The Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center  



Degrees / Courses

The Women's Studies Minor:
  • Is an interdisciplinary academic curriculum that exposes students to women's historical and contemporary roles, their accomplishments, and their experiences in our society and across cultures.
  • Introduces students to valuable, often neglected information about women in many spheres of life (e.g. family, workplace, science, religion, politics, arts, and education).
  • Raises questions about gender, race, nationality, class and sexual identity, and explores how these conditions shape human experience.
  • Helps us understand the complexity of women's and men's lives.
  • Challenges stereotypes and encourages students to think critically about themselves and the world in which they live so they can become advocates for social change.
Women's Studies Minor Requirements:
  • A minimum of twenty-one (21) semester hours, which include the required courses, WS101 Introduction to Women’s Studies (3), WS/HY309 Women in American History (3), and WS/PS325 Feminist Theory and Activism
  • 12 elective credit hours of course offerings from the list of courses offered below:


Two Year Rotation of Courses (pdf)
WS100 Introduction to Women's Studies (3) PSC

This course is designed to introduce students to Women's Studies as an area of interdisciplinary study and research. Students will read classic and contemporary texts from a variety of disciplines in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. Topics include: women's contributions to the arts, sciences, and religion, an overview of feminist/womanist theory, epistemological issues, and feminist research methodologies. The course offer students the opportunity for cultural and cross-cultural study of the effect of representations and the various ways assumptions about gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation impact identities and shape perceptions, thinking, and actions in everyday life.  

WS/PH160 Philosophy and Women (3)
The focus of this course centers on the different approaches of liberal, Marxist, radical and postmodern feminist theories to the questions of the value of gender roles and their impact on political power; moral and social equality; legal rights and ethical reasoning.
WS/SY207 Arab Women (3) GP
This course explores various Arab communities, both historic and contemporary, to focus on the diverse lives of Arab women: tribal nomadic, small village, immigrant and urban. Through reading a variety of genres, including the novel, ethnography, memoir, and poetry, the course examines Arab practices and reflects on the dynamics of gender and power in students' own cultures.
WS/PH/PS250 Legal Issues for Women (3)
This course reviews and examines legal issues facing women, including areas of domestic violence, sexual assault, reproductive issues, sexual harassment, sex discrimination in employment, credit rights, child abuse, and divorce rights.
WS/AT252 Ceramics in the Style of 20th Century Women Artists (3)
This course features the study of contemporary, groundbreaking women ceramic artists through lecture, discussions, and studio work in clay.
WS/EH255 Women Writers (3) AC
This course focuses on selected texts in English by female authors and draws from all genres and periods.
WS260 Women and the Environment (3) PSC
This course explores representations and theories of ecofeminism that connect nature and women, as well as the work of pioneering and contemporary "environmental advocates," such as Rachel Carson, Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, and West Michigan women who have led the modern environmental movement. Through a range of readings, written responses, discussion, and a final community engagement project, students apply course models to shape an environmental consciousness for themselves.
WS/TY267 Women and Spirituality (3)
This course explores the topic of spirituality focusing especially on women, approaching studies through readings, discussions, and class presentations on Scripture, Tradition, and Church history; the anthropology/sociology of gender relations; the lives of women mystics; the experience of women in selected works of literature; the experience of contemporary women, including guest speakers; and the experience of class participants. Class readings, presentations, and discussions regarding all of the above will aim to incorporate varying experiences of race, culture, and life stage development.
WS/SY305 Sociology of Gender: Masculinities, Femininities, Sexualities, and Society (3)
This course is designed to examine the ways in which gender, as a social construction, influences various aspects of social life. Particular attention is given to the role of ideology in shaping conceptions of gender, how those conceptions are constructed through socialization practices, and how they are maintained through social institutions such as family, economy, education, media, medicine, government, and religion.
WS/HY309 Women in American History (3)
In this social-historical introduction to history from a feminist perspective, focusing on women's lived experience in the United States from the colonial era to the present, topics include: American Colonial women, Native American women, the impact of slavery on all American women, women's legal issues, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century social movements, such as movements for suffrage, temperance, social reform, women's liberation, and the Equal Rights Amendment.
WS/CN311 Gender Communication (3)
This course focuses on the principles and perspectives of the similarities and differences in men’s and women’s communication. It also presents skills that men and women can use to communicate more effectively.
WS314/SY311 Sociology of Women: Women, Girls and Leadership (3)
This course examines the ways in which the status of women in society is defined and how these social constructions influence various aspects of our social life. Utilizing a sociological approach, the subject of women will be examined in light of theories that have contributed to the establishment of current ideas about women, how those ideas are constructed through socialization practices, and how they are maintained through social institutions. Broad topic areas include Gender Defining Institutions; Sexuality and Intimate Relationships; Family and Work; Women, Health, and Reproduction; Women and Crime; Women and Religion; Power and Politics; and Women and Social Reform.
WS/SY315 Women and Development (3)
This course examines women's involvement in development and social change activities across diverse societies. Sociology and women's studies theories and analyses are used to understand development roles played by women in public and private spheres.

WS/PS325 Feminist Theory and Activism (3)

Feminist Theory and Activism is designed to explore different ways of thinking about sex/gender, power, and justice, and examines how different theories of gender, power and justice shape political activism. By comparing a variety of theoretical perspectives (such as liberal, Marxist and radical feminism), we look at different possibilities for analyzing core feminist concepts and the practical implications of theory.
WS397 Field Experience - WS398 Independent Readings - WS399 Independent Project (variable)
These courses may be taken with the approval of the Director of the Women’s Studies Program.

Careers in Women's Studies

The Women's Studies Program prepares students for leadership in a variety of career areas, particularly political advocacy, health and human services, social work, education, human rights, government, journalism, advertising, broadcasting, public relations, community organizing, law, management, business, and non-profit services.

Women's Studies empowers students, regardless of their career choices, to become catalysts for change and voices for equality and social justice on campus, in our society, and around the globe.