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Women's Studies

Lynn Weber, Director

Lynn Weber, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1976, Director
Laura Woliver, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1986, Associate Director

Associate Professors
Wanda A. Hendricks, Ph.D., Purdue University, 1990, Graduate Director
DeAnne Messias, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco, 1997
Deborah Parra-Medina, Ph.D. University of California, San Diego/San Diego State University, 1998

Assistant Professors
Ann Ramsdell, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina, 1996
Ingrid Reneau, Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1999
Suzanne Swan, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Urbana, Champaign, 1997


The Women's Studies Program at the University of South Carolina promotes understanding of the diverse array of women's experiences through a complete program of teaching, research, and service to the University, the local community, the state, and the nation. Through its research mission, the program reconceptualizes knowledge, creates new knowledge, and reinterprets existing knowledge through the lens of gender and the prism of diversity. Its teaching mission is to share this knowledge with students so that they learn to think critically, to communicate effectively, to solve problems, and to interpret human experience. Emerging from an activist tradition, the program serves University, local, state, and national communities by acting as a resource and guide for issues related to women and gender. Our research, teaching, and service missions interweave as we create, share, and apply the knowledge, skills, and values that promote the full participation of women in society.

There are three introductory courses: WOST 111 Women in Culture, WOST 112 Women in Society, and WOST 113 Women and Their Bodies in Health and Disease. Students in the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the School of Music may apply WOST 111 to fulfill the humanities general education requirements and WOST 112 for social science general education requirements. WOST 111 and WOST 112 may be counted for elective credit in the Moore School of Business, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the College of Nursing. Students may minor in women's studies by completing 18 hours of specified courses (see below).

The minor in women's studies consists of at least 18 hours including WOST 111, WOST 112, and WOST 113. All other hours must be above the 100 level. No more than one independent study course will be approved. A student may pursue a cognate in women's studies with the academic advisor's approval.

A student may also pursue a major in the field through the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in women's studies (see degree requirements below). Further information may be obtained from the College of Liberal Arts or the Women's Studies Program.

Degree Requirements

(120 hours)

1. General Education Requirements

The following courses fulfill some of the General Education Requirements, must be completed for a major in women's studies, and should be taken in the first 45 hours: WOST 111 and 112. For an outline of other General Education Requirements, see "College of Liberal Arts."

2. Major Requirements

WOST or Approved Discipline-Based Courses
a. Bodies and health (3 hours): WOST 113
b. Power, difference, change (3 hours): WOST 304 {=SOCY 304}
c. Feminist praxis (3 hours): WOST 307 or 308.
d. Cross-cultural issues: non-U.S. or comparative (3 hours): For example, WOST 320, 358, or 555.
e. Practicum (3 hours: should be taken during final 45 hours): WOST 499 or a research project (coordinated by WOST advisor).
f. WOST or approved discipline-based courses (12 hours)

3. Cognate or Minor (12-18 hours) OR Second Major

See "College of Liberal Arts."
WOST students are encouraged to pursue a double major.

4. Electives (13-28 hours)

See "College of Liberal Arts."

Course Descriptions (WOST)

  • 111 -- Women in Culture. (3) A humanistic perspective of the images, roles, and contributions of women in historical, literary, religious, philosophical, and artistic contexts.
  • 112 -- Women in Society. (3) A social science perspective of women in psychological, sociological, historical, anthropological, economic, and political contexts; the changing roles, images, and institutions.
  • 113 -- Women and Their Bodies in Health and Disease. (3) Basic functioning of the female body; effects of society on processes of health and disease. Not for natural sciences credit.
  • 210 -- The Human Cycle in Different Cultures. {=ANTH 210} (3) Childhood, maturity, old age, and sex roles with emphasis on socialization within the family.
  • 300 -- Sociology of Sex Roles. {=SOCY 301} (3) Theories, methods, and substantive issues in a sociological approach to sex roles. Topics usually include sex role expectations and socialization in contemporary societies, sub cultural and social class variations, and stuctural and institutional factors.
  • 301 -- Psychology of Marriage. {=PSYC 301} (3) The psychological, physiological, and social characteristics of marriage.
  • 304 -- Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. {=POLI 305, =SOCY 304} (3) Historical and contemporary power relationships in race, social class, gender, and sexual orientation.
  • 305 -- Sociology of the Family. {=SOCY 305} (3) Sociological perspectives related to various aspects of family behaviors, roles, and values.
  • 306 -- Social Welfare Services for Women and Minorities. {=SOWK 305} (3) Social welfare services available to women and minorities and the forces that shape these services.
  • 307 -- Feminist Theory. {=POLI 307} (3) Historical development of feminist theory and contemporary debates within feminism.
  • 308 -- African-American Feminist Theory. {=AFRO 308{ (3) An interdisciplinary survey of the contributions of African-American women to feminist theory.
  • 310 -- Psychology of Women. {=PSYC 310} (3) Women's experiences: childhood and adolescence, work, family, cultural images, adjustment and social change.
  • 311 -- Minorities, Women, and the Mass Media. {=JOUR 311} (3) The study of the relationship among persons of color, women, and the mass media.
  • 320 -- Women in Greco-Roman Antiquity. {=CLAS 320} (3) Evidence for women's lives as transmitted in ancient literary, epigraphical, and other remains; roles of women in these societies; images of women in their literature; male attitudes toward women; women's writings.
  • 351 -- The Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective. {=ANTH 351} (3) Kinship, systems of descent, marriage, and domestic organization in different cultures. Variations in childrearing practices, sex roles, and other aspects of social relations in kin groups.
  • 352 -- Gender and Politics. {=POLI 352} (3) Impact of gender on the distribution of power in society; historic foundations of contemporary sex roles and their economic, social, and political concomitants.
  • 358 -- Gender, Culture, and Behavior. {=ANTH 358} (3) Anthropological study of sex roles, with emphasis on cross-cultural investigation of the interaction of biological, cultural, and environmental factors influencing sex role behavior.
  • 399 -- Independent Study. (3) (Prereq: Contract approved by instructor, advisor, and director of women's studies)
  • 404 -- Community Activism. (3) Historical and current contexts of women's participation in community activism; principles, practices, and advocacy building from a feminist perspective.
  • 430 -- Topics in Women's Studies. (1-3) Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of courses by suffix and title.
  • 431 -- Women's Studies Workshop. (1) Selected small action-research project on selected issue(s) in women's studies.
  • 437 -- Women Writers. {=ENGL 437} (3) Representative works written by women.
  • 454 -- Women and the Law. {=POLI 454} (3) Constitutional and statutory case law dealing with gender equality issues. Topics include abortion, affirmative action, pornography, sexual harassment, fetal protection policies, employment discrimination, and women in the military.
  • 464 -- History of American Women. {=HIST 464} (3) The social, political, and economic roles and changing status of women in America.
  • 499 -- Community Service Internship. (3) Supervised experience addressing a community organization's needs and allowing the student to explore an aspect of the community related to women's studies issues. Contract approval by advisor required.
  • 525 -- The Psychology of the Midlife Woman. {=PSYC 525} (3) Biological, social, and psychological aspects of the midlife woman.
  • 541 -- Issues in Women's Health. {=NURS 541} (3) An exploration of women's health and health care concerns from multiple perspectives.
  • 554 -- Women and Crime. {=CRJU 554} (3) Impact of gender-based relations on crime and the criminal justice system.
  • 555 -- Language and Gender. {=ANTH 555, LING 541} (3) Approaches to gender and language emphasizing the social grounding of both; how language reflects sociocultural values and is a tool for constructing different types of social organization.

Other Courses Offered

NURS 110 Self-Care Behaviors.
ENGL 455 {=LING 440} Language in Society
POLI 368 Interest Groups and Social Movements
HIST 663 {=LASP 441} Social/Economic History of Latin America

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