Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

Course descriptions

Spring 2018 Course Offerings - Graduate

Study Abroad in Mexico !

Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work is creating ways to better prepare our students for practice with immigrant communities. Some of the programmatic options offered to students are:

  • Migration Studies sub-specialization
  • First and second year summer block field placements in Chiapas, Mexico 
  • Mexico; border immersion course during Spring break
  • A 2-week long Summer immersion course in Mexico City in collaboration with the Universidad Iberoamericana and Jesuit Migrant Services of Mexico. 
  • In addition, the School of Social Work has partnered with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to provide Spanish language courses with an emphasis on social work vocabulary.  The UNAM language courses and can be taken as electives and credit can be transferred directly. See UNAM’s website for more information. 

The study abroad program in Mexico and language classes with UNAM complement this sub-specialization, but are not required. SPANISH IS NOT REQUIRED FOR THE MEXICO AND BORDER IMMERSION COURSES, BUT CONVERSATIONAL SPANISH IS REQUIRED FOR THE MEXICO FIELWORK PROGRAM.

The School of Social Work offers an intensive border immersion course, SOWK 502, over Spring Break in Tucson and Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Content for this course is covered in pre-departure sessions and during the trip.  The School also offers two courses in Mexico City: SOWK 733 and SOWK 612. Students are required to enroll in both courses if they wish to participate in the Mexico summer course program. The courses are offered in May immediately following the May graduation. The Mexico City courses are offered concurrently and include several pre-departure sessions and two weeks of intensive study in Mexico. Many students desiring to complete a summer-block field placement in Mexico also enroll in the Mexico City courses that immediately precede the field placement. While this option provides an excellent introduction to Mexico, it is not necessary for the field placement, which can be completed independently from the course option.

All students studying abroad must complete a general application. For information and application forms click the following link: Mexico Application-General 2016/2017

Those who wish to complete the field placement must submit a supplemental application and participate in an interview. The Mexico internship can be used as a 1st or 2nd year placement (except for students pursuing a 2ndlevel schools specialization field placement). Interested students will need to complete the application materials and be interviewed by Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes. Information and application materials can be retrieved from: Mexico Field Application – 2016/2017. In order to be accepted for a field placement, students must have at least a conversational level of Spanish. Spanish is not necessary for the border immersion or Mexico study abroad classes. Please see below for more program details.

*Information and options are subject to change based on enrollment and availability.

Migration is propelled by situations such as poverty and inequality that push people out of their places of origin and pull them towards places that may offer greater opportunities. The number of international migrants is greater today than at any other time in history, with more than 244 million, or one in nearly every 30 persons worldwide living outside their country of birth in 2015.  Globally, the number of individuals that have experienced displacement due to conflict, generalized violence, development projects, and environmental degradation and climate change has also escalated dramatically in the last decade. Displacement can be an internal or a transnational occurrence, or have dimensions of both. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that at the end of 2014 38 million people around the world had been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and violence and 19.3 million people were forced to flee due to disasters in just that year.

While migration may present a chance to improve some life circumstances, it also poses a series of risks for migrants, particularly irregular migrants and their families that occur before, during, and after migration.  Migration also presents challenges, as well as opportunities four countries of origin, transit, destination, and return.  In response to these global trends and the associated human, social, and political challenges that migration presents, the Loyola University School of Social Work has responded with the development of a Migration Studies Sub-Specialization.  This sub-specialization is designed to prepare social work professionals for international, transnational, and domestic practice with internally displaced persons, immigrants, and refugees.

Application for the Sub-Specialization

This sub-specialization can be taken with any one of the five specializations in the MSW program.  Migration courses are taken in conjunction with elected specialization course requirements.  Students must complete the requirements of a main specialization i.e. Health, Schools, LDSS, Child and Family, or Mental Health. This program is compatible with all of the aforementioned specializations.

Application for the sub-specialization program is required. 

  • Students must apply and submit an application for this sub-specialization to Program Director, Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes at mvidal@luc.edu
  • Applications must be submitted to the Program Director by December 1.  Advanced students must submit their application s by May 1st.  All others must submit their application by May 1.  Admission is at the Program Director’s discretion.
  • Please visit the following link to obtain the application for the migration studies sub-specialization: (‌Migration Studies Sub-specialization Application)‌‌‌

REQUIRED COURSES:   Three courses are required, (two policy and one practice course) and can be taken during any year of study: SOWK 731, SOWK 772 and SOWK 730 or SOWK 733.

  • SOWK 730- Migration Dynamics and U.S. Social Policy (offered in spring only / meets 1 of 2 policy courses required)
  • SOWK 731- Social Work Practice with Refugees and Immigrants (offered in spring only / meets practice courses requirement)
  • SOWK 732- Migration, Social Justice, and Human Rights (offered in Fall only / meets 1 of 2 policy courses required)
  • SOWK 733-North American Migration Dynamics & Policy (offered in Mexico in the summer only / meets 1 of 2 policy courses required / Spanish is not required)

Sub-Specialization Relationship to Specialization and Study Abroad Options:

  • Above migration courses are taken in conjunction with specialization requirements.
  • Students must complete the requirements of a main specialization i.e. Health, Schools, LDSS, Children and Family, or Mental Health
  • Students pursuing mental health or child and family specializations do not have to take 610F or 610H. SOWK 730 or SOWK 733 substitute for the required policy courses for these tracks. However, students must complete all 3 courses for the sub-specialization in order to receive credit for the course sub-specialization; students who do drop the sub-specialization are required to take 610F or 610H if they are child and family or mental health. Students pursuing health, schools, or LDSS have to take all required specialization courses and sub-specialization courses. However, students who are LDSS will have both policy electives and their clinical/methods course requirement upon completion of this sub-specialization (730/733 & 732=policy courses; 731=method/clinical course).
  • SOWK 733 is a pre-approved course substitute for SOWK 730
  • The study abroad program in Mexico compliments this sub-specialization but is not required.
  • The Mexico internship can be used as a 1st or 2nd year placement (except for students pursuing a schools specialization; this internship must be taken in the U.S.) Students will need to work with Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes to assess for fluency in Spanish, as some skill in this area is required. We have partnered with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to provide Spanish language courses with an emphasis on social work vocabulary.  The UNAM language courses and can be taken as electives and credit can be transferred directly.  See http://www.chicago.unam.mx/ for more information.
  • Hilary Gilway manages all 2nd level fieldwork placements therefore those field work applications should be directed to her (hgilway@luc.edu) and first level applications to Sylvia Corcoran at scorcoran@luc.edu; however, in addition to this, students who want to pursue a field placement in Mexico will also meet for an in-person interview with Dr. Vidal de Haymes and complete the Mexico-field placement application forms as well.

(Betsy Hemenway)

Wednesdays 6:00-8:30 PM (LSC)

A requirement for the WSGS MA, this course focuses on the history and development of feminist thinking since the late eighteenth century and the impact of feminism on western and transnational culture. We will concentrate on some of the important texts of this period and consider their influence on the lived experiences of women. We will also study the various ways feminists have envisioned social, political, and cultural inequality and change. While primary focus of this course is on U.S. and European feminist history, we will place that history within the larger context of feminist thinking and women’s movements around the world.

(Cristina Lombardi-Diop)

Thursdays 6:00-8:30 PM (LSC)

This course fulfills Global requirement for WSGS Graduate Students.

The course maps the field of global feminist studies and offers critical tools to understand a series of interconnected phenomena (Western material and cultural hegemony and its impact globally, the condition of black and non-Western women and their activism, non-binary and non-normative sexual identities and their rights, transnational and postcolonial female migrations) globally. The course also considers the impact of works by global feminists on issues such as human rights, violence against women and transgender individuals, and sex labour and exploitation.  ​


(Bridget Kelly)

Tuesdays 7:00-9:30 PM (WTC)

Instructor consent required

This course is an exploration of social justice theories, multicultural issues and practice. We begin by offering foundational definitions of terminology used throughout the course and delve into understanding systems of oppression, social identity development, privilege, power, and activism. Through the use of intergroup dialogue, relevant exercises, as well as key literature, we will identify and examine multiculturalism for social justice in our professional lives. Our goal in the course is to envision how we can practice higher education in a way that values and affirms each person’s experiences and creates an environment of liberation.

(Suzanne Bost)

Wednesdays 7:00-9:30 PM (LSC)

This course will introduce students to important questions, developments, and approaches in contemporary Feminist Theory – including women of color feminisms, postmodern feminisms, queer theory, disability feminisms, new materialisms, and global feminisms, among others.  Our readings from the anthologies will present breadth and diversity of arguments and styles to be balanced by in-depth exploration of the different critical trajectories of two leading theorists, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Donna Haraway.  Course assignments are designed to engage students in a real practice of Feminist Theory, including regular written responses, discussion leadership, and a final research paper.  Most of the readings will be challenging, and there are many difficult ideas to absorb from these readings, but there will also be much room for student contributions, dissent, debate, and fun.  

(Tanya Stabler)

Thursdays 2:00-5:00 PM at the Newberry Library

To take this course, you must apply through the Newberry Library by May 1: https://www.newberry.org/09292016-gender-bodies-and-body-politic-medieval-europe

This course will examine the relationship between gender, sex differences, and politics—defined broadly—in medieval Europe, exploring the ways in which systems of power mapped onto perceived sex differences and bolstered, reproduced, or authenticated those systems. Through a close reading of political treatises, sermons, mystical literature, and church decrees, we will evaluate the ways in which gendered discourses supported or weakened institutional, political, and religious authority, even in situations that seemingly had nothing to do with “real” women. Thus, our investigations will move beyond “exceptional” women who exercised political power (for example royal and noblewomen), illuminating the effects of gendered symbols and discourses on institutions or spaces from which real women were increasingly marginalized (for example royal authority) or completely excluded (for example the medieval university). In this way, this course will take up the challenge of Joan Scott’s influential historiographical essay “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” Nevertheless, we will not lose sight of the effects gendered constructs and discourses had on real women, nor the specific strategies women employed to manipulate or subvert the systems and institutions that limited their agency.

(Jill Terzakis)

Wednesdays 7:00-9:30 PM (WTC)

This class provides an introduction to the political issues involved in public policy-making and the major theories of the policy-making process.  We consider how issues are defined and how different population groups are perceived by the general public, how these perceptions affects policy choices, the different actors and government institutions involved in determining policy outcomes, their relationship with each other, and how their interests affect the outcomes.  Our objectives are three-fold. You will have the opportunity to: (1) develop a deeper understanding of politics and policy making, (2) hone your professional skills, and (3) consider the role you will play in the process. 


(Jennifer Parks)

Tuesdays 2:30-5:00 (LSC)

‪This course explores some contemporary ethical and social policy questions concerning human procreation. Feminist and non-feminist perspectives on these issues will be discussed. Possible topics include the following:  Are there good (or bad) reasons for procreating? Can there be an obligation to procreate? Or not to procreate? Is Julian Savulescu right in claiming that human beings have a duty of “procreative beneficence”? To what extent are people responsible for their gametes and reproductive behavior? Should all prospective parents be licensed? What is the moral status of contract pregnancy (“surrogacy”)? Would ectogenesis (gestation in an artificial uterus) be good or bad for women?

Texts to be used for the class include Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex, Gena Corea's The Mother Machine, and a new collection entitled Family-Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges. We will be using a variety of published articles as well.

Capstone; GPD consent required