Activism and Social Change

Course Number: WS 202
Transcript Title: Activism and Social Change
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: August 17, 2017
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 ore equivalent placement test

Prerequisite / Concurrent

Course Description

Examines how women and men have worked to empower their communities and to improve the conditions of their lives. Explores ways that feminist theories have shaped the goals and strategies of social change efforts. Offers an in‐depth look at selected topic areas, connects analysis and personal experience, and prepares students to become effective change agents. Prerequisite: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Recognize influences of changing political, social, economic, religious, sexual, historical, and cultural patterns in the creation and perpetuation of injustice.
  2. Evaluate effective possibilities for empowering women and working toward positive change in the lives of women.
  3. Use feminist theoretical perspectives to analyze social change efforts.
  4. Communicate effectively in writing, collaborating, and speaking.
  5. Apply service learning experience and self- reflection to enhance community and environmental responsibility and advocacy skills.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Student mastery of outcomes may be assessed by any combination of the following:

  1. Written or oral assignments
  2. Objective or essay examinations
  3. Research projects
  4. Participation in class discussions, small group activities, exercises, or roll plays
  5. Performances or plays
  6. Oral or visual presentations
  7. Participating in or organizing community or professional events
  8. Service learning activities

Course Activities and Design

  1. Service Learning projects
  2. Essays
  3. Online discussion forums and activities on Moodle
  4. In-class discussion
  5. Small group work – collaborative activities

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Competencies, and Skills

  1. Reflect on the history of women's advocacy for positive changes in the conditions which impact girls' and women's lives.
  2. Articulate and explore ways in which women and men can implement a vision of social change which empowers women and improves the circumstances of their lives.
  3. Explain several feminist theoretical perspectives.
  4. Examine a topic relevant to girl's or women's lives, and analyze efforts and effects of social change on this topic.
  5. Develop skills in explaining one's views in depth and listening respectfully to others.
  6. Explore possible directions for future social change efforts.

Themes, Concepts, Issues

  • Power, privilege
  • Sexism, albums, ageism
  • Heterosexism, homophobia
  • Sexual orientation, sexual minorities
  • Androgyny
  • Systems of oppression
  • Patriarchy
  • Identity politics
  • Dualism
  • Essentialism
  • Social constructivism
  • Feminist epistemologies
  • Authority of experience
  • First, second, and third wave feminisms
  • Liberal, socialist, radical feminisms

Instructors teaching WS 202 may focus on such topics as:

  • Work and economics
  • Violence
  • Sport and leisure
  • Politics and law
  • Education
  • Arts
  • Mental health
  • Health care
  • Mass media/TV/film/Internet
  • Religion
  • Science
  • Philosophy