Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies

WGS / AC 240

Professor Allison Alexy and the teaching team
Office: 2128 Lane Hall
Prof. Alexy's Office hours: Mondays, 3:30-5:30pm. Please sign up for appointments here.

This course examines how gender, gendered identities, and gender norms are represented, experienced, and contested in various cultural contexts. A fundamental premise for the course is that it is impossible to think of "gender" without broad attention to how power and difference are constructed in any given society. Thus, in our explorations, we will investigate how social difference is constructed through masculinity and femininity, as well as other intersecting characteristics such as race, class, ability, and sexual orientation. Throughout the course, we will employ analytical lenses from many disciplines to question the work that gender does, and how it shapes people's lives – in short, what we can do with gender, and what can be done to us. We will focus on topics including families, marriage, colonialism, activism, bodies, intimacy and romance, sex work, capitalism, neoliberalism, violence, and law. This course has no prerequisites and includes opportunities for students to explore their own interests in course assignments. This course fulfills the Race & Ethnicity requirement.

Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 2 to 2:50pm via zoom (see Canvas for details)
Discussion Sections: Meeting in person as scheduled.

All images on this website are examples of intersectional feminist art. The image on this page is an installation of posters created by Dignidad Rebele. You can explore more of their amazing work on their website or instagram @jesusvbarraza and @melaniecervantes.

The University of Michigan began with a land grant from the Anishinaabeg (including Odawa, Ojibwe, and Boodewadomi) and Wyandot. Our university stands, like almost all property in the United States, on lands stolen from Indigenous people and communities. For a brief overview of this history, please explore here. If you'd like to think beyond Ann Arbor, please explore the Native Land mapping project.