SOC 316. Gender and Society

Nature of gender dynamics linking personal experiences to the structure and functioning of institutions, to cultural/subcultural aspects of society, and to interests of the powerful. [DCG-d.]

We are gendered beings that produce on a daily basis the gendered institutions in which we interact. These institutions proliferate particular intersections of gender, race, class, ability and age that reproduce inequalities. This is the sociological perspective. This framework and the related theory are supported by overwhelming volumes of research, much of which has been compiled within the last 30 to 50 years. This particular social configuration is not inevitable – but it is recalcitrant. In this class we will explore sociological perspectives on gender, gender identity, gender differentiation and stratification. We will also challenge the notion of gender as being a two-box binary system, but rather think of it as a spectrum that we move along, depending on when and where we are in our life experience. Our course goal is for you to develop a nuanced understanding of gender informed by research that allows you to take personal and political action for a more just world.


Boylan, Jennifer Finney. 2003. She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders. New York: Broadway Books.

Mock, Janet. 2014. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. New York: Atria Books.

Wade, Lisa and Ferree, Myra Marx. 2015. Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.