Why you should take WGSS 10
There are so many different academic departments at Dartmouth, and as an undergrad, you have the ability to mix and match from a lot of them over your 12 terms. It is even possible to audit a few more if you are dying to take them but don't have time in your schedule. A lot of new students pay a lot of attention to the bigger departments like Economics, Government, Biology, Engineering, Chemistry, or English, but I personally think that taking a few classes from smaller departments like Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) can do a lot to enrich your academic repertoire. WGSS 10, which is titled Sex, Gender, and Society, is the intro course to the WGSS department, and one of the most thorough WGSS classes you can take if you are looking to get a feel for the department and learn as much about WGSS as possible in one term.
WGSS 10 is not a big intro course compared to say, Chem 5, which can have over 145 students. WGSS 10 is usually no more than 20 students in an open, discussion-based curriculum that covers a wide range of feminist topics including foundational theory, transgender and intersex identities, motherhood and women in the workplace, intersectionality and the struggles of women and people of color, sexual assault, and much more. No prior experience with WGSS is necessary to take WGSS 10, and more often than not it is the students' first time discussing WGSS topics in a formal academic setting. There is an emphasis on critical thinking and, depending on the professor, assignments will usually vary across readings, research presentations, and papers. I took WGSS 10 with Professor Zahra Ayubi, who gave a group midterm and a research paper final. For the midterm, groups of five students were given 30 key terms from readings and 20 minutes to design a concept map connecting all of the concepts. Then, each group defended their concept map to the class and professor in a peer review format. It was, in all honesty, the most fun I've ever had taking a midterm - and the group setting took the pressure off and let you use your own knowledge and that of your peers to create the best possible finished product. Over the course of the term, the class made two visits to the Rauner Special Collections Library to look at original primary sources based on the topics that we covered in class, but specifically related to Dartmouth. The research paper final used the resources available at Rauner and was very open ended; we all chose topics that interested us. I wrote about evidence of sexism on campus when Dartmouth began admitting women in 1972.
Overall, WGSS 10 is still one of the best classes I've taken at Dartmouth, and while I may be biased because WGSS is one of my majors, I think everyone can benefit academically and personally from taking a class in the WGSS department.