Women’s Studies (WOMS) - Graduate Catalog

Graduate Faculty

Associate Professors: Doris Chang, Deborah Gordon (chairperson), Ramona Liera-Schwichtenberg, Chinyere Okafor

Students may earn a master’s degree in several areas with an emphasis in women’s studies. These include curriculum and instruction; counseling, educational, and school psychology; sociology; and cross-cultural communication. Women’s studies may be included as one of two or three areas of interest under the MA degree in liberal studies, an individually designed, interdisciplinary graduate program (described in the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Liberal Studies section of the Graduate Catalog). In other areas, such as the community/clinical program in psychology, students may orient course electives and thesis studies. The following courses are available for graduate credit.

Courses for Graduate/Undergraduate Credit

WOMS 510. Hollywood Melodrama: The Woman’s Film (3). Melodrama, as a “woman’s genre,” is important to the development of feminist film criticism, which interrogates the contradictory meanings of motherhood and family within this culture. Through readings and films, this course provides a stylistic, literary, and cultural/historical background for this 19th-century form with a specific focus on the woman’s film and the family melodrama which highlight woman’s position within the home. Uses textual analysis and some psychoanalytic criticism to explore and critique the fantasies and desires expressed in the visual excesses of film melodrama.

WOMS 513. Women in Africa (3). Who is the African woman? What are her joys, obstacles, struggles, triumphs, and rites of passage? This course addresses these issues through their intersection with gender, race/ethnicity, and class in selected traditional and postcolonial settings on the African continent. Facilitates appreciation of African women and gender through African cultural voices. Emphasizes the views of women expressed in their songs, dances, dramas, ritual actions, activism, and writing. Telephone/video conference with women in Africa, as well as stories, poems, and other literary, historical, and anthropological material are used.

WOMS 514. Women in the Middle East (3). Examines Arab women of the Middle East. Focuses on women in the region historically designated as the fertile plains— Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories. Covers the impact of Western colonialism and global geopolitics on women’s lives; women’s activism in relation to nationalism and women’s rights; Western racial stereotypes of Arab women and men and their role in foreign intervention in the 20th and 21st centuries. Provides case study in the relationship of nationalism and women’s rights as framed by Arab women’s studies.

WOMS 516. Sociology of Gender Roles (3). Cross-listed as SOC 516. Analyzes the institutional sources of male and female roles, the source of changes in these roles, the consequent ambiguities and conflicts. Prerequisite: SOC 111.

WOMS 523. Feminist Film Criticism (3). Applies critical methods of analysis from the field of feminist film studies (such as psychoanalysis, ideology critique, close textual analysis, narrative, and genre criticism) to the representation of women in film. Emphasizes historical development of feminist film theory and criticism as it relates to classical Hollywood narrative, film genres, and avant-garde film. Prerequisite: 3 hours of upper-level humanities or 3 hours of upper-level women’s studies.

WOMS 532. Women in Ethnic America (3). Cross-listed as HIST 532. An in-depth, thematic understanding of the historical experiences of women of color across space and time in U.S. history. Employing a female-centered framework of analysis, course probes the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality in women’s lives.

WOMS 533. Women and the Law (3). Introduces the legal aspects of women’s rights, including the equal rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution, right to choose a name, sex discrimination in employment, education, and credit; welfare and criminal justice. Also considers women in the field of law, such as lawyers and legislators.

WOMS 534. Psychology of Women (3). Cross-listed as PSY 534.

WOMS 536. Writing by Women (3). Cross-listed as ENGL 536. Explores various themes in critical approaches to literature composed by women writers, especially those whose works have been underrepresented in the literary canon. Genres and time periods covered, critical theories explored, and specific authors studied vary in different semesters.

WOMS 537. Contemporary Women’s Drama (3). Examines contemporary plays by and about women to discover and explore the insights of the various playwrights into the lives and roles of women. In addition to reading and analyzing plays, students write plays of their own.

WOMS 541. Women, Children, and Poverty (3). Crosslisted as SCWK 541. Addresses the problem of poverty among women in the U.S. today, and examines existing and proposed public policies designed to alleviate the problem. Explores theoretical models of poverty policy analysis and the role of values in their formulation and implementation. Discusses issues of age, race, and family; special attention is given to poverty among Kansas families. Prerequisite: 6 hours of social sciences.

WOMS 542. Women in Other Cultures (3). Cross-listed as ANTH 542. Deals with the place of women in primitive and other non-Western societies, in various aspects of culture: political, economic, social, religious, domestic, intellectual, psychological, and aesthetic. Compares and contrasts societies in order to see how different kinds of roles for women are related to different kinds of societies.

WOMS 543. Women and Health (3). Cross-listed as NURS 543. Examines the historical development of the women’s health movement, focuses on current issues relevant to women and health care, and explores the roles of women in the health care system and as consumers of health care. Examines self-care practices of women and studies ways to promote positive health practices. Open to non-nursing majors.

WOMS 570. Directed Readings (1–3). For students who wish to pursue special reading or research projects not covered in coursework. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

WOMS 579. Asian Women in Modern History (3). Cross-listed as HIST 579 and ETHS 579. Examines women’s historical and contemporary experiences in Asian America and eight major countries in modern Asia. Covers topics on Asian women’s activism in relation to nationalism and women’s rights. Investigates Asian women’s roles and statuses in the family and society and their educational attainment and contributions to the export-oriented industrialization of the Asia-Pacific region. Examines the intra-regional migration of female guest workers among various countries in Asia. Traces the ways in which the changes in immigration laws during the 20th century affect patterns of Asian women’s migration to the United States. Introduces writing that integrates Asian women’s lives and Asian American experiences into the discourses on ethnicity, national origin, class, gender, and sexual orientation in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. Replaces WOMS 379.

WOMS 580. Special Topics (1–3). Focuses on advanced topics of interest to women’s studies.

WOMS 585. The Femme Fatale in Film Noir (3). From the 1970s to the present, feminism has exerted aprofound influence on theories of cinema. By focusing on film noir as a genre expressed visually and thematically, this course explores various filmic representations of women, and how and why these representations are politically, socially, and theoretically significant. We apply various critical methods of analysis (psychoanalysis, ideology critique, close textual analysis, narrative, style/genre) to approach women’s representation, in particular, the femme fatale (dark lady, evil seductress) within the classic film noir era which occurred between 1944 and 1958. Replaces WOMS 580E.

WOMS 586. Gender, Race, and Knowledge (3). Examines construction of objects that lie at the boundary between popular and academic or “official” knowledge (understanding of objects, people, events, and activities). Examines those objects within gender and race frameworks in women’s studies. Thematically organized, problem focused and methodologically interdisciplinary. Past topics include “America, Post 9/11,” “A Genealogy of the Middle East,” science, modernity, and anthropology.

WOMS 587. Theories of Feminism (3). Because feminism is not a single ideological stance or perspective, course examines a variety of ideas underlying feminist cultural critiques and visions for social change. Discusses the contribution of women’s studies to various academic disciplines. Prerequisites: WOMS 287 and 387, or 6 hours of women’s studies courses, or instructor’s consent.

WOMS 588. Gender, Race and the West/East Divide (3). Examines critically the role of gender and race in the making of a supposed essential divide between “the West” and “the East.” Students are introduced to Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism and the field of critique that targets how Europe and the U.S. craft an identity “the West” via its other, called variously, “the Orient,” “Islam,” the “Muslim world,” and the “Arab world.” Questions explored include: What is Orientalism? What is the relationship between colonialism/imperialism and the representation of “the Orient” or “the East.” How, for whom, and for what purposes do gender and race matter in this construct of a divide between West and East? These questions are examined across genres and media—i.e., in travel accounts, film, literature, policy making, and news reportage.

WOMS 635. Leadership Techniques for Women (3). Cross-listed as COMM 635. Provides the female student experience in decision making and improves skills in leadership through role playing and exercise in group dynamics.

WOMS 701. Selected Topics in Women’s Studies (3). Repeatable for credit up to 6 hours. Prerequisite: departmental consent. Courses for Graduate Students Only

WOMS 870. Directed Readings. (2–3). For graduate students to pursue research in areas not normally covered in coursework. Repeatable for credit with departmental consent. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

WOMS 880. Seminar in Women’s Studies (3). Intensive study of selected women’s studies topics. Seminar discussion, reports, and research project. Previous topics include Advanced Theories of Feminism and Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Repeatable for credit with departmental consent. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent. The following abbreviations are used in the course descriptions; R stands for lecture and L for laboratory. For example, 4R; 2L means 4 hours of lecture and 2 hours of lab.