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Women's Studies Courses

Women's Studies is a diverse and interdisciplinary program which links feminist theoretical and methodological foundations with cutting-edge developments in the broad fields of gender, feminist, and queer studies. The program brings to light contemporary and historical critical issues centered on women and/or gender and/or feminism through the courses offered below.

The table gives an overview of all 2015-2016 courses. It is followed by more detailed course descriptions.

Course Number Course Title Instructor
Fall 2015    
WMST 200 Introduction to Women's Studies  
WMST 301 Women's Studies Current Topics 1  
WMST 461 Independent Reading and Research 1  
Winter 2016    

WMST 302

Women's Studies Current Topics 2  

WMST 303

Feminist Theory and Research  

WMST 401

Women's Studies Special Topics 1  
WMST 402 Women's Studies Special Topics 2  
WMST 462 Independent Reading and Research 2  
Fall 2015/Winter 2016/Summer 2016  
WMST 494 Internship in Women's Studies  
Spanned: Fall 2015 & Winter 2016  
WMST 495 D1/D2 Honours/Joint Honours Colloquium  
WMST 497 D1/D2 Honours/Joint Honours Thesis  

You can click on the title of each course to reveal information from the McGill University ecalendar, including a short description, the term offered, and the name of the professor or lecturer. Additional information about each course, including a more detailed description, the location, and the schedule for the term, can be found by clicking the Course Description button. Please note that students may take the WMST Special/Current Topics courses more than once, providing that the topic has changed.

Description of all Women's Studies Courses

WMST 200 Intro to Women's Studies 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Course Description

This course introduces students to theoretical positions and topical issues in the broad, interdisciplinary field of Women’s Studies, primarily within a Canadian context. This course aims to demonstrate how “women” is applied as a social and political category imbued with certain, yet contested meanings depending on place and time, and cannot usefully be considered a self-evident effect of biology. Students are introduced to a variety of analytical tools and topical intersections that will encourage them to challenge seemingly natural and obvious truth claims regarding the meanings of gender, sex, sexuality, and feminism in contemporary societies. Course themes include: activisms; violence; the body; and sexuality. Students will have opportunities to engage with course themes through academic, activist, and creative approaches.
Prerequisite: N/A

WMST 301 Women's St Current Topics 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Topic for Fall 2015: TBD
Prerequisite: WMST 200

Course Description (2014-2015)

This course engages with contemporary feminist debates concerning sex, gender, and sexuality in the context of intricately connected, transnational social worlds.  Transnationalism is often framed as a relatively ‘new’ phenomenon in human history, one that has only recently emerged as a result of globalization and the increasing movements of people, animals, goods, and services across national borders since the 1990s.  Such large-scale movements are commonly theorized in terms of political economy – that is, as ‘flows’ and ‘circulations’ driven by capitalist logics and framed as potential security problems to be governed by nation-state institutions, supranational organizations, and non-governmental organizations alike.  Yet, feminist scholarship reveals that those aspects of life that we typically understand as most ‘intimate’ or ‘private’ – our bodies, feelings, and desires – have been/are profoundly shaped through long and entangled transnational histories and geographies of power.  Drawing on transnational and decolonizing feminist epistemologies, this course analyzes the affective dimensions of contemporary configurations of power, (im)mobility and belonging, paying particular attention to the construction, securitization and subversion of borders. Through a series of topics including citizenship, indigeneity, and belonging; migration and global (im)mobilities; sex work, travel and reproductive tourism; transnational adoption; and global political economies of care work, we will explore the central question of the course: What are the relationships between intimacy, love, and transnational social processes?

WMST 302 Women's St Current Topics 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Topic for Winter 2016: TBD

Restriction: Open only to Women's Studies students.
Prerequisite: WMST 200

Course Description

Coming Soon.

WMST 303 Feminist Theory and Research 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Open only to Women's Studies students.

Course Description

What does it mean to "do" feminist research? What is "research" anyway? What makes research "feminist"? Moreover, what is the relationship of research and knowledge production to power relations and social transformation? This course explores these questions and more, with a focus on links between feminist epistemology and methods of inquiry. The first part of the course introduces students to some of the broad theoretical debates around feminist research and the politics of knowledge production. We then move into a partial survey of qualitative methods, including archival research, oral history, qualitative interviews, ethnography, and participatory action research. Throughout the course, we will consider the role of interpretation, narration, and representation in the politics of doing feminist research and producing intersectional feminist knowledge. We will be especially attentive to how feminist researchers develop strategies to ethically navigate power relations as embodied subjects. Students will have an opportunity to explore feminist methodology and the question of methods in relation to a dream feminist project of their choice.
Prerequisite: WMST 200

WMST 401 Women's St Special Topics 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Topics for Winter 2016: TBD
Restriction: Open only to Women's Studies students.
Prerequisite: WMST 200

Course Description (2014-2015)

The ‘problem’ of prostitution — specifically the public/visible presence of women providing sexual services to men for money — has long preoccupied western society. Numerous, and shifting, presumptions regarding sexuality, gender roles, choice and public space have attracted disproportionate attention to the women involved in prostitution.  The Canadian government’s recent revision of legislation as regards sex work has illustrated how ideology frames both our understanding of prostitution and how we chose to address it. This course allows students to consider how the construction of ‘prostitute’ as category or symbol has shaped public opinion and patterns of law enforcement. This course does not seek to explain or judge prostitution, but instead, considers the phenomenon of prostitution’s construction as a case study on how stigma is developed and maintained.

WMST 402 Women's St Special Topics 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Topic for Winter 2016: TBD
Restriction: Open only to Women's Studies students.
Prerequisite: WMST 200

Course Description (2014-2015)

This course develops a partial genealogy of the burgeoning academic field of Trans Studies through a focus on the quotidian tensions between feminist, queer, and trans theory and activism. The course opens with the infamous debates between some lesbian and radical feminists and trans scholars, activists, and artists around femininity and authentic womanhood beginning in the late 1970s. From there, we move into the "border wars" between queer and trans scholars that unfolded around the question of masculinity in the late 1990s. We then turn our focus to contemporary activism and scholarship that might be described as distinctively "trans*feminist." This part of the course explores trans*feminist approaches to anti-Black racism, decolonizing/indigenous/two-spirit activism, prisons, shelters, and sex work. In conclusion, we reflect upon the recent institutionalization of Trans Studies to (re)consider the resonances in political investment that run across feminist, queer, and trans-studies despite the points of contention that have generated such rich possibilities for field development within the context of the neoliberal(ized) university.

WMST 461 Independent Reading&Research 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Open only to Majors, Honours and Joint Honours students in Women's Studies. Advisor approval required.
Prerequisite: WMST 303

Course Description

This is a 3-credit advanced reading course and independent research project under the supervision of an instructor on aspects of Women's Studies.

  • The course is supervised by an individual faculty member at McGill Univeristy, with the prior approval of the Chair of the WSAC or the Administrative and Student Affairs Coordinator. The student must provide a clear and concise rationale for taking an independent reading course. The tutorial cannot overlap in theoretical, substantive, or empirical content with any existing courses.
  • It is the student's responsibility to identify and approach a faculty member whose expertise is in the area of the proposed tutorial and who is willing to oversee the student learning in the tutorial. Students should find a faculty member for a tutorial during the year before they plan to take the tutorial.
  • The student and faculty member supervising the tutorial must complete a WMST Tutorial Form before the end of the add/drop period of the pertinent term. Upon approval by WSAC or its delegate representative, the student will be given official permission by the Administrative and Student Affairs Coordinator to register for the course and a copy of the Tutorial Form will be placed in the student's Women's Studies Program file.
  • Note: If a tutorial entails research involving human subjects (e.g., interviews, participant observation, surveys, etc.), ethical approval must be secured through the appropriate Research Ethics Board prior to undertaking the research.

WMST 462 Independent Reading&Research 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Open only to Majors, Honours and Joint Honours students in Women's Studies. Advisor approval required.
Prerequisite: WMST 303

Course Description

This is a 3-credit advanced reading course and independent research project under the supervision of an instructor on aspects of Women's Studies.

  • The course is supervised by an individual faculty member at McGill Univeristy, with the prior approval of the Chair of the WSAC or the Administrative and Student Affairs Coordinator. The student must provide a clear and concise rationale for taking an independent reading course. The tutorial cannot overlap in theoretical, substantive, or empirical content with any existing courses.
  • It is the student's responsibility to identify and approach a faculty member whose expertise is in the area of the proposed tutorial and who is willing to oversee the student learning in the tutorial. Students should find a faculty member for a tutorial during the year before they plan to take the tutorial.
  • The student and faculty member supervising the tutorial must complete a WMST Tutorial Form before the end of the add/drop period of the pertinent term. Upon approval by WSAC or its delegate representative, the student will be given official permission by the Administrative and Student Affairs Coordinator to register for the course and a copy of the Tutorial Form will be placed in the student's Women's Studies Program file.
  • Note: If a tutorial entails research involving human subjects (e.g., interviews, participant observation, surveys, etc.), ethical approval must be secured through the appropriate Research Ethics Board prior to undertaking the research.

WMST 494 Internship: Women's Studies 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Enrollment is limited to U2 and U3 students who have completed 30 credits of a 90 credit program or 45 credits of a 96-120 credit program; permission of the IGSF Administrative and Student Affairs Coordinator required. More information on the Internships page.

WMST 495D1 Honours/Joint Hons. Colloquium 1.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Open only to Honours/Joint Honours students in Women's Studies. No credit will be given for this course unless both WMST 495D1 and WMST 495D2 are successfully completed in consecutive terms.
Prerequisite: WMST 303. Corequisite: WMST 497D1.

Course Description

This course provides a structured environment to support students writing an undergraduate Honours Thesis in Women's Studies. The course includes very practical support for the mechanics of writing - that is, guidance in the development of your thesis topic and central research qeustions; the production of a viable thesis proposal and detailed chapter outline; and the completion of a full draft of your thesis by the end of the winter term. At the same time, this course functions as an inquiry into the processes of academic writing and interdisciplinary feminist scholarship within and beyond the university context. Through participation in seminars and other events offered by IGSF, students will develop a more nuanced understanding of the stakes and challenges of feminist research in the interdisciplinary context of women's and gender studies.

WMST 495D2 Honours/Joint Hons. Colloquium 1.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Open only to Honours/Joint Honours students in Women's Studies. No credit will be given for this course unless both WMST 495D1 and WMST 495D2 are successfully completed in consecutive terms.
Prerequisite: WMST 495D1. Corequisite: WMST 497D2.

Course Description

This course provides a structured environment to support students writing an undergraduate Honours Thesis in Women's Studies. The course includes very practical support for the mechanics of writing - that is, guidance in the development of your thesis topic and central research qeustions; the production of a viable thesis proposal and detailed chapter outline; and the completion of a full draft of your thesis by the end of the winter term. At the same time, this course functions as an inquiry into the processes of academic writing and interdisciplinary feminist scholarship within and beyond the university context. Through participation in seminars and other events offered by IGSF, students will develop a more nuanced understanding of the stakes and challenges of feminist research in the interdisciplinary context of women's and gender studies.

WMST 497D1 Joint Honours Thesis 1.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Open only to Honours/Joint Honours students in Women’s Studies. No credit will be given for this course unless both WMST 497D1 and WMST 497D2 are successfully completed in consecutive terms.
Prerequisite: WMST 303. Corequisite: WMST 495D1.

Course Description

Supervised reading and preparation of an Honours or Joint Honours Thesis under the direction of a faculty member. See the Honours and Joint Honours Thesis Requirements for more information.

WMST 497D2 Joint Honours Thesis 1.5 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Restriction: Open only to Honours/Joint Honours students in Women’s Studies. No credit will be given for this course unless both WMST 497D1 and WMST 497D2 are successfully completed in consecutive terms.
Prerequisite: WMST 497D1. Corequisite: WMST 495D2.

Course Description

Supervised reading and preparation of an Honours or Joint Honours Thesis under the direction of a faculty member. See the Honours and Joint Honours Thesis Requirements for more information.


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