Elective courses will be chosen by the student in conjunction with her/his advisor in order to tailor a coherent program of study to the individual student’s particular academic and/or professional objectives while ensuring that the student sustains a strong interdisciplinary focus at the graduate level. Elective courses may be offered by Women’s and Gender Studies or by other departments/programs at DePaul, provided that such courses meet the criteria for inclusion within the Women’s and Gender Studies curriculum (with permission).
All students must complete an M.A. Capstone, selecting one of the following options:
This Capstone Option requires that the student plan, execute, and defend an independent, analytical research project. This research project must be grounded in interdisciplinary scholarship and feminist and/or gender theories, as well as reflect considerable engagement with literature and methods from the field. In addition, the thesis should demonstrate some unique contribution to the field. Students who select this option will complete, in addition to the core courses, a five-course elective focus, along with an additional two courses of independent study and research. They will also be required to present and defend the Thesis to a committee of three faculty members, at least one of whom must be appointed to the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.
This Capstone Option requires that the student plan, execute, and defend a practical project that is grounded in interdisciplinary scholarship, feminist and/or gender theories, and directed independent study and/or internship that results in a contribution to community service. This project does not have to be tied to a particular organization, and yet depending on the project, we do encourage such community engagement. For example, a student may write a curriculum designed to educate high school students on relationship violence prevention, or prepare a proposal or policy study for an NGO or community-based organization. A portion of the paper should be devoted to an analysis of the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of your project. In this analysis, it will be important to demonstrate considerable engagement with literature in the field. The balance of the paper will present the project itself. Students who select this option will complete, in addition to the core courses, a five-course elective focus, along with an additional two courses of independent study and research. They will make some sort of public presentation of the project to a determined audience. In addition, they will be required to present and defend the Project to a committee of three faculty, at least one of whom must be appointed to the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Faculty.
Alternatively a student might prepare an artistic or creative project—for example, a performance piece or art installation that is research-based and reflects some aspect of the interdisciplinary focus of Women’s and Gender Studies. The written portion of this project should be approximately 20 pages in length. This written portion of the work should be devoted to an analysis of the scholarly underpinnings of your project. In this analysis, it will be important to demonstrate considerable engagement with theoretical literature in the field. Students who select this option will organize some exhibition and/or public performance in a relevant venue and to a relevant audience. These students will complete, in addition to the core courses, a five-course elective focus, along with an additional two courses of independent study and research. In addition, they will be required to present and defend the Project to a committee of three faculty, at least one of whom must be appointed to the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Faculty.
This Capstone option requires that the student conduct a comprehensive analysis of their learning in the Women’s and Gender Studies graduate program. As a point of departure for this analysis, students will prepare and submit a collection of seminar papers, practical or creative projects, and/or other research products that are the outcomes of core and elective focus courses, with one example chosen from at least six of the courses completed by the student. Then, building on this foundation, students completing the portfolio option will prepare a written critical analysis of the work submitted with the portfolio in which they reflect upon the scope and meaning of their graduate scholarship. To do this, students will synthesize their educational experience, situating themselves in the field, and in this context, will analyze central issues, themes, problems, and/or contentions that were most important in terms of their own development in the course of the M.A. Students who select this option will complete, in addition to the core courses, a six-course elective focus, along with an additional one course of independent study and research. Students will be required to present and defend the Portfolio/Critical Analysis to a committee of two faculty, both of whom must be appointed to the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Faculty.
FEMINIST THEORIES (CROSS-LISTED AS MLS 440)
This course is designed to provide you with an introduction to the development of some contemporary feminist theories: local, global, transnational. The theories are interpretive frameworks to analyze, understand and act in the world. The theorists/writers offer concepts to critically analyze structures and practices of oppression, privilege, resilience, and resistance; they provide frameworks for conducting feminist research, advocacy, and activism for personal, social, intellectual, and/or political change and transformation. In this course, we will examine how these theoretical perspectives seek to understand and address various systems of inequality and power and the method(s) that we - theorists, scholars, researchers, advocates, activists, artists, writers - propose for change. We will discuss how these various feminisms continue to develop and evolve in relation to one another and to changing historical, political, social, economic contexts.
GLOBALIZATION, TRANSNATIONALISM, AND GENDER
This course examines how gender-based inequities are linked to global and transnational politics of power, security, political economy, militarism, and ecology. There will be a focus on how gender roles, relationships, and identities are constructed, deployed, challenged, and resisted around the globe, paying particular attention to how systems and structures of gender, race, class, sexuality, age, ability, culture, religion, nation etc. are interconnected. It will explore how resistance to structural inequities is constructed within and across national boundaries, paying particular attention to the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide and how the responses of NGOs to crises (e.g., nuclearism, uneven economic development, environmental degradation) highlight the shortcomings of state-centered decision making.
METHODS AND SCHOLARSHIP IN WOMEN'S & GENDER STUDIES
An exploration of the transforming effects that feminist methodologies and scholarship have had in the social sciences and humanities. This course emphasizes interdisciplinary research approaches, feminist publishing, and the interplay of research and activism, as it prepares students to write a research proposal.
WOMEN, GENDER, AGENCY, AND SOCIAL CHANGE
This course will examine women's individual and collective involvement in social, economic, and political resistance and change. The course will focus on women's participation with attention to the ways that gender shapes the history and development of social movements organized at local, national, regional and global levels, within and across differences of race, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion, geographic location and sexuality. Concrete examples of women's and gender movements within particular historical and geographical contexts, including within Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the United States, among others, will be highlighted.
CONTENTIONS IN FEMINIST AND GENDER THEORIZING: NEW DIRECTIONS
This course addresses different aspects of feminist and gender theorizing and their interrelationships, focusing on exploration and critical examination of controversies and debates in the field. The course content engages students in examining philosophical, ideological, social, political, and cultural fault lines that offer opportunities to deepen and extend our understandings about discourses on women's and gender studies constructions and negotiations, in the late 20th century as well as in the early 21st century. The lens through which particular issues and ideas are viewed draws upon multiple perspectives, taking into consideration issues of culture and context, grounded in examining specificities of the local in relationship to global or transnational dynamics.