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Women's and Gender Studies Program
Fall 2024


Consult the program office, 14N-213, for information about other subjects that may qualify for WGS credit.

Undergraduate Subjects

WGS.101 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
URL: http://wgs.mit.edu/wgs-subjects/fall2020/wgs101
Add to schedule Lecture: MW3-4.30 (1-246)
______
Drawing on multiple disciplines - such as literature, history, economics, psychology, philosophy, political science, anthropology, media studies and the arts - to examine cultural assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality. Integrates analysis of current events through student presentations, aiming to increase awareness of contemporary and historical experiences of women, and of the ways sex and gender interact with race, class, nationality, and other social identities. Students are introduced to recent scholarship on gender and its implications for traditional disciplines.
Fall: A. Walsh
Spring: A. Walsh
No textbook information available

WGS.109 Women and Global Activism in Media and Politics
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
An interdisciplinary subject that examines questions of feminism, international women's issues, and globalization through the study of novels, films, critical essays, painting and music. Considers how women redefine the notions of community and nation, how development affects their lives, and how access to the internet and to the production industry impacts women's lives. Primary topics of interest include transformations of traditional values, social change, gender role distribution, identity formation, migration flows, globalization and development, popular culture, urban life, cyber-culture, activism, and human rights. Limited to 25 when Writing Tutor is assigned to the class. Otherwise, limited to 18.
A. Sur

WGS.110[J] Sexual and Gender Identities in the Modern United States
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21H.108[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides an introduction to the history of gender, sex, and sexuality in the modern United States, from the end of the 19th century to the present. Surveys historical approaches to the field, emphasizing the changing nature of sexual and gender identities over time. Traces attempts to control, construct, and contain sexual and gender identities. Examines the efforts of those who worked to resist, reject, and reform institutionalized heterosexuality and mainstream configurations of gendered power.
Staff

WGS.111[J] Gender and Media Studies
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as CMS.619[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (66-160)
______
Examines representations of race, gender, and sexual identity in the media. Considers issues of authorship, spectatorship, and the ways in which various media (film, television, print journalism, advertising) enable, facilitate, and challenge these social constructions in society. Studies the impact of new media and digital media through analysis of gendered and racialized language and embodiment online in blogs and vlogs, avatars, and in the construction of cyberidentities. Provides introduction to feminist approaches to media studies by drawing from work in feminist film theory, cultural studies, gender and politics, and cyberfeminism.
Arain, Hafsa
No textbook information available

WGS.115 Gender and Technology
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: R1-4 (1-134)
______
Considers a wide range of issues related to the contemporary and historical use of technology, the development of new technologies, and the cultural representation of technology, including the role women have played in the development of technology and the effect of technological change on the roles of women and ideas of gender. Discusses the social implications of technology and its understanding and deployment in different cultural contexts. Investigates the relationships between technology and identity categories, such as gender, race, class, and sexuality. Examines how technology offers possibilities for new social relations and how to evaluate them.
Jungs de Almeida, Alessandra
No textbook information available

WGS.118 Gender in the Visual Arts
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Arts
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores gender and race through interdisciplinary perspectives from film and visual studies, art history, and performance studies. Provides an overview of methodologies and practices, with an emphasis on contemporary artists working across mediums. Contextualizes artistic output within broader systems of power and cultural institutions. Reflects on the politics of visibility, hypervisibility, and invisibility through an intersectional feminist approach that draws on perspectives from trans*, queer, feminist, dis/ability, and critical race theory. Lectures are supplemented by screenings, discussions, workshops, guest lectures, and optional field trips. Culminates in a final creative project that includes a presentation.
Staff

WGS.120[J] Science in Action: Technologies and Controversies in Everyday Life
(New)
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as STS.012[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores a range of controversies about the role of technology, the nature of scientific research and the place of politics in science: debates about digital piracy and privacy, the role of activism in science, the increasingly unclear boundaries between human and non-human, the role of MRIs as courtroom evidence, the potential influence of gender on scientific research, etc. Provides exposure to science in a dynamic relation with social life and cultural ideas. Materials draw from humanities and social science research, ethnographic fieldwork, films and science podcasts, as well as from experimental multimedia. Enrollment limited.
D. Banerjee

WGS.123 History of Women in Science and Engineering
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides a basic overview of the history of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students discuss specific contributions of women across a variety of disciplines to form a broad perspective on how these contributions played a larger role in the advancement of human knowledge and technological achievement. Also grapples with how both historic and modern biases within the STEM disciplines, as well as in representations of women and girls in media and popular culture, can affect outcomes in these areas.
M. Weinstock

WGS.125[J] Games and Culture
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21W.768[J], CMS.616[J])
(Subject meets with CMS.868)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W EVE (7-10 PM) (56-180)
______
Examines the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of digital games. Topics include the culture of gameplay, gaming styles, communities, spectatorship and performance, gender and race within digital gaming, and the politics and economics of production processes, including co-creation and intellectual property. Students taking graduate version complete additional readings and assignments.
T.L. Taylor
No textbook information available

WGS.130[J] Afrofuturism, Magical Realism, and Other Otherwise Worlds
(New)
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 21L.032[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR3.30-5 (56-167)
______
Examines Afrofuturism, magical realism, and other forms of the fantastic in literary texts, film, and other media. Through close reading and attention to historical, cultural, and sociopolitical context, students consider how these works reinterpret the past, diagnose modernity, and posit alternative futures. Particular attention given to the roles race, gender, class, and sexuality play within these radically imaginative worlds. Topics vary from term to term but might include work by Octavia Butler, Gabriel García Márquez, Samuel Delany, Toni Morrison, N.K. Jemisin, José María Arguedas, and Janelle Monáe. Limited to 18.
J. Terrones
No textbook information available

WGS.140[J] Race and Identity in American Literature
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Can be repeated for credit
(Same subject as 21L.504[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Questions posed by the literature of the Americas about the relationship of race and gender to authorship, audience, culture, ethnicity, and aesthetics. Social conditions and literary histories that shape the politics of identity in American literature. Specific focus varies each term. Previously taught topics include Immigrant Stories, African American Literature, and Asian American Literature. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor if the content differs.
Joaquin Terrones

WGS.141[J] International Women's Voices
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21G.022[J], 21L.522[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduces students to a variety of fictional works by contemporary women writers. International perspective emphasizes the extent to which each author's work reflects her distinct cultural heritage and to what extent, if any, there is an identifiable female voice that transcends national boundaries. Uses a variety of interpretive perspectives, including sociohistorical, psychoanalytic, and feminist criticism, to examine texts. Authors include Mariama Ba, Isabel Allende, Anita Desai, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, Alifa Riyaat, Yang Jiang, Nawal Al-Saadawi, and Sawako Ariyoshi. Taught in English.
Staff

WGS.142[J] Narrative and Identity: Writing and Film by Contemporary Women of Color
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21L.429[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the diverse voices and experiences reflected in writing and film by and about women of color. Examines the roles that culture, community, and kinship play in the development of the writer's individual voice, and compares the similarities and differences of the writer experience across texts and genres. Discussion and assignments, including an independent research presentation, consider the social and political contexts that inform each work, with an emphasis on gender, race, and economic status. Includes works by a variety of novelists, poets, and filmmakers.
Staff

WGS.145[J] Globalization: The Good, the Bad and the In-Between
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 21L.020[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
URL: https://lit.mit.edu/21l-020j-globalization-the-good-the-bad-and-the-in-between/
Add to schedule Lecture: TR3-4.30 (14N-325)
______
Examines the cultural paradoxes of contemporary globalization. Studies the cultural, artistic, social and political impact of globalization across international borders. Students analyze contending definitions of globalization and principal agents of change, and why some of them engender backlash; identify the agents, costs and benefits of global networks; and explore how world citizens preserve cultural specificity. Case studies on global health, human trafficking and labor migration illuminate the shaping influence of contemporary globalization on gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Develops cultural literacy through analysis of fiction and film. Enrollment limited.
M. Resnick
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

WGS.150[J] Cultures of Popular Music in East Asia: Japan, Korea, China
(New)
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Arts
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21G.095[J], 21M.297[J])
(Subject meets with 21G.595)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores a variety of music cultures in contemporary East Asia. Emphasizes examples from Japan, but forays elsewhere, including South Korea and China. Uses writings, videos, and recordings of musical performances, events, and objects in a variety of contexts to better understand how the concept of culture gives insight into gender, class, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationhood, and individual identities. Explores ethnographic approaches to musical cultures with a focus on the last thirty years. Topics include Japanese hip-hop, K-Pop idols, Vocaloids (virtual idols), Chinese popular music and protest, street music, streaming and online distribution for global music, and experimental music. Students conduct ethnographic fieldwork and produce sonic presentations. No music experience nor technical expertise required. Taught in English.
I. Condry

WGS.151 Gender and Public Health
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Draws on different disciplines, conceptual frameworks, and methodological approaches to examine gender in relation to health, including public health practice, epidemiologic research, health policy, and clinical application. Discusses a variety of health-related issues that illustrate global, international, domestic, and historical perspectives. Considers other social determinants of health as well, including social class and race. Limited to 15.
Staff

WGS.154[J] Gender and Japanese Popular Culture
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21A.143[J], 21G.039[J])
(Subject meets with 21G.591)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines relationships between identity and participation in Japanese popular culture as a way of understanding the changing character of media, capitalism, fan communities, and culture. Emphasizes contemporary popular culture and theories of gender, sexuality, race, and the workings of power and value in global culture industries. Topics include manga (comic books), hip-hop and other popular music, anime and feature films, video games, contemporary literature, and online communication. Students present analyses and develop a final project based on a particular aspect of gender and popular culture. Several films screened outside of regular class meeting times. Taught in English.
I. Condry

WGS.160[J] Science Activism: Gender, Race, and Power
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Elective
(Same subject as STS.021[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
URL: http://wgs.mit.edu/wgs-subjects/fall2020/wgs160
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (56-162)
______
Examines the role scientists have played as activists in social movements in the US following World War II. Themes include scientific responsibility and social justice, the motivation of individual scientists, strategies for organizing, the significance of race and gender, and scientists' impact within social movements. Case studies include atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and the nuclear freeze campaign, climate science and environmental justice, the civil rights movement, Vietnam War protests, the March 4 movement at MIT, and concerns about genetic engineering, gender equality, intersectional feminism, and student activism at MIT.
E. Bertschinger
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

WGS.161[J] Gender and the Law in US History
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21H.320[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the legal history of the US as a gendered system. Examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service, as well as how the legal system has shaped gender relations through regulation of such issues as marriage, divorce, work, reproduction, and the family. Readings draw from primary and secondary materials, focusing on the broad historical relationship between law and society. No legal knowledge is required or assumed.
C. Capozzola

WGS.172[J] For Love and Money: Rethinking the Family
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.111[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Cross-cultural case studies introduce students to the anthropological study of the social institutions and symbolic meanings of family, gender, and sexuality. Investigates the different forms families and households take and considers their social, emotional, and economic dynamics. Analyzes how various expectations for, and experiences of, family life are rooted in or challenged by particular conceptions of gender and sexuality. Addresses questions surrounding what it means to be a "man" or a "woman," as well as a family member, in different social contexts.
Staff

WGS.181 Queer Cinema and Visual Culture
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Analyzes mainstream, popular films produced in the post-WWII 20th century US as cultural texts that shed light on ongoing historical struggles over gender identity and appropriate sexual behaviors. Traces the history of LGBTQ/queer film through the 20th and into the 21st century. Examines the effect of the Hollywood Production Code and censorship of sexual themes and content, and the subsequent subversion of queer cultural production in embedded codes and metaphors. Also considers the significance of these films as artifacts and examples of various aspects of queer theory.
Staff

WGS.183 Feminism and Data
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Considers the implications of new technologies and their impact on how we receive and transmit various types of data: medical, genetic, financial, personal. Data is being generated in many ways from our physical bodies, and this form of "datafication" has far-reaching implications, particularly for historically marginalized and/or oppressed bodies, which are often subject to sexual objectification, surveillance, and other forms of control.
Staff

WGS.190[J] Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies
______

Undergrad (Spring) Arts + Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 24.912[J], 21H.106[J], 21L.008[J], 21W.741[J], CMS.150[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Interdisciplinary survey of people of African descent that draws on the overlapping approaches of history, literature, anthropology, legal studies, media studies, performance, linguistics, and creative writing. Connects the experiences of African-Americans and of other American minorities, focusing on social, political, and cultural histories, and on linguistic patterns. Includes lectures, discussions, workshops, and required field trips that involve minimal cost to students.
M. DeGraff, D. Fox Harrell, D. Wood

WGS.220[J] Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21A.138[J], 21H.263[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides an overview of key issues and themes in the study of women and gender relations in the Middle East and North Africa. Includes readings from a variety of disciplines, e.g., history, anthropology, sociology, literature, religious studies, and media studies. Addresses themes such as the relationship between the concepts of nation and gender; women's citizenship; Middle Eastern women's activism and the involvement of their Western "sisters" to this movement; gendered interpretations of the Qur'an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad; and the three H's of Orientalism (hijab, harem, and hamam).
L. Eckmekcioglu

WGS.222[J] Women and War
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21H.381[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines women's experiences during and after war and genocide, covering the first half of the 20th century in Europe and the Middle East. Addresses ways in which women's wartime suffering has been used to further a variety of political and social agendas. Discussions focus on a different topic each week, such as sexual violence, women survivors, female perpetrators of genocide, nurses, children of genocidal rape, and the memory of war.
L. Ekmekcioglu

WGS.224 Race, Gender and Social Inequality in Reproductive Health Care
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the politics of reproductive health care delivery in the United States and beyond, with a particular focus on how clinical care is shaped by--and, in turn, shapes--social inequality along axes of race and gender. Considers a variety of reproductive health issues from multiple perspectives, drawing on readings from the fields of history, anthropology, sociology, medicine, epidemiology, and law. Develops skills to interrogate how each field conceptualizes and values reproductive health, both explicitly and implicitly. Introduces major conceptual issues foundational to understanding the politics of reproduction. Goes on to cover topics such as the human biofemale reproductive lifecycle and social movements explicitly organized around reproductive health. Limited to 40.
Staff

WGS.225[J] The Science of Race, Sex, and Gender
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.103[J], STS.046[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Ends Oct 25. Lecture: TR9.30-11 (14E-310)
______
Examines the role of science and medicine in the origins and evolution of the concepts of race, sex, and gender from the 17th century to the present. Focus on how biological, anthropological, and medical concepts intersect with social, cultural, and political ideas about racial, sexual, and gender difference in the US and globally. Approach is historical and comparative across disciplines emphasizing the different modes of explanation and use of evidence in each field.
A. Sur
No textbook information available

WGS.226[J] Science, Gender and Social Inequality in the Developing World
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as STS.023[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the influence of social and cultural determinants (colonialism, nationalism, class, and gender) on modern science and technology. Discusses the relationship of scientific progress to colonial expansions and nationalist aspirations. Explores the nature of scientific institutions within a social, cultural, and political context, and how science and technology have impacted developing societies
A. Sur

WGS.228 Psychology of Sex and Gender
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
URL: http://wgs.mit.edu/wgs-subjects/fall2020/wgs228
Add to schedule Lecture: R EVE (7-10 PM) (14E-310) +final
______
Examines evidence (and lack thereof) regarding when and how an individual's thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by sex and gender. Using a biopsychosocial model, reviews the following topics: gender identity development across the lifespan, implicit and explicit bias, achievement, stereotypes, physical and mental health, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, work, and violence. Limited to 20.
C. Kapungu
No textbook information available

WGS.229 Race, Culture, and Gender in the US and Beyond: A Psychological Perspective
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the biopsychosocial factors which impact racial-ethnic identity, racial and cultural socialization, and experiences of prejudice, bias, discrimination, and racial microaggressions across gender identities. Reviews topics in multicultural psychology from the lens of challenging ethnocentric biases in the field. Critically evaluates the intersection of race with other social identities (e.g., gender, sexual identity, and socioeconomic status) and how it impacts human behavior. Using a case study approach, students integrate empirical evidence from international psychosocial research on oppression in order to provide more breadth in understanding the influence of race and gender upon human behavior. Develops multicultural competency skills essential for practice in clinical and non-clinical organizational settings. Limited to 25.
C. Kapungu

WGS.231[J] Writing about Race
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 21W.742[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR3-4.30 (5-231)
______
The issue of race and racial identity have preoccupied many writers throughout the history of the US. Students read Jessica Abel, Diana Abu-Jaber, Lynda Barry, Felicia Luna Lemus, James McBride, Sigrid Nunez, Ruth Ozeki, Danzy Senna, Gloria Anzaldua, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Carmit Delman, Stefanie Dunning, Cherrie Moraga, Hiram Perez and others, and consider the story of race in its peculiarly American dimensions. The reading, along with the writing of members of the class, is the focus of class discussions. Oral presentations on subjects of individual interest are also part of the class activities. Students explore race and ethnicity in personal essays, pieces of cultural criticism or analysis, or (with permission of instructor) fiction. All written work is read and responded to in class workshops and subsequently revised. Enrollment limited.
Fall: B. Williams
Spring: B. Williams
No textbook information available

WGS.233[J] New Culture of Gender: Queer France
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Can be repeated for credit
(Same subject as 21G.325[J], 21L.324[J])
Prereq: One intermediate subject in French
Units: 3-0-9
______
Addresses the place of contemporary queer identities in French discourse. Discusses the new generation of queer authors and their principal concerns. Introduces students to the main classical references of queer subcultures, from Proust and Vivien to Hocquenghem and Wittig. Examines current debates on post-colonial and globalized queer identities through essays, songs, movies, and novels. Authors include Didier Eribon, Anne Garréta, Abdellah Taïa, Anne Scott, and Nina Bouraoui. Taught in French.
B. Perreau

WGS.235[J] Classics of Chinese Literature in Translation
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21G.044[J], 21L.494[J])
(Subject meets with 21G.195)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW11-12.30 (2-103)
______
Introduction to some of the major genres of traditional Chinese poetry, fiction, and drama. Intended to give students a basic understanding of the central features of traditional Chinese literary genres, as well as to introduce students to the classic works of the Chinese literary tradition. Works read include Journey to the West, Outlaws of the Margin, Dream of the Red Chamber, and the poetry of the major Tang dynasty poets. Literature read in translation. Taught in English.
W. Denecke
No textbook information available

WGS.236[J] Introduction to East Asian Cultures: From Zen to K-Pop
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21G.030[J])
(Subject meets with 21G.193)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines traditional forms of East Asian culture (including literature, art, performance, food, and religion) as well as contemporary forms of popular culture (film, pop music, karaoke, and manga). Covers China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, with an emphasis on China. Considers women's culture, as well as the influence and presence of Asian cultural expressions in the US. Uses resources in the Boston area, including the MFA, the Children's Museum, and the Sackler collection at Harvard. Taught in English.
E. Teng

WGS.238[J] Intersectional Feminist Memoir
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21L.438[J], 21W.738[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR9.30-11 (4-146)
______
Explores the memoir genre through a feminist intersectional lens, looking at the ways in which feminist writers ground personal experience within a complex understanding of race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, immigration status/nationality, and dis/ablity. Gives particular attention to the relationships between the personal and the political; form and content; fact, truth, and imagination; self and community; trauma and healing; coming to voice and breaking silence. Readings include books by Audre Lorde, Janet Mock, Daisy Hernandez, Jessica Valenti, and Ariel Gore, and shorter pieces by Meena Alexander and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Drawing on lessons taken from these works, students write a short memoir of their own.
Brianna Williams
No textbook information available

WGS.240[J] Jane Austen
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21L.473[J])
Prereq: One subject in Literature
Units: 3-0-9
URL: https://lit.mit.edu/21l-473j-jane-austen/
______
An examination of Jane Austen's satire in her seven complete novels, several fragments, and juvenilia. Students read these texts in relation to her letters and other biographical and historical information.
Staff

WGS.242 The Latina Experience in Literature, Film and Popular Culture
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the rich diversity of Latina and Latino voices and experiences as reflected in various media. Studies cross-cultural expressions of solidarity and examines the Latina experience as it relates to both other women of color and Latino men. Considers how Latinas are represented by mainstream Hollywood and independent filmmakers, and explores the intersections of popular culture and feminism in productions such as music videos and Latina-centered television series. Limited to 30.
Staff

WGS.243 Topics in Gender, Data, and Design
(New)
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Subject Cancelled Subject Cancelled
______
Explores how city design and planning impact communities, through the lens of data activism. Students develop, implement, and evaluate digital tools that support community-based organizations, addressing diverse domains such as housing, violence prevention, and environmental health. Through interactions with relevant organizations, students interpret data and explore how issues of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and other identities impact how policies, technology, and activism are employed. Specific topics vary but may include data activism in social change, production of activist data, potential pitfalls of AI, and machine learning. Prior experience with coding, visualization, mapping/GIS, or data analysis helpful but not required. May be repeated once for credit if specific topics studied differ.
Staff

WGS.245[J] Identities and Intersections: Queer Literatures
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21L.480[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Focuses on LGBT literature from the mid-19 century to the present, with an emphasis on fiction and poetry. In particular, analyzes how LGBT identities and their literary representations have changed over time. Covers authors such as Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Cherrie Moraga, Melvin Dixon, Leslie Feinberg, and Luis Negron.
J. Terrones

WGS.247[J] Race, Place, and Modernity in the Americas
______

Undergrad (IAP) HASS Elective
(Same subject as 21L.592[J], 21W.781[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-3-3
______
Students travel to São Paulo for three weeks. Examines the relationship between race and place in the formation of modern Brazil and the US through comparative analysis and interdisciplinary study. In addition to participating in class discussions on literature, film, and visual art, students visit key cultural and historical sites; interact with archives and museum collections; and, most importantly, engage in dialogue with local activists, religious leaders, community organizers, and scholars. Focusing on the work of Black and Indigenous people, particularly women, places a strong emphasis on the ways in which art and cultural activism can have an impact on racial justice issues. Taught in English; no Portuguese needed. Contact Women's and Gender Studies about travel fee, possible funding opportunities, and other details. Enrollment limited to 20. Application required.
J. Terrones

WGS.250[J] HIV/AIDS in American Culture
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21L.481[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR9.30-11 (56-167)
______
Examines cultural responses to HIV/AIDS in the US during the first fifteen years of the epidemic, prior to the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy. Students consider how sexuality, race, gender, class, and geography shaped the experience of HIV/AIDS and the cultural production surrounding it, as well as the legacy of this cultural production as it pertains to the communities most at risk today. Materials include mainstream press coverage, film, theater, television, popular music, comic books, literature, and visual art.
J. Terrones
No textbook information available

WGS.255[J] Gender, Myth, and Magic
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Arts
(Same subject as 21W.725[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW11-12.30 (5-231)
______
Explores ways contemporary writers re-imagine myth and fairy tales through lens of gender and sexuality. Examines how old stories can be retold to resonate with issues of power, violence, courage, resistance, identity, community, silence, and voice. Students complete writing project where they re-imagine a myth or fairy tale.
K. Ragusa
No textbook information available

WGS.264[J] Sport as Performance
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Arts
(Same subject as 21T.240[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W2-5 (4-253)
______
Seminar investigates the aesthetics of sport as theatrical performance and explores the performance of race, gender, class, nation, and sexuality in sport. Readings drawn from theatre/performance studies, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, gender studies, history, and kinesiology. Topics include barnstorming, Olympics, Title IX, Native American mascots, and a variety of sports ranging from football to figure skating. Limited to 18.
C. Conceison
No textbook information available

WGS.271[J] Dilemmas in Biomedical Ethics: Playing God or Doing Good?
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 11.133[J], 21A.302[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
An introduction to the cross-cultural study of biomedical ethics. Examines moral foundations of the science and practice of western biomedicine through case studies of abortion, contraception, cloning, organ transplantation and other issues. Evaluates challenges that new medical technologies pose to the practice and availability of medical services around the globe, and to cross-cultural ideas of kinship and personhood. Discusses critiques of the biomedical tradition from anthropological, feminist, legal, religious, and cross-cultural theorists.
Staff

WGS.274[J] Images of Asian Women: Dragon Ladies and Lotus Blossoms
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.141[J], 21G.048[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: R1-4 (4-265)
______
Explores some of the forces and mechanisms through which stereotypes are built and perpetuated. In particular, examines stereotypes associated with Asian women in colonial, nationalist, state-authoritarian, and global/diasporic narratives about gender and power. Students read ethnography, fiction, and history, and view films to examine the politics and circumstances that create and perpetuate the representation of Asian women as dragon ladies, lotus blossoms, despotic tyrants, desexualized servants, and docile subordinates. Students are introduced to debates about Orientalism, gender, and power.
M. Buyandelger
No textbook information available

WGS.275[J] Gender, Race, and Environmental Justice
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.407[J], 21G.057[J], STS.022[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides an introduction to the analysis of gender in science, technology, and environmental politics from a global perspective. Familiarizes students with central objects, questions, and methods in the field. Examines existent critiques of the racial, sexual and environmental politics at stake in techno-scientific cultures. Draws on material from popular culture, media, fiction, film, and ethnography. Addressing specific examples from across the globe, students also explore different approaches to build more livable environments that promote social justice. Taught in English. Limited to 18.
B. Stoetzer

WGS.276[J] Cultures of Computing
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.504[J], STS.086[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines computers anthropologically, as artifacts revealing the social orders and cultural practices that create them. Students read classic texts in computer science along with cultural analyses of computing history and contemporary configurations. Explores the history of automata, automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics and WWII operations research; artificial intelligence and gendered subjectivity; robots, cyborgs, and artificial life; creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; hackers and gamers; technobodies and virtual sociality. Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, hacking culture, and social media.
D. Banerjee

WGS.277[J] D-Lab: Gender and Development
______

Undergrad (Fall)
(Same subject as EC.718[J])
(Subject meets with EC.798)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W9.30-12.30 (N51-310)
______
Explores gender roles, illuminates the power dynamics and root causes of inequality, and provides a framework for understanding gender dynamics. Develops skills to conduct a gender analysis and integrate gender-sensitive strategies into large- and small-scale development solutions. Prompts critical discussion about social, economic, and political conditions that shape gender in development. Begins with exploration of international development in the post-colonial era, using a gender lens, then provides students with the tools to integrate gender-sensitive strategies into international development work, with a particular focus on launching, building and scaling women's ventures. Opportunities may be available for international fieldwork over IAP. Meets with 24.234 when offered concurrently. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 12; must attend first class session.
E. McDonald, S. Haslanger
No textbook information available

WGS.278 Topics in Critical Disability Studies
(New)
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W12-3 (1-273)
______
Examines various intersections of health and disability studies within a framework of gender and sexuality studies, critical race theory, geography, decolonized psychology, and cultural studies. Topics vary each year; examples include carceral states, social categorizations of populations, historical and literary studies, and healthcare.
Arain, Hafsa
No textbook information available

WGS.280[J] Critical Internet Studies
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21W.791[J], CMS.614[J])
(Subject meets with IDS.405)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Subject Cancelled Subject Cancelled
______
Focuses on the power dynamics in internet-related technologies (including social networking platforms, surveillance technology, entertainment technologies, and emerging media forms). Theories and readings focus on the cultural, social, economic, and political aspects of internet use and design, with a special attention to gender and race. Topics include: online communication and communities, algorithms and search engines, activism and online resistance, surveillance and privacy, content moderation and platform governance, and the spread of dis- and misinformation. Instruction and practice in written and oral communication provided. Students taking the graduate version complete additional readings and assignments.
T. L. Taylor

WGS.301[J] Feminist Thought
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 17.007[J], 24.137[J])
(Subject meets with 17.006[J], 24.637[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR2.30-4 (5-234)
______
Analyzes theories of gender and politics, especially ideologies of gender and their construction; definitions of public and private spheres; gender issues in citizenship, the development of the welfare state, experiences of war and revolution, class formation, and the politics of sexuality. Graduate students are expected to pursue the subject in greater depth through reading and individual research.
Arain, Hafsa
No textbook information available

WGS.303[J] Gender: Historical Perspectives
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21H.109[J])
(Subject meets with 21H.983[J], WGS.310[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the definition of gender in scientific, societal, and historical contexts. Explores how gender influences state formation and the work of the state, what role gender plays in imperialism and in the welfare state, the ever-present relationship between gender and war, and different states' regulation of the body in gendered ways at different times. Investigates new directions in the study of gender as historians, anthropologists and others have taken on this fascinating set of problems. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
E. Wood

WGS.310[J] Gender: Historical Perspectives
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 21H.983[J])
(Subject meets with 21H.109[J], WGS.303[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the definition of gender in scientific, societal, and historical contexts. Explores how gender influences state formation and the work of the state, what role gender plays in imperialism and in the welfare state, the ever-present relationship between gender and war, and different states' regulation of the body in gendered ways at different times. Investigates new directions in the study of gender as historians, anthropologists and others have taken on this fascinating set of problems. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
E. Wood

WGS.315[J] Colonialism in South Asia and Africa: Race, Gender, Resistance
(New)
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 21H.358[J])
(Subject meets with 21H.958)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-10
______
Provides a comparative perspective on the history of colonialism in India and Africa. Explores the political, social, and economic changes brought about by colonial rule. Discusses the international context for the emergence of European Imperialism in the 19th century; the nature of early colonial expansion and consolidation; the re-invention of tradition in colonial societies, especially with regard to racial and ethnic identity, gender, religion, and caste; and expressions of anti-colonial resistance. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
S. Aiyar

WGS.321[J] French Feminist Literature: Yesterday and Today
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21G.344[J], 21L.621[J])
Prereq: One intermediate subject in French or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores feminist literary voices in France throughout the ages. Discusses the theory that the power of feminist writing lies in its ability to translate dominant language into a language of one's own. Studies lifestyles, family norms, political representation, social movements, as well as the perception of the body. Investigates how feminist genealogies redefine the relationship between belonging and knowledge through a dialogue between several generations of women writers. Taught in French. Limited to 18.
B. Perreau

WGS.400 WGS Undergraduate Independent Study
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Individual supervised work for undergraduate students who wish to study topics not covered in the regular Women's and Gender Studies curriculum. Before registering for this subject, students must plan a course of study with a member of the WGS faculty and secure the Director's approval. Normal maximum credit is 6 units, but exceptional 9-unit projects occasionally approved.
Fall: Staff
IAP: Staff
Spring: Staff
No textbook information available

WGS.UR Undergraduate Research in Women's and Gender Studies
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Undergraduate research opportunities in the Women's and Gender Studies Program.
S. Lantz
Textbooks arranged individually

WGS.URG Undergraduate Research in Women's and Gender Studies
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Undergraduate research opportunities in the Women's and Gender Studies Program.
S. Lantz
Textbooks arranged individually

WGS.S10 Special Subject in Women's and Gender Studies
______

Undergrad (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Subject Cancelled Subject Cancelled
______
Covers topics not included in regular curriculum; taught in seminar format. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor.
Staff

WGS.S20 Special Subject in Women's and Gender Studies
______

Undergrad (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Covers topics not included in regular curriculum; taught in seminar format. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor.
Staff

WGS.S30 Special Subject in Women's and Gender Studies
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Subject Cancelled Subject Cancelled
______
Covers topics not included in regular curriculum; taught in seminar format. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor.
Staff

Subjects Offered by Other Programs

Each of the following may be taken for credit as a Women?s and Gender Studies (WGS) subject when its content meets WGS criteria. The full description of each subject appears with its designated Course listing. For more information, contact the program office, 14E-316, 617-253-8844, wgs@mit.edu.

21L.430 Popular Culture and Narrative
21L.460 Medieval Literature
21L.512 American Authors
21L.701 Literary Methods
21L.702 Studies in Fiction
21L.704 Studies in Poetry
21L.705 Major Authors
21L.707 Problems in Cultural Interpretation
21L.715 Media in Cultural Context
21W.745 Advanced Essay Workshop

Graduate Subjects

WGS.600 Workshop for Dissertation Writers in Women's and Gender Studies
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring)
Prereq: Must apply to the Graduate Consortium in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule
______
Addresses the main challenges faced by dissertation writers: isolation, writing schedules, and cogent arguments. Opportunity for members to exchange ideas and experiences, learn general principles of academic argument, and receive feedback. Open to graduate students in all phases of dissertation writing. Meets bi-weekly, spans Fall and Spring terms. Limited to 10.
M. Robinson
No textbook information available

WGS.605 WGS Graduate Independent Study
______

Graduate (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Individual supervised work for graduate students who wish to study topics not covered in the regular Women's and Gender Studies offerings. Before registering for this subject, students must plan a course of study with a member of the Women's and Gender Studies faculty and secure the Director's approval. Normal maximum is 6 units; exceptional 9-unit projects occasionally approved.
Staff

WGS.610 Special Topics in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality Studies
______

Graduate (Fall, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Must apply to the Graduate Consortium in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: R EVE (4-7 PM) (5-233)
______
Syllabi vary depending on instructors. Limited to 10.
Fall: M. Robinson
Summer: Information: Graduate Consortium in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
No textbook information available

WGS.615 Feminist Inquiry: Strategies for Effective Scholarship
______

Graduate (Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Must apply to the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
Units: 3-0-9
______
Investigates theories and practices of feminist inquiry across a range of disciplines. Feminist research involves rethinking disciplinary assumptions and methodologies, developing new understandings of what counts as knowledge, seeking alternative ways of understanding the origins of problems/issues, formulating new ways of asking questions and redefining the relationship between subjects and objects of study. Focus on methodology, i.e., the theory and analysis of how research should proceed. Special attention to epistemological issues--pre-suppositions about the nature of knowledge. What makes research distinctively feminist lies in the complex connections between epistemologies, methodologies and research methods. Explore how these connections are formed in the traditional disciplines and raise questions about why they are inadequate and/or problematic for feminist inquiry and what, specifically, are the feminist critiques of these intersections.
Staff
No textbook information available

WGS.640 Studies in Women's Life Narratives
______

Graduate (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Must apply to the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
Units: 3-0-9
______
Close examination of women's life narratives. Topics vary from term to term. Limited to 10.
Staff

WGS.645 Topics in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality Studies
______

Graduate (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Application to the Graduate Consortium in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Units: 3-0-9
______
An examination of various topics in gender, culture, women, and sexuality studies. Syllabi vary depending on instructors.
Staff

WGS.680 The Economic History of Work and the Family
______

Graduate (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the changing map of the public and the private in pre-industrial and modern societies and examines how that map affected men's and women's production and consumption of goods and leisure. The reproductive strategies of women, either in conjunction with or in opposition to their families, is another major theme. Subject asks how an ideal of the "domestic" arose in the early modern west, and to what extent did it limit the economic position of women; and how has that idea been challenged, and with what success in the post-industrial period. Focuses on western Europe since the Middle Ages and on the United States, but also examines how these issues have played themselves out in non-Western cultures. Graduate students are expected to pursue the subject in greater depth through reading and individual research.
Staff

WGS.700 Feminist and Queer Theories
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring)
Prereq: Must apply to the Graduate Consortium in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W EVE (6-9 PM) (1-277)
______
An interdisciplinary seminar aiming to familiarize students with the core texts and key debates that have shaped feminist and queer theories. Syllabi vary depending on instructors.
M. Robinson
No textbook information available


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