GWSS 334 A: Gender, Sex, and Religion

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
MUE 155
Joint Sections: 
RELIG 334 A, RELIG 534 A, GWSS 534 A
Mika Ahuvia

Syllabus Description:


Class Description:

The interpreters of the Bible shaped the gendered categories and hierarchies that many readers take for granted today. In this class, students are invited to explore debates about these categories within and among ancient texts, within scholarship, and society. As most ancient religion courses neglect women’s stories and women’s scholarship, this course centers women’s perspectives and womanist/feminist scholarship. To analyze biblical stories and their legacy, we will rely on a variety of academic approaches from the fields of Bible Studies, literary criticism, history, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, and more.


Course learning objectives:

  • Introduce students to foundational religious texts through investigation of sources related to gender, sex, and sexuality.
  • Students will learn how to read texts closely and rigorously,
    • recognizing their own preconceptions and the ancient authors’ attitudes to gender, sex, and sexuality.
    • engaging with multiple approaches for analyzing biblical texts, differentiating theological, academic, and contemporary feminist perspectives.
    • developing an understanding of the politics of knowledge production in antiquity and grasp related ethical considerations for knowledge production today.
  • Through writing assignments and class discussions, students will develop their own voice and practice skills for discussing religion with others.
    • Students will develop the capacity to link what they have learned in class to non-academic and academic careers and communities.


Course Materials (Required)

  • Course-pack from Professional Copy 'n' Print, 4200 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105.
  • Wilda Gafney, Womanist Midrash (WJK Press, 2017) available at your favorite bookseller.


Course Requirements Overview

  • Class participation (20%)
  • One Supplementary reading analysis/presentation (5%)
  • Foundational Essay: Survey of Feminist Approaches to Genesis (20%)
  • Research Literacy Project (20%)
    • Text analysis paper or Creative Project (20%)
  • Final Exam (15%)
Catalog Description: 
The Bible and its interpreters invented the gender categories and hierarchies that readers take for granted. Employs academic approaches that illuminate the construction of those categories and explores the debates within Judaism and Christianity as well as within academia today about gender, sex, sexuality, and religion. Offered: jointly with RELIG 334; Sp.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:05pm