Department of Women's and Gender Studies

208 Smith Building, CB# 3135; (919) 962-3908



The Department of Women's and Gender Studies offers a feminist interdisciplinary course of study that expands the process of knowledge production to include considerations of gender, race, class, and sexuality in the United States and internationally. Students will be exposed to recent scholarship on feminist theory and the intellectual, economic, political, and artistic contributions of women and feminist movements in various historical and cultural contexts.

Approximately 30 departments offer over 120 courses that focus on the study of women and/or gender. Many of these courses have been cross-listed as women's and gender studies courses and are identified below; others are taught as special sections of an established course and are identified separately each semester.

Women's and Gender Studies Major, B.A.

Core Requirements

The major requires 24 credit hours taken in women's and gender studies courses or departmental courses cross-listed with the Department of Women's and Gender Studies. Students must also fulfill all General Education requirements.

Women's and Gender Studies Minor

The minor consists of 15 credits (five courses).

WMST 202 and WMST 695 are strongly recommended for minors and will count towards the 12 credits taken after WMST 101. An internship in women's and gender studies (WMST 393) can also count towards the 12 credits.

Sexuality Studies Minor

The minor in sexuality studies coordinates scholars and students from a range of disciplines to study, teach, and create knowledge about human sexuality in its myriad functions and forms. The minor consists of five courses. Where appropriate, courses taken at Duke University or with a study abroad program also may count toward the minor. The five courses required for the minor must include at least one core course and involve work in at least three different departments or curricula. As an example, a minor in sexuality studies could be constructed from WMST 111, AMST 269, HIST 358, HIST 467, and WMST 101, for a minimum of 15 hours from at least three departments or curricula.


All majors and minors have a primary academic advisor in Steele Building. Students whose first major is women's and gender studies are also required to meet with a faculty member in the department before they can register. All other majors and minors are strongly encouraged to meet with a faculty member as well. The department's director of undergraduate studies also works with current and prospective majors and minors by appointment (see "Contact Information" below). Departmental academic advising is particularly important for those majors who are considering going on to graduate school. All students are encouraged to review their Tar Heel Tracker each semester. Further information on courses, undergraduate research opportunities, the honors program, careers, and graduate schools may be obtained from the department's Web site.

Special Opportunities in Women's and Gender Studies

Honors in Women's and Gender Studies

The honors program is designed to encourage independent thought and research among outstanding undergraduate majors in women's and gender studies. Students must take WMST 691H and 692H. Students must plan their project with a faculty advisor and secure permission from both the chair of the department and the faculty advisor. Guidelines and forms for the initial contract are available in the department's office and on our Web site. Students interested in the honors thesis must have a grade point average of 3.3 or greater.



Silvia Tomášková.

Associate Professors

Michele Tracy Berger, Karen M. Booth, Emily Burrill, Tanya L. Shields.

Assistant Professors

Lilly Nguyen, Susan Harbage Page, Ariana Vigil.

Adjunct Professor

Annegret Fauser.

Professors Emerita

E. Jane Burns, Barbara J. Harris, Joanne Hershfield.

Contact Information

Karen Thompson, CB# 3135, 208 Smith Building, (919) 962-3908, Web site:

For information about the major in women's and gender studies, contact Professor Tanya Shields, Director of Undergraduate Studies, CB# 3135, 203 Smith Building,

For information about the minor in sexuality studies, contact Professor Richard Cante, Director of Sexuality Studies, CB# 3135, (919) 962-3908. Web site:


WMST–Women's and Gender Studies

WMST 51 First-Year Seminar: Race, Sex, and Place in America (PLAN 52) (3). See PLAN 52 for description.

WMST 64 First-Year Seminar: Plantation Lullabies: Literature by and about African American Women (3). This course introduces students to different ways of understanding plantation culture and how that culture persists today, using close reading strategies and gender analysis. The class will examine film, literature, music, and poetry.

WMST 66 First-Year Seminar: World Literature by Women (3).Course introduces students to literature by women from around the world, particularly stories of a girl's transition to womanhood. Close reading strategies are used to examine films, novels, and poetry.

WMST 68 First-Year Seminar: Assumed Identities: Performance in Photography (3). Uses photography and its aspects of role playing, performance, and documentation to understand the construction of identity. Looks at historical and contemporary photographers who use assumed identities to explore their changing identity roles and challenge society's stereotypes. Individual and group performance/photography projects working with still photography, video, and the Internet.

WMST 80 First-Year Seminar: The Actress: Celebrity and the Woman (3). Who is your favorite actress? What do you know about her? What makes you one of her fans? In this seminar students will reflect on the experience, significance, and influence of the stage and motion picture actress in the modern era.

WMST 89 First-Year Seminar: Special Topics (3). Special topics course. Content will vary each semester.

WMST 101 Introduction to Women's Studies (3). An interdisciplinary exploration of the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality in American society and internationally. Topics include work; sexuality; gender relations, and images of women in literature, art, and science; and the history of feminist movements. Course readings are drawn from the humanities and the social sciences.

WMST 111 Introduction to Sexuality Studies (3). This course introduces students to the broad range of disciplinary perspectives used by the field of sexuality studies to study, teach, and create knowledge about human sexuality in various functions and forms.

WMST 124 Sex and Gender in Society (SOCI 124) (3). See SOCI 124 for description.

WMST 140 Introduction to Gay/Lesbian Literature (ENGL 140) (3). See ENGL 140 for description.

WMST 144 Women in the United States from Settlement to Present (HIST 144) (3). See HIST 144 for description.

WMST 188 Introduction to Women and Music (MUSC 188) (3). See MUSC 188 for description.

WMST 200 African Women: Changing Ideals and Realities (AAAD 200) (3). See AAAD 200 for description.

WMST 202 Introduction to Feminist Thought (3). Prerequisite, WMST 101. Introduces students to feminist theorizing on debates over gender-based oppression. Gives students tools to pursue academic work in women's studies and to understand the relationships among concepts, activism, and change. Required for majors. Strongly recommended for minors.

WMST 211 Introduction to Latina Feminisms: Literature, Theory, and Activism (3). Through a variety of texts that span the 20th and 21st centuries, students will be introduced to key concepts, figures, and movements in Latina feminisms. Emphasis will be placed on a diversity of historical and ethno-national perspectives as well as academic interdisciplinarity.

WMST 217 Women and Politics (POLI 217) (3). See POLI 217 for description.

WMST 218 Politics of Sexuality (POLI 218) (3). See POLI 218 for description.

WMST 219 Violence against Women: The Legal Perspective (POLI 219) (3). See POLI 219 for description.

WMST 220 Women in the Middle Ages (GERM 220) (3). See GERM 220 for description.

WMST 224 Introduction to Gender and Communication (COMM 224) (3). See COMM 224 for description.

WMST 225 Space, Place, and Difference (GEOG 225) (3). See GEOG 225 for description.

WMST 230 Women in Contemporary Art: A Field Study (3). This seminar will explore the lives and work of women in contemporary art through a combination of readings, films, interviews, studio visits with area artists, and visits to museums and galleries. We will engage questions of identity, gender, sexuality, politics, and cultural representation and how these affect the creativity, media, and final output of women artists.

WMST 231 Gender and Popular Culture (3). This course examines the ways in which gender and sexual identities are represented and consumed in popular culture.

WMST 232 Identity in Transit: Performing the Self through Photography (3). This course asks how gendered identity is shaped over time in relation to different cultural, social, and historical circumstances. Examines the practices of photographers who present themselves and others in assumed identities to comment on shifting social roles and challenge stereotypes. Students use photography to document performance and create self-portraits.

WMST 233 Introduction to Latina Literature (3). This course will provide an introduction to Latina literature. We will read a variety of genres from a range of ethno-national perspectives and examine such topics as immigration, identity, mother-daughter relationships, and sexuality.

WMST 240 Women in Greek Art and Literature (CLAS 240) (3). See CLAS 240 for description.

WMST 241 Women in Ancient Rome (CLAS 241) (3). See CLAS 241 for description.

WMST 242 Sex and Gender in Antiquity (CLAS 242) (3). See CLAS 242 for description.

WMST 243 French Women Writers (3). Works by French women authors read in translation along with pertinent theoretical texts. Course content will vary with each semester incorporating texts from different periods and genres.

WMST 244 Gender and Sexuality in the Western Christian Tradition (RELI 244) (3). See RELI 244 for description.

WMST 248 Women in Opera (MUSC 248) (3). See MUSC 248 for description.

WMST 250 Women in German Cinema (GERM 250) (3). See GERM 250 for description.

WMST 253 A Social History of Jewish Women in America (AMST 253, JWST 253) (3). See AMST 253 for description.

WMST 254 Women in the Visual Arts I (ARTH 254) (3). See ARTH 254 for description.

WMST 259 Women in Politics and Society of Modern Europe (HIST 259) (3). See HIST 259 for description.

WMST 260 American Women in Sports (EXSS 260) (3). See EXSS 260 for description.

WMST 262 War and Gender in Movies (HIST 263, PWAD 263) (3). See HIST 263 for description.

WMST 263 Literature and Gender (ENGL 263) (3). See ENGL 263 for description.

WMST 264 Gender in Russian History, 1860–Present (HIST 264) (3). See HIST 264 for description.

WMST 265 Feminism and Political Theory (POLI 265) (3). See POLI 265 for description.

WMST 266 Black Women in America (AAAD 232) (3). See AAAD 232 for description.

WMST 275 Philosophical Issues in Feminism (PHIL 275) (3). See PHIL 275 for description.

WMST 277 Gender and Culture (ANTH 277) (3). See ANTH 277 for description.

WMST 278 Women in Science (ANTH 278) (3). The role of women in scientific domains throughout history and a consideration of the status of women and men as scientists. The development of science as a cultural practice.

WMST 280 Women and Gender in Latin America (HIST 280) (3). See HIST 280 for description.

WMST 281 Gender and Global Change: Militarization and Transnational Latina/o Literature (3). Through a diverse set of contemporary Latina/o texts, students will examine the response to and representation of gender and militarization in the Américas, examining in particular war, revolution, and the militarization of everyday life connected to spaces such as the United States-Mexico border and the United States prison industrial complex.

WMST 285 African American Women in the Media (3). This course will acquaint students with how African American women have been depicted (and depicted themselves) in 20th- and 21st-century media. The course will examine representations of African American women in several aspects of culture including film, art, print, television, theater, and music.

WMST 289 Women and the Law in Africa and the Middle East (3). Course focuses on the history of women in African and Middle Eastern colonial and postcolonial legal systems. It examines "native" customary law, Islamic law, and human and women's rights.

WMST 290 Special Topics in Women's Studies (3). Topics are announced in advance and reflect the interest of the particular instructor. Each course will concern itself with a study in depth of some problem or issue in women's studies.

WMST 294 Courtship and Courtliness from King Arthur to Queen Victoria (3). Prerequisite, WMST 101. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Interdisciplinary study of Western views concerning love between the sexes, focusing on courtly love in the Middle Ages and romantic love in the Victorian era. Literary, historical, and art historical materials.

WMST 297 Women's Spirituality across Cultures (3). How women's spirituality interacts with officially sanctioned religious institutions in a range of cultural contexts and how it forges alternatives to those traditions.

WMST 302 Language and Power (ANTH 302, LING 302) (3). See LING 302 for description.

WMST 310 Women, Work, and Leisure (RECR 310) (3). See RECR 310 for description.

WMST 325 Encountering Art in the Unexpected: Borderlands and Story in Contemporary American Visual Art (3). This course focuses on the contemporary art and social change movement. We will learn how to use site-specific and performative art interventions to make invisible borders, boundaries, and other issues visible and innovatively to create engaged and sustained dialogue.

WMST 336 Digitizing the Body (3). This class examines contemporary artistic production by international artists that engage, question, and challenge ideas of the body. Students will create work in relation to the body using digital technology.

WMST 337 African Gender History (3). Required preparation, at least one AAAD or WMST course. This course seeks to familiarize students with the scholarly debates on the importance of gender as a category of analysis, while gaining a greater sense of the African past.

WMST 340 Leadership in Violence Prevention for Peer Educators (3). Examines interpersonal violence, the factors that enable it, and prevention strategies. The course examines violence on both individual and structural levels, considering perpetrators, victims/survivors, and bystanders and drawing upon the expertise of local organizers and service providers in the system of care.

WMST 345 Women in Film (COMM 345) (3). This course examines the representations of women in contemporary American film and also considers women as producers of film.

WMST 350 Spitting in the Wind: "American" Women, Art, and Activism (3). This course uses films, novels, and essays to engage with various notions of activism (as represented in art and social justice organizations) at play in hemispheric America.

WMST 352 Rahtid Rebel Women: An Introduction to Caribbean Women (3). This course uses films, novels, and essays to move beyond sun, sand, and sex representations of Caribbean women to examine how they negotiate imperial and national definitions of their place.

WMST 353 War and Gender in Movies (HIST 354, PWAD 354) (3). See HIST 354 for description.

WMST 355 Youth, Sexuality, and the Law (3). Examines how lawyers, laws, and legal institutions shape an understanding of sexuality and gender in young people. Through legal briefs and judicial opinions, articles, news media, and guest speakers, this course promotes critical thinking about our assumptions about what is "normal" and "appropriate" in youth sexuality and gender.

WMST 360 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Histories in the United States (HIST 361) (3). See HIST 361 for description.

WMST 362 Mary in the Christian Tradition (RELI 362) (3). See RELI 362 for description.

WMST 363 Feminist Literary Theory (ENGL 363) (3). See ENGL 363 for description.

WMST 368 Women of Color in Contemporary United States Social Movements (3). Prerequisite, WMST 101. This course will examine the role of women of color as grassroots activists, leaders, and thinkers in the new social and community movements of the postwar period.

WMST 371 Women Mystics (RELI 371) (3). See RELI 371 for description.

WMST 373 Modern Women Writers (CMPL 374) (3). See CMPL 374 for description.

WMST 374 Southern Women Writers (ENGL 374) (3). See ENGL 374 for description.

WMST 375 History of Gender in America (HIST 375) (3). This course will explore how Americans from 1600 to the present have defined what is masculine and what is feminine and how they have constructed their identities around those definitions.

WMST 380 Almost Despicable Heroines in Japanese and Western Literature (ASIA 380, CMPL 380) (3). See CMPL 380 for description.

WMST 381 Women and Work in Japan (JAPN 381) (3). See JAPN 381 for description.

WMST 384 Women Writers in Japanese Society (JAPN 384) (3). See JAPN 384 for description.

WMST 385 Gender and Economics (AMST 385, ECON 385) (3). See ECON 385 for description.

WMST 386 Comparative Studies in Culture, Gender, and Global Forces (AAAD 386) (3). See AAAD 386 for description.

WMST 388 The International Politics of Sexual and Reproductive Health (3). Prerequisite, WMST 101. Permission of the instructor. Takes a feminist political-economy perspective on debates over current health issues of international concern, including abortion, population control, and sexually transmitted infections. Focuses on the United States, Mexico, and Kenya, as well as on international organizations and social movements.

WMST 389 Maid in America, Made in China: Laboring Women in Global Perspective (HIST 389) (3). See HIST 389 for description.

WMST 393 Practicum in Women's and Gender Studies (3). Prerequisite, WMST 101. Permission of the instructor. A supervised internship designed to provide experience working in organizations concerned with women's or gender issues. Must be arranged with a faculty advisor during the semester prior to the internship. See the department's Web site for important information.

WMST 396 Independent Reading and Research (3). Permission of the department chair. Faculty supervision required. Independent reading and research. A student can repeat the course as long as they work on a different topic each time they enroll.

WMST 410 Comparative Queer Politics (3). Prerequisite, WMST 101. Permission of the instructor. Compares the histories, experiences, identities, and political struggles of sexual and gender minorities in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Américas and at the United Nations.

WMST 424 Gender Theory and the Study of Religion (RELI 424) (3). See RELI 424 for description.

WMST 437 Gender, Science Fiction, and Film (COMM 436) (3). The course combines several fields, analyzing the construction of gender through science, science fiction, and film. Students are exposed to science issues as they are represented in popular media.

WMST 438 Gender and Performance: Constituting Identity (ANTH 537, FOLK 537) (3). See ANTH 537 for description.

WMST 441 The Anthropology of Gender, Health, and Illness (ANTH 441) (3). See ANTH 441 for description.

WMST 442 Gender, Class, Race, and Mass Media (JOMC 442) (3). See JOMC 442 for description.

WMST 444 Race, Class, and Gender (SOCI 444) (3). See SOCI 444 for description.

WMST 446 American Women Authors (ENGL 446) (3). See ENGL 446 for description.

WMST 447 Gender, Space, and Place in the Middle East (ASIA 447, GEOG 447) (3). See GEOG 447 for description.

WMST 451 Women in the Visual Arts II (ARTH 451) (3). See ARTH 451 for description.

WMST 458 Archaeology of Sex and Gender (ANTH 458) (3). See ANTH 458 for description.

WMST 465 Gender, (Im)migration, and Labor in Latina Literature (3). Students will explore the representation of intersections between gender, identity, immigration, and migration in Latina/o literature. Emphasis will be placed on the intersections between labor, migration, and United States immigration policy.

WMST 475 Philosophical Issues in Gender, Race, and Class (PHIL 475) (3). See PHIL 475 for description.

WMST 476 Feminist Movements in the United States since 1945 (HIST 475) (3). See HIST 475 for description.

WMST 477 Advanced Feminist Political Theory (POLI 477) (3). See POLI 477 for description.

WMST 479 History of Female Sexualities in the West (HIST 479) (3). See HIST 479 for description.

WMST 486 Contemporary Russian Women's Writing (RUSS 486) (3). See RUSS 486 for description.

WMST 500 Gender, Empire, and Nation in Europe and Beyond, 18th to the 20th Century (HIST 500) (3). See HIST 500 for description.

WMST 501 The Gender of Welfare: Comparative Perspectives, 19th and 20th Century (HIST 501) (3). See HIST 501 for description.

WMST 517 Gender, Military and War in Comparative Perspective (HIST 517, PWAD 517) (3). See HIST 517 for description.

WMST 537 Women in the Middle East (ASIA 537, HIST 537) (3). See HIST 537 for description.

WMST 550 The Social Construction of Women's Bodies (3). Prerequisite, WMST 101. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Looking specifically at the social and cultural construction of women's bodies, this course considers the ways in which biological difference is imbued with social significance.

WMST 553 Theorizing Black Feminisms (3). Prerequisites, WMST 101 and 202. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. Introduction to the theoretical and practical contributions of African American feminists who maintain that issues of race, gender, sexuality, and social class are central, rather than peripheral, to any history or strategy for bringing about social justice in the United States.

WMST 555 Women and Creativity (3). Prerequisites, WMST 101 and 202. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisites. This course will present an overview of the variety and diversity of contemporary American women's experiences of creative expressions. We explore how women have been historically excluded from the arts.

WMST 560 Women and Religion in United States History (3). An interdisciplinary consideration of women's roles, behavior, and ideas in the religious life of Americans from 1636 to 1982.

WMST 561 Performance of Literature by Women of Color (COMM 561) (3). See COMM 561 for description.

WMST 562 Oral History and Performance (COMM 562, FOLK 562, HIST 562) (3). See COMM 562 for description.

WMST 563 Introduction to Women's Health and Health Education (3). Permission of the instructor. An overview of women's health emphasizing their specific interest as family and community members, as patients, and as health professionals. Implications for health education practice and research.

WMST 568 Women in the South (HIST 568) (3). See HIST 568 for description.

WMST 569 African American Women's History (HIST 569) (3). See HIST 569 for description.

WMST 576 The Ethnohistory of Native American Women (HIST 576) (3). See HIST 576 for description.

WMST 583 Gender and Imperialism (3). Required preparation, one course in gender or non-Western societies. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the preparation. Focuses on feminist perspectives on imperialism; the effects of imperialism on colonized and European women; women's participation in anti-imperialist movements; and the legacies of imperialism for feminism today.

WMST 610 Feminism, Sexuality, and Human Rights (3). Required preparation for undergraduates, WMST 101, one other WMST course beyond the introductory level, and junior/senior standing. Permission of the instructor required for both undergraduates and graduate students. Examines how transnational struggles over reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS, sex work, and "LGBT" rights have used, challenged, and transformed human rights discourses.

WMST 620 Women in Hispanic Literature (SPAN 620) (3). See SPAN 620 for description.

WMST 660 Kinship, Reproduction, Reproductive Technology, and the New Genetics (ANTH 660) (3). See ANTH 660 for description.

WMST 662 Gender Issues in Planning and Development (PLAN 662) (3). See PLAN 662 for description.

WMST 665 Queer Latina/o Literature, Performance, and Visual Art (ENGL 665) (3). See ENGL 665 for description.

WMST 666 Queer Latina/o Photography and Literature (ENGL 666) (3). See ENGL 666 for description.

WMST 691H Honors in Women's Studies (3). Prerequisites, WMST 101 and 202. Senior standing and permission of the department. The first semester of the yearlong honors thesis in women's and gender studies. Completing WMST 691H fulfills the WMST 695 requirement for the major.

WMST 692H Honors in Women's Studies (3). Prerequisite, WMST 691H. Permission of department. Second semester of the yearlong honors thesis project.

WMST 695 Senior Seminar: Principles of Feminist Inquiry (3). Prerequisites, WMST 101 and 202. Required preparation, at least one additional WMST course and senior standing or permission of the instructor. Required for majors; strongly recommended for minors. An advanced writing-intensive course drawing on a student's interests and background. Major research of specific topics utilizing feminist perspectives.