meanings, measures, and methods

Psychological research on gender, research methods, sex & sexuality


Approaches to Feminist Scholarship in the Humanities
& the Social Sciences (WS 601/602)

What is feminist scholarship and how is it done? And what does it mean to claim that scholarship is feminist? This course explores these questions through comparative analysis of scholarship by feminists working in disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. We will examine fundamental topics in feminist research, including the politics of knowledge production, forms of evidence, connections between lived experience and authority, the role of the researcher in the research process, and intersections of inequalities and identities. The overall goal of the course is to help graduate students enrich their own scholarship through a deeper understanding of feminist methodologies.

Sex, Sexuality & Public Policy (WS/Psych 394)

In this course we examine a series of U.S. policies that aim to shape how young people and adults engage with aspects of their sexual identities and/or sexual lives. We examine six policy areas, including: sex education, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, school-based bullying, same-sex marriage, contraception, and abortion. We read materials drawn from legal scholarship, feminist theory, current legislation, and informational materials produced by lobby groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This course is mainly a lecture format, with some emphasis on class participation. Students take two exams, in addition to completing several small writing assignments. Additionally, students will develop a set of materials to persuade and educate policy makers on a topic related to the course.

Adolescent Sexuality (WS/Psych 494)

While many courses on adolescent sexuality focus solely on “crises” such as sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, this course takes a decidedly different approach by studying a wide range of issues that affect young people and their sexual development. We examine several important areas in adolescents’ lives, including: the role of peers and partners, the role of media and popular culture, families and schools, and lastly, social policies that create the political infrastructure in which adolescents develop. Throughout the semester, we read empirical research from a wide variety of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and women’s studies. Throughout the course, we pay attention to developing skills in feminist research methods, including survey methods, observational studies, media analysis, and interviewing. Students not only learn about a diverse set of methods, but also conduct a small study of their own that uses a “mixed methods” design. This course is a seminar format, with a heavy emphasis on class discussion. There are weekly writing assignments, with a midterm and final paper.

Psychology and Women & Gender (Psych/WS 291)

This course provides an introductory survey of psychological research on women, men, and gender. Throughout the course, we address topics as gender stereotypes, gender socialization, sexuality, women and work, and violence against women. Historically, psychologists’ work has focused on discovering how women and men differ; these differences were often taken as evidence of men’s superiority and women’s inferiority and used to deny women access to privilege and power. Over the past 40 years, the women’s movement has shifted the focus to the lived experiences of women – across the lifespan and across the many different social locations that women live. Throughout this course, we rely on a range of vehicles: psychology research, class discussions, films, photographs, and students’ thinking and writing.