Courses in Women's Studies (Division 497)

100. Women's Issues. Open to all undergraduates. (2). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit.

This course uses small group discussion and development of supportive group norms to enable students to explore selected topics in women's studies as they apply to their own lives and to contemporary social issues. The course work includes large and small group activities, theoretical presentations, regularly assigned readings, and written assignments. There is strong emphasis on developing analytic tools taking a critical stance with respect to one's experience, to social issues, and to the assigned readings. Topics include: socialization, work, family, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and current movements for change. Small groups meet in different campus and off-campus locations. Meeting place is determined within each group. [Cost:1] [WL:4] (Larimore, Stewart)

112. Issues for Women of Color. (1). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit.

This course will discuss women of color, their historical background, the ways in which they differ from Caucasian women, and treatment accorded them in society. We will investigate how women of ethnic minorities function in family and kinship systems including mother-centered (or matrifocal) system among African Americans and Asian Americans. Another important theme of this class will be the change of status and the notion of women in the Third World which has been caused by modernization, industrialization, and Westernization. For example, in East and Southeast Asian countries, especially in agriculture-based societies, the important traditional role of women has been lost because of the Green Revolution, and a large number of young women have been sent to work in factories in which they are exploited and receive little salary. Many of these factories are run by northern industrialized countries such as Japan and the United States. Those who have dropped out from the hard factory work often come into towns and work as prostitutes again for tourists who come from industrialized countries. Or they go leave their own country and take second class jobs as housemaids, bar hostesses and dancers in more developed countries. We will discuss these problems and ways in which the social economic situation of these women might be improved. The main themes of this course, then, are the difference in the function of women in developed countries as opposed to developing countries, the comparison between the image of women in Western culture and non-Western culture, and investigation of how the image and the function of women of color has been changing or has been distorted. Students will be required to do case studies in different ethnic groups. (Miyake)

230. The Contemporary Women's Movement. (3). (SS).

In this course we will examine the history, ideas, and activities of the contemporary feminist movement. In order to gain a better understanding of the origins of this movement we will begin with a brief study of the first feminist movement in the 19th century and the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960's. Most of the course will be devoted to an analysis of how American feminism has transformed our society through its thinking and action on such issues as sexuality, reproductive rights, lesbianism, violence against women, racism, work, peace, pornography, education, culture, health and psychology, and the ERA. We will also take a brief look at the anti-feminist backlash of the 1970s and 1980s and the international feminist movement. We will end the course with an analysis of the current state of the feminist movement. This is primarily a discussion course, although there will be occasional lectures, films, and visiting speakers. Readings include PERSONAL POLITICS, CONTROVERSY AND COALITION: THE NEW FEMINIST MOVEMENT, and a course pack. Grades will be based on two papers (one 3-5 pages, one 8-10 pages), midterm and final exams, one group presentation, and class participation. [Cost:1] [WL:4] (Moses)

240/Amer. Cult. 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. Open to all undergraduates. (4). (HU).

Designed as an introduction to the new, feminist scholarship on women, Women's Studies 240 is an interdisciplinary course which acquaints students with key concepts and theoretical frameworks to analyze women's condition. We will explore how women's status has changed over time and across cultures, but we will concentrate on the situation of contemporary American women. Topics will include: violence against women, discrimination in the workplace, the feminization of poverty, and sexuality. Students will also examine how capitalism, racism, imperialism, and heterosexism affect women's lives. The course will not only provide students with an analysis of women's oppression, but will suggest strategies for ending sexual inequality. The course is structured around weekly lectures, readings, films, and discussion sections. Students are encouraged to participate fully in discussion and to assume responsibility for sharing their knowledge and experience. The course grade is based upon written assignments, an action project, examinations and participation in discussion.

270. Women and the Law. (3). (SS).

This course covers selected topics in American law which have a special effect on women. The legal and social aspects of employment discrimination, sexual harassment, affirmative action, comparable worth, reproductive rights, divorce, child custody, homosexual parenting, pornography, rape and domestic violence are analyzed from a feminist perspective. We will also explore the relationship between sexism in the law and racism, classism and homophobia. Required: Midterm examination, final, and class participation which includes 12-15 pages worth of smaller writing assignments. [WL:4] (Bernt)

310. Women Writing. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course will connect critical thinking and writing by focusing on women writing. We will emphasize writing as a process of discovering and tesing meaning by requiring reading and writing in many genres. Journals, essays, short fiction, and one novel will provide access to the experience of women past and present defining their relation to their worlds in writing. The purpose of such reading is to discover the relationship between women's writing and the literary and cultural traditions which shape it. One mode of analysis will be rhetorical: how women write to persuade themselves and others of the value of their experiences, feelings, and observations. Issues of authorial voice, audience, narrative structure, evidence, and assumptions will be considered as the tools of understanding the writing process. Another mode of analysis will be to examine the social, political, and psychological contexts which will lead to the interpretation of the symbol systems and rhetorical strategies of women writers. The questions raised by these critical modes will be applied to the primary focus of the course: student writing. Students will test their responses to the readings, to the issues they raise and to their own writing through composing in several genres and academic modes. They will keep journals and write essays. They will revise as they discover new meaning to their experiences in class and write different perspectives. (Lassner)

315/English 315. Women and Literature. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

See English 315. (Blankley)

320. Seminar in Group Process and Gender. Women's Studies 100, 240, another Women's Studies course, and permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

A seminar for facilitators of Women's Studies 100. Students facilitate a small discussion group on women's issues (see WS 100 for description). A weekly seminar provides training in group process skills and an opportunity to explore women's issues in further depth. Students play an active role in planning and facilitating this seminar. Facilitators gain additional group experience through participation in support and task-oriented committees. Women's Studies 320 encourages all interested women and men to apply for this unique experiential learning opportunity. Enrollment in the course is determined by application and an interview process held on "applicant day" during the Winter Term. If you are interested in facilitating WS 100, please contact the Women's Studies Program (763-2047) for more information. [WL:5] Students must attend applicant day. Date to be announced. (Larimore, Stewart)

342. Gender and Society: Hierarchies in Social Organization. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

In this course we try to develop explanations for the persistence and intensification of gender hierarchy within public institutions. The course may have several foci. In all cases, analyses will focus both on structural barriers to women, and on the psychological mechanisms that maintain cultural dominance and asymmetrical power relations. In order to understand cultural dominance, students will need to examine the processes by which power imbalances are transformed into social expectations and assumptions of inherent worth. For example, how do kinship in the private sphere inform the impersonal, formalized social relations of macro institutions? Within this context, the course may focus on gender hierarchies in specific institutions, e.g., educational or governmental. Here one might inquire how gender asymmetry is used for other hierarchies. Within this conceptual area we also offer courses on political economy: the relation of gender to production, and the economic exploitation of women. Regardless of focus, students explore a variety of explanations for the existence of gender hierarchies in the public sphere. These range from cultural vs. economic explanations to theories that insist on an interaction of the two. Requirements will include at least two written assignments and an exam. (Douvan)

343. Gender Consciousness and Social Change. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

GENDER AND ETHNIC CONSCIOUSNESS. This course will cover social science theories and autobiographical materials that help explain how gender and ethnic consciousness are developed and how they help women and members of ethnic/racial groups cope with personal issues and mobilize collectively to create social change. Special emphasis will be given to the experiences of different kinds of women and how diversity/differences among women can become a source of creative tension in social movements. Students will carry out a biographical study of a particular woman's path to political consciousness. These biographies will be presented in a class symposium at the end of the term. The class format will depend on discussion and talks by quests. One take-home exam will be held. Students from any department are welcome. (Gurin)

345. Third World Women. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course focuses on one or more specific groups of women whose experience may be unique within the general population. These groups might be defined historically, geographically, or by other demographic characteristics and will frequently include the study of doubly oppressed women. The course will focus on women of color, that is, minority women within the United States (Afroamerican, Asian-American, Latina, or Native American). (Hatchett)

351. Women and the Community II. Women's Studies 350 and permission of instructor. (2). (Excl). (EXPERIENTIAL).

Continues placements for students from WS 350. The course uses a supervised independent study, contract system which includes directed reading and a term paper. [WL:5] This is a continuation of Women's Studies 350 closed. (Baker)

355/Rel. 355. Women and Religion in the U.S. Women's Studies 240. (3). (Excl).

This course will examine the interplay of the role of women vis-a-vis the role of religion in American life from the period of the European invasion to the present, exploring themes which have served either to free and enable women to exercise full participation with men within our common life or to confine and prevent such participation. A Protestant ethos as a distinctive feature of American life is assumed, and the role of women in the growth of religious sectarian movements as well as the abolitionist and temperance movements, as movements having roots in this ethos, will receive considerable attention. The role of women within Native American religion and culture, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, the Black church, other minorities, and new religions (including those professing to be "non-religious") will also be considered. The course will culminate in an examination of the abortion issue discussion, within the U.S. context, with focus on an exploration of the philosophical and religious roots of the various arguments. Course requirements: 3 short essays (3-4 pp.), 1 longer essay (10-15 pp.). (Peacock)

357/Class. Civ. 357. Greek Medical Writers in English Translation. (3). (Excl).

See Classical Civilization 357. (Hanson)

371/History 371. Women in American History Since 1870. (4). (Excl).

See History 371. (Simmons)

380. Women's Studies Colloquium. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

Section 001 "GENDER AND GENRE IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLISH PROSE." Many of the historical and cultural factors we tend to associate with the nineteenth century the rise of the companionate nuclear family, the construction of "passive womanhood," the large differentiation between the public sphere and the domestic one were in fact beginning to develop and solidify among the English middle and upper classes in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In addition, this period saw proliferation of a large number of prose discourses, from periodical essays to feminist treatises to the novel. In this course, we will examine the relationship between these two phenomena, in order to understand the ways in which a new set of beliefs and behaviors about family, marriage, masculinity and femininity, were constructed and disseminated by different genres of prose writing. We will begin with a social history of the period, using both contemporary historical analyses and primary sources. We will juxtapose conduct literature, expressing prescriptions about women's behavior, with women's own arguments about education and marriage. In the second part of the course, we will read "fictions": novels by both men and women, employing different narrative strategies, as well as women's autobiographical and utopian writing. The course will end with a section on the social periodical, comprised of a selection of writings by both men and women spanning the period 1691 to 1760. The course will be run as a seminar, with emphasis on ACTIVE class participation. The requirements will include: one ten-minute oral presentation on some part of the reading for one class, three short (2-3 pp.) papers on each section of the course, and a final paper. (Mahrer)

Section 002 LESBIAN REALITIES: INSTITUTIONAL TRANSFORMATIONS. This course will begin with a brief survey of lesbian lives in 20th century America. We will then move on to an interdisciplinary analysis of the impact of several key institutions (religion, psychotherapy, and law) on the varieties of lesbian lives. We will examine how religion, psychotherapy, and law have negated lesbian experiences and how lesbian activisms have begun to transform these institutions. Course requirements: An in-class midterm, one 8-10 page paper, and a take-home final. THIS COURSE WILL APPEAR ONLY AS WS 380, WOMEN'S STUDIES COLLOQUIUM ON ALL TRANSCRIPTS AND UNIVERSITY RECORDS. (Gallagher)

385. Directed Reading. Women's Studies 100 or 240, one 300-level Women's Studies course, and permission of instructor. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Offers advanced Women's Studies students an opportunity to purpose independent, interdisciplinary projects.

386. Directed Reading. Women's Studies 385. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

See Women's Studies 385.

387. Directed Reading. Women's Studies 386. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

See Women's Studies 385.

394(294)/Great Books 394. Great Books by Women Writers. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (4). (HU).

See Great Books 394. (Hermann)

430/Amer. Cult. 430. Theories of Feminism. Women's Studies 240 and one 340-level course, or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

This course will examine a variety of theoretical approaches to understanding the social, political, economic and psychological experience of women. Readings and discussions will focus on classic historical arguments (including those by Wollstonecraft, the Mills, Engels), major twentieth-century statements (including those by Woolf and deBeauvoir), and contemporary analysis associated with various liberal and radical feminist positions. Connections between feminist theories and feminist social movements will be explored, as well as connections between feminism and other analyses of oppression. Open to undergraduates who have completed WS 240 and a 340-level Women's Studies course. (Stewart)

440. Issues and Controversies in the New Scholarship on Women. Women's Studies 240, one 340-level course or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course will examine various representations of the female body and sexual difference and how they affect women's lives. Beginning with an historical perspective, we will examine cultural attitudes towards the body in areas such as medicine, sexuality, childbirth, pornography, fashion, literature and art. We will also draw on anthropology to study the meanings that have been assigned to the female body in different cultures. Finally, toward the end of the term, we will address the role of the body in contemporary feminist theory, tracing through a variety of debates about the relationship between anatomy and identity. Requirements will include three written assignments (one of which will be a research paper) and one or two oral reports. (Vrettos)

441. Honors Research Tutorial. Women's Studies 240, junior Women's Studies concentrators. (1). (Excl). (TUTORIAL).

Prepares second term junior Women's Studies concentrators to write an Honors thesis. Students choose a thesis topic before beginning this tutorial. They then work independently with an appropriate faculty member to develop the research skills specific to their topics (e.g., analytic, library, or computer skills). By the end of the term students should have a well-defined research design and the skills to carry it out. Requirement: a short written thesis prospectus.

480. Special Topics. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).


"Yet it is clear to see that for many of the women in prison, going to prison was just a traumatic transition from one society that was confining and oppressive to another." (Burkhart)

In this course readings and discussion will focus on understanding which women go to prison in Latin American and American prisons. The course will attempt to analyze how the criminal system perpetuates the oppression of Latino and Black women in society. I also will attempt to bring the fact of the existence of this oppression, to the attention of those fortunate enough to live on the outside. For we know nothing of these inmates whose lives and activities are limited by the cold, gray stone walls of their prison cells. We will also learn what happens to the children of those women that go to prison. On the average, 70 to 80 percent of the inmates in a woman's prison are single mothers, and two thirds of their children are under the ages of ten. (Jose-Kampfner)

lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.