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GNDR 201 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies

This course provides an introduction to gender and women's studies, an interdisciplinary field that critically analyzes themes of gender and power in a range of social spheres such as education, government, law, culture, work, medicine and the family. The course will explore the complex ways in which gender interacts with class, race, ethnicity, sexuality and age within these spheres and social institutions. The class addresses questions such as the following: Why has gender been an organizing principle of society? How do different expectations for men and women emerge in different societies and historical periods? How do race and sexuality influence and differently shape our experiences of gender? How do we explain the sexual division of labor and the unequal status of women? Close attention will be paid to the connection between social structure and human agency: how are people's lived experiences both shaped and limited by social forces, and how is experience reshaped or reproduced through human action? This course sometimes includes service-learning components.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective December 16, 2009 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • To become familiar with research, ideas, and theories that are central to the field of gender and women's studies.
  • To understand how gender intersects with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability and other forms of difference.
  • To understand how individual experiences of gender interact with a variety of social institutions, including the family, education, and the workplace.
  • To communicate effectively about gender issues in both writing and speech, drawing upon scholarship and research.
  • To understand how systems of power have historically marginalized women, and how women have been empowered to develop voice and community in resisting this marginalization.
  • To understand how the lens of gender can be used to critically analyze, evaluate, and explore human experience.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies McCartan, Laura J Books for GNDR-201-50 Spring 2024 Course details for GNDR-201-50 Spring 2024

Fall 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies McCartan, Laura J Books for GNDR-201-50 Fall 2024 Course details for GNDR-201-50 Fall 2024