This Course at MIT pages provide context for how the course materials published on OCW were used at MIT. They are part of the OCW Educator initiative, which seeks to enhance the value of OCW for educators.
This page focuses on the course SP.401 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies as it was taught by Dr. Andrea Walsh in Fall 2010.
This course presents an introduction to Women's and Gender Studies (WGS), and challenges students to explore key issues in WGS scholarship and apply critical analysis and questioning to both historical and contemporary aspects of the study. Students are encouraged to bring their backgrounds and topical interests to both the in-class discussions and course assignments.
The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with key issues, questions and debates in Women’s and Gender Studies scholarship, both historical and contemporary. Another goal is to involve students in their own learning, and motivate critical reading. Students will be introduced to many of the critical questions and concepts that feminist scholars have developed as tools for thinking about gendered experience. Students will also explore the complex ways in which gender intersects with class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and age within various spheres and institutions of society.
Students often take this course as part of the WGS major, minor, or concentration and continue to complete coursework in WGS.
Every spring and fall semester
The course often has a 70% majority of sophomores and juniors, 15% seniors, and 15% freshmen, though this varies by term. Typically, graduate students do not enroll in this course.
Students come from a range of departments including biology, brain and cognitive science, electrical engineering and computer science, mechanical engineering, political science, management, and materials science and engineering. There are also a few WGS majors who usually take the course.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
Below, Dr. Andrea Walsh describes various aspects of how she teaches SP.401 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies.
In preparation for each class, Dr. Walsh keeps up-to-date with new material in the field, re-reads old material, consults with colleagues on course design, and reviews student homework. These help her prepare for the themes that may emerge during lectures and discussion. She also prepares a one-page lecture handout that is distributed at the beginning of each class session.
Students are asked to consult with the CI writing advisor during the process of planning for and writing one of the major writing assignments. These meetings can be scheduled at any point in the writing process: brainstorming, crafting the first draft, or revising. Most often, students are encouraged to meet with the writing advisor when writing and revising their first essays.