Gender Studies

Gender Studies Program

Cultivating awareness and deeper perspectives

The Gender Studies program at Francis Marion is an interdisciplinary field designed to allow students opportunities to study gender identities, experiences, and conditions through social, cultural, psychological, political, and theoretical lenses.

Awareness of women’s and gender issues benefits individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions while interrogating power relationships, equity concerns, ideas of privilege, and identity’s complex intersectionalities.

Comprehension of women’s and gender studies, including but not limited to gender dynamics, biases, and patterns, not only improves studies across disciplines but also cultivates deeper and more inclusive perspectives.

Four FMU students sit at a table on a sunny day.

Why gender studies?

A Gender Studies minor or collateral enhances all areas of study in ways that are directly applicable to life, both personally and professionally.

Students pursuing a Gender Studies minor or collateral will strengthen their understanding of self, others, and systemic structures while recognizing extensions to and intersections among gender, race, class, and sexuality and raising social consciousness.

Such social and cultural awareness is a credential that employers view as advantageous. Those who engage with women’s and gender education often develop into effective leaders because of their abilities to communicate with diverse populations effectively, examine matters from multiple and new perspectives, and implement action items that are both inclusive and humane.

The minor and collateral coupled with program events and student activities foster learning experiences dedicated to developing critical frameworks for grappling with questions related to women’s and gender issues and exploring interconnectedness and acceptance across differences. Courses affiliated with the Gender Studies program may address issues such as the following:

  • Femininity and masculinity theories
  • 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 related to women and gender issues
  • Gender role development and performance
  • Identity politics
  • Queer theory
  • Feminist theory
  • Other applicable topics related to sex, gender, race, class, and sexuality

While this area of study pairs naturally with service field workers such as nurses, teachers, social workers, police officers, and lawyers, gender studies also complements any and all professions, adding insight related to positionalities, grounding perspectives theoretically, and enriching one’s liberal arts foundation.

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.

Special topics and applicable courses may also be counted for credit towards the program with the approval of the Gender Studies coordinator.

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.

Special topics and applicable courses may also be counted for credit towards the program with the approval of the Gender Studies coordinator.

Courses

Biology 213: Biology of Sex

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 250G: Introduction to Literature: Examining Depictions of Gender

Introduces a variety of fiction, poetry, and drama; helps students to appreciate, interpret, and analyze imaginative literature while understanding how literature relates to the human condition and the social and natural worlds around us with a particular emphasis on gender issues. May be supplemented with multimedia and readings from other disciplines. A student cannot receive credit for both English 250 and English 250G. Prerequisite: 102 with a grade of C or higher.

English 350N: American Women Writers

Familiarizes students with women’s literature in the United States, focusing on women as creators of, and characters within, American literature. Covers novels, essays, short stories, poems, and plays with special emphasis on their social and historical contexts. Draws from texts stretching from the 17th to the 20th centuries and considers, among many other subjects, issues of gender, class, race, and artistic form. Prerequisite: 102 with a grade of C or higher.

English 385: Sex, Gender, and Literature

Focuses on using gender theory to examine various texts, considering 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 each other. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a grade of C or higher.

English 421: Gender and Public Rhetoric

Students study non-fiction texts 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 102 with a grade of C or higher and either one upper-division writing course or permission of the chair.

Gender 200: Gender Studies

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 Gender Studies 200 prior to enrolling in other Gender Studies courses.

Gender 301: Special Topics in Gender Studies

Focuses on a specific topic, theme, and/or area within the field of gender studies and/or offers innovative opportunities to study issues/concepts related to gender studies. May be taken twice for academic credit with program approval. May be applied as elective credit in applicable major and/or general education credit with permission of chair/dean.

Gender 497: Special Studies

Prerequisite: Gender Studies 200 or permission of coordinator
Individual research project under the guidance of a faculty member. Research projects must be approved by the Gender Studies Committee and are reviewed by three faculty members from two different disciplines. Open only to juniors and seniors with grade point average of 3.0 or higher in their major courses. A maximum of three semester hours may be earned. May be taken for credit (three hours) toward the Honors degree by special arrangement.

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.

History 324: History of Traditional East Asia

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.

History 346: Civil War America

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.

History 357: The History of the Future

Prerequisite: One 100-level history course or permission of department
How might the 1960s TV show Star Trek have reflected, on the one hand, a futuristic world and, on the other hand, contemporary race and gender relations? What did the 1984 movie The Terminator have to say about the perils of artificial intelligence? How was the 1939 World’s Fair both a reaction to the Great Depression and a vision of an America that relied almost solely on the automobile? How did the fear that communism might spread worldwide permeate the book 1984? This course will address these and many other questions by examining how past visions of the American future since the late 1800s reflected the times in which those visions appeared. We will develop this theme by looking at visions of the future through a wide variety of lenses, including architecture, city planning, health care, domestic and foreign politics, military strategy, race, gender, ethnicity, the internet, and social media. Additionally, we will consider what the future might hold for Americans. One 100-level history course or permission of department is prerequisite to all history courses above the 299 level.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.

History 362: The United States Between the Wars, 1918-1941

Examination of the nature and legacy of change in American society, and values during the boom of the 1920s, the Great Depression, and the approach of war. One 100-level history course or permission of department is prerequisite to all history courses above the 299 level.

Interprofessional Healthcare 303: Understanding Sexual Health in Healthcare Settings

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.This course will analyze and synthesize information centering on a number of current sexual and reproductive health issues across the lifespan. This course is designed to build student’s knowledge of sexual health terms and topics including HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), contraceptive methods and cultural perspectives of sexuality from birth through late adulthood. The course will also develop the student’s knowledge and comfort in working with sexual minority populations (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Questioning) in healthcare settings. Students will come away from the course with a working knowledge of the terminology and history related to sexual health and sexual minority populations. Students will apply health promotion and disease prevention frameworks, and public health concepts, epidemiology, and environmental health issues specific to sexual minority populations in the community. Students will better understand how stigma influences patient behavior and quality of care, and ultimately the costs of negative health outcomes. Emphasis is placed on how the clinical and allied health community can support and better serve patients who identify as a sexual minority, through a better understanding of the health disparities among sexual minority populations. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior Status.

Management 353: Human Resource Management

Prerequisite: 351
A survey course providing students an introduction to the key functions in the field of human resource management. The course stresses the relevance of strategic HRM to organizational operation and its use in support of strategic organizational goals. Topics include legal issues, recruitment, selection, training, performance appraisal, compensation, benefits, and organizational discipline.

Psychology 312: Human Sexuality

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.

Psychology 319: Social Psychology

Prerequisite: 206 F, S.
An overview of classic and contemporary research in social psychology. A wide range of topics will be covered that relate to everyday social life drawn from the areas of attitudes and persuasion, social cognition and self-processes and interpersonal relationships.

Psychology 327: Psychology of Gender

Survey of biological, intrapersonal, and social theories of personality. Research methodology and assessment techniques as they relate to theories are reviewed. Prerequisite: PSY 206.

Psychology 332: The Psychology of Relationships

This course is designed to an exploration of psychological theories and research methods used in the study of couple and family relationships. Perspectives covered may include clinical, developmental, health, learning, motivational, cognitive-behavioral, and evolutionary psychology. The psychological study of couple and family relationships will be covered, processes within these relationships will be examined, and empirically-based strategies used for couple and family intervention and relationship enhancement will be explored. Prerequisite: PSY 206 or permission of department.

Sociology 205: Marriage and Family Relations

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: Social Problems

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 Context

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

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 344: Violence in Society

Prerequisite: 201 or permission of department
Exploration of the various forms of violence, with attention given to how the reporting of and reactions to violence are shaped by the way it is defined and measured; causes of violence are framed in terms of culture and social structure.

Sociology 348: Family Violence

Prerequisite: 201 or permission of department
An exploration of family violence from a sociological and criminological lens. Specific types of violence that occur in the family setting (spousal abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, and dating violence) are examined, including patterns based on gender, social class, race, age, culture, and religion. Prevention and intervention measures are discussed, along with public policy implications.

Sociology 353: Human Trafficking

An in-depth examination of what human trafficking is, including the many different forms in which it appears, and human trafficking’s pervasiveness within the US and around the world. Explanations for why human trafficking occurs, how victims are recruited and entrapped, who is likely to become a perpetrator, and how societies are investigating and responding to these crimes. Societal responses include political policies towards complicit nations, criminal justice system responses to traffickers, and prevention and aftercare for trafficking victims. Prerequisite: SOCI 201 or permission of department.

Sociology 381: Sociology of Sport

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: Sociology of Families

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

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

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.

Upcoming Events

Committee Members

Photo of Rachel Spear

Dr. Rachel N. Spear

Associate Professor of English, Coordinator of Gender Studies Program

Office: HC 109
Phone: 843-661-1506
rspear@fmarion.edu

Lauren Perez

Dr. Lauren K. Perez

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Office: FH 130
Phone: 843-661-1613
Lauren.Perez@fmarion.edu

Photo of Mary Frances Coleman

Dr. Mary Frances Coleman

Assistant Professor of Music Industry
Director of Voice and Choral Activities

Office: HFAC 112
Phone: 843-661-1537
mcoleman@fmarion.edu

Sarah Kershner PhD, MPH

Chair, Department of Healthcare Administration
Associate Professor

Office: LNB 128
Phone: 843-661-1694
skershner@fmarion.edu

Photo of Nicole Panza

Dr. Nicole Panza

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Office: LSF 409E
Phone: 843-661-1585
npanza@fmarion.edu

Photo of professor Kunka

Dr. Jennifer L. Kunka

Associate Provost for Advising, Professor of English

Office: FH 220
Phone: 843-661-1520
jkunka@fmarion.edu

Kit Saiz de La Mora

Dr. Kit SaizdeLaMora

Assistant Professor of Education Early Childhood

Office:CEMC219A
Phone: 843-661-1487
Kit.Saizdelamora@fmarion.edu