Spring 2022


WGS 2100 Intro to Gender & Sexuality Studies

Bonnie Hagerman

An introduction to gender and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) studies, including the fields of women’s studies, feminist studies, & masculinity studies. Students will examine historical movements, theoretical issues, & contemporary debates, especially as they pertain to issues of inequality & to the intersection of gender, race, class, sexuality, & nationalism. Emphasis will vary according to the interdisciplinary expertise & research focus of the instructor.

Special Note: Required for all WGS majors and minors, Intro courses do not count toward concentrations.

WGS 2559 New Course in Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Lily van Diepen

Topic: Race and Power in Gender and Sexuality

This course offers a study of race and racialization in relation to gender and sexuality. We will consider how the concept of race shapes relationships between gendered selfhood and society, how it informs identity and experiences of the erotic, and how racialized gender and sexuality are created, maintained, and monitored. Applying an interdisciplinary perspective, we will consider how race and and power are reproduced and resisted through gender.

WGS 2600 Human Sexualities

Lisa Speidel

Examines human sexuality from psychological, biological, behavioral, social, and historical perspectives. Topics include sexual research and theoretical perspectives, sexual anatomy and physiology, sexual health, intimacy, communication, patterns of sexual response and pleasure and sexual problems and therapies. Course will also include examination of the development of sexuality and the intersections of other identities, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexuality and the law, sexual assault, and other social issues in sexuality. This course will focus on creating a safe environment for honest and authentic conversations about the issues.  Confidentiality and respect will be emphasized to create a community of trust. Students will learn about these issues of sexuality through discussion, experiential activities, film, readings, research, reflective writing and guest speakers.

Course Category: Sexuality Concentration

WGS 3105 Issues in LGBTQ Studies

Matthew Chin

This course is an interdisciplinary analysis of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) Studies.  We will study  historical events and political, literary, and artistic figures and works; contemporary social and political issues; the meaning and development of sexual and gender identities; and different disciplinary definitions of meaning and knowledge.

Course Category: Sexuality Concentration

WGS 3240 Gender, Race, and Sport: a History of African American Sportswoman

Bonnie Hagerman

Course Category: Gender Concentration

This course seeks to explore the intersection of gender and race in sport, specifically examining the African-American female experience in sport. This course will ask students to consider whether sport was (and continues to be) the great equalizer for both African-American sportsmen and sportswomen, and to evaluate their portrayals (or lack thereof) in both the white and black media. We’ll consider athletic greats Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson, as well as lesser known athletes Jack Johnson and Ora Mae Washington—why are some athletes destined to be celebrated while others are forgotten? We will also explore the activism of Muhammad Ali and Venus Williams, and the gendered differences of their campaigns, as well as the importance of sport as a platform for voicing inequality as we look not only at breaking color barriers during Jim Crow America, but “The Black Power Salute” of the 1960s, and taking a knee—and a stand—in 2016. Through primary source readings, documentaries and discussion we’ll seek to put the African-American sporting experience in context to see just how far athletes of color have actually come in the American sporting arena.

WGS 3340 Transnational Feminism

Domale Keys

This course places women, feminism, and activism in a transnational perspective, and offers students the opportunity to examine how issues considered critical to the field of gender studies are impacting women’s lives globally in contemporary national contexts. We will look closely at how violence, economic marginality, intersections of race and gender, and varied strategies for development are affecting women in specific geographical locations. 

Course Category: Gender Concentration, Global Requirement

WGS 3409 LGBTQ Issues in the Media

Andre Cavalcante

This course will explore the complex cultural dynamics of LGBTQ media visibility, along with its social, political, and psychological implications for LGBTQ audiences.  It explores four domains:  (1) the question of LGBT media visibility (2) the complex processes of inclusion, normalization, and assimilation in popular culture (3) media industries and the LGBT market (4) the relationship between digital media, LGBT audiences, and everyday life.

Course Category: Sexuality Concentration

WGS 3500 Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Karen Myers

Topic: Women in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Nota Bene: This is a combined section class.

This course will focus on Women's roles and lives in Ancient Greece and Rome. Students will be introduced to the primary material on women and gender in antiquity and to current debates about it.  We will examine the Cultural Identity or Ideal constructed for women and men in Ancient literature in comparison with the historical evidence and analyze how the cultural categories of male and female were delineated and deployed in various social, political, and literary contexts.

WGS 3559 Topics in Gender & Sexuality Studies

Pleasure Activism Across Time

Lisa Spiedel

The history of white supremacy & the heteropatriarchy includes denying sexual pleasure of marginalized communities. A major benefit of pleasure is empowerment, which threatens power structures & leads to restrictive practices & laws. This course focuses on queer activists & feminists of color who examine pleasure, systemic oppression, & the connection of inner desires & needs -physical, mental, & emotional -as a part of enacting social change.


Reproductive Justice

Brittany Leach

This course will examine reproductive health and politics domestically and globally, primarily from a reproductive justice perspective that views reproductive rights broadly and in connection with other issues of social justice (such as racism, colonialism, economic and environmental injustice, etc). Specific topics include birth control, population control, abortion, sterilization abuse, eugenics, miscarriage, birth, and reproductive technology.

Course Category: Gender Concentration


Feminism, Capitalism, and Alternatives

Brittany Leach

This course will examine feminist perspectives on economic issues and systems in theory and practice. Theoretical traditions will include feminist strands of welfare-state liberalism, neoliberalism, Marxism, social democracy/democratic socialism, post-colonialism, and anarchism. Topics will include work/life balance, the global economy, the commons, social reproduction, alternative economies, and feminist futures.

WGS 3612 Gender and Sexuality in the US, 1865 to Present

Bonnie Hagerman

Note: this is a combined section class

This course will explore the significance of gender and sexuality in the United States from the Civil War to the present. We will ask, on the one hand, how people’s ideas about manhood, womanhood, and sexuality structured society and, on the other, how social relations defined what it meant to be a man or a woman. Readings and discussion will focus on three particular areas of inquiry: the rights and obligations of citizenship; the value and division of labor; and sexual beliefs, practices, and identities.

WGS 3800 Queer Theory

Doug Meyer

This course introduces students to some of the key and some of the controversial theoretical texts that make up the emerging field of queer theory.  We will consider the beginnings of queer theory and also look at more recent work in fields such as queer gothic and phenomenology. The approach of the course will be interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on literary and aesthetic criticisms that may shift according the instructor's areas of expertise. The goal of the course is to develop critical practice by working through a variety of perspectives, not only across academic disciplines but also across cultures. Insofar as queer theory reads for the often unseen, or submerged, reality embedded in cultural texts, contexts, and literatures, we will engage conscious critical practice in the class: active reading and informed discussion. As of Fall 2015: This course fulfils the Second Writing Requirement

Special Note: Queer or Feminist Theory is required for all WGS majors/minors.

Course Category: Sexuality Concentration

WGS 3810 Feminist Theory

Denise Walsh

This course provides an overview of the historical bases and contemporary developments in feminist theorizing and analyze a range of theories on gender, including liberal, Marxist, radical, difference, and postmodernist feminist theories. We will explore how feminist theories apply to contemporary debates on the body, sexuality, colonialism, globalization and transnationalism. Throughout the course we will incorporate analysis of race, class, and national differences as well as cross-cultural perspectives.

Special Note: This, or Queer Theory, required for all WGS majors and minors.

Course Category: Gender Concentration

WGS 4500 WGS Topics Course: Violence - Sexual Minorities

Doug Meyer

This course emphasizes violence against minority groups. Particular attention will be paid to violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, although the class will also focus on forms of abuse against other historically-marginalized groups. Topics covered will include racist and sexist violence, sexualized abuse, including rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, and the politics of hate crime. 

Course Category: Sexuality Concentration

WGS 4559 New Course in WGS

Global Men and Masculinities

Lisa Spiedel

This course examines central topics in global masculinity studies by expanding students’ awareness of non-US cultures. A panoramic view of masculinity from various countries, cultures and traditions enables further examination of beliefs in “manhood.” Themes will include the intersection between masculinity and colonization, nationalism, hegemony, fatherhood, marriage, initiation rituals, war/warriors, violence and health.


Campus Sexual Violence

Domale Keys

Through a black feminist lens, we will explore the colonial origins of sexual violence in the US and investigate the various ways it manifests in higher education and beyond. This includes examining the various representations of women in the U.S., especially black women, the role the carceral state plays in the issue, and ways Black woman combat misrepresentations of themselves through organizing against gender-based violence. 


Black Geographies

Kat Cosby

This course will interrogate Black geographies in the Americas and the ways in which traditional geographies adhere to a racial-sexual logic. Through an interdisciplinary approach, we will examine Black thinkers' and scholars’ concepts of geography and how their interventions allow us to think differently about place, space, and Blackness. Topics include maroon communities, abolition geography, plantation geographies, and demonic grounds.

WGS 7500 Island Intimacies

Matthew Chin

This interdisciplinary course explores the relationships among the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans through an investigation of how Chinese diaspora functions within and across different island formations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Focusing on Cuba, Hawaii, and Seychelles, it examines dynamics of connection and disconnection among Chinese diasporas across these different islands as well as the relationships of accommodation and conflict between the Chinese and the different ethno-racial groups within their host societies. This course uses intimacy as a framework and the methods of historiography and comparative racialization to map these relations across geographically and linguistically (Spanish, French, English) distinct sites. Ultimately, this course mobilizes the island intimacies of Chinese diaspora to make sense of the relationships among the racial orders of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Affiliated Courses   

AAS 2224 Black Femininities and Masculinities in the US Media

Lisa Shutt

This course, taught as a lower-level seminar, will address the role the media has played in creating images and understandings of 'Blackness' in the United States, particularly where it converges with popular ideologies about gender.


CLAS 3040 Women and Gender in Ancient Greece and Rome

Karen Myers

This course focuses on women's roles and lives in Ancient Greece and Rome. Students are introduced to the primary material (textual and material) on women in antiquity and to current debates about it. Subjects addressed will include sexual stereotypes and ideals, power-relations of gender, familial roles, social and economic status, social and political history, visual art, medical theory, and religion. For more details on this class, please visit the department website at http://www.virginia.edu/classics/.


HIUS 3612 Gender and Sexuality in America, 1865 to Present

Bonnie Hagerman

Studies the evolution of women's roles in American society with particular attention to the experiences of women of different races, classes, and ethnic groups.


JPTR 3020 Survey of Modern Japanese Literature

Anri Yasuda

This is an introductory course to Japanese literary traditions from the late 19th century to the present. By reading a broad range of writings including political accounts, fictional narratives and poetic prose, the course examines how a variety of writing practices contributed to the production of modern Japanese literature. No knowledge of Japanese is required.


JPTR 5020 Survey of Modern Japanese Literature

Anri Yasuda

This is an introductory course to Japanese literary traditions from the late 19th century to the present. By reading a broad range of writings including political accounts, fictional narratives and poetic prose, the course examines how a variety of writing practices contributed to the production of modern Japanese literature. No knowledge of Japanese is required.


RELJ 2030 Judaism, Roots, and Rebellion

Elizabeth Alexander

What does it mean to construct one's identity in dialogue with ancient texts and traditions? Can the gap between ancient and contemporary be bridged? Or must texts and traditions born of a remote time and place remain hopelessly irrelevant to contemporary life? This course explores these questions by examining the myriad ways that contemporary Jews balance the complexities of modern life with the demands of an ancient heritage.


RELJ 3390 Jewish Feminism

Vanessa Ochs

Jewish Feminism


SLFK 2120 Russian Folklore

Stanley Stepanic

What is folklore exactly? Further, what is it in the Russian context? This course is a thorough overview of different types of folklore throughout Russian history. We will cover a brief history of Russia from pre-Christian times and continue into a thorough analysis of various examples of Russian folklore. This will include narrative folklore (folktales, fairy tales, songs, etc.), material folklore (house structures and layout, clothing, etc.), and social folklore (weddings, funerals, etc.). Students will also be expected to investigate their own ethnic backgrounds through paper topics based on what is learned in the course.


SOC 2052 Sociology of the Family

William Wilcox

 Comparison of family organizations in relation to other social institutions in various societies; an introduction to the theory of kinship and marriage systems.


SOC 2320 Gender and Society

Elissa Zeno

Gender and Society


USEM 1580 Dream-Life

Julia Gutterman

Dreams, at once elusive and powerfully present, have puzzled and inspired generations of philosophers, psychologists, political thinkers, literary writers, and artists. 'Dream-Life' will explore the world of dreams in texts and films as diverse as Calderón de la Barca’s Life is a Dream (1635) or Charlotte Beradt’s documentation The Third Reich of Dreams. Students will document and reflect on their own dreams by keeping a dream journal.


USEM 1580 Around Grounds: Art, Arch, and History at UVA

Dylan Rogers

This seminar explores the histories of UVA, from its Monacan origins, the labor of enslaved people, its art and architecture, to issues impacting the local community today. We will use buildings, objects, archives, and people to tell stories that have been forgotten—or never told in the first place. Each class meeting will include in-class discussion paired with visits around Grounds and Charlottesville, to engage more fully with topics on-site.