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.
For a list of classes offered this semester, visit the undergraduate Course Offerings page.

This is an introduction to the interdisciplinary fields of both Women's Studies and Gender Studies which explore the ways that sex and gender manifest themselves in social, cultural, and political arenas. It draws upon scholarship in women's studies, masculinities studies, and queer studies which themselves draw upon a variety of intellectual perspectives, including historical, psychological, rhetorical, sociological, literary, and biological.

Outcome: students will demonstrate understanding of historical developments, key concepts, theories and themes in women's studies and gender studies, the impact that gender can have on social, cultural, political and economic material conditions.




This course explores issues to women's studies, feminism, and gender studies from the perspective of a particular discipline, depending on the faculty member teaching the course. This may, for example, include Communication, English, History, Sociology, or Theology.

Outcomes: Students will examine the subjects of women and gender, as well as the challenges of conducting feminist or gender scholarship, within the discipline and how new research changes or transforms that scholarship.




Identities and State (Zimmmerman - Spring 2021)

Women and Global Migrations through Culture (Lombardi-Diop - Fall 2020)

A Cinematic Lens (Ortega Murphy - Spring 2020)

US Women of Color Feminisms (Bost - Fall 2019)

Identity and State (Zimmerman - Spring 2019)

US Women of Color Feminisms (Bost - Fall 2018)

Global and Local Feminisms (Hemenway - Spring 2018)

Migration Through Gender & Culture (Lombardi-Diop - Spring 2018)

This course focuses on the history and development of feminist thought and activism since the late eighteenth century. Attention goes beyond just U.S. and European feminist history, exploring Indigenous, Black, and postcolonial feminism to investigate their unique feminist ideas and the challenges they pose to "traditional" feminist thought and action.

Outcomes: Students will learn to identify key concepts, thinkers, activists; analyze and critique some of the major works; and develop an integrated understanding of the history of feminist thought, broadly conceived.



This course offers critical and theoretical tools to evaluate feminist theories by women of color in the global South. Adopting a decolonial, anti-racist approach, the course evaluates how women and gender relations are affected by economic, cultural, and political changes related to the racial regimes of globalization and migratory movements.

Outcomes:  Students will acquire and utilize key theoretical concepts in the study of feminisms, race theory, border studies, postcolonial studies, transnationalism, and migration studies.

This course highlights the intersectional exploration of how masculinity is embodied, experienced, and replicated in the United States and globally. With this transnational lens, students gain a better understanding of contemporary global masculinity sociocultural issues and concerns which include race/racism, "angry white men," and the "crisis of masculinity."

Outcomes: Students will acquire and utilize key theoretical concepts in Masculinity studies from an international lens. Students will apply a wide critical terminology to literary texts and visual/cultural phenomena globally.

This course maps the field of Queer Theory from an interdisciplinary, global perspective in order to cover a wide range of theoretical and disciplinary approaches (race theory, transnational theory, postmodernism, Latinx-American Studies, among others) and interpretative applications (film, literature).

Prerequisites:  WSGS 101 or 201

Outcomes: Students will be able to identify key concepts and thinkers of this influential field of study; they will develop an intersectional, global understanding of this field of critical theory.



This supervised field experience uses experiential learning at a wide variety uses experiential learning at a variety of women's political, cultural or educational organization as the basis for learning and refining skills which cab benefit gender equity.


An independent program of reading and research arranged between the student and the supervising faculty member in the student's major department. Students will complete a final research project integrating their major fields with women¿s studies. Permission of WSGS Director is required.


This course is part of a two-semester sequence for the final year of the WSGS major and minor. In this course we review several approaches to feminist research methods and consider ways to put them into practice, individually or combined with other methods. Enrollment by permission.

Prerequisite: WSGS 101 or WSGS 201, and WSGS 330

Outcomes: Students will produce a project proposal that (1) demonstrates an interdisciplinary approach; (2) draws on theory and scholarship in WSGS; and (3) reflects the use of feminist methodologies in practice.



This course is part of a two-semester sequence for the final year of the WSGS major and minor. In this course we review several approaches to feminist research methods and consider ways to put them into practice, individually or combined with other methods. Enrollment by permission.

Prerequisite: WSGS 101 or WSGS 201, and WSGS 330

Outcomes: Students will produce a project proposal that (1) demonstrates an interdisciplinary approach; (2) draws on theory and scholarship in WSGS; and (3) reflects the use of feminist methodologies in practice.


Recently Taught WSGS 397 Sections

Sexual  Assault Advocacy (Krivoshey - Spring 2021)

Global Feminisms (Lombardi-Diop - Spring 2021)

Zombies and Gender (Hovey - Fall 2020)

Women in a Global Context (Singh - Fall 2020)



This course uses supervised project-based experiential learning to allow students the opportunity to apply feminist analysis and practical skills to a student-designed project that will be completed within the timeframe of a course term.


This is a project-oriented course that represents the culmination of the WSGS major. Students build on their work in WSGS 391/WSGS Methodologies to complete a project under the direction of a faculty or community organization mentor, either individually or as a group. Prerequisites: WSGS 330, WSGS 391. Enrollment by permission.

Prerequisite: WSGS 330 and WSGS 391

Outcomes: Students will complete a project that (1) demonstrates an interdisciplinary approach; (2) draws on theory and scholarship in WSGS; and (3) reflects the intentional use of feminist methodologies in practice




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

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of human genetics, patterns of human heredity, the mechanisms of biological evolution, the nature/nurture debate, primate taxonomy and behavior, and early human fossil evidence and interpretation.



This class investigates violence, suffering and justice through an ethnographic and cross-cultural perspective. It asks, how are overt forms of violence related to larger social structures which produce less visible forms of suffering?  How are violence and suffering related to other socio-cultural phenomena such as race, gender, sexuality and identity?

Outcomes: Students will understand: the ethnographic analysis of violence and social suffering; political and economic contexts of violence, including colonialism, globalization, racism, and poverty; movements for justice and safety.



Students will critically reflect on gender in cross-cultural and long-term perspective. From an anthropological perspective, they will also deconstruct their own cultural biases and assumptions. With a deep and critical understanding of contemporary norms, students will apply evidence-based reasoning to examine the construction of gender in the past.

Outcomes: 1) Describe Western ideas of gender and sexuality; 2) identify connections between feminist movements and gender archaeology; 3) apply an intersectional approach to the study of gender both past and present 

This course examines how culture shapes how the human body is understood, categorized and used, and it also examines how bodily experiences shape culture and society. Drawing on cultural anthropology, it analyzes diverse cross-cultural examples, possibly ranging from body decoration among Amazonian indigenous people, to plastic surgery, childbirth, or sports.

Students will learn how socio-cultural forces shape human bodies; understand how cultural anthropology examines the body; and examine classic social theories about bodies, gender, social class and subjectivity.

This course examines four areas relative to women in the criminal justice system: the historical view of female criminality; women as defendants in criminal cases and women in prison; women as victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; and women as professionals in the criminal justice system.

Outcome: Students will be able to describe the extent, nature and theories of female criminality and victimization and how this is consistent with and different from male criminality and victimization



This course examines current research and theoretical perspectives related to race and ethnicity in crime and in criminal justice processing. It will cover such issues as racial profiling, the effects of drug laws on people of color, minority disenfranchisement from the criminal justice system, and crime and immigration.

Outcomes: Students will demonstrate an understanding of contemporary issues relating to - and current research and theory about - race and ethnicity and their relationship to crime and criminal case processing.



This course focuses on Greek and Roman literature involving myth and how ancient and modern peoples use traditional narratives, characters, images and conceptions to explore, explain, and experiment with ideas about themselves and their surroundings in their historical, social, cultural and intellectual contexts.

Outcome: Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental myths of the ancient Greek and Roman world, their language and possible meanings, and how myth reflected important collective and individual concerns, values, beliefs, and practices then, even as modern myth does now.



This course introduces students to extant Greek tragic drama, especially through the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.

Outcome: Students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of plot, characters and themes in Greek drama; understanding of the historical, social and cultural conditions implicated with each work; comprehension of concerns and values contained in them, such as justice, and how these are mirrored in modern literature and drama.



This course examines the implications of communication processes and practices for democracy and social justice. 

Outcome: Students will be able to articulate and defend their conception of the role of communication in achieving a just society and demonstrate an understanding of how existing communication institutions, laws, and norms impede or assist movement towards that goal.

This course explores the role of communication practices in the production, reinforcement and transformation of gendered identities. Students will learn how gender expectations within cultural contexts are created. They will also learn some of the ways that deeply-rooted assumptions limit social change and guide communication.

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

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the representations of women in various periods of literary history and diverse cultural contexts.



This course investigates significant issues raised in and by women-authored works. Readings may cover fiction, drama, and/or poetry from any literary period.

Outcome: Students will gain knowledge about women's lives and writings; will understand the difference gender makes to the writing, reading, and interpretation of literature; and will acquire the critical vocabulary that will enable them to describe and analyze, and formulate arguments about, women-authored literature. 

Exploration of connections between social justice and environmental health using scientific tools of analysis. Focus on experiences of those at intersection of marginalized social locations.  Issues include impacts of modern disposable culture and how socially constructed gender roles affect exposure to environmental health risks while biological sex shapes their impacts.

Outcome: Understanding the web of causality (relationships among scientific, medical, ecological, cultural, behavioral, economic, political, and ethical dimensions) of environmental health problems and how to ameliorate the disproportionate burden of risk.

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 provides a historical introduction to sexual behaviors and attitudes in the United States from the early American period to the present. The primary emphasis concerns the impact of social and political change on sexual norms and behavior.

Outcome: The course enables students to comprehend the evolving boundaries of sexual behavior and the historical transformations of the family, sexuality, gender, and personal identity in the United States.

This course explores the lives of medieval women from 500-1500 CE. While paying close attention to medieval ideas about gender and sexuality, students will examine experiences of medieval women from a range of backgrounds and social statuses as well as male and female roles in family life, religion, and politics.

Outcomes:  Students will understand resources concerning medieval women while gaining appreciation for the need to challenge historical "master narratives" that frequently ignore or minimize the experiences and roles of women.

We will investigate the extent to which chivalric ideas controlled or encouraged aristocratic violence; the relationship between violence and courtliness; the extent to which chivalry threatened or strengthened royal government; and the influence of courtly love on gender.

Outcomes: Familiarity with medieval ideas about acceptable forms of violence; understand long-term influence of medieval ideas about love, sexuality, and violence; how to read and interpret medieval literary and social texts.

This course explores the success and failure of radical political and social movements in the United States.

Outcome: Students will understand five major movements for social change in the United States: abolition, women's rights, socialism, peace, and the quest for racial equality.

This course examines the changes in gender roles and the relationship between men and women from the colonial era to the present.

Outcome:  Students will demonstrate understanding of the changing expectations about and definitions of men and women of how families were organized, how childrearing was handled, who made up the home, and how work and family production followed a sexual division of labor.

This course focuses on Women and Politics in the United States.  It looks at women¿s movements both historical and current, how women and men in the United States act differently in politics in terms of voting behavior, as political candidates, and as elected leaders.

Outcomes: Students will gain a better understanding of the U.S. political system and how and when women are treated equally and unequally when compared with men.

A survey of classical and contemporary feminist political theory.

Outcome: Students will learn to interpret and evaluate the assumptions and principles guiding the writings of influential feminist political theorists and their critics, and to reflect on the significance of feminist political theory in promoting a more just society

This course offers a cross-mational perspective of women's status in the political world, as voters, activists, and officeholders. It examines women's participation in the developed and developing world. Students will acquire knowledge of the role of women as political actors in a multitude of nations in the world.

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

Outcomes: Students will understand similarities and differences between genders, comprehend the diversity of ideas about gender and how ideas of gender are determined by societies and cultures.



Using an intersectional lens, students learn about how privilege, power, and oppression shape ourselves, perceptions of others, and our social world. They consider how ourselves and others are shaped by and operate within the larger social system. Students explore their identities, values, and biases. Students engage in self-reflection to increase self-awareness.

Outcomes: Identify feelings about course topics. Demonstrate self-awareness of identities and values, including the value of difference. Engage in intergroup dialogue. Articulate how personal power can be used to create change. 

Review of psychological aspects of women's experiences. Topics include psychological aspects of biological events such as menarche, pregnancy, menopause; aspects of women's work and family roles; and mental health issues relevant to women. 

Prejudice from a psychological perspective. Applying psychological concepts, research, and theory to understand the origins and consequences of prejudice as well as potential remedies.

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.



This course explores the social organization of sex and gender.

Outcome: Students will be able to situate their pre-conceived experiences of the naturalness of gender in a particular historical and cultural context.



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.

Expanding our awareness of the various systems of oppression and privilege that contribute to our self-awareness and self-concept as well as our perceptions of others (macro). Social work students will understand the concepts of privilege, oppression and social justice in their work with all diverse populations.

This course is an introduction to reflection on and analysis of the Christian theological tradition.

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the tasks of Christian theology in its efforts to understand the human situation from the perspective of faith, various challenges to theology in the contemporary world, and will focus on one or more current theological issues.



Prerequisite: THEO 100 or THEO 107.

This course will study the role of women in at least one (if not more) of the major world religious traditions.

Outcomes: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the influence of religion on gender roles, and how women in the contemporary world are reinterpreting their religious traditions.