Women's and Gender Studies Option

Liberal Arts A.A. Degree with Women's and Gender Studies Option
Through the interdisciplinary Women’s and Gender Studies Option, students learn about gender and sexuality in the family, media, popular culture, language, literature and the arts, employment, psychology, religions, politics, and history.  Students strengthen critical thinking skills by questioning commonly held assumptions about gender roles and identity, sexuality, race, and class, examining intersections among different forms of oppression. Graduates are valued for their knowledge about the impact of gender on private and public life.  

The WGS Option opens a seamless pathway to CUNY senior colleges where majors and/or minors are offered. An articulation agreement also exists with Hunter College. Courses in WGS also develop students’ marketable skills such as research, problem solving, communication, and leadership. Demand for this expertise is strong in health care, law, education, community organizing, psychology, criminal justice, social work, counseling, and public service. 

In WGS courses, students connect personal experiences with their studies, which deepens their learning and encourages civic engagement. Examining attitudes and practices that foster gender justice, WGS students are poised to effect change in their communities and places of employment.

Program of Study: 9 credits
Students take one required course, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS 100), and choose two electives, one from each category below, to fulfill the nine credit Option. Course descriptions are provided.  

Required Foundational Course:
WGS 100 (3 credits)—Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
Two Electives:
Students will take one 3 credit course from each of the two lists below, totaling 6 elective credits.
Together with successful completion of WGS 100, students will have earned 9 credits in total for the WGS Option.
I.  Social Science and Humanities
WGS 200—Gender and Work (3 cr)
WGS 201—Women and Religious Experience (3 cr)
WGS 270—Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies (3 cr)
PSY 140—Psychology of Women (3 cr)
II.  Literary Study
ENG/WGS 223—Women in Literature (3 cr)
ENG  241—Introduction to LGBTQ Literature (3 cr)
ENG 250—The Female Detective Novel (3 cr)
LAC/WGS 260—U.S. Latina Women’s Literature (3 cr)
Descriptions of courses within the WGS Option in Liberal Arts:
WGS 100 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (Pathways: USED) 3 credits, 3 hours WI
Pre-requisite: ENG 110
An interdisciplinary course that draws on literature, history, psychology, science, economics and feminist theory, Introduction to Women’s Studies and Gender Studies examines cultural assumptions about gender (e.g., femininity, masculinity, sexual preference), promoting new ways for students to look at the construction of knowledge from woman-centered and feminist perspectives. Assignments emphasize women’s and men’s diverse experiences (across races, religions, cultures and economic class), masculinity studies and gay studies. Topics include: woman’s nature in myth and symbol; historical and cultural sources of gender oppression; the family circle; women and work; new visions for the future. At the end of the course, students will be able to discuss from both a theoretical and personal standpoint how and why gender shapes nearly all aspects of life; additionally, students will gain understanding of women’s studies and masculinity studies: their evolution, current debates within the field, and their application to other fields of study.

PSY140—Psychology of Women 3 credits, 3 hours
Pre/Co-requisite: ENG 110
This course aims to examine the biological, social, and cultural factors in the psychological development and functioning of women. It will introduce students to the major theories and methodologies in the field.

WGS 200—Gender and Work (Pathways: WCGI) 3 credits, 3 hours WI
Pre-requisite: ENG 111
This interdisciplinary liberal arts course examines gender equity in the world of work, broadly defined as what one does to earn income. Assignments emphasize feminist theory/gender studies and international perspectives on gender-related problems that women, in particular, encounter in employment--from factory work to politics to sex work/slavery. Through completion of a participatory civic engagement project, students become involved with the goals and operations of feminist organizations in NYC that empower women and men, here and abroad. Additionally, through their civic engagement project, students can investigate avenues for field research and/or careers.
WGS 201—Women and Religious Experience 3 credits, 3 hours WI
Pre-requisite: ENG 111
This course will study the religious and spiritual writings of women from a diversity of faiths and from many time periods to explore the ways in which women have subscribed to, challenged, subverted, reinterpreted, and sought to change patriarchal religious narratives. Have women been the passive, dominated subjects of religion? Has religion and spirituality offered a venue for access to power for women? Does religion reinforce patriarchal power structures or provide a space to rupture them? How do spiritual texts connect to other aspects of society-gender, sexuality, politics, class, family? If they connect, how do spiritual and religious texts impact these other realms of society? The course will seek answers to these questions by exploring three central concepts: representations of the divine, the speech silence dichotomy, and politics and power.

WGS 270—Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies 3 credits, 3 hours
Pre-requisite: ENG 111
This class will familiarize students with women’s experiences, status, perspectives and accomplishments through emphasis on a particular field of study, specific topic/theme, geographical area, genre, or period of history. This course will promote awareness of the continued effects of gender discrimination/oppression by placing women and inclusive feminist scholarship at the center of the inquiry. Texts and assignments will provide students with analytical tools for understanding gender socialization as it affects both women and men; additionally, readings and writing assignments will encourage students to question gendered assumptions that underlie traditional scholarship. Students will be expected to read critically and write analytically, applying intellectual learning in women’s studies to the world outside the classroom.

ENG/WGS 223—Women in Literature 3 credits, 3 hours WI (Pathways: IS)
Pre-requisite: ENG 111
This course features analysis of literature by well-known and lesser-known women writers emphasizing conventional and unconventional treatment of gender, including roles, stereotypes, and representations of sex and love. Studying feminist literary criticism about assigned texts, students will examine the interplay of gender, race, class, and sexuality in a writer’s imaginative work. They will also explore how gender-related cultural norms influence a writer’s critical reception. By semester’s end, students will demonstrate knowledge of women writers from a range of historical periods and cultures.

ENG 251—The Female Detective Novel 3 Credits, 3 Hours 
Pre-requisite: ENG 111
This class will familiarize students with major elements of the female detective novel through the study of representative books with a variety of topics and themes. Students will deepen their understanding of this genre through examining texts by different authors both in terms of the works’ individual merits and their contribution to the field. In addition, students will consider the relationship between form and theme in the female detective novel, and any cultural/historical influences deemed worthy of being examined in relation to it. This course will also enhance students’ critical understanding of the rules of female detective fiction in general and how these contribute to the formulation of its predominant theme

LAC 260/WGS 260—U.S. Latina Women's Writing 3 Credits, 3 Hours
Pre-requisite: ENG 93 or above/ ESL 91 or higher
LAC 260 examines the literature of US Latina authors since the 19th century, with a particular focus on texts published in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Students explore the diverse depictions of Latina identity and how Latina women authors have staged oppositional and differential figurations of gender, cultural, racial, and sexual identifications through writing. Primary readings are placed in conversation with each other and with critical writings on gender, feminism, race, sex, and ethnicity. Alongside conventional literary texts, students will consider poetry, memoir, short story, novel, other genres and forms of cultural production, including children’s fiction, performance text, graphic novel, film, photography, and performance art. Through their own creative and critical writing and class discussion, students analyze the relationship between this literature and multiple cultural movements and spaces in the light of contemporary theories of race, ethnicity, and gender developed by Latina feminists and other feminists of color.

ENG 241—Introduction to LGBTQ Literature    3 Credits, 3 Hours
Prerequisite: ENG 111 or equivalent
This course introduces students to a culturally diverse body of literature that illustrates the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) experience as a field of literary study. Students will analyze interdisciplinary works such as fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, drama and film by established and emerging LGBTQ writers. This course will demonstrate their understanding of the development of LGBTQ literature by completing several short essays which may incorporate research using print and on-line sources. By the semester's end, students will be able to examine and compare different works with special attention to the dynamics of history, culture, and the production of literary texts in the LGBTQ community.