Introduction to Women’s Studies

This course offers an introduction to women’s and gender studies, an interdisciplinary academic field that explores critical questions about the meaning of gender in society. This course takes a diverse, multidisciplinary approach to expose students to the complex ways that sex, gender, and sexuality shape social, economic, and political life. Additionally, this course examines how social identities and political structures are constructed and intersected, with a focus on power and privilege, in the United States and in an international context. This course utilizes contemporary media and current politics to supplement a textual overview of the discipline of women’s and gender studies.

Download the syllabus.

My students in this class also put together a blog. Through their critical lens of intersectionality, they they disseminate ideas, thoughts, and analytical analysis of current events on this blog. Check out their website at Burrito Bowls, Not Gender Roles!


Feedback from students

“What helped me learn in the women’s studies intro class was learning about the different aspects of intersectionality. I knew about how the movements in this country or internationally are known for making causes that pertain to their own personal struggles in life, but identifying intersectionality within those movement are very crucial. For an example, within the Feminism movement there has to be women identifying the struggles of women who have different social identities. In my case, I’m concerned about how women of color are being treated in this society, but after this class, I’ve realized that identifying the struggles of someone who’s homosexual, transgendered, other race who have been marginalized, the class system that they are in, any disabilities they may have, and more are very important to point out. Also, thank you for letting us know how we are doing when it comes to participation because it encouraged to talk a lot more when I thought I did already.”

“She was very personable and related a lot of the things we were learning with things that were happening today. A lot of times, she would pull very recent/current events that happened sometimes the night before or morning of and present them to the class. Overall, a very great teacher.”

“It challenged me to think and I learned something new everyday.”

“I thought it was interesting to see the viewpoints of other on feminism, because I never really thought about a lot of what we talked about.”

“I really liked the lectures. They made me a lot more knowledgeable on aspects of feminism and gender roles that I wouldn’t have learned really anywhere else or at least in as much depth. Sarah also didn’t give us a bunch of exams, and when we took the first one, she actually asked what she could do better for the next ones.”

“It opened my eyes to concerns that I didn’t care about before/thought didn’t exist. It was a unique course that brought issues into light.”

“I really loved how open all of the discussion were.Everyone wanted to share their opinions on a particular topic and I though that was cool.It was a class that I definitely felt comfortable and free to express myself in…”

“Ironically, what I liked most about this class was the group essay that was assigned to us. The project was a nice way to tie in everything we’ve discussed this semester because it made me realize that we do have a third wave feminism currently happening and that is intersectionality. From knowing this now, it has encouraged me to contribute to the feminism movement with a strong cause because hearing about feminism from other people, its seemed like the movement was over in the sense that we’ve already made strides to making this country a more equal society, but that’s just not the case. I also enjoyed the documentaries we were able to watch. Those are very helpful because documentaries often present their arguments very well with a modern approach to getting their audience’s attention.”

“The Powerpoint slides really helped to look over topics discussed in class. The teaching was very thorough and the outside readings bettered my understanding.”

“I enjoy the wide span of topics we learned throughout this course.”