Women's and Gender Studies

Program Office: 763 Schermerhorn Extension; 212-854-3277; 212-854-7466 (fax)
http://irwgs.columbia.edu/

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Lila Abu-Lughod, 756 Schermerhorn Extension; la310@columbia.edu

Located within the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and taught in cooperation with Barnard College’s Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the program in women's and gender studies provides students with a culturally and historically situated, theoretically diverse understanding of feminist scholarship and its contributions to the disciplines. The program introduces students to feminist discourse on the cultural and historical representation of nature, power, and the social construction of difference. It encourages students to engage in the debates regarding the ethical and political issues of equality and justice that emerge in such discussion, and links the questions of gender and sexuality to those of racial, ethnic, and other kinds of hierarchical difference.

Through sequentially organized courses in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, as well as required discipline-based courses in the humanities and social sciences, the major provides a thoroughly interdisciplinary framework, methodological training, and substantive guidance in specialized areas of research. Small classes and mentored thesis-writing give students an education that is both comprehensive and tailored to individual needs. The major culminates in a thesis-writing class, in which students undertake original research and produce advanced scholarship.

Graduates leave the program well prepared for future scholarly work in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, as well as for careers and future training in law, public policy, social work, community organizing, journalism, and professions in which there is a need for critical and creative interdisciplinary thought.

Major in Women’s and Gender Studies

The requirements for this program were modified on September 22, 2014. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

Students should plan their course of study with the undergraduate director as early in their academic careers as possible. The requirements for the major are:

WMST UN1001Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
or WMST UN3125 Introduction to Sexuality Studies
WMST UN3311FEMINIST THEORY
WMST UN3514Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions
WMST UN3521Senior Seminar I
WMST UN3915GENDER & POWER IN GLOBAL PERSP
Six approved Elective Courses on women, gender, and/or sexuality in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies.*

Concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies

The requirements for this program were modified on September 22, 2014. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

The same requirements as for the major, with the exception of WMST UN3521 Senior Seminar I.


Special Concentration for Those Majoring in Another Department

The requirements for this program were modified on September 22, 2014. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

WMST UN1001 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies; plus four additional approved elective courses on gender.

Fall 2021

WMST UN3125 Introduction to Sexuality Studies. 3 points.

This course is designed to introduce major theories sexuality, desire and identity. We will be considering the relations between the history of sexuality and the politics of gender. We will read some primary texts in gender theory, and in the study of sexuality, desire, and embodiment. This course also provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary examination of human sexual and erotic desires, orientations, and identities. We will study how desires are constructed, how they vary and remain the same in different places and times, and how they interact with other social and cultural phenomena such as government, family, popular culture, scientific inquiry, and, especially, race and class.   

WMST UN3521 Senior Seminar I. 4 points.

The Senior Seminar in Women's Studies offers you the opportunity to develop a capstone research paper by the end of the first semester of your senior year. Senior seminar essays take the form of a 25-page paper based on original research and characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to the study of women, sexuality, and/or gender. You must work with an individual advisor who has expertise in the area of your thesis and who can advise you on the specifics of method and content. Your grade for the semester will be determined by the instructor and the advisor. Students receiving a grade of "B+" or higher in Senior Seminar I will be invited to register for Senior Seminar II by the Instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  Senior Seminar II students will complete a senior thesis of 40-60 pages. Please note, the seminar is restricted to Columbia College and GS senior majors.

Fall 2022: WMST UN3521
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3521 001/11769 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Lila Abu-Lughod 4 0/10

WMST GU4000 GENEALOGIES OF FEMINISM. 4.00 points.

Genealogies of Feminism: Course focuses on the development of a particular topic or issue in feminist, queer, and/or WGSS scholarship. Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates, though priority will be given to students completing the ISSG graduate certificate. Topics differ by semester offered, and are reflected in the course subtitle. For a description of the current offering, please visit the link in the Class Notes

WMST GU4905 Labor and Life: Critiques of Capitalism. 4.00 points.

This advanced seminar examines materialist conceptions of labor and life as approached through feminist, black, anti-racist, indigenous, queer, postcolonial, and Marxist perspectives. We will trace the ways that labor and life as well as their constitutive relations have been understood in historical and contemporary radical critiques of capitalism, with a focus on gender, race and sexuality as analytical categories for understanding their shifting roles in structures and practices of social reproduction, the production and expropriation of value, the logic and exercise of violence, the organization of sociality and culture, and the practice and imagination of freedom, justice, and new forms and potentials of collective existence. Finally, we will consider the limits and possibilities of different conceptions of “material life” for understanding politics today

WMST BC2140 Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory. 3.00 points.

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others. Open to all students; required for the major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE)

Spring 2022: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00397 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
328 Milbank Hall
Janet Jakobsen 3.00 42/58
Fall 2022: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00694 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
202 Altschul Hall
Marisa Solomon 3.00 0/56

WMST BC2150 PRACTICING INTERSECTIONALITY. 3.00 points.

This introductory course for the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE) is open to all students. We focus on the critical study of social difference as an interdisciplinary practice, using texts with diverse modes of argumentation and evidence to analyze social differences as fundamentally entangled and co-produced. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, the professor will frequently be joined by other faculty from the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), who bring distinct disciplinary and subject matter expertise. Some keywords for this course include hybridity, diaspora, borderlands, migration, and intersectionality

Spring 2022: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00179 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Ll002 Milstein Center
Rebecca Jordan-Young, Marisa Solomon 3.00 77/95
Fall 2022: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00695 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Manijeh Moradian 3.00 0/72

WMST BC3131 Women and Science. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 18 students.

History and politics of women's involvement with science. Women's contributions to scientific discovery in various fields, accounts by women scientists, engineers, and physicians, issues of science education. Feminist critiques of biological research and of the institution of science.

Fall 2022: WMST BC3131
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3131 001/00696 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Ll016 Milstein Center
Laura Kay 4 0/18

WMST BC3132 Gendered Controversies: Women's Bodies and Global Conflicts. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I).

Investigates the significance of contemporary and historical issues of social, political, and cultural conflicts centered on women's bodies. How do such conflicts constitute women, and what do they tell us about societies, cultures, and politics? - D. Ko

Fall 2022: WMST BC3132
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3132 001/00697 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Janet Jakobsen 4 0/16

WMST BC3514 HIST APPROACHES FEMINIST QUES. 4.00 points.

Comparative study of gender, race, and sexuality through specific historical, socio-cultural contexts in which these systems of power have operated. With a focus on social contexts of slavery, colonialism, and modern capitalism for the elaboration of sex-gender categories and systems across historical time

WMST UN3525 Senior Seminar I (Barnard). 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.
Student-designed capstone research projects offer practical lessons about how knowledge is produced, the relationship between knowledge and power, and the application of interdisciplinary feminist methodologies

Fall 2022: WMST UN3525
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3525 001/00700 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
119 Milstein Center
Manijeh Moradian 4.00 0/15

Spring 2022

WMST UN3522 Senior Seminar II. 4 points.

Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consultation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

Spring 2022: WMST UN3522
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3522 001/12141 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Lila Abu-Lughod 4 1/10

WMST UN3200 Queer Theory. 4 points.

This class will ask you to read a set of novels, theoretical essays and social science studies in order to think deeply about sexuality, identity, desire, race, objects, relationality, being, knowing and becoming. We will consider sexuality, desire and gender not as a discrete set of bodily articulations, nor as natural expressions of coherent identities so much as part off the formulation of self that Avery Gordon names “complex personhood.” Beginning with a recent film from the UK that rereads queerness back through a history or labor and ending with a recent film made entirely on the iPhone and that stages queerness as part of an alternative articulation of Hollywood, we will explore new and old theories of queer desire.

Through the readings, discussions, and assignments, you will develop critical analytical skills to consider social change movements with particular attention to how sex, gender, race, class, sexuality, sexual orientation, and other systems of power shape people’s everyday lives. We will trace the intersection of histories of labor, medicine, representation and activism and we will ask difficult questions about assimilation, mainstreaming, globalization and pink capitalism.

Spring 2022: WMST UN3200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3200 001/12114 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
327 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Tey Meadow 4 36/35

WMST UN3311 FEMINIST THEORY. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: LIMITED TO 20 BY INSTRUC PERM; ATTEND FIRST CLASS
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to key themes in contemporary feminist thought. Attention will be devoted to how the intersections of race, gender, class, nation and sexuality, as well as the politics of deviance, shape feminist theory. This course aims to introduce students to key theoretical contributions of feminist thought. The course emphasizes an understanding of feminist theories through the political, historical and cultural contexts in which they developed. Topics covered will include the production of racialized, gendered, and sexualized bodies through cultural productions, public polices and technology; Marxist feminism; postcolonial feminism; transnational and diasporic practices; politics of representation and queer theory. Prerequisite: Either one introductory WGSS course or Critical Approaches to Social and Cultural Theory or Permission of the Instructor

Spring 2022: WMST UN3311
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3311 001/00398 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
111 Milstein Center
Marisa Solomon 4.00 22/20
Fall 2022: WMST UN3311
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3311 001/00698 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
306 Milbank Hall
Marisa Solomon 4.00 0/16

WMST UN3655 Gender and Public Health: Disparities, Pathways, and Policies. 3.00 points.

This seminar providea an intensive introduction to critical thinking about gender in relation to public health. We begin with a rapid immersion in social scientific approaches to thinking about gender in relation to health, and then examine diverse areas in which gendered relations of power – primarily between men and women, but also between cis- and queer individuals – shape health behaviors and health outcomes. We engage with multiple examples of how gendered social processes, in combination with other dimensions of social stratification, shape health at the population level. The overarching goal of this class is to provide a context for reading, discussion, and critical analysis to help students learn to think about gender – and, by extension, about any form of social stratification – as a driver of patterns in population health. We also attend consistently to how public health as a field is itself a domain in which gender is reproduced or contested

Spring 2022: WMST UN3655
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3655 001/12312 W 8:10am - 10:00am
511 Kent Hall
Jennifer Hirsch 3.00 13/13

WMST UN3915 GENDER & POWER IN GLOBAL PERSP. 4.00 points.

Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval required
This seminar considers formations of gender, sexuality, and power as they circulate transnationally, as well as transnational feminist movements that have emerged to address contemporary gendered inequalities. Topics include political economy, colonialism/postcoloniality, war, refugees, global care chains, sexuality, sex and care work. Required for the major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), but open to non-majors, space permitting. Prerequisite: Either one introductory WGSS course or Critical Approaches to Social and Cultural Theory or Permission of the Instructor

Spring 2022: WMST UN3915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3915 002/00484 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
501 Diana Center
Neferti Tadiar 4.00 19/20

WMST GU4555 Abolitionist Feminism. 3.00 points.

This seminar is a deep study of the feminist history, theory, and practice of criminal punishment abolition from the 19th century through the present. It explores key conceptual frameworks, political conundrums, and genealogies of abolition especially in relation to Black, Native, women of color, queer, and Marxist feminisms. We will explore linkages and divergences from movements to abolish slavery. Students will engage past and current organizing movements and read and hear from activists who are organizing for prison abolition. We will explore the relationship between prison abolition and other movements for radical change and the tensions around abolition and carcerality that exist among feminists. Does abolitionist feminism have a cohesive set of political projects or philosophies? What tensions exist among feminists who advocate for abolition?

Spring 2022: WMST GU4555
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4555 001/15165 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
707 Hamilton Hall
Sarah Haley 3.00 16/20

WMST BC1050 WOMEN AND HEALTH. 3.00 points.

Combines critical feminist and anti-racist analyses of medicine with current research in epidemiology and biomedicine to understand health and health disparities as co-produced by social systems and biology

Spring 2022: WMST BC1050
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 1050 001/00176 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
304 Barnard Hall
Rebecca Jordan-Young 3.00 95/120

WMST BC2140 Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory. 3.00 points.

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others. Open to all students; required for the major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE)

Spring 2022: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00397 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
328 Milbank Hall
Janet Jakobsen 3.00 42/58
Fall 2022: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00694 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
202 Altschul Hall
Marisa Solomon 3.00 0/56

WMST BC2150 PRACTICING INTERSECTIONALITY. 3.00 points.

This introductory course for the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE) is open to all students. We focus on the critical study of social difference as an interdisciplinary practice, using texts with diverse modes of argumentation and evidence to analyze social differences as fundamentally entangled and co-produced. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, the professor will frequently be joined by other faculty from the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), who bring distinct disciplinary and subject matter expertise. Some keywords for this course include hybridity, diaspora, borderlands, migration, and intersectionality

Spring 2022: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00179 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
Ll002 Milstein Center
Rebecca Jordan-Young, Marisa Solomon 3.00 77/95
Fall 2022: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00695 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Manijeh Moradian 3.00 0/72

WMST BC2950 Science, Technology, Power. 3.00 points.

This course explores the intimate entanglements of technology, science, bodies, culture, and power, with a focus on post-World War II U.S. society. In this lecture course, we will draw on history, feminist thought, anthropology, sociology, science fiction, and visual/digital art to investigate the historical and cultural contexts shaping the dreams, practices, and products of technoscience. We will explore technologies and sciences as sites of power, complex pleasures, and embodied transformations in our own everyday lives

Spring 2022: WMST BC2950
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2950 001/00178 M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
302 Barnard Hall
Jacqueline Orr 3.00 24/35

WMST V3312 Theorizing Activism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Critical Approaches or Feminist Theory or permission of instructor.

Helps students develop and apply useful theoretical models to feminist organizing on local and international levels.  It involves reading, presentations, and seminar reports.  Students use first-hand knowledge of the practices of specific women's activist organizations for theoretical work.

Spring 2022: WMST V3312
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3312 001/00403 F 10:10am - 12:00pm
Ll017 Milstein Center
Kimberly Springer 4 15/20

WMST UN3526 Senior Seminar II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.

Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consultation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

Spring 2022: WMST UN3526
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3526 001/00424 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
407 Barnard Hall
Janet Jakobsen 4 3/99

WMST UN3813 Knowledge, Practice, Power. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: WMST V1001 and the instructor's permission.
Knowledge, Practice, Power is a practical and multi-disciplinary exploration of research methods and interpretive strategies used in feminist scholarship, focusing on larger questions about how we know what we know, and who and what knowledge is for. Open to non-majors, but sophomore and junior majors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) are encouraged to enroll in this course as preparation for Senior Seminar I. This course is required for students pursuing the concentration or minor in Feminist/Intersectional Science and Technology Studies. Prerequisite: Either one introductory WGSS course or Critical Approaches to Social and Cultural Theory or Permission of the Instructor

Spring 2022: WMST UN3813
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3813 001/00406 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Rebecca Jordan-Young 4.00 7/20

WMST BC3814 ACTIVISM & INQUIRY LAB A. 1.00 point.

This lab course is an optional addition to the WGSS junior colloquia courses “Theorizing Feminist Activisms” and “Feminist Inquiry”; students must take one of those courses simultaneously with this lab. The lab gives students an opportunity to gain practical experience with one or more qualitative research methods that are frequently used in feminist and gender studies. It will be particularly valuable as groundwork for senior thesis research, but all students enrolled in Theorizing Activisms or Feminist Inquiry are encouraged to take the lab to deepen their understanding of practical and ethical issues in conducting research in support of social change

WMST GU4310 CONTEM AMER JEWISH WOMEN'S LIT. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 15 students. Sophomore standing.
The seminar will focus on trends that have emerged over the past three decades in Jewish American women's writing in the fields of memoirs, fiction and Jewish history: the representation and exploration through fictive narratives of women's experiences in American Jewish orthodox communities; reinterpretation of Jewish history through gender analysis; the recording of migration and exile by Jewish women immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Morocco, Iran, and Egypt; and gender transformations. Texts will be analyzed in terms of genre structures, narrative strategies, the role of gender in shaping content and Jewish identity, and the political, cultural and social contexts in which the works were created. The course aims for students to discuss and critically engage with texts in order to develop the skills of analytical and abstract thinking, as well as the ability to express that critical thinking in writing. Prerequisites: Both one introductory WGSS course and Critical Approaches to Social and Cultural Theory, or Permission of the Instructor

Spring 2022: WMST GU4310
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4310 001/00175 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
111 Milstein Center
Agnieszka Legutko 4.00 14/20