Introduction to Feminisms: Silences, Voices and Experiences

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies
Course Code
GSWS 1100
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies, this course surveys the historical marginalization of women, the development of feminist thought and the rise of feminist resistance and liberation movements. Students will be introduced to gender and feminist theory in order to explore the nature of patriarchal societies and the common and diverse ways feminists have sought to challenge and redefine gendered experiences in Western society and the world.
Course Content

Course content will include:

  1. some representative classic texts of feminist thought;
  2. diverse historical and/or contemporary texts pertaining to gender, feminisms and feminist activism

Course content may also include:

  1. some literary works (such as fiction, journals, life-writings, poetry, drama) and/or films
  2. exploration of contemporary pop culture and its representations of gender (as expressed in film, advertising, and other media);
  3. required attendance at an off-campus event
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a number of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some or all of the following:

  1. small and large group discussions;
  2. audio-visual materials;
  3. internet materials (such as YouTube and TED Talks);
  4. interviews or other personal research;
  5. seminar presentations;
  6. instructors’ comments on students’ written work;
  7. lectures (including guest lectures).
Means of Assessment

Evaluations will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College Policy and will include both formative and summative components. Evaluation will be based on some or all of the following:

  1. journal writing;
  2. participation in class discussion;
  3. essays;
  4. research papers;
  5. oral presentations (individual and/or group);
  6. community life research;
  7. tests or quizzes;
  8. essay-type exams.

Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class.


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, successful students should be able to identify, understand and discuss:

  1. foundational vocabulary and concepts pertaining to gender and feminist theory;
  2. what is meant by the silencing/oppression of women in patriarchal societies and the psychological and societal effects of this oppression (both historically and today);
  3. the history of feminisms, including the rise and chronologies of key women’s movements;
  4. types of feminism and feminist activism;
  5. issues central to feminist discourse, such as objectification, gendered violence and reproductive justice;
  6. the experiences of women with, and the intersections among, class, age, race, sexuality and sexual orientation;
  7. the diversity of women’s voices and experiences around the world.


Textbook Materials

A list of required textbooks and materials is provided on the Instructor’s Course Outline, which is available to students at the beginning of each semester.

Sample textbooks:

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All be Feminists
  • Estelle B. Freedman (Ed.), The Essential Feminist Reader
  • Cathia Jenainati and Judy Groves, Introducing Feminism
  • bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody
  • Lee Maracle, Ravensong
  • Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee (Eds.), Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions:  Classic and Contemporary Readings

Sample coursepack or online readings:

  • Qasim Amin, “The Liberation of Women”
  • Simone de Beauvoir, excerpts from The Second Sex
  • John Berger, “Ways of Seeing”
  • Combahee River Collective, “A Black Feminist Statement”
  • Ivan Coyote, “Dear Lady in the Women’s Washroom”
  • Roxane Gay, excerpts from Hunger:  A Memoir of (My) Body
  • bell hooks, “Understanding Patriarchy”
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, “The Misery of Silence”
  • Fatima Mernissi, “Size 6:  The Western Woman’s Harem”
  • Sarah Nickel and Emily Snyder, “Indigenous Feminisms in Canada”
  • Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, “Statement on the Occasion of International Women’s Day”
  • Rebeca Walker, “Becoming the Third Wave”
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, excerpts from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Virginia Woolf, excerpts from A Room of One’s Own








Requisite for


Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Athabasca University (AU) AU WGST 2XX (3) 2017/01/01 to -
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO GSWS 110 (3) 2018/09/01 to -
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU WMST 100 (3) 2017/01/01 to -
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN WMST 102 (3) 2017/01/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GSWS 1XX (3), B-Soc 2017/01/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) No credit 2017/01/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GENS 1XX (3) 2017/01/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO GWST 100 (3) 2017/01/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV GRSJ 1st (3); DOUG GSWS 1100 (3) & DOUG GSWS 1101 (3) = UBCV GRSJ 101 (3) & UBCV GRSJ 102 (3) 2017/01/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC WMST 100 (3) 2017/01/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV SOC 1XX (3) 2017/01/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC GNDR 1XX (1.5) 2017/01/01 to -

Course Offerings

Winter 2021

Start Date
End Date
- 12-Apr-2021
GSWS 1100 - This course can count towards an Associate of Arts specialization in Women's Studies and Gender Relations.

This course will include some synchronous on-line activities. Students should plan to be available on-line at scheduled course times. Synchronous on-line activities may include lecture, or they may not. In some courses, synchronous class time may be used instead for active learning components (e.g. discussions, labs).
15:30 - 18:20