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Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (Minor)

The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor relies on multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of women and the social, cultural, and historical constructions of gender and sexuality, particularly as they intersect with race, ethnicity, class, culture, religion, and nation. Students will take at least one foundational course and courses from other disciplines with at least one of those serving as a capstone experience.

Degrees & Offerings
  • Minor
  • -
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Petitions for Independent Research or Internships

Independent studies, individualized instruction, departmental research and writing courses, and internships can be counted toward the minor if the project, study, or agency specifically reflects the curriculum goals of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Minor upon approval by the advisory board members.

Courses and Curriculum

WGNS 101: Introduction to Women's Studies

The electives must be from at least 2 different disciplines. At least 6 credit hours must be at the 300- or
400-level. One of the electives must be a capstone experience: A WGS course with a research
component, a WGS independent study, or any course augmented with a WGS research component.*

This is the currently approved list. More courses will be added.

PLEASE NOTE: The following course list includes course options from all three Commonwealth campuses. Please ensure that you select courses that are being taught face-to-face on the Lock Haven campus, or in an online or hybrid modality.

WGNS 110: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies
ANTH 140:  Introduction to Biological Anthropology GE
ANTH 380: Anthropology of Gender GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
ANTH 430: Anthropology of Reproduction GE
ARH 370: Women, Art & Society GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
COMM 312: Gender and Communication GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
COMM 314: Communicating Identity and Difference GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
CRJ 217: Women and Crime
EC 313: Labor Economics
ENG L284: Literature and Gender Identity GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
ENGL 288: Feminist Reading of Culture GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
ENGL 289: Sexualities and Literature GE (Creativity & Expression: Literature)
HIST 252: Women in Pre-Modern World History GE (Interconnections: Global Persp.)
HIST 317: Women and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe
HIST 377: American Woman (Interconnections: Diversity)
PHI 306: Feminist Philosophy GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
POLI 215: Gender and Politics GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
PSYC 121: Human Sexuality
PSYC 215: Psychology of Family Relations 
PSYC 330: Psychology of Gender
SOC 201: Families in Society GE (Interconnections: Diversity
SOC 304: Sociology of Gender GE (Interconnections: Diversity)
SPECIAL TOPICS courses as appropriate will count with the approval of a director.

Christina Francis, Ph.D., WGSS director, professor of English

Christina Francis received her Ph.D. degree in 2004 from Arizona State University. She has served as the Director for the Gender Studies Minor since Fall 2015. She also works as the advisor to English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta and the English Club. She co-chairs and organizes the annual High School Conference on Diversity which happens every November on the BU campus, bringing high school students from the region to campus for a day of interactive workshops on diversity.

The courses Dr. Francis teaches for the Gender Studies Minor include Feminist Reading of Culture and Popular Literature. Her research focuses on Arthurian literature of the Middle Ages and contemporary Arthurian medievalism. Some of her publications include 1) “Malory’s Bloody Bedrooms” for Arthurian Literature (Boydell & Brewer, 2011) and “Playing with Gender in Arthur, King of Time and Space” for the journal Arthuriana 20.4 (2010). She is currently working on a book-length study of the BBC series Merlin.

Kristie Byrum, Ph.D. APR, assistant professor of mass communications

Kristie Byrum earned a Ph.D. degree in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design (RCID) from Clemson University. With her research on the intersection of communication and corporate social responsibility, she offers insights to the evolving public relations profession. A recognized entrepreneur, she founded several businesses, including three public relations agencies and a venture-funded dot-com company.

She was a visiting scholar to the European Graduate School for Media and Communication in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in 2013 and is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Kristie Byrum previously taught Women’s and Gender Studies courses at the University of South Carolina Upstate and Clemson University. She holds a B.A. degree in Journalism from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.A. degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina.

Kelly Dauber, Ph.D., assistant professor of exercise science

Kelly Dauber received her Ph.D. degree from Springfield College (MA) in Physical Education Teaching and Administration. She came to Bloomsburg University in 2006, and she currently teaches the course, Women in Sport, for the Gender Studies Minor. She enjoys researching and presenting on the female-athlete paradox as well as the double jeopardy faced by women in sport.

Jessica Defenderfer, Ph.D., assistant professor of Political Science

Jessy Defenderfer is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bloomsburg University. She teaches many of the department’s political behavior courses, including Campaigns and Elections, Public Opinion, Women and Politics, and the Democratic Citizenship of Harry Potter. She completed her PhD in the Department of Political Science at The Ohio State University in August 2015 where she focused on the impact of personal value systems on the effective framing of political messages. She researches in the field of political psychology, applying psychological concepts to individual voter behavior, particularly the behavior of women and racial minorities. Prior to Ohio State, She completed a Master of Public Policy at The George Washington University and utilized these skills as a legislative analyst for the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC, where she had the unique opportunity to campaign for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. During these early graduate studies in DC, she also had the opportunity to intern for Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-1) and for AARP.

David Heineman, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies

David Heineman earned his Ph.D. degree in Communication Studies with a certification from the Project on the Rhetorics of Inquiry from the University of Iowa and Masters and Bachelors degrees in Speech Communication from Syracuse University. He is an advisor to the Bloomsburg chapter of the Lambda Pi Eta National Honor Society and an active member of the National Communication Association. He regularly presents his work at international, national, and regional conferences.

Heineman’s primary research interests are located at the intersection of rhetorical theory and criticism and new media technologies. In 2012, he co-authored the book, Rhetoric Online: The Politics of New Media, for Peter Lang Press and he is currently writing a book for inclusion in the Digital Game Studies series by the Indiana University Press. Other recent scholarship has focused on gender in media, the rhetoric of memes, and digital aesthetics. He also has research interests in visual rhetoric, public memory, social movements, the rhetoric of science and technology, media criticism, narrative theory, and political communication. He teaches classes such as Gender Issues in Communication, Media and Visual Culture, Understanding Social Influence, and Examining Communication.

Monica Johnson, Director of the Women’s Resource Center

Monica Johnson is currently the Director of the Women's Resource Center on the Bloomsburg Campus.

Yahya Laayouni, Ph.D., assistant professor of Arabic and French

Yahya Laayouni received a BA degree in English Literature and an MA degree in Gender Studies at Mohammed Ibn Abdellah University in Fez, Morocco. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012.

His primary field of research concentrates on Beur cinema as an emerging genre and on the construction of subjectivity in Beur films. Part of his work focuses on the issue of gender in Beur films, particularly the representations of women and gay Beurs. His theoretical framework is founded on visual alterity, narrative identity, and theories of subjectivity. He is also interested in francophone Arab-Islamic literature and culture and Orientalism.

Carolyn Lamacchia, Ph.D., associate professor of information technology, analytics and business education

Carolyn Lamacchia received a BSBA degree at Temple University, M.B.A. at Drexel University, and Ph.D. degree in Computer Information Systems at Nova Southeastern University.

Jennifer Oast, Ph.D., associate professor of history

Jennifer Oast earned her Ph.D. degree in Early American History at the College of William and Mary in 2008. Her book manuscript," Institutional Slavery," forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, examines slaveholding by colleges, free schools, churches, businesses, and the government in Virginia between 1680 and 1860. In the History Department, she teaches survey courses on early American History as well as classes on African American History, Colonial America, and the American Revolution.

She enjoys working with students as the faculty advisor for the History Club and Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honor Society. She also serves on the Social Equity Scorecard Committee, the Board of the Institute for Culture and Society, and the Board of the Frederick Douglass Institute Advisory Committee.

  1. Gender and Sexuality in Society: Students will describe and analyze the construction of gender and sexuality culturally, politically, and historically, and as it relates to various identity categories including but not limited to race, class, culture, ethnicity, age, and disability. 
  2. Critical Reasoning: Students will identify and explain concepts relevant to identity formation, applying those concepts to the representations of gender and sexuality in society. 
  3. Critical Analysis: Students will identify and analyze multicultural social and environmental issues from the perspectives of gender and sexuality both in the United States and in the global contexts.
  4. Diversity: Students will recognize the historical and cultural roots of inequality and respond to the need for social justice. Emphasis will be given to the representation of women as a gender category and its place in the development of this field of study.

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