WMST110 Introduction to Women's Studies

Department of Language & Literature: Women's Studies

I. Course Number and Title
WMST110 Introduction to Women's Studies
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
2250 minutes
IV. Prerequisites
V. Other Pertinent Information
The Department of Language and Literature has determined that WMST110 is a writing-intensive course and will require a minimum of 2,500 words in formal writing assignments.
VI. Catalog Course Description
Women's studies critically examines the totality of women's experiences from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Its goal is to unveil, document, restore, and validate the diversities of women's lives, traditions, identities, and voices through feminist perspectives, integrating knowledge from various disciplines to analyze issues and public policies affecting women's lives.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Learning Goals:

    Students will

    1. learn the variety of women's roles;

    2. explore historical perspectives in order to better understand the processes that have shaped present experiences and to learn the different ways that the interests of women have been defined;

    3. examine the class structure and race/ethnic relations to comprehend the differences in women's lives and sources of antagonism;

    4. investigate the lives of women in the United States and elsewhere, primarily the third world;

    5. learn the significance of global relations in women's everyday lives through study of the connectivity of the international economy and through study of the differences in traditions;

    6. understand the systems of discrimination, the ways women have been subordinated, the consequences of that discrimination, and how women have challenged, resisted, and adapted to the devaluation and control of their lives;

    7. examine the practices and institutions women have created that enable them to survive and evolve.



    GOALS: Students will

    1. be aware of and sensitive to the social, economic, political, and ideological diversity of society.
    2. be intellectually aware of the behavior of individuals, groups, and/or other social institutions.
    3. be knowledgeable about various methods of analysis employed in the social sciences.

    OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to

    1. identify and explain the methods of analysis used to examine and evaluate group and individual attitudes and behavior in society; (2,3)
    2. read, interpret, and evaluate local or global events with a view toward their inter-relatedness; (1)
    3. recognize and explain components of civic and/or personal responsibility; (1)
    4. observe and evaluate group and individual behavior globally. (2)


    The students explore world cultures and/or the complexities of gender and/or minority groups. They reflect upon the interrelation of diverse cultures and/or groups and the ways in which those perspectives broaden the scope of the students' understanding of identity.

    OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to

    1. articulate similarities and differences in the various cultures of the world and demonstrate familiarity with the skills necessary to make informed judgments;
    2. identify prejudice, stereotypes, and misuses of power that affect the lives of women and/or minorities in areas such as education, business, politics, religion, or industry.


    The students learn to work effectively in small groups, to develop cooperative relationships among people of diverse ages and backgrounds, and to appreciate the responsibility inherent in working with others. They also learn that problems may have more than one possible solution.

    OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to

    1. identify and practice elements of effective group process;
    2. practice effective small group communication skills;
    3. resolve conflicts/make decisions effectively;
    4. honor commitments made to the group.


    The students develop an understanding of the need for each individual to promote the public good, an awareness of environmental issues, or a recognition that their actions carry responsibilities and consequences.

    OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to

    1. demonstrate an understanding of major ethical concerns;
    2. identify the effects of a person's actions on the community.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:

    A number of topics are required: Feminist Perspectives; Imagery and Symbolism in the Definition of Women; Representations of Women in Art and Literature; Women in Society; Women's Relationships; Women's History, Recovering and Preserving Women's Lives through Oral History.

    Within these broad topics, the following topics are suggested: Social Construction of Gender and Women's Nature; Inequality and Difference; Politics of Education, Language, and Representations; Class, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender Divisions of Labor; Mothering and Family; Sexual Politics and Violence Against Women; Women's Health and Reproductive Rights, Women's Liberation; Women's Movement, Women's Solidarity; Ideas about Women's "Nature."

    Students will write a total of 2,500 words.
  3. Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:

  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:

    Texts: Women's Studies Textbook; Women's Studies Reader: At least one example of Women's Literature like Toni Morrison's Sula or Beloved. See individual course formats.
VIII. Teaching Methods Employed
Instructor's options include, but are not limited to lecture, class discussion, group work, individual and/or group conference, oral history.

  • Evaluation:

    Students will be evaluated on the above activities and through the formal writing assignments, 2500 word minimum.
  • Review/Approval Date - 12/00; Core Goals/Objectives added 4/04