Course Introduction – Thinking from Women’s Lives: An Introductionto Women’s Studies (WMST 266)

Course Introduction – Thinking from Women’s Lives: An Introductionto Women’s Studies (WMST 266)

Feminism is dynamic and about change, about a reorganization of power, confronting stereotypes and challenging the status quo.

In WMST 266, explains course tutor Dr. Arlene Young, ?Students learn how women have been excluded, or written out, of almost every human activity and learn possibly for the first time about many of the contributions women have made.?

Often, students may enter the course with the idea that feminists are misandrists. Contrary to this belief, Dr. Young states, feminism is more ?than the media tends to portray, and working toward social equity for the genders remains important in Canada and around the world.?

Thinking from Women’s Lives: An Introduction to Women’s Studies (WMST 266) is offered through AU’s Centre for Work and Community Studies, a collection of varying humanities and social science disciplines.

This 3-credit junior-level course is required for students enroled in the University Certificate in Counselling Women, BA Women’s Studies Concentration, and the Women’s Studies Major.

Dr. Young began tutoring the course five years ago and explains that she enjoys the course because she and her students learn a great deal. She explains that ?I learn about women’s and men’s visions for society and their own lives. I also learn about some of their accomplishments, their struggles, and the context of their lives. My understanding grows richer because of them.?

Dr. Young provides timely assistance and advice to students as they tackle complex theoretical topics and vocabulary. Course textbooks include Introducing Women’s Studies and Canadian Woman Studies: An Introductory Reader.

The topics that are introduced and examined by students include feminist theory and research methodology, sexuality, the representation of women in literature, and the media and popular culture.

Other topics include the discourse of violence, power, and social inequity between genders. As scholar Gloria Steinem argues, ?Feminism is, of course, simply the belief in the full social-political equality of human beings, which means that men can be feminists, too.? Supporting social justice and equity is a vision that feminists, and hopefully students of this course, believe is espoused by both women and men.

The course is organized into two major sections. In part one, students learn about women by critically examining the discourse surrounding important issues to women (e.g., sexuality, social inequality, violence and male power) through six units. Moreover, the readings present background information on these topics and place debated topics for discussion.

In part two, students take a closer look at the social construction of gender. There are 11 units in total, and for each unit, students are presented with learning objectives, readings, questions, and a list of recommended readings to supplement their learning.

The course evaluation is composed of two oral quizzes (5% respectively), a short essay test (20%), a research project (35%), and a final essay (35%). The quizzes are based on the readings and enhance the students? understanding of the material and can be helpful in writing the research paper. The course also offers a glossary, a resource that can help with the readings as they present debates regarding this complex topic.

For more information on WMST 266, visit the course homepage here.