HUM 108: Introduction to Gender Studies

Class Program
Degree Code
Humanities Lecture,
Credits 5 Lecture Hours 55
This course introduces students to major issues, concepts, and basic terms central to the field of Gender Studies. Throughout the quarter, we will critically engage with social, cultural and historical ideas about what it means to be female and male, how these ideas shape everyday life experiences, and what consequences this has on relationships, work, and the structuring of a society. Emphasis will include the multiple ways that sex and gender interact with race, class, sexuality, nationality, and other social identities.
Quarters Offered
Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge or skills:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and ability to engage with central debates in the field of Gender Studies.
  • Define and apply basic terms, concepts, and theories of Gender Studies to life experiences and historical events and processes.
  • Identify the way gender intersects with other social, cultural, and biological categories, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, nationality, ability, and age.
  • Apply a variety of methods for analyzing gender in culture, drawing upon both primary and secondary sources.
  • Communicate effectively about gender issues both verbally and in writing.
  • Work with others in the exploration of ideas and to collectively develop arguments and negotiate solutions to problems.
Course Content Outline

This course offers an introduction to Gender Studies, an interdisciplinary academic field that explores critical questions about the meaning of gender in society.

The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with key issues, questions and debates in Gender Studies scholarship, both historical and contemporary. Gender scholarship critically analyzes themes of gendered performance and power in a range of social spheres, such as law, culture, education, work, medicine, social policy, and the family. Engaging with this scholarship will give students the opportunity to think critically about how ideology (systems of ideas and knowledge) and representation (portrayals in media, political discourse, and everyday life) shape our understanding of gender.

Throughout the quarter, students will “question gender” as they learn:

  • The historical role of gender as a primary organizing principle of society.
  • The ways “gendered scripts” for dress, appearance, and behavior emerge within and/or are practiced by different social groups and in different societies and historical periods.
  • How gender is experienced, produced, and performed at the intersection of culture, politics, and the body, always in conjunction with other factors of power and difference such as race, nation, sexuality, age, ability, and socioeconomic class.
  • The role gender plays in relation to the sexual division of labor and the unequal social status of women and girls and those activities and roles deemed “feminine” in society.
  • How gendered structures of power and authority operate.
  • The formation and success of movements for and against gender equality and fluidity.
  • To consider ways to ignore gender or envision gender and sexuality in more expansive, fluid or egalitarian forms.

Readings will combine both classic and contemporary gender studies texts that represent a varied combination of genres. Readings must also draw on multiple disciplines—such as literature, linguistics, history, economics, psychology, sociology, philosophy, political science, anthropology and media studies—to examine cultural assumptions about sex and gender. Additionally, readings should underscore intersectionality in ways that include (but are not limited to) race, sexuality, ethnicity, class, nationality, ability, and age.

Department Guidelines

Grades will be established through consideration of essays, quizzes and/or exams, presentations, multi-media projects, and participation.

PO4 should be assessed: Students will be able to recognize or articulate personal/interpersonal aspects of, or connections between, diverse cultural, social, or political contexts.

PO5 should be assessed: Students will be able to solve problems by gathering, interpreting, combining and/or applying information from multiple sources.