<Sylvia Burrow>




Traditional disciplines have tended to reflect predominantly male perspectives and women have been largely invisible.  Although women have been studied for a long time, only recently have women significantly influenced methodology and how that knowledge has been put to use.  The new minor in Gender and Women’s Studies program will provide students the opportunity to study the full range of human experience and arrangements of social organization from the perspectives of those whose participation has been traditionally distorted, omitted, neglected, or denied – women in their racial, class, sexual, national, and cultural diversity.  Students will develop a deep appreciation for complexities of power and asymmetries in gender relations across time, class, and cultures.


Understanding the intersections, practice, and effects of class, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, and sex is imperative for learning to live in a modern, multicultural, diversified society.  The program will prepare students – both men and women – to manage, nurture, and shape such a society, through critical understanding, leadership and responsible action.   This program will prepare students for the way the world is and the way the world is becoming by helping them to examine alternative institutional arrangements that will help them cope with an increasingly diverse workplace and the combination of work and family responsibilities.  Graduates will have the tools – knowledge, self-awareness, critical thinking skills, research training, writing skills and breadth of perspective – that public service organizations, the media, private industry, government, and graduate schools want and need.


Program Structure & Courses:

Students wishing to minor in Gender & Women’s Studies must take a minimum of eighteen (18) credits in either the four-year BA program or the four-year BACS program.


The following courses will satisfy the requirements for a minor in Gender and Women’s studies:


AN/S 220       Humankind: Nature & Development (6 credits)

Developmental and comparative perspectives on human nature, showing how natural and social sciences interface in explaining the interplay of biological and socio-cultural factors in our behaviour


AN/S 221       Families: A Cross-Cultural Tour (3 credits)

A course in the forms and workings of family, household, and larger kinship structures in a variety of cultural settings, to deepen our insight into our own ways


AN/S 334       [Cross-listed as MIKM 336] Images of Self and Other in Cross-Cultural Perspective (6 credits)

Colonialism produced an enduring cultural legacy with a range of severe consequences for indigenous cultural reproduction and social organization. Europe was also not spared the drastic consequences of its own expansionism. How indigenous self definitions and how traditions have been transformed, revitalized or created anew are the focus of this course, which considers indigenous peoples in a global perspective covering the past 500 years


AN/S 360       Social & Cultural Constructions of Gender (6 credits)

Critical study of the socio-cultural roots, dynamics, and consequences of what “male” and “female” mean to people in various times and places, with respect to a wide variety of life experiences


AN/S 392       Work and Women in Society (6 credits)

Examination of women’s position in society, focusing on those life-sustaining activities known as “work” (“paid” or “unpaid”), and investigating bio-physical, socio-psychological, and sociocultural underpinnings of the relevant practices


COMM 333    Family Communication (3 credits)

Examines communication patterns and networks within families that support or inhibit cohesion or change. Topics include: family systems, communication patterns, self-disclosure, family themes, rules, relational stages, conflict styles, power, and decision-making. Focus is on developing functional family networks and effective communication skills


COMM 345    Gender & Communication (3 credits)

The communication similarities and differences between women and men in various communication contexts


COMM 347    Women & Communication (3 credits)

Communication as it pertains to various aspects of women’s lives and how contexts and cultural ideologies specifically affect women and their communication


ENGL 320      Women: The British Tradition (6 credits)

A contextual and historical study of literature in a variety of genres from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries


ENGL 420      Feminist Literary Theory (6 credits)

The course examines feminist literary criticism and critical theories produced by women and men primarily since 1965, though some attention is paid to earlier works


FOLK 311      Gender in Traditional and Informal Culture (3 credits)

A study of how patterns of assigning gender roles – the division of labour, ideas of masculinity and femininity, sexual identity, the body as form – can be both informed and perpetuated by ‘traditional’ culture. Simultaneously, a study of the remarkable adaptability of folkloric forms to act as a critique against these same patterns of role assignments. Fieldwork and/or archival work required


HUMA 111     Women in Western Civilization (3 credits)

An introduction to some of the social, economic, and cultural issues which confronted women, from the Middle Ages through to the Industrial Revolution


 HIST 430        Witch Hunting and Popular Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (6 credits)

This course will examine the development and evolution of witchhunting in Scotland from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Particular attention will be paid to the use of the phenomenon as a resource for the study of popular cultures, conceptions and constructions of gender, and the political and religious turmoil of the period


HIST 462        Women’s History: The British North American Experience (6 credits)

Studies the evolution of women’s role in Britain and Canada during the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century. Takes a chronological approach to the study of social, political, and economic obstacles which women had to overcome to attain equality in British and Canadian society, including Cape Breton society


PHIL 205        Philosophies of Love, Sex, and Friendship (3 credits)

What is love? How is it different than friendship? What, if any, relationships obtain between these concepts and sex? What differentiates morally acceptable from unacceptable sexual behaviour? These, and other related questions, will be explored through historical and contemporary readings


PHIL 207        Feminist Philosophy (3 credits)

This course examines core issues in feminist philosophy concerning the oppression of particular groups of persons, focusing on problems and debates in pornography, prostitution, language, physical appearance, and relationships. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of the philosophical problems raised by such social and historical practices and to reason through those issues in a clear and persuasive manner in the aims of formulating a convincing intellectual stance on a given topic.


POLS 275: The Politics of Social Division: Race, Gender, and Class (3 credits)

This course examines race, gender and class as they affect domestic and international politics. Particular attention will be paid to how these categories of social division have shifted over time and how the new politics of globalization may provide both challenges and opportunities for deepening equality and justice


PSYC 365      Human Sexuality and Sex Education (3 credits)

Human sexuality: for students in understanding their own sexuality, for parents in guiding the development of their children, and for teachers required to provide formal instruction on sexuality


RELS 291      Women in the Western Religious Tradition (3 credits)

Feminist theology has developed recently as a critique and reinterpretation of traditional theology of women. The course examines this new theology and the new insights it generates in the Western religious tradition.


RELS 293      Women in the Eastern Religious Tradition (3 credits)

Feminist theology has developed recently as a critique and reinterpretation of traditional theology of women. The course examines this new theology and the new insights it generates in the Eastern religious tradition.


SOCO 210     Sociology of the Family (6 credits)

The study of family roles, forms, processes, and functions, from the perspectives of household, community, and the larger social system, with special attention to our own contemporary society and its key problems