Courses Offered | St. Lawrence University Gender and Sexuality Studies

Courses Offered

Because Gender and Sexuality Studies is interdisciplinary, many of its courses are taught in several academic departments. These courses are approved by the advisory board and are listed on APR 2.0 with both Gender and Sexuality Studies and the relevant department(s). Students are advised to consult each semester’s Course Catalog to review the current offering of Gender and Sexuality Studies cross-listed elective courses. Additionally, Special Topic electives are offered most semesters.

103. Gender and Society.
This interdisciplinary course examines gender roles, identities and institutions through their intersections with race, ethnicity, class and sexuality.

201. Gender in Global Perspective.
Gender constructs cultural, political and socio-economic relations across class and racial lines in the Western world and throughout the rest of the world, although the concepts and structures that define gender roles can and do differ significantly. This course examines the global constructions of gender through examples chosen from indigenous and diasporic communities in Asia, Africa and the Americas; discusses the variable impacts that these constructions have had particularly on women’s lives; and introduces theories of transnational feminism. Also offered through Global Studies

270. Dreams, Desire and Madness in Film and Literature.

Literary representations of the alienated mind interrogate the relationship between social definitions of normality and seeing otherwise, whether that is manifested as vision, rebellion, disease or fantasy. Seeing otherwise is often thought of as a symptom (e.g., mental illness), but it can also be symptomatic—a reaction to a cultural condition that is repressive, oppressive or quite literally maddening. To deal with the unsustainable societal demands, we often repress our desires, but this does not make them disappear—instead they make themselves felt through expressions of the unconscious in our dreams, fantasies, slips of the tongue and somatic symptoms. Art and artistic expression have often represented or explored such mechanisms. In this course we will read fiction and analyze films that represent the encoded and diseased ways that repressed desires express themselves through madness and hysteria, and connect the personal (experience, dreams and affect) with the materials we are reading and watching over the course of the semester. Also offered through English and Film and Representation Studies.

272. Coming-Out Stories. 
Among the many questions this course addresses: Are identity politics in contemporary North American culture passé, boring and irrelevant? How does the critical literature help us better engage the autobiographical pieces that lesbians write? How do lesbians negotiate the rugged terrain of feminism? How do African-American lesbians choose the oppression to which they hold allegiance? The purpose is not simply to compare and consider the profundity (and often trauma) of the experience of “coming out,” but also to define terms we think we understand or know.  Also offered as English 272. Also offered through African-American Studies.

280. Sexuality, Society and Culture.
An exploration of the cultural facets of our sexuality and how we come to understand sexuality in our everyday lives. Are sexual feelings biological, or do they emerge from particular historical and social formations? How does sexuality come to operate as something that is just natural? What does love have to do with it? How has the concept of sexuality shifted from sex acts to sexual identities? How is sexuality linked to race, class and gender? How is sexuality linked to the political? The answers to these questions provide a broad understanding of gender and sexuality studies. We rigorously examine the concept of sexuality through theoretical, empirical and creative frameworks. 

290. Gender and Feminist Theory.
This course examines theoretical explanations of gender, gender difference and gender inequality in society. The course includes introductions to some of the questions that shape contemporary feminist theory, feminist writings in multiple disciplines and feminist movements inside and outside the academy. The course focuses on how an awareness of intersections of race, class, sexuality, gender and ethnicity is vital for disciplinary and interdisciplinary study in feminist theory. Theoretical works are drawn from the humanities, arts and literature and the social sciences. Prerequisite: Gender Studies 103. Also offered as Philosophy 290.

301. Studies in Masculinities.
This course calls on students to investigate their own lives in relation to historically and locally dominant prescriptions of what men and women “should” be. Combining readings of “great books” with a wide range of material from the burgeoning field of critical studies of masculinity, the course also includes a field research methods component that enables students to design and carry out creative research projects into the local gender systems in which they attempt to forge their own identities. Also offered through African-American Studies.

315: Feminist Political Theory.

This course will introduce you to some of the ways by which feminists draw from and transform political theory, as well as how political theory may inform or help us to understand feminist claims and activism.  We will read feminist analysis from the 1980s to the present. Through our readings, we will explore concepts that are central to political theory (such as freedom, agency, citizenship, and rights) through feminist lenses, and explore how these new ways of thinking can help us to envision society in new ways. We will also explore the implications of theory for public policy and political activism.

334. Feminist Philosophy.

An introduction to some of the questions that shape feminist philosophy today. What connections are there between feminist philosophy and feminist writing in other disciplines and feminist movements inside and outside the academy? Does feminist philosophy transform traditional philosophical discourse and the academy? The course focuses on how an awareness of intersections of race, class, sexuality, gender and ethnicity is vital for disciplinary and interdisciplinary study in feminist philosophy. Also offered as Philosophy 334.

335. Sex Talk. 

Sex Talk is an examination of dominant discourses around gender, sex and sexuality with the objective being to have students not only critically analyze these discourses but to interrupt their creation in order to foster counter discourses that challenge hegemonic norms, including misogyny and homophobia.  We will explore youth culture and university cultures, and examine how these cultures create, are created by, respond to, and challenge patriarchy, hegemonic masculinities and femininities.  The course culminates in students designing and delivering peer education programs/performances on campus.  Also offered as PCA 335.  Permission of instructor required.

352. Transnational Feminist Activism.
This course examines social, economic, political and cultural projects throughout the world organized by women to address the concerns of women. We investigate specific groups that identify themselves as feminist as well as the various feminisms that define them. Equally important are those groups that reject or challenge the label of feminism as a Western and therefore imperialist or neo-imperialist ideology and present alternatives for women’s collective action. Finally, we explore the possibilities and practices of transnational or women’s global activism by participating in a community-based learning project with a local organization engaged in feminist activism.

367. Feminist Post-Colonial Theory.

Postcolonial theory addresses issues of identity, culture, literature and history arising from the social context of colonization, resistance to colonization, liberation from colonization and the formation of new nations. It crosses the boundaries of the social sciences and humanities in its approach to theory and analysis of the discourses used to constitute colonial and postcolonial subjects. We begin with some classic texts of postcolonial theory before moving to a focus on specifically feminist debates and texts within postcolonial studies. Literature and film are used in dialog with theoretical texts to examine questions about gender and women’s issues in various societies. Also offered as Global Studies 367, English 367 and Philosophy 367.

369. Making Sexualities. 

Sexuality culturally operates as a central trope by which we come to “know” ourselves as sexed people (that is, female or male) and how we come to understand our desire. In this course we unpack sexuality from a cultural and gendered perspective — we discuss how we have come to know sexuality culturally, materially and in our everyday lives. In doing so, we explore topics such as the invention of modern notions of sexualities, queer identity, love, pornography and sex work through reading, writing, artistic expression and research. This course is reading- and writing-intensive.

479,480. SYE: Internships.
Students are required to spend eight hours per week in an internship at an agency that deals with gender-related issues and problems, such as sexual identity, domestic violence, sexual assault, the feminization of poverty, and conceptions of masculinity and femininity among students. Students reflect on their experiences in a journal that applies gender studies concepts to the experiences, attend bi-monthly service learning workshops with other campus interns, and prepare a research paper related to issues relevant to the internship. Prerequisite: Gender Studies 103 and permission of the instructor. 

489,490. SYE: Independent Study.
Individual study of a topic, which must be approved by the gender and sexuality studies advisory board in the semester prior to be undertaken. Independent study may be used to satisfy the sixth course research requirement. Prerequisite: Gender Studies 103 and permission of the instructor.