- Department Information
- Program Description
- Career Opportunities
- Minor in Women's Studies
- Undergraduate Courses
Department of Human Development and Women's Studies
College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences
Office: Meiklejohn Hall 3069
Phone: (510) 885-3076
Rainer Bauer, Ph.D. Stanford University
Lynn Comerford, Ph.D. (Director) State University of New York, Albany
Jiansheng Guo, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Steve Borish, Ph.D. Stanford University
Christina Chin-Newman Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
Patricia Drew, Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara
Keri K. O'Neal (Interim Chair), Ph.D. Texas Tech University
D. Xeno Rasmusson, Ph.D. University of Georgia
Sara A. Smith, Ph.D. University of Oxford (England)
Rachael Stryker, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Women's Studies explores theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of women across a range of contexts. Courses connect academic work with the social and political world outside the University, educate our students about a range of social issues and problems that relate to sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, and ethnocentrism; and link knowledge, research, teaching, and social activism. We immerse students in the discovery and production of knowledge that emerges from multiple perspectives. We engage students in the study of gender and the intersection of gender with other substantive categories of analysis and identity, including race, sexuality, class, (dis)ability, and nationality. We promote responsible citizenship in a diverse local and global environment. We empower students to think more critically about their own lives and to critique social, cultural, and institutional structures, policies and practices.
Undergraduate courses in Women's Studies ensure that students receive an interdisciplinary education that bridges theory and practice, and focuses on the intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality in all areas of research. Electives in the social sciences, sciences, and humanities increase the interdisciplinary strength of the program.
- To provide students with the theoretical and methodological tools needed to examine the intersections of gender with other forms of difference and power, such as sexuality, race, class, and nation, in local and transnational contexts
- To provide a forum for intellectual debate and a catalyst for students committed to social action which addresses various forms of social injustice
- To provide fieldwork placements which culminate in a senior thesis
- To build supportive local community environments for women by disseminating fieldwork research findings back to the community
The Women's Studies program is excellent preparation for life, and careers and graduate study in a wide range of fields, including government and public policy, non-profit and social justice organizations, law, educational institutions, and many other professional and human-service fields.
Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary area of scholarship and research and raises questions which have often been ignored or marginalized in traditional academic disciplines. Our Program builds on several decades of feminist work in women's studies and deliberately integrates theory, research methods and service learning.
The courses in Women's Studies emphasize participatory education in which student involvement, critical thinking, and personal insight are encouraged and made relevant in the learning process. In this Program, theory and practice are combined creatively and productively. Research, fieldwork, and service are central to the process of learning and applying knowledge. The Program stresses the importance of social responsibility, political activism, and community outreach. The curriculum explores how institutionalized sexism, racism, classism, and heterosexism limit human achievement and dignity. Local service learning fieldwork provides an opportunity to examine first-hand the changes necessary to eliminate these limitations.
Service learning fieldwork enables students to create richly detailed accounts of women as social agents whose identities and experiences are shaped by social, political and economic forces. Service learning is incorporated into the program through fieldwork in community agencies focused on advocacy, law and policy, reproductive rights and health, support services for survivors of violence and abuse, and U.S. politics.
As part of its mission to educational access for all students, particularly to students with paid work and care work commitments, the Program incorporates a broad range of educational formats including online classes, hybrid classes that combine an online component with face-to-face interaction, and face-to-face lecture/discussion and seminar classes.
No more than six units in the major department, nor more than 8 units of lower division courses may be applied to the minor. No more than four units may be taken on a "CR/NC" basis. Altogether, 24 units are required. Students who wish to minor in Women's Studies should see the coordinator as soon as possible.
- Core Courses (8-12 units)
- WOST 1001 Perspectives on Women (4)
- WOST 1002 Women in Contemporary Society (4)
- Electives in Women's Studies (8-12 units)
Two or three courses with special reference to the status and problems of women selected from:
- COMM 4500 Women in Media (4)
- ENGL 3650 Women and Literature (4)
- HIST 3124 Women in Classical Antiquity (4)
- HIST 3571 Women in America to 1890 (4)
- POSC 3340 Women and Politics (4)
- PSYC 3410 Psychology of Women (4)
- SOC 3411 Sociology of Gender (4)
- WOST 3050 Feminist Theory (4)
- WOST 3400 Women and Careers (4)
- WOST 3420 Minority Women in America (4)
- WOST 3520 Mothers Daughters and Sons (4)
- WOST 3530 Women and Their Bodies (4)
- WOST 4900 Independent Study (1-4)
- Elective in a Related Field
Four units should be selected with an advisor in Women's Studies from the following:
- COMM 4500; ENGL 3650; HIST 3124, 3571; PSYC 3410; SOC 3411; WOST 3400, 3420, 3520, 3530, or 4900 if not used to complete requirement II above.
- ANTH 3110 Primate Social Behavior (4), 3400 Social Anthropology (4), 3740 Cross-Cultural Studies in Child-Rearing (4), 3745 Human Sexuality: Anthropological Perspectives (4); BIOL 3060 Human Sexuality (4); E S 3000 Ethnic Writers (4) (when emphasis is on women writers); 3810 History of Minority Education (4); HIST 4710 History and Trends in Nursing (4); KPE 1018 Self Defense--Women (4); MLL 4495 A Single Movement, Country, or Theme: Spanish American Literature (4) (when the theme focuses on women); PHIL 3510 Human Rights and Social Justice: Cultural Groups and Women in the U.S. (4), 3720 Feminist Philosophy (4); PSYC 3520 Interpersonal Processes (4); 3540 Groups and Organizations (4), 4420 Developmental Psychology (4), 4610 Psychology of Personality (4); SOC 3410 Sociology of the Family (4), 3415 Sociology of the African American Family (4), 3416 Sociology of the Mexican American Family (4), 3500 Social Psychology (4)
It is recommended that all students in the minor take at least one course that has a primary focus on minority women in America.
Other Elective Courses
Other elective courses (with appropriate content) may be approved by the Women's Studies Committee as they are developed by departments.
|Course Number||Course Information|
|1001||Perspectives on Women (4)
The observed similarities and differences in the behavior of women and men as seen from the perspective of art, history, literature, philosophy, biology, and psychology. How these differences came about and what the future may hold.
|1002||Women in Contemporary Society (4)
Women's work, family roles, political behavior, and legal status today. Controversial issues raised by the women's movement explored from the perspective of different racial/ethnic groups and different political/economic/social systems.
|1100||Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (4)
Focuses on understanding power hierarchies that structure gender and sexuality. Investigates how gender intersects with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, religion, relevant debates, beliefs, practices, and political struggles.
|1200||Perspectives on Women in the U.S. (4)
Critical inquiry on women's lives and gender roles through a feminist lens. Topics may include theories of gender and sexuality, constructions and practices of femininity, sexual objectification, sexual politics, sexual/social violence, mitigated by race, class, gender, religion, and age.
|1300||Femininity and Masculinity (4)
Introduction to social construction and cultural representation of femininity and masculinity. Conceptions of masculinity and femininity influenced by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality and age. Explores connection between biological sex, notions of masculinity and femininity, and subversive gender performance.
|2100||Theories of Sexuality (4)
Introduction to theories, empirical scholarship, public policies, and current controversies on the topic of sexuality. Focus on sexual development, lifestyles, and communities with additional emphasis on ethnicity, race, gender, class, and nationality.
|2200||Roots of Feminisms (4)
Pre-twentieth century texts and historical events providing foundations for the development of contemporary feminist theories and practices. Analysis of writings that legitimated patriarchal/misogynist ideologies in Western worlds, such as Plato, Aristotle, and founders of world religions, from a feminist perspective.
|3030||Immigrant and Refugee Women (4)
(See E S 3030 for course description.)
|3050||Feminist Theory (4)
Feminist theories of American women's liberation movement from mid-sixties to present. Gender identity; "nature vs. nurture" theories of female subservience and male domination; pornography; rape; class, race, and gender.
|3110||Theories of Feminism I (4)
Overview of feminist theories, including issues of representation, agency and subjectivity, capitalism and patriarchy. Covers "first wave" statements to "second wave" feminism, including liberal, radical, separatist, and socialist/materialist forms of feminism. Exposure to self-assumptions, application of analytical skills to one's own life and work.
|3200||Theories of Feminism II (4)
Continuation of WOST 3110, Theories of Feminism I. Offers perspectives on intersectional feminist theory and contemporary issues in feminist thought from "second wave" feminism to present, including post-structuralism and postmodernism, postcolonialism and third-world feminism, ecofeminism and current feminist theoretical debates. Prerequisite: WOST 3110.
|3300||Women, Law, Policy and Activism in the Contemporary U.S. (4)
Feminist perspective on how U.S. law confers rights, creates obligations, and defines identities which impact social actors differently. Topics may include educational and workplace equity, privacy, family law, domestic violence, LGBT rights, reproductive rights, affirmative action and equal protection laws.
|3400||Women and Careers (4)
Women's experience in the workforce from a political, sociological and historical perspective. Comparison of structure and practices in the corporate structure to those in sports and the military. Obstacles women face, coping mechanisms and strategies for success.
|3420||Minority Women in America (4)
Persistence and change in the minority female experience in America. Focus on prominent stereotypes of minority women, patterns of courtship and marriage, employment and career trends, birth control and sexual freedom, and feminism and racial solidarity. Cross-listed with E S 3420.
|3440||Women and Social Constructions of Sexuality (4)
Relationship of modern sexualities and the rise of capitalism, secularism, urbanization, sexology, and sexual identity politics. Sexuality as a complex array of social codes, forces, and institutionalized power relations. Topics may include: objectification and commodification, sexual politics, sexual/social violence and resistance.
|3520||Mothers, Daughters, and Sons (4)
The relationship between mothers and their daughters and sons from a literary, psychological, and sociological point of view. Discussion of literature, film and art.
|3530||Women and Their Bodies (4)
An interdisciplinary course focusing on women's experiences of their bodies, especially in the areas of health and sexuality.
|3545||Women's Health and Health Care (4)
Social, political, and economic perspective on current health status and health needs of women in the United States, especially in the areas of reproduction, genetic testing, and chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
|3550||Women, Work, and Family Life (4)
The relationship of work and family, the dilemmas women face and strategies they use to negotiate work/family issue. The impact of economic/historical/sociological factors including gender, race, and class, all influencing work and family life.
|3600||Women and Work in the U.S. (4)
Patterns of women's labor; focus on debates of definition of "work," occupational sex segregation, patterns of paid and domestic labor, gender inequality, work and family issues; experiences of labor (and labor exploitation) according to race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, immigrant status
|3700||Comparative Perspectives on Global Feminisms (4)
Women globally in transnational and local contexts; issues of economic and social justice. Including violence against women and children, poverty, economic and international migration, political fundamentalism, globalization of capitalist economy, sexual and civil rights, immigration and citizenship, and sex trafficking.
|3800||Women and Consumption (4)
Feminist perspectives used to explore the commodification of women's bodies which support globalized capitalist economies through labor and consumerism. Practices of women's consumption and the consumption of women as critiqued from feminist, Marxist, and global/environmental perspectives.
|3810||Domestic Discontents in the Contemporary U.S. (4)
Feminist analysis of problems facing contemporary U.S. families including household division of labor and changes in economic and social roles for women; marriage as a political institution. Topics may include occupational segregation, carework, welfare, economics of marriage, divorce, child custody.
|3850||Research Practices and Methods for Feminist Scholarship (4)
Interdisciplinary feminist research methods. Feminist critique of social science research methods, exposing tension between the production and interpretation of data and the importance of considering power relations in the formation of knowledge; testing various social science research methods.
|3900||Violence Against Women (4)
Violence in intimate relationships from a feminist perspective. Violence against women and girls as instituting structured gender inequality and as perpetrated by political, social and economic institutions locally, nationally, and internationally.
|3999||Issues in Women's Studies (4)
Readings, discussion, and research on contemporary and/or significant issues in women's studies. May be repeated for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|4130||Women in Midlife Transition (4)
Examination of development and change in behavior of women in the United States at midlife transition, with emphasis on theory, method, and empirical research. Prerequisite: Upper division standing.
|4160||Women and Aging (4)
Examination of development and change in behavior of women as they age in the United States, with emphasis on theory, method, and empirical research. Prerequisite: Upper division standing.
|4200||Gender, Sexuality and Popular Culture in the U.S. (4)
Feminist perspective on meaning and construction of masculinity, femininity, sexuality, and stereotypes in both mainstream and sub-cultural popular culture contexts (film, fiction, non-fiction, theater, music, television, journalism, Internet) with particular attention to race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, disability, and nationality.
|4300||Women and Global intersecting Structures of Oppression (4)
Sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, nationalism, ethnocentrism, ageism, and ideologies intersect to shape systems of oppression with particular attention paid to education, political economies, and media across the globe. Examines how women have worked collectively and individually to resist oppression.
|4500||Feminist Thought into Action (4)
Relationship between feminist research and community/political activism. State of women's activism today locally, nationally, and globally; social justice for women and girls. Includes identifying goals, contacting media outlets, writing grant proposals, and negotiating ethical issues in feminist praxis.
|4600||Action Research Seminar I (4)
First quarter of a two-quarter senior thesis seminar. Thesis is an applied research project which synthesizes coursework and two-quarters of fieldwork, includes project's significance, methodology, thorough documentation and relevant conclusions or recommendations. Prerequisites: Senior standing, WOST 4400 and 4500; Co-requisite: WOST 4700.
|4700||Action Fieldwork in Women's Studies I (4)
First quarter of a two-quarter service learning fieldwork placement arranged through instructors. Initial fieldwork data collection for senior thesis; outline plan developed individually between student and faculty sponsor. Analytic journal required. Prerequisites: Senior standing, WOST 4400 and 4500; Co-requisite: WOST 4600.
|4800||Action Fieldwork in Women's Studies II (4)
Second quarter of two-quarter service learning fieldwork placement arranged through instructors. Continued research fieldwork data collection for senior thesis on faculty approved student outline plan. Analytic journal required. Prerequisites: Senior standing, WOST 4400, 4500, 4600, and 4700; Co-requisite: WOST 4910.
|4900||Independent Study (1-4)
May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor, for a maximum of 12 units.
|4910||Action Research Seminar II (4)
Second quarter of two-quarter seminar for senior thesis, an applied research project synthesizing coursework and two-quarters of fieldwork, includes project's significance, methodology, detailed documentation, relevant conclusions or recommendations. Prerequisites: Senior standing, WOST 4400, 4500, 4600, and 4700; Co-requisite: WOST 4800.