WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES - Dept. code:  WGS
www.as.miami.edu/wgs


INTRODUCTION

The Program in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Miami seeks to encourage the rigorous investigation of gender as a significant issue in all areas of human experience. It reaches across disciplines to draw on a range of methods, theories, and perspectives that help us to understand how ideas and structures based on gender shape our lives. The program’s core objective is to foster the examination, open discussion, and lively debate of gender issues among faculty and students from all fields of study, enriching the undergraduate curriculum and the university’s academic mission through greater communication across disciplines and colleges. Its aim is to broaden, deepen, and transform the learning community at UM and beyond.


EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

The undergraduate curriculum in Women’s and Gender Studies explores the ways in which ideas about gender and sexuality shape social roles and identities, as well as the ways in which race, ethnicity, class, and nationhood influence the perception and experience of gender and sexuality within particular cultures. The curriculum is informed by recent scholarship that recognizes gender and sexuality as crucial components of human experience in social, cultural, economic, political, religious, and legal contexts. It includes courses that introduce students to feminist theory and scholarship, engaging ethical and political issues of equality and justice. The program encourages students to question their assumptions about the possible meanings of female and male through the comparative study of how different societies and historical periods have viewed manhood, womanhood, and relations between women and men. Courses in Women’s and Gender Studies enable students to acquire critical and analytical skills that they can then apply in other aspects of their educational experience at UM and beyond the university in their careers and personal development.


MAJOR

A major in Women’s and Gender Studies consists of at least 30 credits in Women’s and Gender Studies courses (core, co-listed, and cross-listed) with a grade of C- or better in each course, with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in WGS courses. These credits must include at least 18 at the 300 level or above. All majors must complete WGS 201: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, WGS 301: Feminist Inquiries, and at least two other WGS core courses.
All majors must complete WGS 501: Senior Research Project, which will take the form of an individual research project with a faculty member of the student’s choice; the student is responsible for finding an appropriate faculty member who is available to supervise the project and then must seek formal approval from the program director before proceeding with the project. The student must produce a substantial written report or research paper, the format of which will vary according to the nature of the project.
MINOR

1. A minor in Women’s and Gender Studies consists of at least 15 credits in Women’s and Gender Studies courses (core, co-listed, and cross-listed) with a grade of C- or better in each course, with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in WGS courses. These credits must include at least 9 at the 300 level or above. All minors must complete WGS 201: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, WGS 301: Feminist Inquiries and at least one other WGS core course.

2. New Minor

I.        Overview of the Program:  LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer) Studies

The LGBTQ Studies minor is designed to allow students to explore sexuality and sexual minorities from a variety of perspectives.  The course will provide students with an introduction to a broad array of LGBTQ issues including visual and performing arts, literature, languages, history, social science, various theories, public policy and the law, families and other types of intimate relationships, crime, popular culture, and LGBTQ identities and communities.  This widely interdisciplinary field addresses work in a broad range of scholarly disciplines including biological and cultural studies, in literature and anthropology, in the health sciences, history, and the visual arts. It ranges from archival research to the elaboration of queer theory, from the analysis of constitutional law to questions of public health, from the study of popular culture to investigations into the development and social construction of sexual identity. 

II.        Requirements for the Minor:

MINOR IN LESBIAN/GAY/BISEXUAL/TRANSGENDER/QUEER (LGBTQ) STUDIES

A minor in LGBTQ Studies consists of at least 15 credits in LGBTQ Studies courses (requirements, core, and related courses, co-listed and cross-listed) with a grade of C- or better in each course, with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in LGBTQ courses. All minors must complete WGS 202: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies and WGS 201: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies. The remaining course work must include at least 9 credit hours at the 300 level or above and no more than 6 credit hours in any one department or program or more than 3 credit hours of individual studies without the approval of the program director.

REQUIREMENTS
WGS 202: INTRODUCTION TO LGBTQ STUDIES
An introductory examination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.  (3 credits).

WGS 201: INTRODUCTION TO WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES How are our lives shaped by gender? This course introduces students to the ways in which Women’s and Gender Studies as an interdisciplinary field examines conceptions of masculinity and femininity; gender relations; gender inequalities; the intersections of gender with other categories of identity such as class, race, sexuality, and stages in the life cycle; and the broad impact of gender on society (including political, legal, economic, and religious arenas). (3 credits).
CORE COURSES (SELECT AT LEAST 6 CREDITS) WGS 210: POPULAR REPRESENTATIONS OF QUEER SEXUALITIES (3 credits).
WGS 210:  POPULAR REPRESENTATIONS OF QUEER SEXUALITIES (3 credits).
WGS 350: SPECIAL TOPICS IN WOMEN’S AND GENDER STUDIES (3 credits).
WGS 450: SPECIAL TOPICS IN LGBTQ STUDIES (3 credits).
WGS 499: INDEPENDENT STUDY
WGS 501: SENIOR RESEARCH PROJECT

All minors may choose to complete an individual research project with a faculty member of the student’s choice; the student is responsible for finding an appropriate faculty member who is available to supervise the project and then must seek formal approval from the written report or research paper, the format of which will vary according to the nature of the project.

POL569:  POLITICS, LAW AND SEXUAL IDENTITY (3 credits). 
This course considers sexual politics by looking in depth at several issues including; restrictions on marriage, adoption, employment, military service, housing, and intimacy based on sexuality and/or gender identity. For each issue, we shall consider how the debate is constructed by politicians, academics, the media, LGBT activist organizations and law/legal theory.  We will also contemplate the state and national politics at work within these issues. Finally, we will consider the topics from a comparative view as well as address the international implications arising out of that comparative consideration. In general, the goal is to learn about the current state of the politics of sexual identity in the United States and abroad. Moreover, students will engage frameworks through which politics might be assessed and determine the generalizability of the logics of politics. PREREQUISITE: POL 211 AND 212. POL 373 AND 374 RECOMMENDED.

SOC 335: SOCIOLOGY OF LGBTQ COMMUNITIES AND IDENTITIES (3 credits). 
This course examines the history, methods, theory and concepts of social science research on LGBTQ topics from the last half century to the present. Prerequisite: SOC 101.

WGS 305: QUEER STUDIES (3 credits).
This course examines gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and queer identities as they shape daily lives and experiences; the construction of alternative family structures; queer theory and its implications for our understanding of key issues across a range of disciplines; and current debates over the meaning and validity of sexuality as a way of understanding human sexual desire, emotions, and behavior.

RELATED COURSES:

STUDENTS SELECT TWO APPROPRIATE AND RELEVANT COURSES IN ANY DEPARTMENT, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE DIRECTOR OF WGS.

PLEASE NOTE:  Only WGS 201 (Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies) may count for BOTH the major in WGS AND the minor in LGBTQ Studies.


DEPARTMENTAL HONORS

Women’s and Gender Studies majors with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in WGS courses and an overall GPA of at least 3.0 may earn departmental honors by completing WGS 505: Honors Thesis instead of the senior research project. Candidates for departmental honors are responsible for finding a faculty member who is willing to serve as thesis adviser and then must complete a thesis proposal of approximately 400 words which must be approved by the thesis adviser and then the program director. The format and length of the thesis will vary according to the nature of the project. Most students writing an honors thesis as part of their WGS major will take WGS 505 twice (for a total of 6 credits).