Course Descriptions - Coastal Carolina University
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WGST Course Descriptions

For more information on courses offered, please refer to the Coastal Carolina University Undergraduate Catalog

Women's and gender studies student writing on the white board

Women's and Gender Studies

WGST 103Q Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (3): Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that covers a vast range of issues. This introductory course gives an overview of the women’s movement in the U.S. and discusses its legacy in U.S. society today. It explores gender and sexuality as social constructions; special attention is given to how women and men negotiate these categories of identity on a personal-political level by looking at contemporary media and cultural productions. Readings focus especially on how gender norms influence the distribution of power and the creation of oppression. Students use feminist theory as a tool to become aware of these issues, to discuss them effectively, and to promote justice and equality in the U.S. and globally.

WGST 105 Introduction to LGTBQ Studies (3): Introduction to LGBTQ Studies (3). In this course, students will become familiar with disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the experiences and self-expressions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

WGST 301Q Women of Color (3): This course explores the complex politics of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other identity categories in the lives of women of color in the U.S. Students examine key themes in women of color feminisms, including representation, stigmatization, violence, intersectionality, economic and reproductive justice, queerness, and agency and activism.

WGST 302 Special Topics in Cultural Studies (1-3): This course is an interdisciplinary examination of selected themes and topics relating to race, class, and gender that shed light on the ways in which cultural meaning is generated, disseminated, ad produced through various practices, beliefs and institutions. This course may be repeated one time (for a total of 6 credit hours) provided it is on a different topic.

WGST 303Q Water and Women (3): This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between water and gender. Throughout the course we explore both the gendered conceptions of water in science and society as well as the social and physical influences that water (and the abuses of water) can have on women and their communities. We investigate topics related to ecological, social, and cultural dynamics of water, paying particular attention to the themes of gender and justice.

WGST 305 Gender and Sexuality in Popular Culture (3): This class gives insight into the historical foundations, theoretical concepts, political manifestations, and social issues concerning feminist interpretations of popular culture. Students explore how popular culture generates and articulates understandings of gender and sexuality and their intersections with other identity markers such as race, class, and ability. Popular culture is never simply entertainment. It provides us with the stories, images, and scripts that enable us to imagine and practice femininities, masculinities, and sexualities. These, in turn, are imbued with class and racial values and characteristics. We absorb these norms in the ads we see, the movies/television we watch, and the music we listen to. The class focuses especially on how feminist concepts and theory provide the tools to become aware of issues of discrimination and oppression in pop culture, to discuss them effectively, and to promote social justice.

WGST 310Q Women and Allies in Action (3): This course explores the great variety of ways in which people who are inspired by feminist ideas have worked for social justice. Students discuss what activism is, what makes activism feminist, and how we can make sure that our activism is intersectional and sustainable. Students study the history and strategies of anti-oppression activism and create and implement an activism project themselves.

WGST 315 Special Topics in Sexuality (3): This interdisciplinary course examines sexuality at the intersection of race, gender, and class. Topics include the history of sexuality, representations of sexuality in popular culture, sex work, reproductive justice, and/or activism. May be repeated once with different course topics.

WGST 318 Women and Social Movements (3): This class is an exploration of women’s participation in a wide variety of transnational U.S. social justice movements from the 19th to the 21st century, such as the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, labor rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and anti-globalization. Students will examine how the ideas and practices within these movements both reflected and shaped larger social meanings and uses of race, class, gender, and sexuality. 

WGST 320 Arts, Activism, and Justice (3): Students in this course discuss, analyze, and reflect upon the many ways in which artistic activism can amplify and bolster social justice movements. Students interact with artistic pathways, such as Theatre of the Oppressed, protest art, civic practice, performance art, and more, to study how individuals and groups can bridge creative expression with social change. Students also explore how the arts can support communities to identify oppression and injustice, leading them to articulate their goals and demands, so as to achieve a liberatory means. 

WGST 325Q Civic Engagement (3): (Prereq: WGST 103 or permission of the instructor) This course provides an opportunity for students interested in Women’s and Gender Studies issues to put their ideas about social change into action. It is designed for students to apply models of social change to various 21st-century challenges, such as: gender and racial justice, oppression, population growth, community health needs, poverty, reproductive health and climate change. As a type of service learning course, civic engagement from a gender studies perspective involves working towards equality and addressing these and other social issues from many different angles. Students will volunteer with appropriate local organizations (such as the Horry County Rape Crisis Center, Citizens Against Spouse Abuse, and local homeless shelters, among others) to address gender-based issues of the student’s choice, and host an on-campus event to raise awareness of the issue.

WGST 350Q Feminist Eco-Science & Technology Workshop (3): This is a practice-based, theory-driven course where students design and build feminist technologies and implement them in local environmental monitoring projects. Throughout this course we construct and reconstruct what it means to do science, who can do science, and where science happens. This course draws upon multiple lenses and disciplines, including science and technology studies, women’s and gender studies, anthropology, geography, and ecology.

WGST 399 Independent Study (1-3): (Prereq: permission of the instructor and Course Contract approved by the WGST Director) Reading or research on a specific topic related women and/or gender studies, under the direction of a faculty member. May involve a combination of reading assignments, tutorials, papers, presentations, etc.

WGST 401 Feminist Theories (3): Theory provides us with the tools for interpreting and critiquing events, arguments, and beliefs; when we read theory, we consider the world in a new way. This course is organized around an investigation of key debates within WGS. Understanding the world and understanding significant categories such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality are interpretive, theoretical, and political acts.   

LIS/WGST 402 Gender and Sexuality in German and Austrian Culture (3): (Pre-requisite ENGL 101) German and Austrian artists, intellectuals, and scientists have exercised enormous influence on attitudes about gender and sexuality over the course of the twentieth century and up to the present day. This class traces the development of discourses of gender and sexuality by analyzing works of fiction, non-fiction, and film in the cultural, social, and political context in which they were created. Topics to be addressed include psychoanalysis, sexology, homosexual emancipation, the women’s movement and feminism, the sexual politics of Nazi Germany, and contemporary debates surrounding multiculturalism. The course is taught in English and open to students without prior knowledge of German.

WGST 410 Feminism and Technology (3) (Prereq: WGST 103) This course examines how gender, race, and class intersect with technology, and how technology contributes to the social construction of identity. What role have underrepresented groups played in the development of technology? How has technological change affected the roles of women and ideas about gender?

WGST 411 Women and Work (3): This course will explore how identity and difference (race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, and age) impact women’s historical and contemporary work experiences from the family kitchen to the corporate boardroom. Students will critically engage with a broad range of topics, including workplace inequalities, the relationship between family and work, the politics of intimate labor, the globalizations of labor, and the history of labor movements.

WGST 495 Women's and Gender Studies Internship (3): The guided internship requires 120 to 140 hours of on-site work; a journal; and a final paper. The purpose of the course is to provide students with practical application opportunities for their knowledge and skills, to introduce them to local and regional employers in their field of study, and to enhance networking opportunities.

WGST 498Q*Capstone Seminar (3) (Prereq: nine hours of minor designated courses including WGST 103) This class is the “capstone” to the Women’s and Gender Studies minor, an opportunity for years of coursework and skills to culminate in a substantial independent project. The bulk of the semester is spent developing, researching, and writing/executing an original paper or project that makes a singular contribution to the intellectual community of WGS. Projects are designed and crafted so that they can be used as writing samples, conference presentations, or article drafts to help students transition into the next stage as WGS scholars, activists, and professionals. This course is run workshop-style, which will ensure that students are continuously working on their projects and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and fellow classmates.


ANTH 316 Sex, Gender, and Culture: Sex, gender, and culture are closely interwoven in society and define the parameters of our identities. By taking a uniquely anthropological approach, this course examines how sex and gender are a part of human culture. This course uses anthropological case studies from around the world to explore the ways in which social conventions are maintained, manipulated, and challenged, and how they influence our perceptions of ourselves and others.  


ARTH 360 Gender and Ethnicity in Art (Prereq: completion of an ARTH 100 level course with a grade of ‘C’ or better or permission of the instructor): A critical examination of how gender and ethnicity have been represented in visual culture within the Western tradition.


COMM 304 Gender Communication: Gender Communication inquires into the connections among four areas of study: gender, identity, culture, and communication.  Students explore the multiple ways that gender roles are created and sustained through communication in such contexts as families, schools, the workplace, and the media.

COMM 345 Communication Activism (Prereq: juniors and seniors only and successful completion of 60 credit hours): This seminar requires students to work with non-governmental, governmental and/or grass roots advocacy groups engaging in public service, social justice, and/or other applied communication projects often now collectively referred to as Communication Activism. Utilizing a variety of communication skills - including but not limited to message design for foundational, educational, and/or preventive campaigns - students will research, publicize, advocate against, and/or intervene in a social justice project with a community service organization. This is an active, intensive course that combines service learning with perspectives and practices from communication, health promotion, social science, and journalism.

COMM 410 Special Topics: [This course is only eligible for WGS if taught as "LGBTQ Communication" or with another WGS focus. Please confirm with your advisor if you are unsure.] (3) Special topics in communication is an active, intensive seminar that allows students to explore, on an advanced level, a special topic within communication. Special topics include community, communication and health; rhetoric, culture and social change; and gender, performance and identity; among others.  


EDUC 215 Schools and Diversity: To be required for majors in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Level Education, and Special Education. This course is designed to acquaint pre-service teachers with diversity issues in today’s classrooms. In addition to investigating the needs of students with disabilities and specific health issues, the roles that such factors as race, class, gender, language proficiency, and cultural background play in the educational process will be explored. Methods of instruction and evaluation designed to meet the needs of a diverse student population will be addressed. The main goal of the course is to help future teachers discover their own attitudes and values as they pertain to diversity and develop the knowledge and skills that will enable them to create inclusive classroom environments and to provide equal educational opportunities for all students.


ENGL 351 Language, Gender and Power Language, Gender and Power (Writing Intensive) (Prereq: ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 or ENGL 211 and one other 200 level ENGL class): The course investigates language structure and usage patterns in the context of gender to achieve a better understanding of the way language references.

ENGL 409 Theories of Gender and Sexuality (Prereq: ENGL 101 and ENGL 102/ENGL 211 and one other 200 level ENGL class): In this course, we will explore theories that have contributed to current debates about representations of men and women, constructions of femininity and masculinity, and the implications of sexuality. The first half of the course will focus on several key essays in feminist theory. In the second half of the semester, we will explore other developments in gender and sexuality studies, including the origins of queer theory and transgender studies. The study of theoretical works will be interspersed with the application of those theories to works of literature and film. Over the course of the semester we will consider the intersections of gender with race, class, age and nationality as we examine the relevance of reading, writing, and filmmaking to our understanding of gender and sexuality.

ENGL 443 Topics in Women Writers (Writing Intensive) (Prereq: (1) ENGL 101, (2) ENGL 102 or ENGL 211, and (3) one other 200 level ENGL course.): A study of selected works of Western and non-Western women writers. 451 Introduction to the Study of Language and Modern Grammar.

ENGL 489 Gender and Sexuality in Literature: This course employs feminist principles, philosophies, and pedagogies to examine literary and/or theoretical treatments of gender and sexuality.  Topics vary from semester to semester and may include issues such as sexual identity, queer theory, feminist criticism, and masculinity studies. May be repeated for credit as topics vary with the approval of the Program Director.


HIST 386 History of American Women: The social, political and economic roles and changing status of women in America.

HIST 403 Gender and Sexuality in the Early Church: Using the lens of gender, this course explores the political, economic, social, theological, an cultural developments of the Christianity in the Mediterranean, c. 30-600 CE, situating the early Christian movement within the historical context of Roman gender constructs and the shifting power structures of the Roman Empire.

HIST 442 Sexuality and Gender in Medieval Europe (Prereq: HIST 101): This course introduces students to the application of gender theory in explicating a crucial era in Western history’s development, the Middle Ages. Students will examine literary, artistic, and medical-philosophical ideas that reveal the ways sectors of medieval society defined femininity, masculinity, non-gendered and transgendered bodies and behaviors as it constructed a social and biological order that proved an important foundation of modern European understandings. 

HIST 451: History of Modern Medicine and the Body: This course examines the development of scientific medicine as well as medical and scientific approaches to the body from 1800 to the present. The course may focus on the making of modern physicians and patients, transformations in public health and epidemiology, the roles of gender and race in treating “unhealthy” bodies, and other topics. May be repeated for up to six credit hours under different topics.


INTEL 303Q Women in Intelligence and National Security: This class provides insights into women’s leadership and professional development in Intelligence and National Security. The course begins with an overview of feminist theory and the masculinization of the state. Students will also learn to read and think critically about how gender and other identity markers like race, class, ability, and citizenship shape women’s experiences in these fields. In addition to in-class discussions, this course provides students with the opportunity to meet and learn first-hand from women who are employed in the field of Intelligence and National Security while completing an experiential project on the issue of human trafficking.


JOUR 365 Women and Media: This is a survey course about the history of women’s roles in the media, their contributions, employment, and media effects on women. 


PHIL 214 Philosophy of Sex and Love: This course explores and critically examines various philosophical and scientific theories concerning the nature of love and sexuality which have been important in the Western world. Plato’s “Symposium,” Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit,” and Freud’s “Three Essays on Sexuality” may be considered. Course topics will include philosophical and theological conceptions of sex and love, and ethical issues related to these topics, including monogamy, same-sex marriage, pornography, and adultery.

PHIL 322Q Philosophical Issues in Feminism: This course explores and critically examines philosophical topics in feminist thought, with a particular emphasis on one or more of the following: feminist ethics, feminist epistemology, feminist political philosophy, and feminist philosophy of science. Issues may include the nature of feminist theorizing and varieties of feminist theories; feminist perspectives on the self and the social world; moral agency, knowledge, and reason, the family, motherhood, and sexuality; liberty, justice, and the state. 

PHIL 350 Ethics of Sexuality and Gender: This course introduces students to the ethical issues involved in human sexual activity and expression, including: the purpose of sexual activity, intimacy, and sexual consent; the relationship between love, sex, and marriage; the distinctions between sex and gender, the gender binary, and transgender identity. Issues to be examined include sexual assault and rape; pornography and sex work; same-sex relationships; polygamy, polyamory and “deviant” sexual behavior; the state’s role in regulating sexual and familial relationships; cybersex and cyberlove, etc. The overarching goal is for students to develop the skills necessary for thinking, writing, and speaking about sexual ethics.


POLI 327 Women in the Middle East (Prereq: POLI 101 or permission of the instructor): This course examines women and gender relations in early Islam and the post-colonial era focusing on recent developments of the status of women in the Middle East. Based on the analysis of theories of patriarchy, socialization, Feminism/Islamic Feminism and of "Orientalism," the course aims to explore the contemporary struggle of women in the Middle East for economic, political, and civic equality.

POLI 372 Women and Public Policy (Prereq: POLI 201 or permission of the instructor): This course examines the expanding role of women in political life. Students will study women as emerging political players in society, with a particular focus on strategies for gaining political power, the evolution of public policies that affect the lives and opportunities of women, and the present political status of women in the U.S.


PSYC 300 Human Sexual Behavior (Prereq: Psychology 101 or permission of in­structor): An examination of the psychological, social, behavioral, and cognitive aspects of human sexuality. Selected topics to be covered are sexual anatomy and physiology, contraception, sexually transmitted disease, sexual variations, com­mercial sexuality, and sexual violence.

PSYC 301 Psychology of Marriage (Prereq: Psychology 101 or permission of instructor): A survey of the psychological issues related to marriage. Topics include spouse selection, sexuality, child bearing, parenting, divorce, remarriage, and aging.

PSYC 310 Psychology of Women (Prereq: Psychology 101 or permission of instructor): The social, psy­chological and biological aspects of women’s development are addressed and explored. The changing roles of women, and the impact of these changes upon present day lifestyles are also discussed.


PUBH 310 Issues of Family and Sexuality (Prereq: PUBH 121): An overview of problems and questions relative to family life and sex education. Topics include: communication, relationships, intimacy, marriage, parenting, male/ female sexual anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives and childbirth.

PUBH 440 Gender, Culture, Literacy & Disparities in Health (Prereq: PUBH 121): This course explores the roots of health disparities among marginalized populations. It analyzes how socio-cultural determinants of health including gender, race/ethnicity, disability, religion, seniority, economics and institutional factors compound health inequities. It examines multi-level interventions steeped in health literacy, health promotion, social justice, and cultural communication to achieve health equity and promote population health.

PUBH 480 Women’s Health Issues (Prereq: PUBH 121): An overview of current health concerns related to women throughout their life-span. Current diagnostic, technological and other medical/scientific advances will be discussed. Open to men and women.


RELG 360 Women and World Religions (Prereq: Religion 103 or permission of instructor): An examination of the historical and social context of issues in religion or sanctioned by religion that are uniquely related to women.

RELG 363 Women and Gender in Islam: This course will serve as an introduction to the relations between gender and Islamic belief and practice. It will examine the historic, social, cultural, political, and economic factors that have influenced Muslim ideas and practices pertaining to gender and sexuality, as well as perceptions about the relation between Islamic belief, practices, and gender.


SOC 300Q* Social Justice (Prereq: SOC 101 or SOC 102): This course explores the broad context of social justice and fosters critical reflection and analysis of the social world and conditions of humanity. This course also explores individual and collective resistance for change and promotes students’ self-discovery of their own change agent skills. The course is guided by three primary questions: 1) What is social justice? 2) Why does social justice matter? 3) How do we actively participate in the struggle for social justice? Students taking Q* sections of this course receive four credit hours and must complete an additional 40-hour experiential learning activity.

SOC 301 Gender and Society (Prereq: SOC 101 or SOC 102): This course examines gender in terms of men’s and women’s identities and normative behaviors that occur in gendered institutions within an inequitable, patriarchal social structure that allots power and privilege to men over women, across all classes and races. Offered as needed

SOC 305 Sociology of the Family (Prereq: SOC 101 or SOC 102): Sociological perspectives related to various aspects of family behaviors, roles and values. Offered as needed.

SOC 309 Social Inequality: The course provides a sociological overview of how social inequality occurs, is maintained and challenged, with a primary focus on the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, and social class. Current and historical trends in inequalities are examined. The social causes of inequalities are analyzed as well as the consequences of inequality for individuals and states.

SOC 313 Social Welfare and Social Work (Prereq: SOC 101 or SOC 102): Analysis of the theory and process of social services. Emphasis is placed on understanding major social service programs in the United States, their histories, trends, and public policy related to them. Students study specific social welfare programs such as income maintenance programs, social security, nutrition programs and others. The occupation of social work is addressed along with major debates regarding providers and consumers of services. Offered as needed.

SOC 450 Victimology (Prereq: Sociology 101 or permission of the instructor): Exami­nation of sociological theories, research, and methodologies in the study of victims and analysis of the growth and institutionalization of victim advocacy.

SOC 465 Sociology of AIDS (Prereq: SOC 101 or SOC 102, junior standing or permission of the instructor): A seminar for advanced undergraduates, this course involves student research on HIV/AIDS transmission, incidence, prevalence, and prevention worldwide and analyzes HIV/AIDS within the framework of social stratification, social movements, social deviance, social control, and international development. Offered as needed.


THEA 321Q Applied Theater: This class explores techniques, methodology and history of applied theatre focusing on social change, current events and/or social justice. Class includes experiential learning projects with targeted populations and/or non-profit organizations. 



WGST 625 Gender and Sexuality in the United States: An interdisciplinary seminar on topics in American gender and sexuality studies: movements, and revolution in American sexuality; modern masculinity and sexual violence; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies; gender socialization, communication, identity and performance; feminist philosophy and the intersection of race, class, and gender in course topics.

WGST 630 Gender and Sexuality: A Global Perspective: An interdisciplinary seminar on topics in global gender and sexuality studies: the representation of transnational gender and sexuality; transnational sexual economy, sex work, tourism and trafficking; sexual rights discourse and legislation; HIV/AIDS organizing; LGBTQ identity and laws; post colonialism and the intersection of race, nationality, class, and gender.

WGST 590 Special Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies: This course covers readings and research on selected Women’s and Gender Studies subjects. The course may be repeated for up to nine credits under different topics.