the family and the impact of class, race and gender on the family structure. Same as: SOA 220. Core: Social Science.

GWS 230 Gender in the Judeo-Christian Tradition (3.00)
The study of how gender affects religious practices, beliefs, and experiences in Christianity and Judaism. Same as: REL 230. Core: Humanities; ACR: Religion & Ethics.

GWS 235 Sexuality and Christianity (3.00)
An examination of contemporary Christianity approaches to sexuality in a dialogue with secular philosophies of sexuality. Same as: REL 235. Core: Humanities; ACR: Religion & Ethics.

GWS 250 U.S. Women's History (3.00)
A survey of American women's history from colonial times to the present. An examination of women's legal and political status, educational and occupational opportunities, family relations, and health with special attention on how and why lives and experiences of women have changed over time. An exploration of the history that women share as a group as well as differences among specific groups of women. Same as: HST 250. Core: Humanities or Social Science.

GWS 280 Women and Literature (3.00)
An examination of the broad spectrum of women's writing-across time, cultures and genres-studying the literary and political significance of the female voice in creative and critical texts. Through an exploration of texts which may include the poems of Sappho, the speeches of Queen Elizabeth I, the plays of Lillian Hellman, the novels of Toni Morrison, the films of Kathryn Bigelow, the theoretical writings of Luce Irigaray, students will also delve into the ways that literature provides a space to interrogate the intersections between gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability/disability and class. Same as: ENG 280. Core: Humanities.

GWS 301 Human Sexuality: A Clash of Values (3.00)
In traditional topics in human sexuality (e.g., natural essence of sexuality, reproductive biology, sex research, marriage and other arrangements, reproductive tissues) there is a clash of values both within a culture and between cultures. This course includes such controversial issues as religious perspectives, pornography, the media, prostitution, and female circumcision. The latter components serve to explore problems that result from the clash of values. Same as: BIO 300. ACR: Intercultural.

GWS 312 Women and American Politics (3.00)
Study of women as citizens, candidates, and office holders within the American political system. Topics include, but are not limited to, social movements, electoral politics, and interest group activities. Same as: PSC 312. ACR: Leadership, Ethics, & Values.

GWS 315 Sociology of Gender and Sexualities (3.00)
The study of gender as a social product, including theoretical frameworks, gender-defining institutions and feminism. Same as: SOA 315.

GWS 350 Gender and World Religions (3.00)
An analysis of feminist thought in non-Western religious traditions. The course discusses women's redefinition of traditional concepts, rituals, and practices in a number of religious traditions across the globe. Same as: REL 350. ACR: Religion & Ethics; ACR: Intercultural.

GWS 370 Feminisms (3.00)
A rigorous study of theories and histories of multiple intellectual and activist movements categorized under the term feminisms. The course examines feminisms not just as scholarly modes of inquiry but as activist leadership methodologies.

GWS 375 Theories of Gender and Sexuality (3.00)
A rigorous study that draws on the academic field of queer theory to consider gender and sexuality as constructed categories with powerful material consequences. The course also grapples with a) the question of what it means to be an ally to oppressed populations and b) controversies about the notion of a relationship between biology, genders, and sexualities. The course includes a signification comparative element, considering theories of gender and sexuality across cultural and national borders.

GWS 389 Gender and the Mass Media (3.00)
The critical analysis of the complex relations between gender and the mass media. Special emphasis is placed on the social construction of gender, representations of the body, and the cultural significance of the media. Same as: SPC 389.

GWS 390 Intercultural Seminar in Gender and Women's Studies (3.00)
Specialized topics considered from a global, international, and/or multicultural position, through the lens of gender and women's studies. Content defined by the individual instructor. ACR: Intercultural.

GWS 395 Leadership, Ethics, and Values Seminar in Gender and Women's Studies (3.00)
Specialized topics exploring the concepts of leadership, ethics, and values through the lens of gender and women's studies. Content defined by the individual instructor. ACR: Leadership, Ethics, & Values.

GWS 490 Seminar (3.00)
Advanced study of an interdisciplinary subject within a seminar format. Content varies from year to year.

GWS 497 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

GWS 499 Independent Study (1.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

Suzanne Chod

Associate Professor of Political Science; Coordinator of Gender and Women's Studies
Political Science
+1 630 637 5245
Mara K. Berkland

Professor of Communication
Communication
+1 630 637 5367
Stephen Maynard Caliendo

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Political Science
College of Arts & Sciences
+1 630 637 5344
Michael de Brauw

Associate Professor of Modern and Classical Languages
Modern & Classical Languages
+1 630 637 5123
Shereen Ilahi

Associate Professor of History
History
+1 630 637 5616
Jennifer Jackson

Associate Professor of English; Svend and Elizabeth Bramsen Professor in the Humanities; Chair, Department of English
English
+1 630 637 5278
Jennifer Keys

Assistant Provost for Teaching & Learning; Director, Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence
Cntr for Advmt of Fac Excel
+1 630 637 5313
Steve Macek

Professor of Communication; Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies
Communication
+1 630 637 5369
Wioleta Polinska

Professor of Religious Studies; Chairperson, Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy
Religious Studies
+1 630 637 5317
Carin Silkaitis

Associate Professor of Theatre; Theatre Program Coordinator
Theatre
+1 630 637 5376
John Zenchak

Professor of Biology
Biology
+1 630 637 5182

Extra-curricular and professional activities that will enrich your gender and women's studies education.

Our faculty will help you find opportunities on campus or off that fulfill your interests and ambitions in the field. In the past, students have combined their class work with off-campus internships at domestic violence shelters, non-government organizations or with women-oriented publications.

You might also participate in student groups like Students Increasing Sisterhood (SIS), the Sociology and Anthropology Club, and Alliance.