The Gender Studies Program at Francis Marion University is designed to provide students with an interdisciplinary lens through which to examine human conditions and experiences; gender role development; and legal, political, economic, social, and cultural systems. Gender awareness benefits individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions because gender operates as an organizing factor on social, political, and familial institutions and policies. Comprehension of gender dynamics, biases, and patterns can improve study in many disciplines. The Gender Studies Program infuses insights from an array of disciplines as part of the process of examining questions thematically and developing more inclusive perspectives.

Gender Studies courses may address such issues as femininity and masculinity theories; the social construction of gender; gender and the body; gender and culture; the biology and psychology of sex and sexuality; the dynamics of gender, language, representation, and interpretation; current and historical inquiries into the relationships between the sexes; institutional operation and development; gender role development; sexual orientation; sexual identity politics; queer theory; intersexuality theory; and other intersections of sex, gender, race, class, and sexuality.

What is gender?

The definition of gender is as fluid as gender itself…We can locate many diverse definitions of gender. Gender impacts everything and we all think we know what gender is…. Gender is not a matter of two opposite/other categories of people; female and male, but an array of social interactions among differently situated people. The word gender, as well as the categories “woman” and “man” have many valid meanings which we view from our location, history, and perspectives. Different genders, femininities, and masculinities are interconnected through social systems such as race, class, and culture.

One textbook definition follows: Gender is the practice of behaving in masculine or feminine ways as defined by the society in which one lives and as a component of one’s identity. Sex, in contrast is more related to physical form and function. In this sense, gender is a performance, something we do rather than something we are, and we learn it via the process of socialization (Donatelle, 2010). From birth, our gender identity development is impacted by our biology and our socialization, and combines to form our gender identity. How we are affected by our culture, geographic location, and overall environment will determine our gender.

Gender is biological and socially constructed and can be masculine, feminine, intersex, or even other categories that are not always so easily recognized. There are many names for the other categories and we may not list them all here, but just to name a few: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgendered, metrosexual, ubersexual, mems, fems, hermes, and perhaps others.

A Gender Studies minor or collateral will enhance many facets of your life. It serves the purpose of a minor or collateral. However, there is a bit of a difference, gender impacts every single component of your life. Education about gender will inform your ability to communicate with other members of the human race. Comprehending the differences among genders will provide insight and abilities to relate at higher levels effectively.

Gender Studies education will facilitate your interpretation of the value and meaning of many interactions with parents, siblings, partners, children, co-workers, colleagues, supervisors, and people from other countries with different cultures than your own. In other words, many of your relationships will benefit if you have a better understanding of gender and its multiple influences on your life. Communication is something that we all do most every day with many types of people, and doing it well benefits all of those relationships.

Gender education facilitates student development of a critical framework for thinking about questions relating to gender, and may include the following contemporary issues: femininity and masculinity theories; the social construction of gender; gender and the body; gender and culture; the biology and psychology of sex and sexuality; the dynamics of gender, language, representation, and interpretation; current and historical inquiries into the relationships between the sexes; institutional operation and development; gender role development; sexual orientation; sexual identity politics; queer theory; intersexuality theory; and other intersections of sex, gender, race, class, and sexuality. An emphasis will be placed on developing skills for reading, interpreting, and critiquing gender perspectives.

In regard to employment, gender education is often a credential that employers are interested in, and will ask how gender education informs employee efficiency. People who have gender education develop into effective leaders because of their abilities to communicate with diverse populations effectively. Think of nurses, teachers, politicians, psychologists, sociologists, epidemiologists, physicians, veterinarians, biologists, scientists, bankers, all service workers, and many other professions.

 

“Before I came to FMU I was a researcher and many times my gender education provided the extra line on my curriculum vitae that convinced them to choose me. Gender studies will supplement your education and benefit your life in many practical ways and some serendipitous ways as well.”

Gender Studies Programs

Gender Studies Minor

A minor in Gender Studies consists of 18 hours of courses listed under the Gender Studies Program to include GNDR 200 and five additional courses, with no more than two classes from any one discipline.

Gender Studies Collateral

A collateral in Gender Studies consists of 12 hours of courses listed under the Gender Studies Program to include GNDR 200 and three additional courses, with no more than two classes from any one discipline.

Gender Studies Courses

Biology 213: Biology of Sex (3)

This course will provide an introduction to the biological principles involved in human reproduction. Topics include the evolution of sex, reproductive anatomy and physiology, endocrinology, puberty, biology of gender, reproductive cycles, pregnancy, birth, fertility control, sexual disorders, and current issues in reproductive technology. Prerequisite: 4 hours in Biology.

English 369: Sex, Gender, and Literature (3)

Focuses on utilizing gender theory to examine various texts, considers interaction between male and female in literature in terms of both writer and reader, and how the constructed identities of gender, sexuality, and textuality shape and relate to one another. Prerequisite: ENG 200.

 

English 421: Gender and Public Rhetoric (3)

Study of non-fiction text through the lens of gender and rhetorical theory.  Students will compose critical essays, prepare presentations, and conduct research for a final project focusing on gender and language. Prerequisite: ENG 200 or permission of department.

Gender 200: Gender Studies (3)

Introductory survey of the basic concepts and scope of gender including the intersections of sex, gender, race, class, and sexuality from the perspectives of the participating disciplines. It is recommended that students take GNDR 200 prior to enrolling in other Gender Studies courses.

History 321: Family and Gender in World History

A general survey of family and gender in comparative perspective that addresses family, gender and demographic systems as they vary and change through time and space. The course addresses family, demography and gender roles as they evolved from ancient times to the present in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Americas and considers the interaction of family and gender with economic, religious, political, institutional and demographic change. Prerequisite: One 200-level history course or permission of the department.

Health 301: Contemporary Health Issues (3)

This course introduces the student to knowledge and competencies necessary for health promotion and disease prevention. Emphasis is placed on the physical, social, spiritual, emotional, environmental, and intellectual domains of health. Health disparities will be examined with particular attention to the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Subtopics will focus on the most prevalent risk factors and diseases in our diverse, global society and will include obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and sexually transmitted diseases among others. Required for secondary education majors.

Psychology 312: Human Sexuality (3)

Survey of important issues in sexuality including sexual development, reproductive sexuality, social issues in sexuality, and dimensions of sexual expression. Prerequisite: PSY 206 or permission of department.

Sociology 205: Courtship and Marriage (3)

Mate selection; meaning of love, engagement; physical, psychological, and social adjustments in marriage; the development of research in marriage; legal aspects of marriage; the past, present, and future of marriage.

Sociology 306: Modern Social Problems (3)

Critical review of problems resulting from social inequality (distribution of wealth, racial and ethnic relations, gender relations, sexism, health care), violations of social norms (substance abuse, violence, property crime), and social change (population growth, food, urbanization, environment). Prerequisite: SOCI 201 or permission of department.

Sociology 315: Sex and Gender in Social Contexts (3)

Study of feminine and masculine roles and lifestyles, with emphasis upon socialization experiences in settings such as home and school; expression of gender roles in family, work, spiritual, artistic, and recreational activities; inequalities of opportunities and rewards, cultural influences upon preferred gender roles. Prerequisite: SOCI 201 or permission of department.

Sociology 331: Environment, Power, and Opportunity (3)

An introduction to the study of the relationship between human society and the physical environment, with an emphasis on the relationships among population growth, economic development, systems of inequality, and control and use of the natural environment. Local, regional, and global approaches will be used to understand environmental issues. An emphasis is placed on how the allocation of environmental resources (kind, amount, and quality) varies by race/ethnicity, gender, class, and nationality, and the different responses that these groups have to environmental problems/issues. Prerequisite: SOCI 201 or permission of department.

Sociology 381: Sociology of Sport (3)

Scientific study of sports to better understand how they are practiced and what those practices mean. Using various theoretical approaches, the focus will be on topics as they relate to sports such as: identity, ideology, children, gender, race and ethnicity, the media, economics, politics, globalization, drugs and violence. Prerequisite: SOCI 201 or permission of department.

Sociology 382: Families Public and Private (3)

Consideration of the families in private settings and as a focus of public policy; impacts of social inequalities (class, race, and ethnicity) on family life; changing patterns of family relationships; work and family life; conflict and disruption in family relationships including divorce, remarriage, and step/blended families. Prerequisite: SOCI 201 or permission of department.

Sociology 407: Urban Sociology (3)

Historical and current urban growth patterns, theoretical perspectives regarding urban structure and change, distribution of power and other resources in urban settings, urban cultural and social forms, problems of urban areas, strategies of urban planning. Examines how gender, racial/ethnic, class, and other group relations affect urban processes and life. Prerequisite: SOCI 202 or permission of department.

Sociology 419: Population and Society (3)

Scientific study of population size, composition, and distribution; analysis of trends and differentials in birth rates, death rates, and migration by race/ethnicity, gender, class, age, and nationality; consideration of actual and potential pressures of population on natural resources; the interrelationship of population and the social structure as it varies by race/ethnicity, class, gender, age, and nationality. Prerequisite: SOCI 202.