Introduction to Women's Studies

Prof. Leslie Mechem Ladd 211 x5464
lmechem@skidmore.edu Office Hours: TUTH 11:00-12:00

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Course Description:
This course is an introduction to the origins, purpose, subject matters, and methods of the academic discipline of Women’s Studies and Gender Studies. Students are expected to expand their knowledge of the relative historical and present social conditions of women and men in different contexts in past and present situations and to develop analytical skills for the examination of socially significant variables— gender, race, class, ability, and sexuality. Students will also become familiar with critiques of women’s studies and will explore different and often opposing notions of what constitutes feminism and feminist action. The class format will combine interactive lectures, reading assignments, discussion, formal research assignments, and student activities. Ideally you will leave class with an informed understanding of how gender difference structures political, economic, and social relations in multiple contexts.
  Course Goals:
  • Understand what gender is and how it operates in various contexts
• Identify and understand social construction, privilege, empowerment, and diversity as these intersect with gender
• Acquire knowledge of women’s contribution to and transformation of areas of social life including culture, politics, society and economy
• Acquire knowledge of institutionalized discrimination and violence against women
• Express complex ideas clearly in written form
• Analyze texts and information critically from feminist perspectives