MaconCatalog : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences : ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS : WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES (WGS)
 
WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES (WGS)
Virginia A. Young, Chair/Associate Professor of Biology
Natalie J. Bourdon, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies
Janell A. Johnson, Associate Professor of Religion
 
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program offers an opportunity for both male and female students to explore the different ways that men and women have been acculturated throughout history and the changing ways that masculinity and femininity are being defined in contemporary society. Additionally, the major and minor provide a comprehensive, coherent, and carefully chosen course of study that enables students to reach a more complete understanding of the history, position, and achievements of women in culture. Students will be introduced to the questions raised and methods used in the new scholarship on women and gender.
An interdisciplinary program of study, the Women’s and Gender Studies major and minor also complement a wide range of other fields of study. Students planning careers in law, business, medicine, education, service, and the sciences find the study of gender in society useful. It is highly recommended that students who wish to enroll in WGS cross-listed courses have already taken WGS 180 or relevant prerequisites or the introductory course(s) in the cross-listed discipline.
 
Major in Women’s and Gender Studies
27 semester credit hours minimum
WGS 180. Gendered Lives
WGS 201. Methods in Gender Studies Research
WGS 401. Gender Theory and Feminist Thought
One course from:
WGS 415. Southern Women in Popular Culture, History, and Literature
WGS 480. Internship
WGS 485. Seminar
WGS 490. Directed Independent Study
Five additional WGS courses (Three courses must be numbered 300 or above):
One global/multicultural course from:
WGS/AFR/JMS 310. Race, Gender, and Media
WGS/POL 314. Women in Developing Countries
WGS/JMS 318. Queer Cinema
An approved WGS 285, 385, 485. Special Topics
Four courses, of which two must be from different area designations: A single course may satisfy more than one designated area but will not reduce the number of courses required from four.
Humanities
WGS 220. Fiber Arts and Culture
WGS/PHI 237. Gender, Philosophy, and Law
WGS/REL 363. Women and Religion
WGS/ART 373. Picturing Gender
WGS/HIS 377. American Women’s History
WGS/ENG 378. Images of Women in Literature
WGS 415. Southern Women in Popular Culture, History, and Literature
An approved WGS 285, 385, 485. Special Topics
Social Sciences
WGS/PSY 270. Psychology of Gender
WGS/AFR/JMS 310. Race, Gender, and Media
WGS/SOC 312. Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
WGS/POL 314. Women in Developing Countries
WGS/COM 315. Gender and Communication
WGS/JMS 318. Queer Cinema
WGS/POL 332. Women, Law, and Politics
WGS/SOC 334. Marriage and Family: Diversity and Change
WGS/GHS/ANT 345. Health and Gender
WGS/GHS 375. Maternal and Child Health
WGS 383. AIDS: Narratives of Disease
WGS/SOC 386. Race, Gender, and Crime
An approved WGS 285, 385, 485. Special Topics
Natural Sciences
WGS/BIO 361.The Biology of Sex and Gender
An approved WGS 285, 385, 485. Special Topics
Students should consult the WGS program director for designations for “Special Topics” courses.
 
Majors seeking Honors in Women’s and Gender Studies may do so by fulfilling the following requirements: (1) a minimum average 3.50 GPA in the core WGS curriculum and cross-listed courses; (2) an overall minimum average 3.50 GPA; and (3) successful completion of a Senior Research Project at a level judged worthy of Honors by a panel of three faculty members, with the director of the panel being a faculty member who teaches within the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Upon successful completion of the project, the student will receive 3 hours of credit for WGS 490.
 
Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies
15 semester credit hours minimum
WGS 180. Gendered Lives
WGS 201. Methods in Gender Studies Research
WGS 401. Gender Theory and Feminist Thought
Two additional WGS courses, one of which must be numbered 300 or above.
 
WGS 180. Gendered Lives (3 hours)
An examination of how we live our lives as “men” and “women.” This course investigates the biological basis and cultural construction of gender, with particular attention to cross-cultural examples and the history of challenges to the status quo of gendered societies. (Every semester)
WGS 198. Special Introductory Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
Study of an introductory topic in Women’s and Gender Studies not covered in any of the departmental offerings. This course may be applied to the Women’s and Gender Studies major or minor. (Occasionally)
WGS 201. Methods in Gender Studies Research (3 hours)
Prerequisite: WGS 180.
This course will explore and utilize methods for conducting gender studies research. In this course, we will learn how gender and feminist theory shapes the kinds of research questions we ask and how we go about conducting reliable, responsible, and ethical research on gender. Students will work with the instructor to develop and carry out a research project in their own area of interest. (Every year)
WGS 220. Fiber Arts and Culture (3 hours)
An exploration of the intersection of gender and fiber. Students will learn to knit and crochet, spin yarn from fiber, weave, and dye yarn and fabric. In addition, they will gain practical experience in the processing of fiber from fleece to fabric and will explore in depth the silk industry, historically and currently, by raising their own silk worms and processing their cocoons into fiber that will be dyed and knit into fabrics. (Every two years)
WGS 237. Gender, Philosophy, and Law (3 hours)
(Same as PHI 237)
This course will examine two basic questions: (1) What does it mean for a society to treat men and women justly? (2) How close do American society and the American legal system come to this ideal? The course will consider these questions through readings in philosophy, social science, and law on topics such as wage disparities between men and women; marriage, divorce, and child welfare; pregnancy, abortion, and reproductive technologies; and rape, prostitution, and pornography. (Every two years)
WGS 270. Psychology of Gender (3 hours)
(Same as PSY 270)
Prerequisite: PSY 101 or consent of instructor.
Examination of the theory and context in which the social construct of “gender” develops, and the impact this has on our perceptions of ourselves, how others perceive us, and how we relate to others. Emphasis will be placed on the diversity of such experiences. (Every two years)
WGS 285. Special Topics: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
A study of some significant topic in women’s and gender studies not covered in the regular offerings. May be repeated with different topics. (Every year)
WGS 310. Race, Gender, and Media (3 hours)
(Same as AFR 310 and JMS 310)
This course will critically examine the role of the media in enabling, facilitating, or challenging the social constructions of race and gender in our society. We will consider the mass media to be one among many other social institutions such as religion, education, and family, which strongly influence our everyday notions of race and gender. The course will address a variety of entertainment and news content in print and electronic media. (Every other year)
WGS 312. Sociology of Gender and Sexuality (3 hours)
(Same as SOC 312)
An examination of social factors that influence our understanding of gender, sexuality, and sexual identities in society. Students will develop a critical, empirically-based understanding of the structural and historical foundations of gender and sexuality in society through a study of topics related to gender performance, gender inequality, sexualities, sexual behavior, sex education, and sexual health.(Every two years)
WGS 314. Women in Developing Countries (3 hours)
(Same as POL 314)
Prerequisite: POL 253/IAF 253 or consent of instructor.
This course offers an opportunity to learn about the status of women in developing countries, in general, and the role of women in development, in particular. The course examines the substance and direction of interactions among women, their political structures, and economic systems throughout the developing world. Multiple perspectives and models are explored, including, but not limited to, dependency theory, modernization theory, globalization, feminist sociology, and post modernism. (Every two years)
WGS 315. Gender and Communication (3 hours)
(Same as COM 315)
A study of gender in relation to the public sphere. The primary focus is on feminist approaches to rhetoric and rhetorical theory. Students will also examine how gender intersects with the study of human relationships. (Every other year)
WGS 318. Queer Cinema (3 hours)
(Same as JMS 318)
The course offers an overview of the aesthetic hallmarks, political impulses and critical responses that distinguish queer cinema as a unique, important tradition. Queer authorship, reading practices, and the queerness inherent in mainstream genres will be explored. The work of lesbian and gay filmmakers working in avant-garde and underground venues will also be discussed moving toward a consideration of the New Queer Cinema movement. (Every other year)
WGS 332. Women, Law, and Politics (3 hours)
(Same as POL 332)
Prerequisite: POL 101 or consent of instructor.
This course examines the legal and political efforts of women to obtain equality in American society. The course focuses on (1) the landmark legal cases and the important political milestones on the path toward full gender equality; (2) the challenges facing women seeking leadership roles in politics and society; (3) the actual and potential impacts women have on political institutions and policy outcomes; and (4) current public policy areas that have a significant impact on the lives of women and girls. (Every two years)
WGS 334. Marriage and Family (3 hours)
(Same as SOC 334)
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or WGS 180.
This course provides an overview of marriage and family issues. Students will examine historical changes in the meaning and role of marriage and family in society by considering the impact of social structure and culture. Students will also examine different ways in which class, gender, race, and other social positions influence people's experiences in relation to marriage and family. (Every two years)
WGS 345. Health and Gender (3 hours)
(Same as GHS 345 and ANT 345)
Prerequisite: GHS 200 or WGS 180.
An interdisciplinary examination of the gendered dimensions of health in a global context. The course will explore such topics as sexual and gender identity, gender-based violence, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy prevention, and infertility. (Every two years)
WGS 361. The Biology of Sex and Gender (3 hours)
(Same as BIO 361)
Prerequisites: WGS 180 and a grade of C or better in BIO 212.
The student will gain a knowledge base of the biology of sex, as well as, exposure to material that inspires one to study science with a critical eye, in particular, from a feminist framework. Topics covered may include the evolution of meiotic sex, human reproductive biology, environmental influences on reproductive biological development, socio-biological theories and sexual behavior in animals, and feminist analyses of the biological sciences. Pedagogy may include collaborative group work. (Occasionally)
WGS 363. Women and Religion (3 hours)
(Same as REL 363)
Prerequisites: REL 110, 130, 150, or 170 and WGS 180; or consent of instructor.
A biblical, historical, and theological examination of the role of women within the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Every three years)
WGS 373. Picturing Gender (3 hours)
(Same as ART 373)
Prerequisite: ART 106, ART 107, or consent of instructor. 
A consideration of the changing roles of visual art and mass media in the understanding of gender.  Primary texts and images are interpreted through scholarship that incorporates feminist, queer, visual, and critical theory. (Every three years)  
WGS 375. Maternal and Child Health (3 hours)
(Same as GHS 375)
Prerequisite: GHS 200.
An exploration of material, neonatal, and child morbidity and mortality in the global context, with emphasis on conditions in developing nations. This course will focus on the sociocultural, political, and economic causes of poor maternal and child health, while introducing students to approaches in MCH health prevention, promotion, and program design. (Every two years)
WGS 377. American Women’s History (3 hours)
(Same as HIS 377)
A study of the meaning and place of women in American society from the colonial era to the present, addressing subjects such as family, sexuality, work, and reform, within the broader context of American history. (Every two years)
WGS 378. Images of Women in Literature (3 hours)
(Same as ENG 378)
A study of the literary representation of women, with emphasis on the lives and careers of women writers. Authors covered may include Austen, Bronte, Wharton, Woolf, Morrison, and others. (Every two years)
WGS 383. AIDS: Narratives of Disease (3 hours)
This interdisciplinary course gives students sufficient information for them to make informed decisions about their behaviors and their lives. Students will confront and grapple with the biological, social, historical, environmental, psychological, and cultural issues which the AIDS pandemic represents. The diverse populations affected by AIDS—gays, children, women, Africans—will be discussed. AIDS and other historic plagues raise numerous moral and ethical issues regarding public health, resource allocation, individual versus group rights, and the sweeping effects of trying to keep people healthy. Books, articles, speakers, films, and classroom discussion serve as the texts for the course. (Occasionally)
WGS 385. Special Topics: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
Prerequisite: to be determined by the instructor.
A study of some significant topic in women's and gender studies that is not covered by the department's regular course offerings. May be repeated with different topics. (Every year)
WGS 386. Race, Gender, and Crime (3 hours) 
(Same as SOC 386 and AFR 386) 
Prerequisite: CRJ 160, SOC 101, WGS 180, or AFR 190. 
A theoretical and empirical study of the significance of race and gender to criminal offending and criminal justice processing. Students will examine how gender and race influence criminal involvement and experiences in the criminal justice system and consider the implications of intersections of race, gender, and other social positions to contemporary issues of crime and criminal justice. (Every two years) 
WGS 389. The Black Woman (3 hours)
(Same as AFR 389)
An historical and literary examination of the black woman and her role in American culture. (Every two years)
WGS 397. Preceptorship (1-2 hours)
Prerequisite: permission of department chair.
Selected students will serve as learning facilitators in a class typically at the 100-200 level. Preceptors commonly attend all classes, read assigned texts, participate in class discussions, and take on other duties as assigned, but are not allowed to grade the work of students enrolled in the course. Each preceptor will reflect on the preceptorship experience in accordance with departmental practices, usually by keeping a journal during the semester. At least three hours of work per week are required for every hour of credit. Successful completion of the course meets the EXP requirement (EXP 408). Graded S/U. May not be counted toward the major or minor. May be repeated once for a maximum of four credit hours. (As needed)
WGS 398. Internship in Women and Gender Studies (1-3 hours)
Prerequisites: WGS 180 and 201 and permission of WGS chair.
An intensive practicum experience at an approved business, organization, or academic institution. Students, under the direction of a faculty member and an on-site supervisor, must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least three on- site hours per week for every hour of credit. Students will learn through observation, regular discussions with the on-site supervisor and Mercer faculty member, and written reflection. In addition, students may be required to attend training events, workshops or weekly seminars. This course may be repeated for a total of 9 hours and does not count toward a major or minor in Women and Gender Studies. Graded S/U. (Every year)
WGS 401. Gender Theory and Feminist Thought (3 hours)
Prerequisites: WGS 180, 201, and one WGS course numbered above 300, or consent of instructor.
An interdisciplinary examination of theoretical perspectives in women’s and gender studies, including the history of Western ideas on gender and the impact on traditional academic disciplines of the “new scholarship” on women and gender. Connections between critical theories and collective movements or social change will be emphasized. (Every third semester)
WGS 415. Southern Women in Popular Culture, History, and Literature (3 hours)
Prerequisite: WGS 180.
This seminar examines the intersection of gender, race, class, and region in the American South. By examining film, works of fiction, biography, and autobiography, we will look at the ways in which southern women have negotiated the often contested terrain of identity. Particular emphasis will be placed on the constructions of southern womanhood, and the ways in which southern women have created, confronted, accepted, rejected, and struggled with these constructions. (Every other year)
WGS 485. Seminar (3 hours)
Prerequisite: to be determined by instructor.
Structured seminar-style discussion involving intensive study of an issue or topic in women’s and gender studies. May be repeated with different topics. (Every year)
WGS 490. Directed Independent Study (1-3 hours)
Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
An intensive reading and research project culminating in either a research paper or an annotated bibliography. May be repeated with different topics. Students must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least one contact hour, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. (1-3 hours credit, depending upon the scope of the project). (Occasionally)