WMST 300 (3 cr): Introduction to Gender Relations

WMST 300

Mode of Delivery

This is a print-based, correspondence course.

Course Outline

  • Three assignments
  • Final examination

Course Description and Prerequisites

This course examines social constructions of race, class, sexuality, ability, and gender relations. It focuses on how positions of oppression and privilege are created, enforced, and intersect. Class material and readings illustrate how power relations are constituted through language, the media, the gendered and racialized body, poverty, and sexual relations. The subversive value of lesbian theory and practice, transgendering, queer theories, and feminism(s) are explored and discussed. Students are especially encouraged to challenge the unacknowledged assumptions and categories of “comfortable thinking”. WMST 300 is taught from an allied anti-racist, anti-colonialist perspective.

Prerequisite: Women’s Studies 300 has no prerequisites to registration.

Course Objectives

WMST 300 is designed to help you analyze the ways in which gender is represented, enforced, learned, and experienced. In this course, we will examine and challenge assumptions about gender, race, class, and sexuality. After completing WMST 300, you should be able to:

  • recognize and discuss the role of power in gender relations
  • identify and de-construct race, class, ethnic, sexuality, and gender stereotypes
  • discuss how gender, racial, sexuality, and class oppressions manifest in both institutional and interpersonal relations
  • hypothesize strategies for resisting and dismantling oppression
  • reflect on your own location within the web of power relations
  • challenge assumptions embedded in the English language and consider the role of language in social change
  • identify the connection between sexual norms and gender norms
  • provide examples of daily gender transgression and subversion
  • outline future directions for feminist theory and practice

Course Overview

This course will offer you an overview of core issues in the field of gender relations. There are 9 lessons to this course:

  • Lesson 1 examines common institutionalized assumptions about gender within dominating Euro-North American culture.
  • Lesson 2 highlights the problem of essentialism in theory and practice.
  • Lesson 3 discusses subjectivity, the construction of the “Other”, and the dynamics of privilege, domination, and oppression.
  • Lesson 4 analyzes how language reflects and creates power relations.
  • Lesson 5 describes how gender interacts with poverty and class relations.
  • Lesson 6 describes the construction and enforcement of sexual norms.
  • Lesson 7 explores the transgression of gender norms, through such topics as drag, butch-femme, and transsexualism.
  • Lesson 8 focuses on the construction of “crime” and of the “criminal”.
  • Lesson 9 explores models of social change and resistance, as well as state counter-resistance to dissent.
  • Finally, the “conclusion” section briefly reviews what tools of social change Women’s Studies hopes to offer the student.

Course Work

There are three assignments required for WMST 300. The first assignment will require that you complete a short essay based on Lessons 1 to 4. It will provide you the opportunity to integrate and theorize about the material that you have studied. The second and third assignments will offer you the opportunity to apply the knowledge that you are acquiring to media items and to your daily experiences. To complete WMST 300, you will be required to write a final comprehensive examination covering the core concepts of the course manual and major themes of the assigned readings.

Course Evaluation

Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Reading Analysis 25%
Application I: Media Analysis 25%
Application II: Application of Social Change 25%
Final Examination 25%
Total 100%

Textbooks and Course Materials

  • Women’s Studies 300 Custom Course Readings Package: a collection of recently published chapters and journal articles available at the UBC Bookstore.
  • WMST 300 Learner Package: includes course manual and is also available at the UBC Bookstore.

WMST300 Textbook Order Form

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