Gender and STEM Studies Immersion

Overview for Gender and STEM Studies Immersion

The gender and STEM studies immersion is an interdisciplinary set of courses that enable you to investigate, analyze, and critically question a range of issues at the crossing of gender (in its intersection with sexuality, race, class, and ethnicity) with the STEM fields. 

By engaging cultural texts and productions from both historical and contemporary perspectives, you will analyze how gendered notions inform the content and context of the science, technology, and engineering fields. You will become skilled in:

  • appraising how gendered assumptions relate to research methods, project designs, and practical applications in STEM fields;
  • testing how a focus on gender might work to transform, enhance, and possibly innovatively (re)imagine scientific knowledge production as well as technology and engineering designs and applications; and
  • prepare to address the challenges of enhancing gender diversity, participation, and fairness in the STEM professions and environments.

The plan code for Gender and STEM Studies Immersion is GSTEM-IM.

Curriculum for 2023-2024 for Gender and STEM Studies Immersion

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Required Course
Choose one of the following:
 Nature, Sex, and Gender
In this course, students will explore ways in which scientific knowledge about nonhumans and the natural world has been shaped by human ideas about sex, gender, and heteronormativity. They will learn about the changing perspectives on sex and gender in the natural sciences through readings and multimedia and investigate how gender and sexuality have been studied in biological and natural sciences past and present. Additionally, readings and media will explore the intersection of sex and gender in the environment with related social issues, such as racism, ableism, and colonialism. The course will also examine how scientific, science studies, and gender studies scholars are developing and using new approaches, such as queer ecologies and feminist biology, to critique and change how science is practiced with respect to assumptions and inferences about sex and gender. Lecture 3 (Spring).
 History of Women in Science and Engineering
Using biographical and social-historical approaches, this course examines the history of women's involvement in science and engineering since the birth of modern science in the seventeenth century; the historical roots of gender bias in the Western scientific enterprise; and the influx of women into science and engineering since the mid-to-late 20th century. Cross-listed with women's and gender studies. Lecture 3 (Spring).
 Women, Gender, and Computing
Popular attention often focuses on a few prominent women in computing history, such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and the ENIAC programmers. But many more women were part of this history: as inventors, programmers, operators, and users of information and communication technologies. Investigating their legacies, we will discuss in this course how computing turned into an increasingly masculine field, what it meant for women and men to work in a male-dominated field, how the gendering of computing technologies and algorithms affected the identities and lives of their users, and how gender intersected online and offline with other dimensions of diversity, such as class, race, and ability. This course provides the theoretical concepts and historical overview that allow for a historically informed discussion of women, gender, sexuality, and computing today. Seminar 3 (Spring).
 Gender, Science, and Technology
This course explores the importance of gender within Western science and technology. It considers how masculine and feminine identities are socially and culturally shaped, how sex and gender are being significantly transformed, and how rethinking gendered practices may help make science and technology fairer and more responsive. Cross-listed with women's and gender studies. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Choose two of the following:
 Gender and Health
This course examines connections between gender and health that are both conceptual and empirical. Students will explore the causes of gender-based differences in health outcomes through case studies of sexual and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS epidemics and violence. Students will also examine global gender and health trends. The course concludes with an examination of gender inequity in health care and policy implications of these inequities. Lecture 3 (Annual).
 Foundations Of Women And Gender Studies*
Women’s and Gender Studies is the academic manifestation of feminism. This interdisciplinary course interrogates the social constructions, political systems, and historical rhetorics that have produced and maintain hegemonic power structures. In this course you will examine key feminist, queer, and critical race writings and discourses, study the rise of feminist thought, and consider the history of women’s activism and the women’s rights movements from Suffrage to the present day. The course will also consider the application of feminist theory made visible through the rise of new and intersectional social identity movements. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Feminist Practices of Inquiry*
This course aims at introducing students to the diverse ways in which feminist and gender studies practitioners (scholars, writers, artists, and activists) have critically analyzed, challenged, and creatively reinvented predominant methods, models, and practices of knowledge production in various areas of the natural and social sciences, the medical arts, the humanities, and the visual and performing arts. Questions to be considered include: What constitutes feminist practices of inquiry? How do feminist research practices approach issues of objectivity and subjectivity? How does one formulate a feminist question? What key questions guide feminist researchers and how can we apply those questions to a variety of research topics? How do feminist practices of inquiry intersect with race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexualities, identity-formation processes, (dis)abilities, age? How do feminist research practices produce transformations, emancipation, and increased fairness of representation? Lecture 3 (Spring).
 Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies*
This introductory course examines a broad range of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues within the historical, psychological, racial, theological, cultural, and legal contexts in which we live. Students will learn the historical and theoretical foundations of LGBTQ+ studies as well as the contemporary implications for family, work, religion, and law for LGBTQ+ people and the mainstream society. Students will have the opportunity to compare the regulation of sexual orientation across different gender, racial, and socioeconomic communities. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Communication, Gender, and Media
This course examines the relationship between gender and media communication with specific attention to how gender affects choices in mass media and social media practices. Students explore how gender, sexual orientation, sexuality and social roles, affect media coverage, portrayals, production and reception. They consider issues of authorship, spectatorship (audience), and the ways in which various media content (film, television, print journalism, advertising, social media) enables, facilitates, and challenges these social constructions in society. The course covers communication theories and scholarship as it applies to gender and media, methods of media analysis, and topics of current interest. Lecture 3 (Biannual).
 Collaborative Learning Seminar in WGSS�
This small-group, discussion-oriented, intensive-writing seminar examines some area of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (chosen by the instructor, announced in the course subtitle, and developed in the syllabus). The seminar is based on collaborative learning, discussions, and various forms of formal and informal writing understood as an integral part of the critical exploration of WGSS-related topics. (Prerequisites: Must have completed at least 2 WGST courses (core or co-listed) or equivalent courses.) Seminar 3 (Spring).
 Gender and Health
This course examines connections between gender and health that are both conceptual and empirical. Students will explore the causes of gender-based differences in health outcomes through case studies of sexual and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS epidemics and violence. Students will also examine global gender and health trends. The course concludes with an examination of gender inequity in health care and policy implications of these inequities. Lecture 3 (Annual).
 CyberActivism: Diversity, Sex, and the Internet
Sociologists look to cyberspace to test theories of technology diffusion and media effects on society. This course explores the Internet’s impact on communities, political participation, cultural democracy, and diversity. How have digital technologies and electronic information flows shaped or diminished inequalities of gender, sex, and race? For instance: new electronic technologies have pushed the cultural and physical boundaries of how we have sex; with whom we have sex; and with what we have sex and/or have observed having sex, such as sex toys and avatars. The sociological implications of this new technology depend on economic, legal, and policy decisions that are shaping the Internet as it becomes institutionalized. The course analyzes such new forms of cyber-democracy with a focus on issues of gender, sex, and race. Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).

* Only one course may be chosen between WGST-200, WGST-205, and WGST-210.

† When relevant to STEM studies.