Contemporary Issues in Gender, Sexualities, and Women's Studies

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies
Course Code
GSWS 1101
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the field of Women’s Studies, emphasizing the gendered social processes and structures that shape our lives. Beginning with an intersectional introductory review of feminist and queer theories and movements, the course will survey a range of contemporary social issues in Canada. It will also explore changes in gendered experiences and perspectives within a dynamic and increasingly global context.
Course Content

Theoretical Foundations of Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies

 This includes all or some of:

  1. A history of feminisms, related theoretical frameworks and/or movements in Canada and beyond
  2. Intersectionality: integrating analysis of race, class, sexualities, colonialism, (dis)ability, and gender
  3. Queer theory
  4. Social constructionism
  5. Essentialism within feminist and queer theorizing and activism
  6. Creation/enforcement of norms and margins; moving margins to center; privilege and oppression; defining and examining hegemony
  7. Theoretical perspectives: anti-racist, Marxist, socialist, liberal, radical, cultural, queer, critical disability studies, standpoint, and anarchist feminisms

From Theory to Praxis: Contemporary Social and Political Issues

This includes all or some of:

  1. Gendered education, science, and technology
  2. Gender and sexualities in health and medical care
  3. Language as a site of oppression, power, and resistance
  4. Gendered violence
  5. Bodies and the media
  6. Globalization and transnational feminisms
  7. Colonization, resistance and reconciliation
  8. Objectification, racialization and sexualities
  9. Masculinities
  10. Incarceration and institutionalization
  11. Work and welfare.
Learning Activities

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

  1. Lecture
  2. Audio-visual presentations
  3. Small group discussions
  4. Seminar presentations
  5. Classroom discussion
  6. Guest lectures.
Means of Assessment

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

Class Participation and/or Presentations 10%
Exams and Quiz 40%
Group Workshops including discussion and presentations 10%
A Research Portfolio integrating creative art, research skills, and academic analysis 10%
Term Paper, Essay or Written Assignments 30%
TOTAL   100%
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the successful student should be able to:

  1. Analyze the relevance of feminist and queer approaches for understanding and improving quality of life;
  2. Explain and evaluate the issues and consequences of feminist activism, within Canadian and global contexts;
  3. Discuss the varied perspectives of feminist and queer theories and apply these to contemporary issues;
  4. Explain and evaluate the ways in which gender and sexualities are constructed and perpetuated through social processes, organizations, and institutions;
  5. Explain the ways in which gendered interests are represented by social policy and assess the potential for policy equity;
  6. Recognize and identify diversity in feminist and queer perspectives;
  7. Demonstrate the relevance of course materials to students' own lives and experience.
Textbook Materials

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

Possible texts include:

Margaret Hobbs and Carla Rice, eds. Gender and Women’s Studies in Canada (Toronto: Women’s Press, current edition).

Michael Kimmel, Amy Aronson, and Amy Kaler. The Gendered Society Reader, current Canadian edition (Toronto: OUP).

Michael Kimmel and Jacqueline Holler. The Gendered Society, current Canadian edition (Toronto: OUP). 



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


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

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for GSWS 1101
Athabasca University (AU) AU WGST 201 (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU WMST 100 (3)
College of New Caledonia (CNC) CNC WMST 101 (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR WMST 1XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU SOCI 1240 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG WMST 1XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GSWS 101 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU SOCI 1XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GENS 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO GWST 1st (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) DOUG GSWS 1100 (3) & DOUG GSWS 1101 (3) = UBCV GRSJ 101 (3) & UBCV GRSJ 102 (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC WMST 100 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV SOC 220 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC GNDR 1XX (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023

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Section Notes

GSWS 1101 001 - This section uses a flipped classroom format. Students study course materials online (self-directed ) and come to class 2 hours per week to discuss and be tested on subjects. Attendance is required. Regular computer and internet access are essential.

Students in this section are eligible to apply for a STEP-UP scholarship.

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New Westminster - North Bldg.
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