Critical Gender Studies

[ courses | faculty ]

Social Science Building, Room 201
(858) 534-9982

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice. Updates may be found on the Academic Senate website:

Critical Gender Studies

The UC San Diego Critical Gender Studies Program (CGS) is an interdisciplinary academic program offering students the opportunity to study gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationalism as intersecting categories of analysis and experience. Some basic questions that anchor the program’s core curriculum include asking how these categories become institutionalized yet change over time; how they work together to shape individual identity, contribute to the organization of social life, and become essential to the production of many different kinds of knowledge about that life.

The program’s core curriculum builds upon feminist scholarship of the last decade, incorporating the new interdisciplinary agendas, intellectual debates, changing methodological practices, and major scholarly shifts that have reshaped the field of women’s studies. Informed by the insights of critical race feminism, feminist critiques of conventional domains of knowledge, and gay and lesbian inquiries challenging traditional understandings and assumptions about sexuality, this core curriculum is designed to move students beyond simple binary descriptions and contemporary, popularized accounts of gender. Instead, gender is analyzed in the full complexity of its construction over time and in a variety of cultural, scholarly, and global arenas.

Students can expect to encounter a rich spectrum of approaches in studying these complex constructions—the majority of a student’s advanced work in the program consists of upper-division courses from the Departments of History, Communication, Literature, Ethnic Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Political Science. However, despite their important differences, what these approaches share is a critical stance with respect to the subject of gender. This stance, reflected in the program’s name Critical Gender Studies, refuses easy answers when exploring the social relations of gender and reaches, instead, for detailed accounts of the intricacies and paradoxes of power through which these relations are and have been made and maintained.

Critical gender studies prepares undergraduates for a variety of careers through the study of social, political, economic, historical, and cultural contexts. For example, the interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary course work that students complete as part of a major in critical gender studies provides an excellent foundation for those students with career aspirations in law, medicine and health sciences, public administration, and social services. Students wishing to pursue doctoral work will also find that interdisciplinary training in critical gender studies equips them with theoretical and methodological strengths in most disciplines and applied research fields. Specialists in gender studies are increasingly being used as consultants in industry, higher education, insurance companies, and personnel firms. State and federal government agencies require people who have special training in analyzing gender relations. Finally, educational institutions need specialists to develop and administer women’s centers and gay and lesbian centers as well as other institutional structures and programs.

The Critical Gender Studies Program offers two options of study: an undergraduate major and an undergraduate minor (or program of concentration). Because critical gender studies is an interdisciplinary major, it is important to work closely with an academic adviser in planning your program.

Preparation for the Major and Minor

All critical gender studies majors and minors are required to take the Introduction to Critical Gender Studies sequence: Critical Gender Studies 2A-B, 100, and 101.

Major Program

To complete a major, students are required to take sixteen courses, comprising four courses in the introductory sequence (2A, 2B, 100, 101), and twelve upper-division courses. Six of the upper-division courses must be taken in the CGS program; the other half (six) will be drawn from among the advanced electives taught within departments. Three of the advanced elective courses must be in the Humanities Division, the other three in Social Sciences. (See information on quarterly course list below.) All CGS majors will be assigned a faculty mentor, who will supervise the student’s progress through the program.

Quarterly Course List

When the UC San Diego Schedule of Classes for an upcoming quarter goes online, the Critical Gender Studies Program makes available a list of that quarter’s proposed CGS courses in addition to any departmental electives being offered. The quarterly list may be found on the CGS website.

Honors Program

The Critical Gender Studies Honors Program allows advanced critical gender studies majors to pursue individual projects in the context of collective intellectual exchange with their peers and advising faculty. Students are eligible if they a) have senior standing at the time they begin the program, and b) are approved by the critical gender studies faculty director and steering committee. Normally, students eligible for honors will have a 3.5 grade point average in upper-division courses taken for the major, but highly motivated students who do not meet this criterion may be admitted to the program at the discretion of the director and the critical gender studies steering committee.

In the fall quarter of their senior year, students take the Honors Seminar (CGS 190), taught by a member of the critical gender studies faculty. The first half of the quarter is devoted to intensive analysis and discussion of recent publications in the fields of gender and sexuality. During the second half of the quarter, each student develops a short thesis proposal and presents it for group discussion. After taking the Honors Seminar, each student registers for CGS 196A: Honors Research, four units of independent study with a faculty member associated with critical gender studies. With the guidance of this adviser, the student carries out background research for the thesis prospectus. In the spring quarter, students complete the thesis under the supervision of their thesis adviser in the CGS 196B: Honors Thesis course.

Students who complete the thesis with a grade of B+ or above and make an oral presentation have the words With Distinction added to the notation of the major on their diplomas and transcripts.

Double Major in Critical Gender Studies and Another Department or Program

Students who wish to major both in critical gender studies and in another department or program must fulfill all requirements for the critical gender studies major as described above. A student must submit a double major petition for approval to the participating departments and the student’s college advising office. Critical gender studies will accept up to two upper-division courses as overlap requirements for the two majors.

Critical Gender Studies Major Course Checklist

During advising sessions with the CGS faculty director or staff, critical gender studies majors make use of a checklist to determine how courses already taken fulfill the major’s requirements. An example of the checklist may be found on the CGS website.

Minor Program (and Program of Concentration)

Critical gender studies minors are required to complete Critical Gender Studies 2A-B, 100, and 101. In addition, minors are required to take three upper-division courses, two of which must be upper-division CGS courses, and one upper-division elective. Students who declare the critical gender studies minor (or program of concentration) with junior or senior standing may petition to substitute an upper-division CGS course or a departmental elective course of comparable content for Critical Gender Studies 2A or 2B. Critical gender studies permits one lower-division course and one upper-division course to be taken P/NP. College grading options vary. Please consult with college academic advisers and the critical gender studies adviser.

Special Studies, Internships, and Grade Options

Many critical gender studies majors and minors elect to do gender research under the rubrics of Directed Group Study (198), Independent Study (199), internships, and mentor programs. Because these courses can be taken only with a P/NP grade option, the number of such courses to be applied to the major should be carefully discussed with a critical gender studies adviser. Some graduate and professional schools will consider it easier to evaluate a student’s transcript if there are more letter grades. College guidelines and requirements for grade options also vary. Please see college academic advisers and the critical gender studies adviser.

Applicable and Petitionable Courses

Departmental courses available to CGS majors and minors fall into two categories. Applicable courses are those approved as always applying to the CGS major and minor. Petitionable courses are either new and therefore not yet approved as applicable or are “topics” courses that focus on gender only in particular quarters. Petitionable courses may be approved by petition to the major/minor during the quarters in which they appear in the CGS quarterly lists.

Quarterly Lists

Each quarter, when the upcoming quarter’s Schedule of Classes is published, the critical gender studies quarterly list is available on the CGS website. It is an important, comprehensive source of information about CGS course offerings as well as those from departments throughout the campus. It identifies both applicable as well as petitionable courses for a given quarter. For reference, the CGS office and website maintain archives of quarterly lists.

Critical Gender Studies Applicable Courses

(Note: Only applicable courses are listed here. For petitionable courses, please see the quarterly lists.)

Social Science Courses

ANSC 125. Gender, Sexuality, and Society

COMM 108E. Politics of Bodies: Embodiment in Theory and Practice

COMM 108G. Politics of Bodies: Gender and Biomedicine

COMM 111P. Communication and Cultural Production: Performance and Cultural Studies

COMM 114E. Communication and Social Institutions: Gender, Labor, and Culture in the Global Economy

COMM 114G. Communication and Social Institutions: Gender and Science

COMM 137. Black Women Filmmakers

COMM 138. Black Women, Feminism, and Media

COMM 154. Popular Culture in Contemporary Life

COMM 167. Reproductive Discourse and Gender

ETHN 128. Hip Hop: The Politics of Culture

ETHN 129. Asian and Latina Immigrant Workers in the Global Economy

ETHN 165. Sex and Gender in African American Communities

ETHN 183. Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class

LIGN 174. Gender and Language in Society

POLI 104M. Law and Sex

POLI 115A. Gender and Politics

POLI 116A. Feminist Theory

PSYC 134. Eating Disorders

PSYC 172. The Psychology of Human Sexuality

SOCI 113. Sociology of the AIDS Epidemic

SOCI 116. Gender and Language in Society

SOCI 118. Sociology of Gender

SOCI 119. Sociology of Sexuality and Sexual Identities

SOCI 129. The Family

SOCI 132. Gender and Work

SOCI 139. Social Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender

SOCI 184. Gender and Film

Arts and Humanities Courses

HIEA 125. Women and Gender in East Asia

HIEA 137. Women and Family in Chinese History

HIEA 162/262. History of Women in China

HIEU 133. Gender in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Mediterranean

HIEU 147. The History of Women in Europe: Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era

HIEU 147A. Women in the Middle Ages

HIEU 148. European Women: The Enlightenment to the Victorian Era

HIEU 149. History of Women in Europe: 1870 to Present

HIEU 180. Topics in European Women’s History

HILA 124A. History of Women and Gender in Latin America

HILA 161. History of Women in Latin America

HILA 164. Women’s Work and Family Life in Latin America

HISC 103. Gender and Science in Historical Perspective

HISC 118. History of Sexology

HISC 167. Gender and Science

HITO 106. Love and Family in the Jewish Past

HIUS 115. History of Sexuality in the United States

HIUS 130. Cultural History from 1607 to the Civil War

HIUS 131. Cultural History from the Civil War to the Present

HIUS 156. American Women, American Womanhood

HIUS 157. American Women, American Womanhood 1870 to Present

HIUS 173. Topics in American Women’s History

HIUS 176. Race and Sexual Politics

LTAM 105. Gender and Sexuality in Latino/a Cultural Production

LTAM 106. Modern Chicana and Mexican Women Writings

LTCS 115. Performance Culture

LTCS 130. Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Class, and Culture

LTCS 131. Topics in Queer Cultures/Queer Subcultures

LTCS 132. Special Topics in Social Identities and the Media

LTCS 135. Interdisciplinary Approaches to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Studies

LTCS 172. Special Topics in Screening Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality

LTEA 143. Gender and Sexuality in Korean Literature and Culture

LTEN 120E. Women in the Eighteenth Century

LTEN 146. Women and English/American Literature

LTEN 150. Gender, Text, and Culture

LTEN 185. Themes in African American Literature

LTEU 147. Women in Italy

LTSP 175. Gender, Sexuality, and Culture

LTWL 102. Women in Antiquity

LTWL 155. Gender Studies

LTWL 160. Women and Literature

MUSIC 115. Women in Music

TDHT 112. Gay and Lesbian Themes in US Latino Theatre

VIS 117B. Theories of Representation

VIS 117H. Constructing Gender in Fifth-Century B.C. Athens and Eighteenth Century France