Course Descriptions

Program Requirements:

WMGS 100 is required as a foundation course for all first- and second-year students taking further core women's and gender studies courses, but this requirement is normally waived for third- and fourth-year students seeking a first course in women's and gender studies. Please consult the course instructor directly to have a prerequisite waived if you are a third- or fourth-year student.

* Students should also make sure to check prerequisites for all cross-listed courses.

Core Courses:

  • WMGS 100:11 - Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
  • WMGS 100:12J - Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies (See Social Justice Colloquium)

This course will offer an overview of Women's and Gender Studies from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will study the development of feminist movements and will examine how concepts of race, class, sexuality and ability intersect in shaping colonialism, sexual and reproductive health, violence, family relations, paid and unpaid labour, political systems and poverty. The course will consider the relationship between the local and the global through discussion of such topics as popular culture, consumerism and environmentalism. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 100 or WMNS 200. Six credits. Offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 203 - Gender

This course is about gender differences and gender inequality. The main objective of the course is not only to examine differences in women’s and men’s social positions, but also to stimulate critical and informed thinking about the sources of gender inequality in our society. More generally, the course aims to explore the many ways in which this society is organized around gender differences and divisions. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 203 or SOCI/WMGS 310. Cross-listed as SOCI 203. Prerequisite: SOCI 101, 102. Three credits.

  • WMGS 205 - Gender, Sexuality and the Body

This course focuses on the ways that all bodies are sexualized and gendered in Western philosophical thought, biomedicine and science. Topics include Western binaries (man/woman, form/matter, mind/body), the sociocultural processes through which bodies are sexualized, the biological/medical sciences and objectivity, a critique of the dual sex model from the perspective of transfeminist theory and bodily transformations and normalizations (including cosmetic surgery, monstrosity and disability, and the feminist debate about female genital surgeries). Prerequisite: WMGS 100 or third- or fourth-year status with permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 217 - Race and Identities 

This course discusses the interconnected realities of race, class, gender and sex from various sociological perspectives. Substantive topics will include the socially constructed nature of these concepts in places like media, and the experiences of classism, sexism and racism in the workplace, schools, and everyday life. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 217 or WMGS 215. Cross-listed as SOCI 217. Three credits.

  • WMGS 221 - Sociology of Marriage and Family Life

This course analyzes the marriage and family life from a sociological perspective. It provides an overview of social changes over the past century, such as the falling birth rate, the rise in cohabitation and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Topics include marriage and fertility trends, the rise of intensive parenting and the dual earner family, the normalization of separation and divorce, the social cost of family violence, and how technology is influencing parenting. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 221 or WMGS 210. Cross-listed as SOCI 221. Three credits.

  • WMGS 232 – Gender and Popular Culture

This course will introduce a range of topics within the broad field of gender and popular culture as well as how to study and critique genres of popular culture. Beginning with questions, "What is cultural studies?" and "Why is it important to study popular culture?" we move on to study a range of pop culture media, including music, television, film, video games and graphic novels/memoirs through this methodological and theoretical lens. Prerequisite: WMGS 100 or third- or fourth-year status with permission of instructor. Three credits. Offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 254 - Topics in 18th-Century Literature

This course explores the changing literary, social and cultural significance of the figure of the whore in a variety of 18th century works. Poetry, pornography, and pamphlets, as well as Hogarth’s engravings A Harlot’s Progress, Behn’s play, The Rover, and Cleland’s novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (a.k.a. Fanny Hill) will be studied among other works. Graphic language and content may offend some students. Cross-listed as ENGL 254. Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 or equivalent. Three credits.

  • WMGS 259 - Gender, Literature and Culture

What makes gender meaningful and what has literature got to do with it? How do literary works and other cultural texts (film, television,music, socialmedia) represent and / or transform gender in a given time and place? What can such works tell us about how gender is imagined, experienced, circulated, challenged? This course will address these questions by studying selected texts in the context of historicallyspecific understandings of masculinity, femininity and non-binary identities. Crosslisted as ENGL 259. Prerequisite: ENGL 100 or 111/112 or equivalent. Three credits.

  • WMGS 299 – Selected Topics

The topic for 2021-2022 is Gender, Migration and Development. This course explores the meanings and intersections of gender, migration and development, in the context of immigration policies, citizenship practices, economic exploitation, human trafficking, border mechanisms and internal and external gatekeeping politics. Central here are the Indigenous debates and analyses on various factors that dispossess migrant communities to greater precarity and vulnerability. Cross listed as DEVS 299. No prerequisites.

  • WMGS 303 - Feminist Theory

This course examines various directions feminists have taken in studying women's experiences and the construction of gender. Students will learn how these theoretical approaches have influenced feminist research and critical practice. The course will include early feminist thought as well as contemporary feminist theory. Cross-listed with SOC 304. Prerequisites: WMGS 100. Three credits. Offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 311 - Men and Masculinities

A critical review of the science of masculinity and recent theoretical developments on the social construction of men’s lives and masculinities. Topics include male gender role socialization; the role social institutions play in shaping masculinities; masculinity politics, men’s movement, and social change. Cross-listed as SOCI 311. Three credits.

  • WMGS 312 - Women and Popular Music

A critical examination of the roles of the singing performer from the later 19th century to present through the development and changes of different musical styles and cultural context. Singer/audience relationships are explored as well as voal lineage and the musical contributions of key artists. The course also surveys key singers over the last 100 years, through examining ideas fame, artistry, cultural/ political significance race, and gender. Cross-listed as MUSI 312. Three credits. Not offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 315 - Gender and Development

This course will examine a number of ways to understand what gender and development mean, and the ways in which the two intersect. For instance, the course will explore such questions as, how can thinking intersectionally change the practices of development and of international institutions of development?; and, how local and gendered actors respond to development policies? Subthemes in the course include women and work, gender and health, empowerment, environment, sustainable development, and others. Credits will be granted for only one of WMGS 315 and DEVS 391(ST: Gender and Development). Cross-listed as DEVS 315. Prerequisite: WMGS 100 or DEVS 201 and 202. Three credits. Not offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 316 - Women in Early Judaism

The course investigates the depiction and experience of women from the earliest biblical narratives to the separation of Christianity from Judaism. Students analyze responses to women and ideas about women in Biblical and other early Jewish writings, in comparison to women in the rest of the Ancient Near East, in conversation with feminist interpreters of the Bible and early Judaism, we will note the relevance of this material for contemporary gender issues. Cross-listed as RELS 316. Three credits. Offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 317 - Canadian Women’s and Gender History: From Colony to Nation

This course introduces students to major themes in the field of Canadian women’s and gender history. Covering the period from the late 16th century to the late 19th century, the course examines the historical development of women’s roles, experiences, identities and gender relations. Particular attention is given in this course to the impact of colonialism, and the intersection of gender, race, economic/ class status, and Indigenous/non-Indigenous status in shaping women’s work, family roles, sexuality, political engagement and activism. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 317 or WMGS 308. Cross-listed as HIST 317. Three credits. Not offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 318 - Canadian Women’s and Gender History: Modernity

This course introduces students to major themes in the field of Canadian women’s and gender history. Covering the period from the late 19th century to the late 20th century, the course examines the historical development of women’s roles, experiences, identities and gender relations. Particular attention is given to the intersection of gender, race, economic/class status, and Indigenous/ non-Indigenous status in shaping women’s work, family roles, sexuality, political engagement and activism. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 318 or WMGS 308. Cross-listed as HIST 318. Three credits.

  • WMGS 325 - Early Christian Women

This course investigates women’s participation in early Christian groups from the time of Jesus’ ministry to the 6th century. Christian women’s lives will be compared to those of women in Jewish and Greco-Roman societies. Students will analyze New Testament and other early Christian writings, read feminist scholarship, and examine such issues as women’s leadership and violence against women. Cross-listed as RELS 325. Three credits. Offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 326 - Issues in the Anthropology of Kinship

This course explores current themes and debates about the constitution of families cross culturally. It will examine topics such as: cultural understandings of kinship; historical transformations of kinship systems; current reconfigurations ofmarriage; partnering strategies; new reproductive technologies; transnational adoption; intrafamilial conflict; the role of kinship for individuals and in societies; and the influence of the state on kin patterns. Course material will include ethnographic examples from around the world. Cross-listed as ANTH 326. Prerequisite: ANTH 110 or ANTH 111/112, or WMGS 100 or 200 or permission of the instructor. Three credits.

  • WMGS 327 - Feminist Anthropology

This course examines how past and present feminist anthropologists have used and problematized categories of difference and identity, such as, gender, class, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, religion and nationality as they pursue anthropological research. Focusing primarily on socio-cultural anthropological research, but also addressing work by linguistic and biological (physical) anthropologists and archaeologists, the course will highlight the theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions of feminist anthropologists to anthropology and to women and gender studies. Credit will be granted for only one of ANTH 323, ANTH 324 or WMGS 324. Cross-listed as ANTH 323. Prerequisite: ANTH 110 or ANTH 111/112 or WMGS 100 or WMGS 200 or permission of the instructor. Three credits.

  • WMGS 328 - Canadian Families and Parenting

This course explores the impact of social, political, economic and cultural changes on families and parents. Topics include the diversity of family relations, work-life balance, family time, the ‘parenting expert industry’, ‘intensive parenting,’ the ‘boomerang generations’ and ‘grand’ relations. Across this range of topics, we consider how gender, race, sexuality, social class, and health influence families and parents. Cross-listed as SOCI 327. Three credits.

  • WMGS 329 - Studies in Women Writers: Feminisms and Their Literature

How do the struggles feminists engage in inform literary works? An introduction to diverse feminist debates within their historical, cultural and political contexts, this course explores the relationships between particular feminisms and the literary texts that exemplify or extend them. The particular focus on a feminist struggle and corresponding body of literary works will vary, depending on the instructor. Cross-listed as ENGL 329. Three credits.

  • WMGS 332 - Gender in Sport and Physical Activity

Explores the role of women and men in sport/physical activity/recreation from a historical, philosophical, and sociocultural perspective. This course covers embodiment, objectification, equity, racism, homophobia, politics of difference and identity. Cross-listed as HKIN 332. Three credits.

  • WMGS 333 - The Medieval Body

This class explores late medieval conceptions of the physical body, which were always essential to identity in the Middle Ages. Medieval discussions of the practice of reading, clothing and fashion and even spiritual union with God, often involved debates and metaphors based upon the physical body. Through an exploration of primary and secondary texts along with seminar discussions, the class will explore the interconnectedness of late medieval ideas of corporeality, identity, spirituality and sexuality. Cross-listed as HIST 332. Three credits. Not offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 343 - Psychology of Gender

This course will review theories and research regarding gender in psychological development, social roles, and personality. Topics to be covered will include the history of research in gender; issues to consider in conducting gender research; gender role development and the socialization of gender; gender as a social variable in education and the workplace. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 343 or WMGS 360. Cross-listed as PSYC 364. Prerequisite: 6 credits of PSYC at the 200 level. Three credits.

  • WMGS 344 - Developmental Social Psychology of Gender

This course will review theories and research that integrate developmental and social perspectives on gender. Topics will focus on gender as a social construct and include gender role development, gender role socialization in the family and gender development in cross-cultural perspective. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 344 or WMGS 360. Cross-listed as PSYC 365. Prerequisite: 6 credits of PSYC at the 200 level. Three credits.

  • WMGS 345 - Women and Politics

An introduction to the study of women and politics, this course has three parts: feminist political thought and the women’s movement; political participation and representation; and public policy. Topics include feminist political thought in the Western political tradition; the evolution and politics of the women’s movement; political parties and legislatures; women and work; women and the welfare state. Cross-listed as PSCI 345. Prerequisite: PSCI 101, 102 (100) or WMGS 100; 6 credits at the 200-level (211, 212 recommended). Three credits.

  • WMGS 346 – Critical Race and Sexuality Studies in Canada

This seminar course offers students a survey of feminist approaches to contemporary critical race theory and sexuality studies in Canada, with a particular focus on the values of 'multiculturalism' and 'tolerance.' The course will consider the intersections of gender with such topics as colonialism, racism and immigration, whiteness, as well as homophobia and homonationalism. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 346 or WMGS 399 "ST: Critical Race & Sexuality." Prerequisite: WMGS 100.  Three credits.

  • WMGS 364 - Social Justice and Health

Examines the relationship between injustice and health outcomes nationally and globally. Core social justice ideas are analyzed, including the cycle of oppression, distinctions between equality and equity, and achievement of human rights as an ethical imperative. Modern and historical contexts are explored in key justice related areas: corporatization of health care; policy-created poverty; worldwide water crisis; links between planetary health and human health; and global conflict as a key driver of injustice. Learning includes analysis of selected award-winning films. Cross-listed as NURS 364. Three credits.

  • WMGS 365 - Gender and Health

This course examines theoretical concepts relevant to gender and health. The broad determinants of health, sexuality, reproductive health and fertility, common diseases, substance abuse, violence and culture are examined from a gender perspective. Strategies for promoting holistic health and preventing disease will be examined. Cross-listed as NURS 365. Three credits.

  • WMGS 367 - Gender and Management

Reviews the recent growth of women managers in today’s organizational world. Students examine gender roles in organizations and identify some of the barriers women experience in reaching the top. The course explores the systemic discrimination facing women, and presents potential management models for women and men. Cross-listed as BSAD 367. Prerequisite: BSAD 261. Three credits.

  • WMGS 370 - Gender & Sexuality in Modern European Empires

This course examines major issues in the history of gender and sexuality in the new imperialism. Themes to be covered include imperial families, race, gender and professionalism, gender, sexuality and citizenship, and women in imperialism and global movements. Cross-listed as HIST 360. Three credits. Not offered 2021-2022.

  • WMGS 378 - Human Sexuality

This course provides a broad introduction to research and theory in human sexuality. It includes examination of fundamental topics such as the nature of human sexuality and contemporary issues. Specific topics include historical perspective, theories of sexuality, sex research, sexual anatomy, sexual variation, sexual response, gender, sexual dysfunction and sex therapy. Cross-listed as PSYC 378. Prerequisites: 6 credits of PSYC at the 200 level. Three credits.

  • WMGS 391 - Junior Seminar

This is a non-credit, required course for third year students enrolled in the BA Honours with Subsidiary option in the WMGS Program. The seminar will give students an opportunity to engage with the research of faculty who teach core and cross-listed courses in the program, as well as the intellectual life of the program, in preparation to select a supervisor for the honours thesis they will write in their fourth year. No credit.

  • WMGS 395 - Selected Topics 

Course content changes from year to year and may reflect faculty involvement in a specific area of research. Three credits.

  • WMGS 397 - Authentic Power and Gender

This course presents “authentic power” as understood in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Here, “authentic power” is that which creates, supports, maintains and sustains life. It is understood as an expression of inter-dependent masculine and feminine “principles” both within and outside the individual self. That which seeks to manipulate, control, dominate, oppress or defend territory is here understood to be based in fear: it is an expression of cowardice and, as such, merits our compassion. Cross-listed as RELS 315. Three credits.

  • WMGS 398 - Themes in the History of Sexuality

A comparative study of the history of sexuality during the modern period from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. Following a broadly chronological and thematic approach to a diverse history of sexualities, the course will explore in particular the changing meanings of and interconnections between sexuality, race, class and gender. Topics will include: indigenous sexual cultures; sexuality and colonialism; inter-racial sexual relationships; the ‘invention of heterosexuality’; moral panics, prostitution, the regulation of sexual desire; and sexual subcultures. Cross-listed as HIST 398. Three credits.

  • WMGS 399 - Selected Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies II

The topic for 2021-2022 is Gender and Public Policy. How can we make the world a more gender equal and socially just place? This course examines the relationships between gender, systems of inequality, and public policy. The course focuses on understanding contemporary approaches to creating gender-responsive public policy and theoretical tools for analyzing public policy. The course also explores how to apply this knowledge to contemporary social issues. Cross-listed as PGOV 398. Prerequisite: WMGS 100. Three credits.

  • WMGS 411 - Religious Approaches to Sexuality

Human sexuality is explored from two main perspectives: first, the teachings and practices of various religious traditions; and second, contemporary developments in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Among the issues to be considered are sexuality and gender roles, contraception and abortion, marriage and family. Crosslisted as RELS 401. Prerequisite: any 100-level RELS or WMGS course. Three credits.

  • WMGS 412 - Religious Approaches to Sexual Diversity

This course will focus on religious teachings and traditions on sexual diversity within the broader context of human rights associated with sexual orientation and sexual differences. In particular, we will look at the experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersexual and transgendered persons within religious communities. Cross-listed as RELS 402. Prerequisite: any 100-level RELS or WMGS course. Three credits.

  • WMGS 415 - Advanced Field Seminar and Practicum

This course focuses on understanding inequality from an academic perspective, and seeks to do so through understanding grass-roots activism and movements for social change. This course is designed to combine feminist theories with feminist activist work, allowing students to learn from how feminism looks as gender challenges are enacted in homes, workplaces and political spaces. The main purpose of this course is for students to gain field-based knowledge through placement with an organization, community group or service. Credit will be granted for only one of WMGS 415 and WMGS 400. Three credits.

  • WMGS 425 - Power and Change

Power and change can be volatile processes. This course allows students to explore them from an anthropological point of view. In 2018-19, the focus will be on food and power. It will address questions such as: How do gender, class, race, culture or other categories of difference affect who cooks and who eats, as well as what they eat? How has food become central to “gastro-diplomacy”? What are the politics of different kinds of food, locally produced food, food aid? How is food managed in times of crisis? Prerequisites: 12 credits ANTH, or HNU 365, or permission of instructor. Cross-listed as ANTH 425. Three credits.

  • WMGS 491 - Selected Topics

Three credits.

  • WMGS 493 - Honours Thesis

A required course for students enrolled in the BA Honours with Subsidiary program. Students enrolled in this course will write a thesis about a question that is of interest to them and grounded in relevant scholarly research related to their chosen topic. Six credits.

Cross-listed Courses:

Other courses may be considered WMGS cross-listed courses with consultation.