Spring 2018 Classes | GWSS, GWSS, & More GWSS (…+ Music Journalism & Relaxation)

Hey, all! My semester starts tomorrow… since UI classes resume in the third week of January and MLK Day falls on the third Monday of the month every year, we technically always get a “day off” right away in the spring semester. Pretty nice, huh? Anyway, just wanted to share with you what classes I’ll be taking this time around!

My classes are going to be a little different from those I’ve taken in semesters past, namely because I added a third major and will need to work my butt off if I’m to earn that BA in Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies. Don’t worry, I’ll make it happen: I’ve mapped out my last three semesters at Iowa and found to my surprise that it’s not only doable, but ridiculously doable. I just have very few English, journalism, and gen ed courses left to take, that’s all!

This semester will see me taking four GWSS courses. While I’m sure there’s some overlap between GWSS and my other majors, I expect to see a lot of new faces. I love the friends I’ve made in the English and journalism departments, but it’ll be amazing to belong to a new cohort too!


Diversity & Power in the US

This class explodes a common assumption that we are past racism, sexism and classism, opening a dynamic space to explore differences in power and privilege – and to develop an eye-opening understanding of how race, class, gender and nation shape our lives and world.

Through readings, films, and interactive assignments, the course aims to increase our knowledge of the inequities in our society and the consequences of those inequities for different communities and individuals.

We ask: How are individual lives shaped by larger societal forces? How do our own social positions affect how we see and experience the world? How are people involved in actively resisting inequality and social oppression on a daily basis?

Pretty basic stuff. It’s a 1000-level course, which for those of you not fluent in UI-speak means an introductory course. This would typically be taken quite early on in one’s college years but since I only recently added the GWSS major, I’m taking it right before senior year. Looking forward to an easy yet nevertheless intriguing class!

Women in Premodern East Asian Literature

Mother, daughter, sister, wife, lover, whore: How were women represented in the literature of traditional China, Japan, and Korea? This course will explore literary works portraying women in conventional roles such as wife, mother, daughter, or sister, as well as princesses, prostitutes, nuns, and goddesses.

Students will read, compare, and discuss portrayals of “good” and “bad” women, including devoted mothers, shrewish wives, controlling mothers-in-law, passionate lovers, wealthy prostitutes, and self-sacrificing daughters.

Some depictions are obviously misogynistic and others are positive but highly idealized; in still other cases, there is room for disagreement. We will discuss these works with attention to the original cultural and historical context and also in light of our own cultural backgrounds and contemporary values and thinking.

I need one more class dealing with race in order to major in GWSS… this one originally seemed HYPERSPECIFIC, causing me to nearly pass it by! I was like oh my god that’s such a small time period, isn’t it? Buuuut then I actually read the course description and fell in love. One of the units in this course has us reading excerpts from The Tale of Genji, which I’ve always wanted to delve into and I’m oh so excited!

Women & Their Bodies in Health & Illness

What would happen if men could menstruate and women could not? What if there were made-to-order vaginas, via surgery, which could make you “like a virgin” once again? How do you know when women are sexually aroused? Have you ever wondered how doctors learned to do pelvic exams? And do older, age fifty & up, women really have friends with benefits or even sex? Really!

What all these questions have in common is their aim to introduce us to social, economic, and political issues central to women’s health across the life span. This course breaks the silence and explores these changing understandings and critically examines the impact of age, race, class, gender on the lives and health of women. So join us as we share “Contraceptive Jelly on Toast” and other essays that will provide food for thought!

This course covers basic facts about the structure and functioning of the female body. Particular attention is paid to adjustments the body makes during normal physiological events – menstruation, sexuality, reproduction, and menopause – and during illness processes. We will explore women’s mental and physical health issues in relation to women’s lives and women’s roles in society.

We will also study the relationship of women as consumers, practitioners, and activists to the health system and the achievements and limitations of women’s health movements. Throughout the entire course, we will work on anti-oppression, intersectionalities, and cross-cultural perspectives for all topics covered.

I’m worried this course seems not only likely but predestined to set off down a rather cisnormative path? Oh well, it will provide plenty of fodder for discussions and any written work. I’m interested in exploring issues of women’s mental health, since it seems they are so often ignored or laughed at in many of the classic novels I’ve read for my English major. And I’m always ready to get fired up about reproductive rights, especially in this horrid day and age!

Transnational Feminism

This course introduces feminist perspectives from global and U.S. contexts in order to ask the question: How do the contributions from activists and scholars in the so-called “Third World” or Global South radically reimagine feminist politics?  Geopolitical position shapes our understanding of familiar feminist issues such as sexual violence, formal and informal economies, the role of NGOs and human rights.

Transnational feminism offers a gendered perspective on issues often marginalized in US feminist thinking, such as free trade agreements, water privatization and deforestation. These too are feminist issues.

This course makes a distinction between transnational and international. We will not survey feminist work to learn how it “represents” various countries or regions of the world. Nor will we focus on “diversity” in women’s movements. Rather, we will examine connections, past and present, between gendered experiences and social movements in different parts of the world. The course is interdisciplinary, but with an emphasis on anthropology.

Sounds like this course will pair well with Diversity & Power in terms of balancing out the US-/Western-centric perspective of mainstream feminism with other feminist views. It’s also a more advanced course and I can’t wait to be challenged.

Music Journalism

You will learn the difference between an opinion and an
argument, you will learn how your reviews say as much about you as they do about whatever you are reviewing and you will learn how to appreciate – and learn from! – reviews that disagree with your point of view as much or more than you like reading those that reinforce your perception.

You will listen to a lot of music in here and will be asked to respond in various ways, not only to the music itself but to the responses of others, both those in this class and those who make some sort of living writing about music or write for public consumption without pay.

I wanted to take a class in narrative journalism but it is unfortunately being taught by my prof from Magazine Reporting & Writing last semester, whom I cannot stand… so I made the best of the situation and chose the next most cool-sounding option. Tbh I’ve long since wanted to post more music reviews and shit here but I don’t know How To Write one! I’ve already set a goal of writing only about female and/or LGBTQ+ artists in this course bc like… whyever not?


This course will concentrate on stretching and strength conditioning, combined with full-body breathing techniques and relaxation methods, to facilitate stress reduction and body-mind integration. A period of relaxation will end each class. Each class will progress sequentially toward more challenging concepts, repetitions, and patterns of movements/exercises throughout the semester.

Soooo this course is like nothing else I’ve ever done before! Not only are my roommate and I taking it together, which has never happened in the long history of my college roommates, but it is a half-semester course and will not begin until after students return from spring break. Plus… it’s basically just a “filler” course, so I’m looking forward to learning relaxation techniques and not having to stress out about anything serious + academic such as quizzes and tests!


Now it’s YOUR turn! What classes will you be taking this spring? Does this semester have many new things in store for you or will the next few months be quite typical? How so?

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Spring 2018 Classes | GWSS, GWSS, & More GWSS (…+ Music Journalism & Relaxation)

  1. Rachel says:

    This semester for me will be pretty typical. I have Communication Theory, Interpersonal Communication, Writing for Strategic Communication, and Intro to the English Language. I’m really looking forward to the last class though because it seems like it’s going to be very intriguing (I hope :P).

  2. orphu44 says:

    What do you consider “pre-modern?” Because pre-modern literature sounds like a large time frame to me. That aside, I hope you have a good semester! They sound like good courses, though this may be the first time you’ve posted one of these without a class that I was actively jealous of. (Or maybe not. I haven’t kept track.)

  3. orphu44 says:

    Also have I commented before on how your university apparently calls this the spring semester instead of the winter semester? Because if not, that was an oversight on my part.

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