Women's and Gender Studies (WGST) 320

Gendered Bodies and Society (Revision 1)

WGST 301 course cover

WGST 320 replaces WGST 301

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: WGST 266 or equivalent is strongly recommended.

Precluded Course: WGST 270, WMST 270, and WGST 301. (WGST 320 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for WGST 270, WMST 270, or WGST 301.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Women's & Gender Studies home page

WGST 301 has a Challenge for Credit option.

Check availability


WGST 320 aims to provide students with a deeper understanding of the ways in which gender is central to and shapes contemporary North American society. The starting point of the course is that gender is socially constructed, not based in biology as commonly believed. Concepts such as doing gender and gender performance are central to the course. Students will engage with poststructuralist, postmodern, feminist, and queer theory in order to critically examine not only gender norms but resistance and challenges to these norms. Feminine, masculine, queer, and transgender bodies will be studied in a variety of domestic, educational, and social contexts. The intersection of gender and sexuality with other social categories, including race and ability, will also be discussed.

Learning Outcomes

After completing WGST 320 you should be able to

  • identify problems with the “nature vs. nurture” debate;
  • explain how gender is socially constructed using feminist, postmodern, and queer theories;
  • provide examples of how feminine and masculine bodies can reinforce but also challenge gender norms;
  • recognize and explain how gender intersects with other social categories, including race and ability; and
  • provide examples of how queer and transgender bodies challenge heteronormativity.


  • Unit 1: The Social Construction of Gender
  • Unit 2: Children and Youth Perform Gender
  • Unit 3: Performing Femininities
  • Unit 4: Performing Masculinities
  • Unit 5: Gender and Disability
  • Unit 6: Gender Trouble

Each unit consists of a list of learning objectives; a list of unit activities, which includes assigned readings and video lectures; a critical reflection exercise; a self-test; and a list of references and supplementary materials.


To receive credit for WGST 320, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment Weighting Due
Oral Review 20% After Unit 1
Critical Reflection 2A 10% After Unit 2
Critical Reflection 2B 10% After Unit 4
Research Essay Proposal 10% After Unit 4
Critical Reflection 2C 10% After Unit 6
Research Essay 40% After Unit 6
Total 100%  

Note: To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Lorber, J., & Moore, L. J. (2011). Gendered bodies: Feminist perspectives. (2nd ed.) New York: Oxford University Press.

Other Materials

All other course materials, including the online study guide, required readings and video lectures, are available on your course website.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the WGST 320 challenge registration, you must complete all four essays and achieve a composite grade of D (50 percent) or higher on the challenge assignment. Credit will be awarded as either a pass or a fail.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, June 24, 2020.