2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog

Women’s Studies

Chairperson: Dr. Aimee Shouse
Office: Currens Hall 510
Telephone: (309) 298-2214
Fax: (309) 298-1134
E-mail: AD-Shouse@wiu.edu
Website: wiu.edu/womens-studies

 Faculty: Baker-Sperry, Shouse, Stovall, West.

 The Department of Women's Studies offers an interdisciplinary major and a minor in women's studies.  The field of women's studies includes focus on the many and varied contributions of women to human culture, as well as the impact of culture on women.  The program offers a multicultural, interdisciplinary exploration of societal conditions that affect women in many contexts.  Traditional disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, human services, health, and physical education fields expose students to multiple interpretations of issues, trends, and historical patterns that have affected women in the past and that will influence future social conditions.  Understanding patterns of sexism, racism, classism, and other systems of oppression is an important component of the discipline of women's studies.  In addition, the discipline emphasizes the extension of traditional knowledge to include the experiences of women.  Courses in women's studies stress the impact of macro social structures on the lives of individual women and explore the means by which these structures shape literature, education, philosophy, psychology, religion, societies, health, and other facets of human culture.

All students in good standing are eligible for admission into the Women's Studies degree program.  Graduation requires completion of degree requirements as listed below.

Major - A major in women's studies prepares students for a wide array of human services fields that specifically serve women clients, customers, and consumers.  Social services, industries, communications fields, research, advertising, marketing, journalism, government, law enforcement, and non-profit agencies are likely employment options for women's studies graduates.

In addition, a B.A. in the interdisciplinary major of women's studies is an excellent foundation for graduate work in women's studies or in another discipline.  Numerous graduate programs in women's studies have been developed in recent years, although students are also prepared for graduate study in law, social sciences, humanities, or health disciplines.

Minor—A minor in women's studies is an excellent complement to most majors.  Students pursuing majors in the social sciences, communications, humanities, education, social work, recreation, park, and tourism administration, law enforcement and justice administration, health sciences, business, or any human services oriented discipline could particularly benefit from a minor in women's studies. 

GradTrac is available to Women’s Studies majors. See more information about GradTrac

Honors Curriculum - Academically qualified students in this department are welcome to complete an honors curriculum in University Honors, Upper Division Honors, or Lower Division Honors. All Honors students must complete the one-hour honors colloquium (G H 299). Lower Division Honors includes General Honors coursework. Upper Division Honors includes honors work in the major. University Honors combines Upper and Lower Division Honors. For more information about honors curricula visit the Centennial Honors College website at www.wiu.edu/Honors

Degree Programs

Bachelor of Arts — Women's Studies

All students seeking the Bachelor of Arts in Women's Studies must complete I, II, III, IV, and V.  The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h.

  1. University General Education Curriculum and College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Requirements:  60 s.h.
  2. Core Courses:  9 s.h.
    WS 190, 355, 455†
  3. Women's Studies Electives:  24 s.h.
  4. Open Electives:  7-11 s.h.
  5. Any Minor:  16-20 s.h.

† WS 455 fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) graduation requirement.


Minor in Women's Studies. 18 s.h.

  1. WS 190:  3 s.h. 
  2. WS 355:  3 s.h. 
  3. WS Electives:  12 s.h. 

Course Descriptions


190  Introduction to Women’s Studies. (3)  (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  An exploration of women's roles and their status in society with insights gained from various disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, and literature.

220  (cross-listed with PHIL 220) Feminism and Ethics. (3)  (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  A multicultural and comparative investigation of feminist issues in ethics and women's contributions to moral theory. Not open to students with credit in PHIL 220.

265  (formerly WS 365)  Women and Creativity. (3)  (General Education/Humanities)  This course explores some of the ways that women represent female experiences through creativity. Primary emphasis is on their contributions as producers and creators of various artistic forms. Prerequisite: WS 190 or permission of instructor.

285  (cross-listed with SOC 285) Multicultural Women. (3)  (General Education/Social Sciences or Multicultural Studies)  This course offers an in-depth examination of the life characteristics and experiences of multicultural groups of women. African American, Irish, Latina, Asian, Lesbian, and other multicultural groups will be discussed. Not open to students with credit in SOC 285. Prerequisite: WS 190 or SOC 100.

301  (cross-listed with ENG 301) Women and Literature. (3)  (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  The study of literature as an art practiced by women, with an examination of portrayals of women in literature. Not open to students with credit in ENG 301.
IAI: H3 911D.

303  (cross-listed with REL 303) Women in Religion. (3)  (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  A cross-cultural, comparative, interdisciplinary investigation of the presence of women in shaping the religious cultures of the world. Not open to students with credit in REL 303. Prerequisite: one 100- or 200-level religious studies course or consent of instructor.

307  (cross-listed with ENG 307)  Issues for Women Writing. (3, repeatable to 6 for different topics)  Reading, discussion, and writing focused on a particular social, cultural, or personal issue related to how and what women write. Not open to students with credit in ENG 307. Prerequisite: ENG 299 or WS 190, or consent of instructor.

310  (cross-listed with AAS 310)  Black Women in the United States. (3)  A sociological analysis of the various social roles of Black women, including those of gender, education, occupations, and marriage and family, with some attention given to contributions and achievements. Not open to students with credit in AAS 310.

315  (cross-listed with ANTH 315) Gender and Anthropology. (3)  Exploration of cross-cultural ethnographies of variations in gender roles in economic, religious, and political domains. This course also addresses gender identity and gender diversity issues.  Not open to students with credit in ANTH 315. Prerequisite: ANTH 110 or consent of instructor.

316  (cross-listed with COMM 315) Gender and Communication. (3)  This course examines gender and gender-role differences and similarities in verbal and non-verbal communication and surveys several contexts in which sex differences in human communication occur. Not open to students with credit in COMM 315. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

317  (cross-listed with HIST 317)  Women in American History. (3)  (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  A multicultural and historical survey of women in the United States, from 1500 to the present. Not open to students with credit in HIST 317. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or 106, or consent of instructor.

318  (cross-listed with HIST 318) Women and Gender in European History. (3)  (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  A study of women and gender in Europe, from antiquity to the present, focusing on changes in culture, society, the economy, and politics. Prerequisite: HIST 125 or 126, or consent of instructor.

321  (cross-listed with HE 321)  Women's Health. (3)  Provides information about how women can improve their chances of achieving and maintaining high level wellness. Among the topics included are: prevention, early detection and treatment of health problems commonly occurring among women, contraception, pregnancy and childbirth, using the medical care system, and mental health. Open to male and female students. Not open to students with credit in HE 321.

335  (cross-listed with POLS 335) Women and Politics. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  An examination of the changing role of women in American politics. Focus on women as participants in politics, public policies of concern to women, and feminist theories of political change. Not open to students with credit in POLS 335. Prerequisite: POLS 101 or 122 or permission of instructor.

336  (cross-listed with AAS 336)  Womanist Theory & Perspectives. (3)  Introduction to African and African American women’s perspective, to enhance interest and understanding of the existing wide range of feminist scholarship in the U.S., and other feminine discourses pertaining to activism/contributions of Black women in Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean, and Europe. Not open to students with credit for AAS 336. Prerequisite: AAS 100 or AAS 145 or AAS/WS 310 or WS 190 or permission of instructor.

355  (formerly WS 290)  Introduction to Feminist Theory. (3)  A study of the theoretical foundations of modern feminist theory. Writings of early feminists such as Sara Grimke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Harriet Taylor, Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are explored for their impact on the development of feminist thought. Prerequisite: WS 190 and one additional Women’s Studies course, or permission of instructor.

357  (cross-listed with PSY 357) Women and Work. (3)  (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  Examination of major psychological issues encountered by women entering the workforce, including career choice, combining work and family life, leadership, and inequities. Not open to students with credit in PSY 357. Prerequisite: PSY 100.

360  (cross-listed with SOC 360) Gender and Society. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  This course provides a sociological examination of theories of gender, socio-historical gender patterns, gender and American social institutions, social structure and gender, and cross-cultural comparisons. Not open to students with credit in SOC 360. BGS online writing course. Prerequisite: SOC 100 or WS 190, or consent of instructor.

370  Women in Popular Culture. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  A sociocultural study of stereotypes of women as portrayed in American popular culture with a particular emphasis placed upon the images of women of color. Prerequisite: WS 190.

391 Special Topics in Women’s Studies. (1–3, repeatable to 6)  An in-depth investigation of special topics in the field of women’s studies. Prerequisites: WS 190 and permission of instructor.

395  (cross-listed with ANTH 395)  Gender, Race, and the Environment. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies)  Explores research, scholarship, and fictional ecofeminist works. Students will consider the influence of women, feminists, and ecofeminist writings on local and global environmental movements. Not open to students with credit in ANTH 395. Prerequisite: ANTH 110 or WS 190 or permission of instructor.

401  (cross-listed with AAS 401)  African American Women and Dance. (3)  Black women in modern dance, 1930s to the present, including relationships between the lived experience of African American women and their contributions to U.S. performance culture. Choreographers and dancers whose works have changed contemporary movement will be explored. Not open to students with credit in AAS 401. Prerequisite: WS 190 or permission of instructor.

405  Women’s Spirituality. (3)  This course will examine some of the predominant themes in women’s experience from a multicultural perspective as a means of understanding how women develop their spirituality. Prerequisite: WS 190 or permission of instructor.

410  (cross-listed with SOC 410)  Women and Poverty. (3)  The poverty of women in the United States including factors of race, place of residence, and age are covered. Structural hierarchies that maintain poverty are examined from a sociological perspective. Not open to students with credit in SOC 410. Prerequisites: WS 190 or SOC 100 or permission of instructor.

415  Politics of Reproduction. (3)  This course examines reproduction as an issue of public interest and considers how public and private interests can conflict regarding women’s ability to control their reproduction. Prerequisite: WS 190 or permission of instructor.

420  (cross-listed with AAS 420 and SOC 420)  Race, Class, and Gender. (3)  The course will examine issues of race, class, and gender in historical, cultural, and contemporary societal contexts. Not open to students with credit in AAS 420 or SOC 420. Prerequisites: WS 190, or AAS 100, or SOC 100; or permission of instructor.

430  (cross-listed with SOC 430)  Sociology of Women’s Health (3)  Uses sociological theories and research to examine the gendered experience of illness. Includes sociological analysis of medical knowledge about women’s health. Topics include medicalization of women’s health, the gendered hierarchy of professions, and feminist critiques of scientific research. Not open to students with credit in SOC 430. Prerequisites: SOC 100 or WS 190,  or consent of instructor.

435  (cross-listed with SOC 435) Women and Crime. (3)  Theories of female criminality, patterns of female crime and victimization, women in corrections, and women as criminal justice practitioners are examined. Not open to students with credit in SOC 435. Prerequisite: SOC 100 or consent of instructor.

455  Feminist Theory & Practice. (3)  The study of feminist theory and its impact on language, socialization, religion, science, politics, and economics. Writing Instruction in the Discipline (WID) course. Prerequisite ENG 280; WS 355 or permission of instructor.

470  (cross-listed with KIN 470)  Gender and Sport. (3)  Examines relationships between gender, sport, and physical activity. Gender is examined within the context of stereotypes and the structure/philosophy of sport and physical activity. Sport and physical activity are investigated as social institutions relative to cultural constructions of gender. Not open to students with credit in KIN 470. Prerequisite: WS 190 or permission of instructor.

491  Women’s Studies Honors Thesis. (1–4, repeatable to 4)  An independent study project or paper to be supervised by two members of the faculty in women’s studies. Prerequisite: enrollment in the Honors Program; senior status.

494  (cross-listed with BC 494 and ENG 494)  Women and Film/Television. (3)  An overview of women in film and television that considers the on-screen images of women as well as the positions of women working behind the scenes (with laboratory). Not open to students with credit for BC 494 or ENG 494. Prerequisite: ENG 280.

495  Third-Wave Cinema. (3)  This course examines work of 21st century female filmmakers from feminist, “third-wave,” and “post-feminist” perspectives. Topics include cinematic representation of women’s roles in politics, religion, education, violence against women, beauty myth, racial and ethnic oppression, and arts in contemporary cinema. Prerequisite: WS 190 or consent of instructor.

497  Independent Study in Women’s Studies (1-3, repeatable to 6)  Individual readings and/or research on a topic within Women’s Studies. Prerequisites: WS 355 and permission of department chair.

499  Internship in Women’s Studies. (1-9, repeatable to 9)  Supervised work in an applied occupational area related to women.  Prerequisites: junior or senior status and permission of department chair.