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Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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Principal Course Distribution Requirement

Principal courses offer introductions to the breadth of disciplines in the College. They acquaint students with the subject matter in an area, with the types of questions that are asked about that subject matter, with the knowledge that has been developed and is now basic to the area, and with the methods and standards by which claims to truth are judged.

Students must complete courses in topical groups in three major divisions (humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences). For the B.A., three courses are required from each division, with no more than one course from any topical group. The B.G.S. requires two courses from each division, with no more than one from any topical group. To fulfill the requirement, a course must be designated as a principal course according to the codes listed below.

These are the major divisions, their topical subgroups, and the codes that identify them:

Humanities

  • HT: Historical studies
  • HL: Literature and the arts
  • HR: Philosophy and religion

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

  • NB: Biological sciences
  • NE: Earth sciences
  • NM: Mathematical sciences
  • NP: Physical science

Social Sciences

  • SC: Culture and society
  • SI: Individual behavior
  • SF: Public affairs

No course may fulfill both a principal course distribution requirement and a non-Western culture or second-level mathematics course requirement. Laboratory science courses designated as principal courses may fulfill both the laboratory science requirement and one of the distribution requirements. No free-standing laboratory course may by itself fulfill either the laboratory science requirement or a principal course requirement. Students should begin taking principal courses early in their academic careers. An honors equivalent of a principal course may fulfill a principal course requirement.

View all approved principal course distribution courses »

Non-Western Culture Requirement

A non-Western culture course acquaints students with the culture, society, and values of a non-Western people, for example, from Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, or Africa. Students must complete one approved non-Western culture course.

One approved non-Western culture course is required. Occasionally courses with varying topics fulfill the non-Western culture course requirement. See the Schedule of Classes for details. These courses are coded NW.

View all approved non-Western culture courses »

Transfer and Earned Credit Course Codes

These codes are used to evaluate transfer credit and to determine which academic requirements a course meets.

  • H: Humanities
  • N: Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • S: Social Sciences
  • W: World Civilization and Culture
  • U: Undesignated Elective Credit (course does not satisfy distribution requirement)

All Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies courses

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This course is designed for the study of special topics in Women's Studies. course work must be arranged through the Office of KU Study Abroad. May be repeated for credit if content varies. LEC
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An interdisciplinary introduction to the study of women. Topics may include gender ideologies and views of women, social roles, education, the family, economics, and politics. The major ideas and leaders of feminist movements and theories may also be considered. Topics will be approached from the perspective of both the social sciences and humanities and will include some comparison with non-Western and past cultures. LEC
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Similar to content to WGSS 201. An interdisciplinary introduction to the study of women and gender. Topics may include gender ideologies and views of women, social roles, education, the family, economics, and politics. The major ideas and leaders of feminist movements and theories may also be considered. Topics will be approached from the perspectives of both the social sciences and humanities and will include some comparison with non-western and past cultures. Open only to students in the Honors Program or by consent of the instructor. LEC
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This interdisciplinary course covers the history of African American women, beginning in West and Central Africa, extending across the Middle Passage into the Americas, and stretching through enslavement and freedom into the 21st century. The readings cover their experiences through secondary and tertiary source materials, as well as autobiographies and letters, plays and music, and poems, novels, and speeches. (Same as AAAS 317, AMS 317, and HIST 317.) LEC
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This course examines the social, cultural, and political contexts of women's spirituality and their relations to gender relations in Europe from about 30,000 B.C.E. to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Lectures move both chronologically and topically, covering such subjects as goddess-worshiping cultures, women's roles in Christian and Jewish societies, symbols of women, and male attitudes toward women. Students will be able to participate in weekly discussions of primary and secondary source readings about women. (Same as HIST 320.) LEC
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This survey of women's history in Europe looks at changing patterns of women's economic roles and family structures in preindustrial and industrial society, the importance of women in religious life, cultural assumptions underlying gender roles, and the relationship of women to political movements, including the rise of feminism. (Same as HIST 321.) LEC
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This course examines different notions about women and their bodies from a historical perspective. It discusses the arguments and circumstances that have shaped women's lives in relation to their bodies, and women's responses to those arguments and circumstances. This course covers a wide geographical and chronological spectrum, from Ancient societies to the present, from Latin America and the Middle East, to North America and Western Europe. (Same as HIST 324.) LEC
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An exploration of the experiences and histories of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT); of the influences on these experiences by individuals, the state, and artistic, legal and medical discourses; and of the intersections between sexual orientation, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and religion. LEC
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A critical study of issues and questions raised about women in contemporary African literature and implications for the larger society through the analysis of theme, language, characterization, roles and functions of women in selected works. (Same as AAAS 340.) LEC
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An interdisciplinary analysis of standards of physical attractiveness and cultural conceptions of women's bodies. Includes analysis of how these standards change across time and cultural groups, and of the impact of these standards on women as individuals and on social and political outcomes. LEC
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This course examines how the different constituents of popular culture mobilize, construct and structure gender, and spiritual and sexual identities in select contemporary African countries. Discussions also focus on how popular culture mediates the contesting spaces of indigenous local constructs and the push and pull of global forces to create geographic and contemporary specificities. (Same as AAAS 345.) LEC
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Examines current and historical roles and impacts of women involved in legislatures. Explores what difference women make when they are public officials. Students meet with local women legislators, lobbyists and political officials. Students learn how to analyze issues, access power, lobby, and organize at the grassroots. The course is designed to prepare students for an optional legislative internship during the subsequent semester. LEC
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This course explores rapidly changing gender relationships and the sense of being "modern" in East Asia by examining marriage and family systems, work, education, consumer culture, and geopolitics. The class seeks to understand how uneven state control over men and women shapes desires, practices, and norms and how men and women act upon such forces. Avoiding biological or social determinism, this course treats gender as an analytical category and examines how modern nation-states and global geopolitics are constituted and operated. (Same as ANTH 363 and EALC 363.) LEC
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An examination of topics of philosophical interest that are important in the feminist movement such as the nature of sexism, the concept of sexual equality, the ethics of sexual behavior, the nature of love, feminist analyses of the value of marriage and family, the ethics of abortion and justifications for preferential treatment of women. (Same as PHIL 381.) LEC
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This course will introduce students to cultural constructions and performances of masculinity, femininity, and alternative genders across time and space. Topics and cases will be drawn from primarily non-Western cultures, ranging from Japanese markets to Pacific Rim gardens, and from Haitian voudou to Maya royal politics. This course uses research by archeologists, linguists, biological anthropologists, and sociocultural anthropologists. (Same as ANTH 389.) LEC
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The interdisciplinary study of selected and different aspects of women's studies in different semesters. LEC
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This course is designed for the study of special topics in Women's Studies at the junior/senior level. Course work must be arranged through the Office of KU Study Abroad. May be repeated for credit if content varies. LEC
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Focuses attention on the relationship between communication and gender, including both physical and psychological dimensions. Topics include: sex role orientations and stereotypes; perceived and actual differences in verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors; the influence of gender on communication in a variety of contexts. (Same as COMS 440.) Prerequisite: COMS 130, COMS 150, or COMS 230. LEC
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A survey of the psychological theories about women; similarities and differences in the behavior of women and men; the effects of biological and social factors on the behavior of women and men; and issues of concern to women of different races, sexual orientations, ages, and so forth. (Same as PSYC 468.) Prerequisite: PSYC 104 or WGSS 201. LEC
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Intensive reading or research under faculty supervision culminating in the writing of a paper or research report. IND
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An individual research project under the direction of a specialist in the area of the student's interest. May be counted towards the total hours required for the major. Prerequisite: Majors only, with approval of the project adviser and the Women's Studies honors coordinator. IND
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A survey of women's history in the United States, which will consider women's roles as housewives, mothers, consumers, workers, and citizens in pre-industrial, commercial and early industrial America. (Same as AMS 510 and HIST 530.) LEC
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A survey of women's history in the United States, which includes radical and reform movements, the impact of war and depression, professionalization, immigration, women's work, and the biographies of leading figures in women's history. (Same as AMS 511 and HIST 531.) LEC
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This course explores the connection between historical changes in the labor process and the occupational choices available to women in different countries. Through discussion and analyses of texts, students will evaluate the construction of a gendered division of work as shaped over time by economic, cultural, and political forces. The chronological and geographical focus may vary depending on the instructor. (Same as AMS 512 and HIST 532.) LEC
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Exploration of the images both real and ideal found in twentieth century popular culture. By using popular culture as social history, it examines the connections between these images and the life experiences of women in the family, at work, in war, and in economic depression. LEC
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An examination of research on women and violence, including rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, stalking, and child sexual abuse. The nature, prevalence, causes, and consequences of violence against women are discussed. (Same as PSYC 521.) Prerequisite: PSYC 104. LEC
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Students examine the construction of cyberspace as a transnational space and how gender and various categories of sexuality have been constructed in this disembodied arena. Students learn how the Internet helps produce new and alternative modes of expressing and experiencing sexuality and how sexual desires, fantasies, and identities are articulated in this cyberspace LEC
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This discussion course will cover the development of feminist theories from the late Middle Ages to the 1970s. Reading will include Pisan, Wollstonecraft, Mill, Freud, Woolf, Beauvoir, Friedan, Daly, Kristeva, and others. (Same as HIST 649.) LEC
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An examination of the ways in which the concept of race, gender, and post-colonialism frame African literatures from the Caribbean, North America, and the continent itself. The course will focus on these discourses grounding them in critical frameworks within which they can be contextually analyzed and evaluated, at the same time examining their impact in literary praxis and theory. (Same as AAAS 560.) LEC
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This course exposes students to contemporary research on women and politics by surveying the sub-fields of political science. Topics include women's representation in the U.S., women and U.S. public policy, gender and legal theory, international women's movements, women and revolution, and women as political elites. We will examine the ways in which feminist theory and women's activism have challenged the narrow focus of the discipline as well as redefined women's place in society. (Same as POLS 562.) Prerequisite: A 100-level POLS course or WGSS 201 or permission of instructor. LEC
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This course brings a human face to the 21st century manifestation of globalization by focusing on the issues of culture, gender and migration. How do these three aspects create the "global village" amongst both the host and donor peoples? When people move from one place to another, what do they leave behind, what do they take with them? What is gained, or lost by the host community? What is the impact of migration on a specific group's and individual's sense of identity? How has migration affected the people's construction, understanding, and practice of gender? Given their primary roles in the home and within the culture, these questions and more are posed with particular attention to women. Migration theories, interviews and personal testimonies as well as literary and dramatic works are critical to our analyses of the issues raised and enable us to hold conversations with, and listen to the stories of the ordinary people who make globalization happen and sustain it. (Same as AAAS 565 and AMS 565.) LEC
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An examination of conceptions of masculinity from Europe and North America since the eighteenth century. Historical examples illustrate a diverse range of topics, including medicine and the body, emotion and willpower, consumption and beauty, war and fascism, homophobia and sexual orientation, and the interplay of race and class in conceptions of manhood. (Same as HWC 570.) LEC
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An examination of the role of the human body in the creation of personal and social identities in the West since the sixteenth century. Contemporary theories of embodiment are applied to a variety of historical themes, which may include posture, manners and morality; cleanliness and hygiene; exercise, dieting and body-building; sexuality and personal identity; fashion, make-up and cosmetic surgery; vegetarianism, self-help literature and alternative medicine; tattooing and body modification; and the history of the senses. (Same as HWC 575.) LEC
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This seminar will introduce students to feminism in anthropology, including feminist theories, methodologies, ethnographic styles, and the history of women in the discipline since the late 1800s. Emphasis is on the social contexts for feminist theory-building since the 1960s and changing ideas about gender and power. (Same as ANTH 580.) Prerequisite: One of the following: ANTH 389, ANTH 460, WGSS 201; or permission of instructor. LEC
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Escalating transnational flows of information, commodities, and people have created innumerable kinds of "intimate" contacts on a global scale, such as mail order brides, child adoption, sex tourism, commodified romance, and emotional labor. Exploring the ways that cultural artifacts of intimacy are rendered, fetishized, and reified in a free market economy, this course examines how discourses on love and sex encounter, confront, and negotiate the logics of the capitalist market, the discrepant narratives of (colonial) modernity, and the ethics of pleasure. In so doing, this course navigates the treacherous interplay among emotions-specifically love, sex, and money, seeking the potential and limits of cultural politics of emotions. (Same as ANTH 583.) LEC
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A detailed introduction to feminist thought post-1960. Examines feminism in relation to the categories of political theory: liberal feminism, socialist feminism, radical feminism, and postmodern feminism. Within these categories and separately, we will also consider feminism as it is influenced by women traditionally excluded from mainstream feminist thought, namely U.S. women of color and women of post-colonial societies. (Same as POLS 600.) Prerequisite: WGSS 201 or a 100-level POLS course or permission of instructor. LEC
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Investigation of a topic related to women from an interdisciplinary perspective. Open only to women's studies majors and required of them. Suggested for the senior year. LEC
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This seminar explores the nature of identity and how identity is relevant to politics and policy with a focus on political attitudes and behavior, institutions, and public policy. Topics include individual and group identity, identities such as gender, racial, sexual orientation, and partisan, and the enduring importance of identity for understanding politics as well as the policy process. The approach is multidisciplinary but political science perspectives are relied on more heavily. (Same as POLS 630.) Prerequisite: POLS 110 and POLS 306 are recommended. LEC
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Reproductive policy has historically been a highly politicized policy arena, which has elicited attention from the political community as well as the public. This course moves beyond the popular rhetoric associated with reproductive issues, by critically investigating the history, development, implementation and the relative success of various reproductive policies in the United States. These policies are compared to, and assessed against, policies governing similar topics in various countries. (Same as POLS 640.) Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor. LEC
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This course examines witches, witchcraft, and magic in Europe in the late medieval and early modern period (approximately 1200-1700 C.E.). Particular emphasis will be on the variety of historical and anthropological approaches that have been used to study the subject and their meaning in the context of gender politics and gender theory. (Same as HIST 646.) LEC
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This course, to be taken in the senior year, is designed to give students the opportunity to apply women's studies knowledge and ideas gained through course work to real-life situations in various agencies and women's centers. Open to Women's Studies majors and others with significant Women's Studies backgrounds. Permission of instructor is required. FLD
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This course examines the ways in which Latin American women have engaged in politics in the past two decades. Cases will draw from a variety of countries in Latin America. Students are expected to develop insights, through comparative analysis, into why women "do politics" in certain ways, the role of the State in women's politics, the (dis)advantages of various political strategies, and the ways in which political, economic, and social changes over time have affected women's political opportunities and interests. (Same as POLS 651.) Prerequisite: Six hours of course work in Political Science and/or Women's Studies and/or Latin American Studies. LEC
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This course explores ways in which militarization and warfare are gendered processes. We ask, what does war tell us about gender, and what does gender tell us about war? Though the majority of fighters are men, women are essential to war efforts. They also represent a high proportion of the casualties of war. Yet women are rarely examined in relation to war; thus we work to uncover women's experiences of war. We also look to women's contributions to the peace movement in terms of both theory and practice, asking: Is peace a feminist issue? Should feminists support women's access to combat positions or oppose the military? What if women ruled the world--would that end wars? Does militarized masculinity harm men more than benefit them? How do states mobilize citizens to war and how is the process gendered? (Same as POLS 653.) Prerequisite: One of the following: POLS 150, POLS 151, POLS 170, POLS 171, WGSS 201, WGSS 202. LEC
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This seminar analyzes and critiques the socially constructed nature of reproductive practices and their articulation with relations of power. Topics range from conception to menopause, infertility to population. Cases are drawn from a wide variety of cultural contexts. This course is the second part of a two-semester sequence (beginning with ANTH 650) that examines in detail biological and cultural determinants of human reproduction. (Same as ANTH 660.) Prerequisite: ANTH 650, or 6 hours in Women's Studies, or permission of instructor. LEC
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This course is designed to explore the field of gender and African politics. We begin by paying particular attention to African women's political roles during the pre-colonial and colonial society. Next, we examine the impetus, methods, and path of liberation struggles and how gender roles were shaped, shifted, and changed during these struggles. The majority of the class focuses on current issues in African politics, including gender and development; HIV/AIDS and women's health; gender and militarism. We also explore women's roles in political institutions; civil society organizations; trade and labor unions; and transnational movements. We also examine contemporary constructions of masculinity and femininity in African states and explore how these constructions affect social policy and national political agendas. (Same as AAAS 662.) LEC
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This seminar uses a life-cycle approach to examine women's health (physical, mental, and spiritual) and their roles as healers. Special consideration is given to the effects of development programs on well-being, access to health care, and hanging roles for women as healers. Cases will be drawn from a variety of Latin American contexts. (Same as ANTH 665 and LAA 665.) Prerequisite: 6 hours course work in Anthropology and/or Women's Studies and/or Latin American Studies. LEC
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An examination of the social construction of sexuality and research methods and issues relevant to sexuality. These concepts are applied to various topics, such as defining and conceptualizing sex and gender, sexual dysfunction, sexual orientation, the social control of sexuality, sexual coercion and abuse, and abstinence-only sex education. The course does not cover anatomical or physiological aspects of sexuality. (Same as PSYC 689.) Prerequisite: PSYC 104 or WGSS 201. LEC
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Interdisciplinary study of different aspects of women's studies in different semesters. LEC
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A research seminar in women's studies. Instructor and topic will vary. LEC
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This seminar is intended primarily for graduate students in anthropology or other disciplines who share an interest in any of the subdisciplines of anthropology (archaeology, linguistics, biological anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology) and/or anthropological theories and methods. Undergraduates pursuing Honors or other major research projects are also encouraged to participate. Students will receive training in the contemporary theories, research, and pedagogies informing the anthropology of gender. Class participants will explore how these materials intersect with their current thesis or research projects and develop syllabi specific to their subdiscipline. (Same as ANTH 789). Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. LEC
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Directed reading in an area of women's studies in which there is no appropriate course in the offerings of the Women's Studies Program, but in which there is a member of the cooperating graduate faculty competent and willing to direct the program of study. RSH
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This course will be intensive interdisciplinary overview of the major theories and research approaches in literature on women and gender. The topics covered will include the following: 1) an overview of feminist theories; 2) an overview of how feminist theories can be integrated with research methods in various disciplines; and 3) examples of applications of feminist theories and methods to specific content areas. Open only to graduate students. LEC
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This colloquium will cover theoretical and topical readings on the history of manhood, womanhood, and gender systems. (Same as AMS 835 and HIST 895.) LEC
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This colloquium will cover theoretical and topical readings on the history of women in the United States from the pre-contact period to the present. It is designed to familiarize students with the most important and current historiography in the field. (Same as AMS 836 and HIST 896.) LEC
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This colloquium will approach the history of women from a comparative perspective through theoretical and topical readings on women in at least two different cultures. (Same as AMS 837 and HIST 897.) LEC
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This research seminar will focus on the history of women in the United States from the pre-contact period to the present. Students will research and write a paper using primary sources, and present those papers to the seminar for evaluation. (Same as HIST 973 and AM S 973.) LEC
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Intensive consideration of special problems in feminist anthropology. Topics for the semester to be announced. May be repeated for a total of six hours credit. (Same as ANTH 880.) Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. LEC
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This course is the "capstone" to the Women's Studies Graduate Certificate program. Members of the seminar will produce a major paper and will share their research. During the first part of the term a small number of visitors (professors at KU and/or visiting speakers from other universities) will be invited to assign readings and subsequently present their work on women and gender. Students will be expected to attend the Gender Seminar of the Hall Center for the Humanities. Prerequisite: WGSS 801 and at least 3 hours of other graduate work in the Women's Studies graduate certificate program, or by special permission. LEC
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