Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

Course descriptions

The Women's Studies and Gender Studies program is interdisciplinary and includes courses across the humanities, social sciences, law, theology, and social work. Below are some of the courses that have been offered through the program, all of which are grounded in feminist pedagogy and methods.

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary fields of both Women’s Studies and Gender Studies, exploring the ways in which sex and gender manifest themselves in social, economic, cultural, and political arenas. It draws upon scholarship in women’s and feminist studies, masculinities studies, and queer studies, fields that in turn draw upon a variety of intellectual perspectives or disciplines, including history, psychology, rhetoric, sociology, literary studies, and biology, among others. Students will use gender-based theory to look at the ways in which gender identification and representation influences individuals and societies.

(Last offered Fall 2017)

WSGS 201-04E/297-002/497-002 – Global and Local Feminisms/Pedagogy and Experiential Learning

(Hemenway - Spring 2018)

This course will focus on the lives of women transnationally – comparing experiences of women across cultures, in our local community and in other parts of the world – with the goal of building understanding and solidarity. Using four major themes to organize our course (education, health, activism, and economic empowerment), we will engage directly with the history and experiences of women in Latin America and Chicago.

As part of the Engaged Learning dimension of the course, students will work on one or more service-learning projects with local organizations in Rogers Park and Edgewater. Possible collaborating organizations include GirlForward and the CPS Refugee Support Program. One confirmed agency is Loom, a project for refugee women affiliated with Catholic Charities in Edgewater (Loom Chicago). By engaging with these organizations, we will gain a deeper understanding of the variety of women’s experiences, community gender dynamics, and efforts to bring about change, which are critical parts of social justice work.

Participating graduate students will also take on additional assignments in global feminisms, feminist pedagogy, and experiential learning.

There are also a limited number of slots available for students who have previously taken WSGS 201. These students should register for WSGS 297-002, linked to this section of WSGS 201-04E.

This course focuses on the history and development of feminist thought and the impact of feminism on the general United States culture. It is devoted to an intensive study of the various ways feminist have envisioned social, political, and cultural inequality. Readings span the history of modern feminism in the 18th century to early decades of the second wave in the 1970s. Special emphasis is given to the 20th century and the primary focus is on western feminist history. The course is not exhaustive, nor global, but rather an overview of western feminist thinkers.

This course explores feminist contributions to research in the field of social sciences. In particular, it addresses the importance of feminist methodology in the understanding of women’s experience, as well as that of the marginalized. Over the last decades, feminist theorists have developed frameworks that enable researchers to identify and alter relations of power in society. Feminist theory challenges conventional approaches to the production of knowledge and promotes research as a tool of transformation at institutional and individual levels. Various feminist research practices, that incorporate concepts such as that of intersectionality, will be discussed as means of emancipation for women and other marginalized groups.



This is a project-oriented course that represents the culmination of the WSGS major. Students will build on their previous work in WSGS 391/Methodologies in WSGS to plan and complete a project under the direction of a faculty or community organization mentor. The project may be conducted individually or as a group but must (1) demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach; (2) draw on theory and scholarship in women's studies and gender studies; and (3) reflect the intentional use of feminist methodologies in practice. Prerequisites: WSGS 330, WSGS 391.

This course examines the issues of sex and gender within physical/biological anthropology.

(Last offered Spring 2012)

Through study of gender cross-culturally, students will understand the historical circumstances, social structures, and cultural ideologies which shape categories and concepts of sex and gender. The course draws on ethnographic and linguistic findings to trace local meanings of gender in a variety of societies.

This course explores the role of communication practices in the production, reinforcement and transformation of gendered identities, and the role of gender in the process of communication.

This course focuses on the representation of women in literature, as discussed in a variety of literary works.

Examination of women artists in Western culture and the societies in which they lived and worked from the Medieval period to the present. Women's production as artists, the various styles and subject matter they embraced, and their relation to artistic trends of their eras. Social attitudes about gender in Western culture are considered in order to understand issues surrounding women and art.

This course examines comparative perspectives on feminism, sexuality, and women in the family and in public life in Europe 1700-present. 

This course is designed to provide an overview of multiple factors influencing the health and lifestyle of women. The purpose of the course is to help women regulate, control and become more active participants in their own health maintenance. Health problems faced by women, historical perspective of women's health, as well as current barriers to health are discussed. Open to non-nursing majors.

Psychological aspects of parenting are reviewed from the perspectives of both parent and child with consideration given to the effect of developmental, social, and cultural forces.

Overview of psychological research and theory concerning differences and similarities between genders.

This course examines the connections between the media of mass communication and multiple forms of popular art and culture. Topics considered include the social, political and cultural organization of mass communication and its impact on values, expectations, and life styles of contemporary society.

(Last offered Spring 2017)

This course explores the role of women in contemporary societies.

This course looks at the nature of work through the lens of gender. It considers how male and female labor force participation has changed over time. It examines the ways working families are transformed when women combine employment with domestic responsibilities and child care, or when men's jobs no longer provide a family wage.

Contemporary family structures encompass a variety of living arrangements and social relationships.  This course considers differences and similarities among the various family types and explores the social, cultural and economic forces structuring family life.

This course examines the manner in which contemporary society is divided by race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and gender, and the impact of social institutions on these divisions. An emphasis will be placed on income/wealth differences, status differences, class conflict and social conflict over time.

This course explores the social organization of sex and gender.

Examination of the religious traditions in light of the nature of women's religious experiences.