Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies

A colorful mural on the side of a building portrays 90 female activists throughout history.

"When Women Pursue Justice" is a mural in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, that portrays 90 American female activists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Women portrayed in the mural include Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, Angela Davis, and Gloria Steinem, among others. (Image courtesy of Artmakers, Inc. Used with permission.)


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As Taught In

Fall 2014



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Course Description

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Course Description

This course offers an introduction to Women's and Gender Studies, an interdisciplinary field that asks critical questions about the meanings of sex and gender in society. The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with key issues, questions and debates in Women's and Gender Studies, both historical and contemporary. Gender studies scholarship critically analyzes themes of gendered performance and power in a range of social spheres, such as education, law, culture, work, medicine and the family.  WGS. 101 draws on multiple disciplines--such as literature, history, economics, psychology, sociology, philosophy, political science, anthropology and media studies-- to examine cultural assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality. This course integrates analysis of current events through student presentations, aiming to increase awareness of contemporary and historical experiences of women, and of the multiple ways that sex and gender interact with race, class, nationality and other social identities.


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Andrea Walsh, and Elizabeth Fox. WGS.101 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies. Fall 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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