Women's and Gender Studies

Current Course Offerings

Click the '+' to see the course description and other details.
* denotes a Special Topics course. 

Fall Term 2017 (1610)

Undergraduate Courses

  • WGS 101: Representations of Girls and Women

    An exploration of the impact that cultural representations of femininity have on the political, economic, and social lives of girls and women throughout the world.

     

    Instructor: MEAGHER, Michelle
    Days & Time: M/W/F, 11:00 - 12:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: none
    Notes: This section has an optional CSL, Community Service Learning, component. For more information on CSL see: http://www.csl.ualberta.ca

  • WGS 240: Feminism and Food

     

    Is food a feminist issue? Yes. This course surveys contemporary feminist debates in food politics. Throughout the semester, we will explore feminist analyses of food practices, dietary choice, and nutrition advice. We will consider feminist approaches to food ethics and consumption from critical race, postcolonial, queer, critical disability and critical animal studies perspectives. In addition, we will engage in feminist analyses of weight loss dieting, body image, and eating disorders; and we will examine gendered relationships to food through studying the gendering of diets, the politics of breastfeeding, and links between eating, eroticism, and sexuality.

    Instructor: ROSARIO, Esther
    Days & Time: M/W/F, 14:00 - 15:00

    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: none
    Notes:  Not open to students with credit in WGS 340 (or W ST 340)

  • WGS 244: Disability Studies

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    This course will introduce students to some aspects of the field of Critical Disability Studies, especially as it intersects with feminist theory and sexuality studies. The first unit of the course, “Individual Models of Disability,” will examine the amorphousness of our notion of “disability,” and will introduce students to a number of “individual models” of disability, including the eugenic, medical, and charity models. In Unit 2, “The Social Model of Disability,” we will discuss the view that disability is not a medical issue located in individual bodies and minds, but a social issue and form of oppression. Unit 3, “Cultural Models of Disability,” will introduce students to the view that not only disability, but also “impairments” are social or cultural constructs. In this section of the course we will consider arguments for seeing particular groups of disabled people not as medically impaired but as natural human variations that form valuable sub-cultures. Unit 4, “Intersections: Gender, Sexuality, Species and Disability,” will introduce students to the feminist concept of intersectionality, and will explore the intersections between gender and disability, as well as disability and sexuality, and disability and species. Finally, Unit 5, “Mad Studies,” will focus on critical disability studies approaches to mental illness.

    Instructor: TAYLOR, Chloë
    Days & Time: T/R, 14:00 - 15:30
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none

     

    “I became disabled before I began reading feminist theory, yet it was feminist theory that led me to disability studies.... Simply put, feminism has given me the theoretical tools to think critically about disability, the stigmatization of bodily variation, and various modes and strategies of resistance, dissent, and collective action.”

    -Alison Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip, 14

  • WGS 250: Gender and Science

    Interdisciplinary exploration of gender and science, with an emphasis on intersections of gender, race, sexuality, and politics in historical and contemporary scientific practices.

    Instructor: BELL, Mebbie
    Days & Time: T, 17:00 - 20:00

    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: none
    Note: Not open to students with credit in WGS 350 (or W ST 350)

  • WGS 270: Feminism and Sexualities

    Approaches to, and key debates about, sexuality. Topics may include: sexology; critiques of heterosexuality; political lesbianism; queer theory; transgender and intersexuality; prostitution and sex work.

    Instructor: NIXON, Randi
    Days & Time: T/R, 15:30 - 17:00

    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: none
    Note:  Not open students with credit in WGS 370 (or W ST 370)

  • * WGS 298: Critical Issues - Breasts

    One, two, or none at all? Breast cancer, transitioning, drag, and hypergendered bodies raise questions about what to do with this fatty tissue situated on chest muscles: reconstruct what was lost, create what was missing, enlarge what you’ve got? In bringing these seemingly disparate positions into conversation we will explore the circulating forces in film, advertising, music videos, medical representations, etc. that shape contemporary ideas and ideals about breasts. These will include considerations of gender, race, class, colonial, and neoliberal ideologies. Using a chronological timeline to structure our study, we will engage with memoirs, blogs, art productions, and performances that offer diverse insights into living with or without breasts and shaping how breasted/less bodies can be and are self-represented. The overarching objectives of this course will be to identify: ideologies that ground representations of breasts, oppressive disciplinary practices, tactics of resistance, and transformative self-representation.

    Instructor: WOODMAN, Dorothy
    Days & Time: T/R, 11:00 - 12:30
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none

     

    Click here to see the full course poster (PDF)!

  • WGS 301: History of Feminist Thought

    The development of feminist thought and theories until the mid-20th century, including the contributions of, and tensions among various feminisms.

    Instructor: LIFSHITZ, Felice
    Days & Time: M/W/F, 10:00 - 11:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

  • WGS 360: Race, Class, and Gender

    Historical, contemporary and comparative perspectives on the interaction of race, class, and gender experiences.

    Instructor: NIXON, Randi
    Days & Time: M/W/F, 13:00 - 14:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

  • WGS 440: Body Politics

    An examination of contemporary theoretical approaches to bodies and embodiment, with particular emphasis on the ways that race, class, sexuality, gender, and (dis)ability shape bodily experience.

    Instructor: RODIER, Kristin
    Days & Time: T/R, 12:30 - 14:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

  • WGS 460: Masculinities

    This course surveys the status of masculinity and the emergence of contemporary masculinity studies.

    Instructor: LABRADA, Eloy
    Days & Time: T/R, 11:00 - 12:30

    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

  • * WGS 498 (A1): Topics in Women's & Gender Studies - On Intimacy

     

    Shaka McGlotten defines intimacy as “a feeling of connection or a sense of belonging; embodied and carnal sensuality, that is, sex; and that which is most inward and inmost to one’s personhood,” thus highlighting the affective dimensions of intimacy as it shapes our personhood and sense of connection to others and to the world. Yet McGlotten simultaneously contends that, “intimacy is also a vast assemblage of ideologies, institutional sites, and diverse sets of material and semiotic practices that exert normative pressures on large and small bodies, lives, and worlds." In this course, we will be examining the complexities highlighted by McGlotten’s paradoxical understanding of intimacy as both the experience of desire, kinship, and belonging and as ideological, as the site of governmental, biopolitical, and neoliberal pressures. Indeed, in the study of gender, we have long known that intimacy is seldom the neutral act of loving. The distinction between public and private spheres has been a central concern for feminist thought, and in this course we will consider the public dimensions of the private sphere and of intimate lives. Importantly, intimacy also abounds in colonial spaces, from anxieties over miscegenation to the horrifying intimacies between slaveholders and house-slaves and between the colonized and the colonizer, as Ann Stoler and Anne McClintock describe. By examining a genealogy of how intimacy has been approached in queer, gender, and critical race theory, we will consider both its productive world-building dimensions and its implications in systems of power. Readings in this course will include texts from Lauren Berlant, Jaspir Puar, Audre Lorde, and Hortense Spillers, among others.

    Instructor: FROST, Helen
    Days & Time:
    M/W/F, 12:00 - 13:00
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

     

    Click here to see the full course poster (PDF)!

Graduate Courses

  • GSJ 501: Praxis Workshop

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    This course is required of all students enrolled in the MA program in Gender and Social Justice. As an introductory seminar in the program, we will read texts that explore one of the key terms of this degree: Social Justice, while GSJ 502, taken in the Winter semester, will explore the other key term: Gender. We will start by exploring classical theories of justice and feminist critiques of these theories, as well as feminist theories of epistemic injustice. We will then examine the distinction between justice and social justice. Because justice today is often conflated with criminal justice, over the next several weeks we will examine social justice critiques of the criminal-legal system from critical race, decolonial, critical disability, queer, trans and feminist perspectives. Finally, we will consider social justice alternatives to the criminal-legal system, including restorative justice, redistributive justice, and transformative justice, with an emphasis on their application to sexual violence. Students enrolled in GSJ 501 are also required to attend the Feminist Research Speakers Series (FRSS) throughout the semester, attend one Professional Development event, and complete twenty hours of Community Service-Learning (CSL).

     

    Instructor: TAYLOR, Chloë
    Day & Time:
    W, 14:00 - 17:00
    Units:
    *3.00


Winter Term 2018 (1620)

Undergraduate Courses

  • WGS 102: Gender and Social Justice

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    This course introduces students to the dynamic fields of Women’s & Gender Studies and Social Justice Studies. We will examine the social category of gender as it intersects with other social categories—such as sexuality, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic class, and (dis)ability—and we will investigate the relation between gender and social justice. The course is divided into four units. In Unit 1: Gender, students will study concepts such as oppression, privilege, the social construction of gender, intersectionality and interlocking oppressions. In Unit 2: Social Justice, students will study social justice critiques of the criminal justice system, as well as social justice alternatives to criminal justice. In Unit 3: Decolonization, students will learn about the history of colonialism in Canada, ongoing violence against Indigenous women, and Indigenous resurgance. Finally, Unit 4: Environmental Justice, will introduce students to environmental justice perspectives on climate change, environmental racism, environmental sexism, and food justice.

    Instructor: TAYLOR, Chloë
    Days & Time: M/W/F, 10:00 - 11:00
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none

  • * WGS 298: Critical Issues - Your Body is a Battleground

     

    From the media controversy over Beyoncé’s recent pregnant photoshoot, to the 2010 Twitter campaign #IHadAnAbortion, to the 2017 Women’s Marches in Canada and across the globe, “reproduction" has proven to be a contested issue for gender and sexual politics. This course will explore how the politics of reproduction impact and are impacted by questions of race, Indigenous justice, transgender rights, citizenship, immigration, media cultures, and new technologies.

    Instructor: CAPPER, Beth
    Days & Time: M/W/F, 11:00 - 12:00
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none

     

    Click here to see the full course poster (PDF)!

  • WGS 302: Feminist Research and Methodologies

    Whether there can be and is a distinctive feminist perspective on research in various disciplines; the ways in which taking a feminist perspective or taking account of women in research, affects the research process.

    Instructor: BELL, Mebbie
    Days & Time: T/R, 15:30 - 17:00
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

  • WGS 332: Contemporary Feminist Theory

    The origins and evolution of various schools of contemporary western feminist thought.

    Instructor: RODIER, Kristin
    Days & Time:
    M/W/F, 11:00 - 12:00
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent
    Note: Not open to students with credit in PHIL 332

  • WGS 431: Feminism and Sexual Assault

    Interdisciplinary consideration of conceptual, political and legal strategies that feminists have deployed to confront sexual coercion with an emphasis on contemporary North American context.

    Instructor: NIXON, Randi
    Days & Time:
    T/R, 15:30 - 17:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

  • * WGS 470: Sexualities - Queer Feminisms

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    The term “queer,” as used in queer theory, activism, and communities, is the subversive appropriation of a label once used to denigrate people considered abnormal, strange, or eccentric in their sexual practices or gender expression. Against the assumption that to be deemed abnormal—or queer—is an insult, self-described queers have taken up the term with pride, thus undermining the normalizing assumption tacit in its original usage. As queer theorist Tamsin Spargo writes, within queer theory, “Queer can function as a noun, an adjective, or a verb, but in each case is defined against the ‘normal’ or ‘normalising.’” In refusing to become well-adjusted to the norms of a homophobic, gender-oppressive, racist, ableist, neo-liberal, capitalist, militaristic and carceral society, queer theorists distinguish their politics from what Lisa Duggan has described as the “homonormativity” of gay and lesbian politics.

    In this course we will first consider the ways that queer theory has emerged from and diverged from feminist theory, including lesbian feminist theory, or how queer theorists have challenged feminist theory and developed uniquely queer feminisms. In the middle part of the semester we will study queer feminist explorations of intersex and transgender, the project of queering spaces, queer female masculinities and femininities, crip queer feminisms (or the intersection of disability with sexuality and gender), and queer affect theory. In the last weeks of the semester students will be introduced to the concepts of homonormativity and homonationalism.

     

    Instructor: TAYLOR, Chloë
    Day & Time:
    W, 13:00 - 16:00
    Units:
    *3.00

    Note: Taught in conjunction with GSJ 570

  • * WGS 498 (X50): Topics in Women's & Gender Studies - Trans Theory

     

    This course introduces students to the dynamic and complex field of trans theory. Trans theories arose as a theoretical and political response to problematic conceptions of gender, identity, and the sexed body present in mainstream biology, in folk conceptions of sex and gender, and in earlier waves of some feminist theory and activism.

    In WGS 498, we’ll explore various trans theories that challenge received understandings of the body, gender, sex, and sexuality, by critically analyzing trans theory, art, and film. How should we envisage the body and the self in the wake of intersectional trans political movements? What kind of resistant identities and practices have trans communities developed and how do these contribute to feminist, queer, and critical race theory? How does trans theory shed light on gender identity and what does it reveal about existing healthcare practices? How do social categories affect our bodily experience? And how should we address—and redress–the disproportionate violence to which trans people of color are historically and presently subjected?

    Instructor: LABRADA, Eloy
    Days & Time:
    T, 17:00 - 20:00
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

     

    Click here to see the full course poster (PDF)!

  • * WGS 498 (B1): Topics in Women's & Gender Studies - Indigenous Women and Feminism

    [coming soon] 

    Instructor: BEAR, Tracy
    Days & Time:
    T/R, 11:00 - 12:30
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

     


  • * WGS 498 (B2): Topics in Women's & Gender Studies - Art, Activism, Social Justice

    Art, Activism, Social Justice.  More information to come.

     

    Instructor: MEAGHER, Michelle
    Days & Time:
    T/R, 12:30 - 14:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Note:  Taught in conjunction with GSJ 598 B1

Graduate Courses

  • * GSJ 570: Sexualities - Queer Feminisms

     https://www.gaycity.org/uploads/images/blog/rainbowzebra.jpg

     

    The term “queer,” as used in queer theory, activism, and communities, is the subversive appropriation of a label once used to denigrate people considered abnormal, strange, or eccentric in their sexual practices or gender expression. Against the assumption that to be deemed abnormal—or queer—is an insult, self-described queers have taken up the term with pride, thus undermining the normalizing assumption tacit in its original usage. As queer theorist Tamsin Spargo writes, within queer theory, “Queer can function as a noun, an adjective, or a verb, but in each case is defined against the ‘normal’ or ‘normalising.’” In refusing to become well-adjusted to the norms of a homophobic, gender-oppressive, racist, ableist, neo-liberal, capitalist, militaristic and carceral society, queer theorists distinguish their politics from what Lisa Duggan has described as the “homonormativity” of gay and lesbian politics.

    In this course we will first consider the ways that queer theory has emerged from and diverged from feminist theory, including lesbian feminist theory, or how queer theorists have challenged feminist theory and developed uniquely queer feminisms. In the middle part of the semester we will study queer feminist explorations of intersex and transgender, the project of queering spaces, queer female masculinities and femininities, crip queer feminisms (or the intersection of disability with sexuality and gender), and queer affect theory. In the last weeks of the semester students will be introduced to the concepts of homonormativity and homonationalism.

     

    Instructor: TAYLOR, Chloë
    Day & Time:
    W, 13:00 - 16:00
    Units:
    *3.00

    Note: Not open to students with credit in WGS 470; taught in conjunction with WGS 470

  • * GSJ 598: Topics in Gender and Social Justice Studies - Art, Activism, Social Justice

    Art, Activism, Social Justice.  More information to come.

     

    Instructor: MEAGHER, Michelle
    Days & Time:
    T/R, 12:30 - 14:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Note:  Taught in conjunction with WGS 498 B2

  • GSJ 502: Research Workshop

    In addition to attendance at the Feminist Research Speakers Series, students will examine interdisciplinary approaches to feminist scholarship, and prepare and develop their thesis or research project proposals.

     

    Instructor: LIFSHITZ, Felice
    Day & Time: M, 15:00 - 18:00
    Units: *3.00