2018-2019 Undergraduate Bulletin

Gender and Women's Studies Program

Office: Merle Catherine Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women, Room 111
Mail Code: 1901 E. Asbury Ave. Denver, CO 80208
Phone: 303-871-4419
Email: gwst@du.edu
Web Site: http://www.du.edu/ahss/gwst

The Gender and Women’s Studies Program offers a cross-disciplinary undergraduate major and minor composed of courses taught throughout the University by a diverse faculty. Reflecting the vitality of recent feminist, ethnic and queer scholarship, these courses examine the roles of gender, race, sexuality and other categories of identity in the lives of all people. The mission of the Gender and Women’s Studies program is to explore gender as a primary category of analysis for the understanding of individuals and human societies in historical and cultural contexts.

The baccalaureate degree in gender and women’s studies is a cross-disciplinary major with a minimum of 44 credits. All students must take GWST 1112 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies .

Seniors are also required to fulfill a four credit GWST capstone course. The remaining number of credits to get a student to 44 credit hours are taken from a combination of Gender and Women’s studies courses and cross-listed courses in other departments.

A minor in gender and women’s studies requires 24 credits, beginning with GWST 1112 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies. The remaining 20 credit hours may be selected from other Gender and Women’s studies courses, including the colloquia, and courses in other departments also listed with the Gender and Women’s Studies Program.

Gender and Women's Studies

Bachelor of Arts Major Requirements

(183 credits required for the degree)

A minimum of 44 credits of Gender and Women’s Studies including GWST 1112 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies. Required courses* include, but are not limited to, the following:

Required Courses
GWST 1112Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies4
GWST 2650Feminist Qualitative Research Methods and Design4
GWST 3950Theories in GWST4
Participation in Colloquium
GWST 2981Colloquium in GWST2
GWST 2982Colloquium in GWST2
Select one course from each of the four following areas:16
Selling Sex, Gender and the American Dream: 1950 - Present
The Archaeology of Gender
Women in Art
The Goddess in Art
Identity and Rhetoric
Voice and Gender
Gender, Communication, Culture
Representations of Women
Women and Film
Institutions and Power
The Family
Sociology of Childhood
Social Inequality
Men and Women in Society
Family and the Law
Gender in a New Era of Empire
Feminism and Intersectionality
Bodies and Souls
Capstone Requirement4
Capstone Seminar 1
Any Gender and Women’s Studies listed or also-listed course
Total Credits48


40 credits. Same requirements as for BA degree.

Minor Requirements

24 credits in Gender and Women’s Studies. Required: GWST 1112 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies.

Requirements for Distinction in the Major in Gender and Women's Studies

  • Minimum 3.25 major GPA, 3.0 overall GPA
  • Honors thesis (minimum 40 pages)
    • The thesis research, analysis, and writing will be done over the course of the student's senior year, and will include the student's own original research/creative work that draws upon or contributes to gender theory.  This project is done in close consultation with a faculty mentor, and must be evaluated by a committee of at least three faculty members (including the major thesis adviser).


GWST 1015 Voice and Gender (4 Credits)

In this course, students explore gender in personal and political contexts with the intent of developing their individual voices in these arenas. Students learn to express creatively their voice through strengthening both their written and oral communication skills. The course also discusses gender issues prevalent in today's society and significant moments in rhetorical history that have impacted these issues. Cross listed with COMN 1015.

GWST 1112 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies (4 Credits)

This course provides an introduction to the discipline of gender and women's studies. All cultures engage in a complex process of assigning cultural values and social roles which vary according to the cultural environment in which human interaction occurs. Among these, the process of translating biological differences into a complex system of gender remains one of the most important. Gender and women's studies aims to understand how this process of 'gendering' occurs, and its larger effects in society. This course also explores how this system of meaning relates to other systems of allocating power, including socioeconomic class, social status, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and nationality. Using this lens, this course explores contemporary social developments and problems. Gender and women's studies is about studying, but it is also about meaningful engagement with the world. This class presents students with a variety of types of texts from sociological articles to literary fictions and documentary and fictional cinema to explore gender from many different directions. This course counts toward the Scientific Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

GWST 2210 The Family (4 Credits)

Emphasis on different kinds of families and on contemporary issues of changing gender roles, intimacy, childbearing, family breakup and reconstitution, and family's relationships with other social institutions. Cross listed with SOCI 2210. Prerequisite: SOCI 1810.

GWST 2212 Gender, Communication, Culture (4 Credits)

This course considers how gender is created, maintained, repaired, and transformed through communication in particular relational, cultural, social, and historical contexts. This course is designed to help students develop thoughtful answers to the following questions: what is gender, how do we acquire it, how do cultural structures and practices normalize and reproduce it, and how do we change and/or maintain it to better serve ourselves and our communities? Throughout the term, the class explores how dynamic communicative interactions create, sustain, and subvert femininities and masculinities “from the ground up.” This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.This course is cross-listed with COMN 2210.

GWST 2215 Selling Sex, Gender and the American Dream: 1950 - Present (4 Credits)

This introductory course analyzes how commercial culture has evolved into the defining cornerstone of American life over the last sixty years. The first half of the quarter well will examine the key historical movements including the Cold War, the Civil Rights/Women's and Gay Liberation movements and investigate how women, ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community evolved into important "consumer citizens" in the United States. The second half of the quarter will examine these same social groups from a contemporary perspective, and the degree that globalization, "multiculturalism" and "going green" have emerged as dominant tropes in contemporary culture. By moving from past to present, students will gain an understanding of the complex connections between consumption and U.S. nation-building, as well as the consequences "shopping" and the accumulation of "stuff" has had in both the shaping and reconfiguring understandings of what it means to live the "American Dream." This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

GWST 2220 Sociology of Childhood (4 Credits)

This course explores the social meanings of childhood. In this course we will examine aspects of the symbolic meanings of childhood as well as the experiences of being a child. The commercialization of childhood through marketing to children, contradictory messages about children as innocent or problematic, the experience of gender socialization for children, and the expectations of creating perfect children will be explored in detail. Cross listed with SOCI 2220. Prerequisites: SOCI 1810.

GWST 2230 Gender in a New Era of Empire (4 Credits)

This course examines the concept of empire in the 21st-Century through a transnational feminist analysis of international state politics, corporate globalization, and cultural imperialism, focusing on how these forces have converged to move people, ideas, and ideologies across and between state borders in recent years. Emphasizing the cultural dimensions of imperialism, it explores how new forms of commercial empire and militarism rely upon and influence gendered, sexed, raced, and national identities, differences, and inequities across the globe, as well as racial, gendered, and sexual modes of conquest and imperialism. Prerequisite: GWST 1112: Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies, or instructor permission.

GWST 2280 Gender in the Economy (4 Credits)

This course moves beyond the traditionally male-dominated view of the economy to explore economic life through a gendered lens. A gendered perspective challenges us to see economic theory, markets, work, development, and policy in new ways. Gendered economic analysis expands the focus of economics from strictly wants, scarcity, and choice to include needs, abundance, and social provisioning in its scope. Cross listed with ECON 2280. Prerequisite: ECON 1020.

GWST 2315 Women in the Middle East, 1800-Present (4 Credits)

This course looks at the histories of women in certain parts of the Middle East and North Africa in the 19th, 20th, and early 21st centuries. Geographically this course will focus on the histories of women in lands now associated with modern day Turkey, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. We will pay close attention to women’s education, political activism, and labor.

GWST 2420 Social Inequality (4 Credits)

Dimensions of social class and its effect on economic, political and social institutions as well as style of life. Cross listed with SOCI 2420.

GWST 2500 Biology of Women (4 Credits)

General overview of basic biological concepts that describe cell function, hormone action, and sexual development and function. Suitable for major and nonmajors alike. Cross listed with BIOL 2500, WSTU 0500.

GWST 2565 Men and Masculinities (4 Credits)

Many of us believe that anatomy is what determines our behavior and that our bodies dictate our social and psychological temperament. Looking specifically at men and masculinities, this course tests that general notion, investigates the various ways male behavior is gendered and critically explores the meanings of masculinity in contemporary institutions. Throughout the course, we look at the multidimensional and multicultural ways masculinity is produced, constructed, enacted, and resisted; how masculinities structure power and resources; and how masculinities benefit, regulate, and hurt men's lives. Cross-listed with SOCI 2565. Prerequisite: SOCI 1810 or permission of instructor.

GWST 2630 American Women's History (4 Credits)

This course is a survey of American women's history from the colonial period to the present. It examines the social, cultural, economic, and political developments shaping American women's public and private roles over several centuries, in addition to the ways in which women gave meaning to their everyday lives. Particular attention is paid to the variety of women's experiences, with an emphasis on the interplay of race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. Cross listed with HIST 2630.

GWST 2650 Feminist Qualitative Research Methods and Design (4 Credits)

This course will introduce the fundamental elements of feminist qualitative research methods and design. We will begin by examining various research methods, including ethnography, interviews, oral history, media studies/discourse analysis, and community-based research and analyze the ways in which they aid (and help counter) ways of knowing and understanding the social world. In addition to gaining awareness of the more commonly used qualitative and ethnographic methodologies, you will be challenged to think critically about the mechanics, ethics, and politics of such research, including the role of researcher within it. Prerequisite: Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies (GWST 1112) or Instructor Approval.

GWST 2700 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 2701 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 2702 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 2703 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 2704 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 2730 Men and Women in Society (4 Credits)

How the biological fact of sex is transformed into socially created gender roles. How individuals learn they are male and female, and how their behaviors are learned. A look at gender distinctions built into language, education, mass media, religion, law, health systems and the workplace. Cross listed with SOCI 2730. Prerequisite: SOCI 1810.

GWST 2750 Race, Gender and Genetics (4 Credits)

This course examines science’s construction of race historically—a process intimately connected to gender—to understand contemporary trends in medicine and genetics. Starting in the 1700s and spanning to the present, we’ll look at how and why race and gender are articulated by scientists, how those constructions slip into the mainstream, and how these histories inform present practices in science.

GWST 2765 The Female Offender (4 Credits)

Female offenders are one of the fastest growing segments in both the juvenile and adult justice systems. This course introduces students to debates and issues surrounding girls, women, and crime; explores different theoretical perspectives of gender and crime; and examines the impact of gender on the construction and treatment of female offenders by the justice system. In addition, this course specifically looks at girls' and women's pathways to offending and incarcerations; understanding girls' violence in the inner city; exploring the reality of prison life for women, with a particular focus on the gender-sensitive programming for incarcerated mothers; and ending with an examination of how capital punishment has affected women offenders historically and contemporarily. Cross listed with SOCI 2765. Prerequisite: SOCI 1810 or permission of instructor.

GWST 2780 Women and the Law (4 Credits)

This course explores the relationship between women and the law, looking at the way the categories of sex and gender have been produced and re-produced through law. Through a look at case law and sociological research, students will examine women as bodies, workers and family members. This course also explores the development and current status of American law in the areas of women's constitutional equality, pay equity and equal opportunity, women's access to education, women in the workplace and violence against women. Cross listed with SOCI 2780. Prerequisite: SOCI 1810 or permission of the instructor.

GWST 2785 Family and the Law (4 Credits)

The government is actively involved in deciding who gets to be a family and what families should look like. The state and its laws are involved in shaping family life, making decisions for family members, and mediating familial conflict. This course looks at the appropriate role of the state in family life by examining state legislation and court decisions and social research on a variety of topics. Cross listed with SOCI 2785. Prerequisite: SOCI 1810.

GWST 2830 Representations of Women (4 Credits)

Consideration of images presented of and by women in works of English and American literature from Middle Ages to present. Cross listed with ENGL 2830.

GWST 2981 Colloquium in GWST (2 Credits)

Theme changes each year. May be repeated for credit as long as course titles are different.

GWST 2982 Colloquium in GWST (2 Credits)

Theme changes each year. May be repeated for credit as long as course titles are different.

GWST 2983 Colloquium in GWST (2 Credits)

Theme changes each year. May be repeated for credit as long as course titles are different.

GWST 2991 Independent Study (1-10 Credits)

GWST 2992 Directed Study (1-10 Credits)

GWST 2995 Independent Research (1-10 Credits)

GWST 3050 Feminism and Intersectionality (4 Credits)

This course offers an overview of feminist theories as they are in dialogue with intersectionality. It offers both a contemporary and historical perspective and is also attentive to the emergence of feminist scholarship in Communication Studies. Cross listed with COMN 3050.

GWST 3130 The Archaeology of Gender (4 Credits)

This course examines the ways archaeology can contribute to the study of gender through investigations of the deep through recent past. The class will include readings on gender theory, the uses of archaeological data, and specific case studies of engendered lives in the past. Cross listed with ANTH 3130.

GWST 3203 Women and Film (4 Credits)

This course explores the major intersections of the terms "women" and "film." It is concerned, for example, with the representation of women in film, both in the dominant Hollywood cinema and in alternative filmmaking practices (independent, experimental, documentary, and other national cinemas), with films by women and with women as cinema viewers or spectators. This course examines a variety of feminist approaches (historical, critical, theoretical) relevant to the subject matter. A lab fee is required for this course. Cross listed with MFJS 3203. Prerequisites: MFJS 200 or GWST 1112 or permission of instructor.

GWST 3652 Culture, Gender and Global Communication (4 Credits)

This course explores the ways in which culture, gender, and communication intersect and shape a variety of issues from an international and intercultural perspective. Using a global feminist perspective, it also focuses on paradigms and paradigm shifts in creating social change. Also explored are alternative paradigms of thought, action and media communications by women and indigenous peoples, which have often been ignored, discounted or buried in history. Cross listed with MFJS 3652.

GWST 3680 Gender and Communication (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the interactive relationships between gender and communication in contemporary U.S. society. This implies four priorities for the class. First, the course explores multiple ways communication in families, media, and society in general creates and perpetuates gender roles. Second, the course considers how we enact socially created gender differences in public and private settings and how this affects success, satisfaction, and self-esteem. Third, the course connects theory and research to our personal lives. Throughout the quarter, the course considers not only what IS in terms of gender roles, but also what might be and how we, as change agents, may act to improve our individual and collective lives. Fourth, the course connects course content to student service learning experiences. Simultaneously, service informs academic content. All students volunteer during the quarter at a community organization and reflect on these experiences on a regular basis, using course materials as a basis for analysis and understanding. This course has a required service learning project. Cross listed with COMN 3680, HCOM 3680.

GWST 3700 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 3701 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 3702 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 3703 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 3704 Topics in GWST (1-4 Credits)

Current issues or gender and women's studies faculty research interests.

GWST 3740 Bodies and Souls (4 Credits)

This course examines the unique place of the body in biblical religion. We ask how the Bible and its interpreters have shaped current views on sex and the gendered body in Western society. How has the Bible been (mis) used in relation to current understandings of the physical body? Is the saying that a "human" does not have a body, but is a body as true for the Hebrew Bible as the Christian New Testament? How has Judaism and Christianity (de)valued sexuality, procreation, and celibacy? How do the biblical traditions shape our modern opinions about the ideal physical body and body modifications? How can we understand "out-of-body" experiences and notions of death and afterlife in Western religion? Students are encouraged to interpret the Bible and their own beliefs from a uniquely embodied perspective. Cross listed with JUST 3740, RLGS 3740.

GWST 3871 Women in Art (4 Credits)

This course considers the roles of women in art and explores the impact of race, class and gender on art produced from the Middle Ages to the present with discussions of women artists, women patrons and images of women. Cross listed with ARTH 3871.

GWST 3873 The Goddess in Art (4 Credits)

This course will survey the image of the goddess in art from prehistoric times until the present day from a feminist perspective. Beginning with anthropological and art historical theories about the numerous female figurines of Paleolithic and Neolithic times, the course will continue to explore representations of female goddesses from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, Greece, and Rome. Polarized images of Eve, the Virgin Mary and several female saints during the Middle Ages will be examined. From the Renaissance through the Baroque periods, classical goddesses, especially Venus/Aphrodite, are revived and adapted to both Christian and secular contexts. Images of the sexualized female body will be explored, along with its counterpart, the witch, who was persecuted during the 16th and 17th centuries. This course will be interspersed with examples of contemporary art inspired by the "Great Goddess," especially by feminist artists of the 1970s and 1980s. Some discussion of the goddess as she appears in contemporary popular culture will conclude the class. Cross listed with ARTH 3873.

GWST 3950 Theories in GWST (4 Credits)

This course examines the major theoretical approaches (feminist, womanist, queer, etc.) to understanding gender and other intersecting systems of oppression and privilege. It explores the historical evolution of the theoretical traditions that have informed feminism, queer theory, and gender and women's studies, as well as examining more recent developments within these fields of inquiry. Students apply these theories to a range of texts, empirical data and/or the experiential world. This course may be repeated for credit as long as course subtitles are different. Prerequisite: GWST 1112; minimum of junior standing.

GWST 3975 Capstone Seminar (4 Credits)

This course provides students the opportunity to complete a substantial final project for their degree in gender and women’s studies, which may take the form of preparation for a thesis, community-based research or service project, or a substantial creative or research project. Students work closely with the director of the program or a faculty member affiliated with the program to devise these projects after spending the first part of the course exploring recent research within the field of gender and women’s studies. Prerequisites: GWST major or minor, GWST 1112, GWST 3950, senior standing, or permission of instructor.

GWST 3985 GWST Internship (2-5 Credits)

GWST 3991 Independent Study (1-10 Credits)

GWST 3992 Directed Study (1-10 Credits)

GWST 3995 Independent Research (1-10 Credits)

GWST 3998 Honors Thesis (1-5 Credits)


Daoine Bachran, Visiting Teaching Professor, PhD, University of New Mexico

Lindsey Feitz, Associate Teaching Professor, PhD, University of Kansas

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