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Women's and Gender Studies | Brooklyn College Library

WGST 4410W Women’s and Gender Studies Research Seminar (Banerjee): General Course and Instructor Info

Course Description

This advanced seminar for seniors majoring in WGST (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) is designed to guide and facilitate a research paper related to women, gender, and sexuality studies.

  • It involves original research and/or fieldwork culminating in a 20-25 page paper that incorporates feminist theories and interdisciplinary methods of analysis.
  • It is a writing intensive course.
  • The final paper will testify to students’ reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.
  • A student completing the course with distinction is recommended for honors.


Professor Swapna Banerjee


Instructor: Professor Swapna Banerjee
Office Address: 1127B Boylan Hall
Office Hours: Monday, 1-2 pm; Thursday, 12:30-1:30 pm & By appointment
Email WITHOUT attachments:
Email WITH attachments:

Note on e-mail correspondence and Zoom Link

  • Check your email and BlackBoard announcements daily.
  • For messages without attachments, send e-mail to:
  • For messages with attachments, send e-mail to:
  • The Zoom link for your classes is on the syllabus. I will also post it on BB. To check BB announcement, you need to check your registered e-mail account. The Zoom links are only for those registered for this class. 
  • Do NOT share the Zoom links with anybody else. Violation of this rule will lead to serious disciplinary action.  
  • E-mail me only for course-related matters and keep it short. Always think before you write to me.
  • I will not answer unnecessary e-mails regarding questions that are addressed in the syllabus.
  • I will NOT answer e-mails during weekends. Allow 24-48 hours for my response to your mails, even on weekdays.
  • Do NOT e-mail me for your petty illnesses or other reasons for missing classes. 
  • I will not discuss your big concerns with assignments, lectures, or readings over e-mail. For such concerns you must see me during my office hours and by appointment. 
  • ALWAYS put your <yourname> and the course number IN THE SUBJECT. 
  • Email is a FORMAL means of communication (at least when you correspond with your professors or employers, etc.). Let's treat each other with respect. Use capital letters, punctuation, greetings and salutations as in a professional message. Avoid abbreviations, slang, and cuteness.
  • The use of magic words (please, thank you) and politeness in general is strongly encouraged.
  • Sign every message at the bottom. 
  • Exchange phone numbers or email addresses with your classmates. If you happen to miss a class please do NOT ask me to summarize what we did or will do in class, or what the assignment is/was, UNLESS YOU HAVE SERIOUS REASONS. Email or text a classmate instead.

Course Structure

The Course will be structured around the following research activities:

  1. Identification of a research topic and developing questions to be probed in the project.
  2. Designing a framework and methodology on how to proceed with the research.
  3. Review of relevant literature/historiography and developing a critique.
    • You may work with a librarian to explore scholarly internet data sources both for required college essays and ways of integrating technology into personal teaching practices.
  4. Gathering sources/evidence/data, both primary and secondary, to support your project.
  5. Create a Bibliography that acts as a major database.
  6. Final Research Paper incorporating feminist research method to demonstrate a thesis/finding based on scholarly sources.
  7. The project will be reported in class both as a work in progress and as a final product.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the course and writing the research paper, students will

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the history of women’s and gender studies and the importance of feminist research methods.
  • Understand gender and sexuality as socio-cultural constructions for creation and maintenance of power and identities.
  • Be aware of the intersectional factors such as race, class, caste, gender, religion, and other factors that constitute identities based on differences and inequalities.
  • Exhibit the contribution of the research through a review of current literature, developing its critique, articulating an argument supported by primary and secondary evidence and draw meaningful conclusion.
  • Display ability, verbally and in writing, to present the research before a professional academic community.

Course Textbook

This course is a zero cost/open educational resources course.  That means there is no textbook students need to purchase. All materials are available freely to students online on the WGST 4410W Women’s and Gender Studies Research Seminar (what you are on right now) and Blackboard blackboard logo..

Course Supplemental Materials - Videos

Watch all of the animated documentary shorts about UNLADYLIKE2020’s trailblazing heroines

You can also watch a one-hour PBS special, American Masters – UNLADYLIKE2020: The Changemakers (PBS Passport), (membership required).

UNLADYLIKE2020 is an innovative multimedia series featuring diverse and little-known, trend-setting American heroines from the early years of feminism, and the women who follow in their footsteps.

The Project:

The Project UNLADYLIKE2020 is a timeless and resource-rich repository of U.S. women’s histories from the early years of feminism. In honor of the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020, we are proud to present the comprehensive biographies of 26 bold American women who broke barriers in male-dominated fields at the turn of the 20th century, and the women who now follow in their footsteps. These trailblazers excelled in science, medicine, politics, business, journalism, sports, aviation, and the arts — including the first woman to lead scientific expeditions in the Arctic, join the National Academy of Engineering, found a hospital on an American Indian reservation, serve in the U.S. Congress, become a bank president, swim across the English Channel, earn an international pilot’s license, sing opera on the main stage at Carnegie Hall, or direct a feature-length movie. Presenting history in a bold new way, our 26 digital shorts bring extraordinary stories of daring and persistence back to life through captivating original artwork and animation, rare archival imagery, and interviews with historians, descendants, and accomplished women of today who reflect on the influence of these pioneers.

Narrated by Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award-winner Julianna Margulies (ER, The Good Wife, Billions) and Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice Award-winner Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Orange is the New Black, The Glorias), the series of 10-to-12 minute animated documentary shorts is available via PBS’s flagship biography series American Masters. American Masters also premiered a one-hour television special on PBS July 10, 2020, American Masters – UNLADYLIKE2020: The Changemakers, illuminating the stories of 5 pioneers in politics and civil rights.

Playlist containing ALL 31 Unladylike2020 videos

  1. Official Trailer | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  2. Bessie Coleman: First African American Aviator | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  3. Social Worker Grace Abbott | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  4. Entrepreneur Maggie Lena Walker | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  5. Lillian Gilbreth: Pioneering Inventor | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  6. Ynés Mexía: Mexican-American Botanist and Adventurer | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  7. Anna May Wong: The first Asian American Movie Star | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  8. Meta Warrick Fuller: Trailblazing African American Artist | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  9. Louise Arner Boyd: First Woman to Lead Arctic Expeditions | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  10. The First American Woman to Direct a Feature-Length Film | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  11. This astronomer discovered over 300 stars during her career| Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  12. The First Chinese American Woman to Vote in the U.S. | Unladlylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  13. She was a Leader of the American Labor Movement | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  14. The First American-Born Chinese Woman Doctor | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  15. Gladys Bentley Exclusive | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  16. Gladys Bentley: Gender-Bending Performer and Musician | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  17. Annie Smith Peck: Record-Breaking Mountaineer | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  18. The First American Indian Doctor | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  19. Unladylike2020: The Changemakers | Official Trailer | American Masters | PBS
  20. Sissieretta Jones was a Trailblazing Black Opera Singer | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  21. Queen Lili‘uokalani - The First and Last Queen of Hawai‘i | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  22. Mary Church Terrell: Co-Founder of the NAACP | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  23. She was a Daredevil Performer & Advocate for the Blind | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  24. Martha Hughes Cannon: The First Woman State Senator | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  25. Jovita Idar: Mexican American Activist and Journalist | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  26. Jeannette Rankin: The First Woman Member of U.S Congress | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  27. Charlotta Spears Bass: The First Black Woman VP Nominee | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  28. Nikole Hannah-Jones on Charlotta Spear Bass | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  29. Zitkála-Šá: Trailblazing American Indian Composer | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  30. The First Woman to Swim Across the English Channel | Unladylike2020 | American Masters | PBS
  31. UNLADYLIKE2020 and American Masters Present: Where Are the Women? Summit