Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HUM 140

       Course Name: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces the interdisciplinary field of women’s studies that seeks to understand and challenge gender inequalities.  Course traces the philosophical, literary and historical emergence of the women’s studies discipline to explore the many ways it has addressed our cultural experiences.  IAI H9 900

IV.   Learning Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the historical emergence and basic concepts of competing feminist theories and apply these theories to contemporary issues.
  2. Explain how these theories lead to different strategies for ending the subordination of women.
  3. Critically evaluate these theories and be able to formulate and argue for their own positions.
  4. Analyze a broad selection of feminist literary works.
  5. Evaluate the historical relationship between women’s writing and the development of the women’s studies discipline.
  6. Discuss interconnections between gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality.
  7. Demonstrate a familiarity with the historical development of the Women’s Studies discipline and how it has transformed gender discrimination in a number of areas.
  8. Exhibit values related to teamwork and collaboration, fostered by the pedagogy of shared-inquiry and critical dialogue appropriate to the humanities and philosophy.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

(This is a sample outline of possible topics.  Instructors may choose to approach this class historically or topically.  In your own course outline, please specify the dates on which you will cover specific topics as well as other important dates, such as exams and paper deadlines.)

  1. What is Women’s Studies? Why is it important?
  2. An overview of various feminist theories and their applications to contemporary issues. For example:
    1. Liberal feminism
    2. Radical feminism
    3. Marxist/socialist feminisms
    4. Postmodernism and post-structuralism
    5. Postcolonial and transnational theories
    6. Eco-feminism
  3. Historical and literary survey of the development of the women’s movement.
    1. Women’s suffrage and the “first wave”.
    2. The 1960s and the “second wave”.
    3. Post-feminism and the “third wave”.
  4. Cultural construction of gender.
  5. Gender and women’s bodies.
  6. Women’s mythology and spirituality.
  7. Women’s studies methodologies and the transformation of several contemporary humanities disciplines (possible focus on a contemporary work of philosophy, cultural theory, literary criticism, art history, media studies or other humanities discipline).

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lectures and discussion
  2. Small group work
  3. Films and slide shows
  4. Field trips to public forums, galleries, plays, and performances
  5. Guest speakers

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Please include information here about all expectations you have for your students regarding behavior, work, etc.  The following are sample course practices you may wish to cover.  Please be aware that you must require students in this course to produce at least 15 pages of critical written assignments over the course of the semester, which should account for at least 40% of the final course grade.  These may be assigned in a variety of ways including journals, response papers, field trip projects, etc.

The syllabus should include information regarding:

  1. Standards for written work
  2. Quizzes/Exams
  3. Participation
  4. Individual or group presentations
  5. Essays
  6. Final Project
  7. Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Below are examples of appropriate texts:

Women’s Worlds:  The McGraw-Hill Anthology of Women’s Writing in English Across the Globe edited by  Warhol-Down, et al
The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women edited by Gilbert and Gruber
Women’s Images and Realities, A Multicultural Anthology edited by Kesselman, McNair and Schniedewind
Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions edited by Shaw and Lee
Feminist Thought by Rosemary Tong
Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives edited by McCann and Kim
Feminist Theory: A Reader edited by Kolmar and Bartkowski
The Feminist History Reader by Sue Morgan
Individual works of literature including novels, poetry, essays, short stories and films

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

(In this section, the instructor will present the percentages or point breakdown for all the elements of the final grade. Please note that at least 40% of the grade must be based on written work rather than objective exams, oral presentations, etc.)

For example:

Quizzes/Exams 40 points
Journals/Essays 40 points
Oral Presentation of a Final Project   10 points
Attendance and Participation 10 points

Grading Scale.
A = 90% - 100%
B = 80% - 89%
C = 70% - 79%
D = 60% - 69%
F = below 60

XI.   Other Course Information

Instructor information
Office and office hours:
Email and website:

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.