Courses in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are offered every spring and fall semester at Penn State Altoona. The eighteen-credit Women’s Studies minor, which is available at Penn State Altoona, enriches study in many majors, including human development, political science, criminal justice, communications, theatre, English, engineering, and the natural sciences. The minor provides students with a competitive edge in their professional lives.
It is also possible to design a Women’s Studies/Gender Studies or Diversity Studies major at Penn State Altoona through the Multidisciplinary Studies program. Contact Dr. Sandra H. Petrulionis at [email protected] for information about Multidisciplinary Studies. Research with productive faculty can be done at our college.
Graduates with degrees in Women’s Studies attend top-tier professional, law, and graduate schools. They have careers in professional fields as diverse as legal advocacy, counseling, public relations, journalism, management, non-profit administration, teaching, medicine, politics, and government.
Contact Dr. Megan Simpson at [email protected] if you are minoring in Women’s Studies to ensure courses are going into the right places on your Academic Requirements Report in LionPATH.
Fall 2023 Courses
CRIMJ/WMNST 423: Sexual Violence
Dr. Kim S. Ménard—T/R 10:35-11:50 a.m.
This course examines sexual and interpersonal violence from victims’, society’s, and the criminal justice system’s perspectives. It begins by examining the nature of these crimes, including their legal definition and occurrence. Next, it reviews theories of violence and provides a more detailed analysis of the types, causes, and effects of sexual and interpersonal violence. Finally, the course focuses on college campuses, including laws institutions have to adhere to when dealing with these crimes, the policies implemented to try to reduce them, and victims’ demands for action. (US)
ENGL/WMNST 490: Women Writers and Their Worlds
Dr. Sarah Whitney—WEB
ENGL/WMNST 490 covers particular aspects of American and British literature written from the perspective of women. The course stresses the diversity of women's authorial worlds through time and/or space. ENGL/WMNST 490 seeks to make students aware of the extensive body of literature written by women, but, unlike ENGL 194, which is a survey course of women's literature, ENGL/WMNST 490 is a more intensive course, focusing on selected themes and topics of particular concern to women. Do women use the same myths, archetypes, and literary conventions as male writers? Or do they sometimes have to modify the myths, archetypes, and literary conventions originated by their male precursors in order to adapt them to female experience? Is there such a thing as a distinctively female imagination, with a symbolic language of its own? Is there such a thing as a chain of literary influence linking women writers to each other? What are the strategies for coping with the anxieties of authorship? What is the interaction between gender and genre? In what ways are creativity and procreativity modes of defying prevailing ideologies? Does a woman's psychological development have an effect on the plots a woman novelist conceives? How does women's literature reflect the realities of women's lives? (US, IL). This course will be offered in a remote asynchronous format via the Digital Learning Collective; for more information, please contact Dr. Megan Simpson.
Additional courses that count toward the Women's Studies minor at Penn State Altoona
Contact Megan Simpson at [email protected] to request course be correctly counted toward minor in LionPATH.
CI 285: Active Engagement for Social Justice in Education
Dr. Freyca Calderon-Berumen—T/Th 1:35-2:50 p.m.
This course prepares students for strategic critical thinking and active engagement in social justice education in community and school-based contexts. It builds on the key theoretical concepts of social justice introducing students to case studies or “live” examples of social justice-oriented advocacy or educational projects being implemented in the US and abroad that will provide a space for analysis and discussion. Students will engage in argumentation to investigate ways in which theoretical concepts have implications for educational and learning interventions. They will explore diverse topics to choose and action research project conducted in a classroom or community-based stakeholders. Students are introduced to ethnographic data gathering techniques, problem-posing, and pedagogical reasoning, and documentation. The goal is to deepen our understanding of social justice in education as we work on team-building, listening and communication skills, and reflective practices. A final project encourages students to document and express their work through visual and digital technologies directed at both their peers and the community partners.
ENGL 441: Chaucer
Dr. Jeffery Stoyanoff—M/W 4:00-5:15 p.m.
Often, we study Chaucer in isolation, tacitly agreeing with the canonical establishment that he was exceptional in comparison to the rest of the authors of fourteenth-century England. It’s true that Chaucer writes some of the best poetry in Middle English, but his work was influenced by his contemporaries’ work, too. (And of course vice-versa.) This course will start with Chaucer’s texts — including The Knight’s Tale, The Miller’s Tale, The Man of Law’s Tale, Troilus and Criseyde, etc. — but we will also read excerpts from John Gower’s Confessio Amantis, William Langland’s Piers Plowman, the Pearl-Poet, anonymously-authored texts, and perhaps even a medieval biblical pageant or two! Studying Chaucer in context, then, will allow us to better understand the larger literary conversation of which his texts are a part and to then consider how currents and themes from the later Middle Ages resonate with the same or similar issues we face in our current cultural moment in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Students will be asked to engage primary texts in the original Middle English (with modernizations and glossing available) and to use multiple theoretical perspectives, including queer studies, disability studies, and gender studies.