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Introduction to Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

(15 reviews)

Miliann Kang, University of Massachusetts

Donovan Lessard

Laura Heston, University of Massachusetts

Sonny Nordmarken, University of Massachusetts

Pub Date: 2017

ISBN 13: 9781945764028

Publisher: Independent

Language: English

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Reviewed by Karen Scarpella, Part-time faculty, Aims Community College on 7/29/19

This textbook is designed to be a simple and structured outline for a course. It is “comprehensive” in that it covers many of the standard topics. The depth of each section is superficial. The benefit of this is that it is a nice outline to add... read more


Reviewed by Kirsten Olsen, Sociology Instructor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College on 6/28/19

Assuming that an instructor is looking for a basic introductory book, this book will likely work quite well. It briefly introduces many concepts in an accessible way but does not provide much depth or detail. So many textbooks are too in-depth... read more


Reviewed by Stina Soderling, Instructor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 5/7/19

As several reviewers have noted, this is not a comprehensive textbook. This, however, is not necessarily a weakness. The text provides definitions of important terms, and an introduction to some key topics and concepts. It can easily be... read more


Reviewed by Jessica Davidson, Associate Professor, James Madison University on 3/4/19

As an Introductory text, it covers essential points such as introduction to the field and discussion of key theory, challenging binary systems and looking at difference (sex/gender/sexuality system and race and class) and institutions, culture,... read more


Reviewed by Elizabeth Losh, Associate Professor, VIVA / William and Mary on 11/25/18

The text does a serviceable job citing key terms in an introductory course (essentialism, biological determinism, androcentrism, the gender binary, compulsory heterosexuality, heteronormativity, intersectionality, cult of domesticity, male gaze,... read more


Reviewed by Rebecca Tolley, Professor, East Tennessee State University on 10/4/18

The authors' note that their intent with this textbook was creating an intersectional, interdisciplinary, anchoring reference text to be used in concert with other assigned readings, for that reason, it is not comprehensive in terms of fulfilling... read more


Reviewed by Mindy Stokes, College Instructor, Clatsop Community College on 5/21/18

This text is great to use with undergraduate students who just beginning their college careers. It includes a historical analysis of the women's movements as well as the issues facing women today. read more


Reviewed by Elijah Edelman, Assistant Professor , Rhode Island College on 5/21/18

The text is distinctly more comprehensive in scope and content when contrasted to the unfortunately majority of current texts framed around gender studies. The text goes to great lengths to disrupt and unpack dominant discourses on gender and,... read more


Reviewed by Milton Wendland, Instructional Faculty II, University of South Florida on 3/27/18

The text provides a broad overview of key concepts, although some that would seem to me foundational are missing (e.g., patriarchy, kyriarchy, Title IX, internalized racism/homophobia/misogyny, etc). Intersectionality is woven in throughout,... read more


Reviewed by Vicki McGarvey, Learning & Information Services Manager, Staffordshire University on 2/1/18

This is a clear and concise introduction, to women, gender and sexuality. It provides a theoretical context and examines the various societal issues and constructs that shape individual beliefs. The book focuses on work and the economy, culture,... read more


Reviewed by Kathryn Klement, Assistant Professor, Bemidji State University on 2/1/18

The authors are very comprehensive in their topic coverage. I particularly like how discussion of intersectionality permeates the text outside of its specific chapter. I also like how the authors supplemented their text with embedded videos,... read more


Reviewed by Maina C. Singh, Scholar in Residence, School of International Service, American University on 2/1/18

The title of the book itself reflects its wide span of coverage -- from women and gender to more complex debates in Sexuality Studies. It covers each of these areas in great detail providing examples which would be familiar and relevant to... read more


Reviewed by Stef Woods, Professorial Lecturer, American University on 2/1/18

I was impressed with the book's comprehensiveness. I particularly appreciated the book's discussion of the field of sexuality studies, the binary, media and the importance of language. I also loved how the book incorporated videos. This book would... read more


Reviewed by Michelle Buchberger, Assistant Professor, Miami University on 2/1/18

The text is brief. It is 132 pages, covering the following topics: 1. Critical Introduction to the Field 2. Theorizing Lived Experiences 3. Identity Terms 4. Conceptualizing Structures of Power 5. Social Constructionism 6. Intersectionality 7.... read more


Reviewed by Janice Okoomian, Assistant Professor, Rhode Island College on 2/1/18

A number of important concepts are not covered or are only mentioned in passing -- the role of religion, for instance, in constructing ideologies of gender. More detail is needed to explain the many concepts presented. Examples need to be more... read more


Table of Contents

Unit I: An Introduction to Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies: Grounding Theoretical Frameworks and Concepts

  • Critical Introduction to the Field
  • Theorizing Lived Experiences
  • Identity Terms
  • Conceptualizing Structures of Power
  • Social Constructionism
  • Intersectionality
  • References: Unit I

Unit II: Challenging Binary Systems and Constructions of Difference

  • Introduction: Binary Systems
  • The Sex/Gender/Sexuality System
  • Gender and Sex - Transgender and Intersex
  • Sexualities
  • Masculinities
  • Race
  • Class
  • Alternatives to Binary Systems
  • References: Unit II

Unit III: Institutions, Culture, and Structures

  • Introduction: Institutions, Cultures, and Structures
  • The Family
  • Media
  • Medicine, Health, and Reproductive Justice
  • The State, Law, and the Prison System
  • Intersecting Institutions Case Study: The Struggle to End Gendered Violence and Violence Against Women
  • References: Unit III

Unit IV: Gender and Work in the Global Economy

  • Introduction: Gender and Work in the Global Economy
  • Gender and Work in the US
  • Gender and the US Welfare State
  • Transnational Production and Globalization
  • Racialized, Gendered, and Sexualized Labor in the Global Economy
  • References: Unit IV

Unit V: Historical and Contemporary Feminist Social Movements

  • Introduction: Feminist Movements
  • 19th Century Feminist Movements
  • Early to Late 20th Century Feminist Movements
  • Third Wave and Queer Feminist Movements
  • References: Unit V

About the Book

This textbook introduces key feminist concepts and analytical frameworks used in the interdisciplinary Women, Gender, Sexualities field. It unpacks the social construction of knowledge and categories of difference, processes and structures of power and inequality, with a focus on gendered labor in the global economy, and the historical development of feminist social movements. The book emphasizes feminist sociological approaches to analyzing structures of power, drawing heavily from empirical feminist research.

About the Contributors


Miliann Kang is associate professor in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is also affiliated faculty in Sociology and Asian/Asian American Studies. Her book, The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work (2010, University of California Press) addresses gendered processes and relations in immigrant women’s work focusing on Asian-owned nail salons. It won four awards from the American Sociological Association (Sections on Racial and Ethnic Minorities; Sex and Gender; Race, Gender, and Class; and Asia/Asian America) and the Sara Whaley book prize from the National Women’s Studies Association. She is currently researching work-family issues for Asian American women, and the racial politics of mothering. Her research has been supported by the American Association of University Women, the Ford Foundation, the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMass Boston, the Labor Relations and Research Center at UMass Amherst and the Social Science Research Council. She received her Ph.D. from New York University and her B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard University.

Donovan Lessard is a researcher and public health evaluator with an MA in sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies.

Laura Heston is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at University Massachusetts, Amherst.

Sonny Nordmarken is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at University Massachusetts, Amherst.