GWS Mission

The Gender and Women's Studies Program provides students with an interdisciplinary understanding of gender constructions and sexual identities, their intersections with other social categories such as race and class. Our curriculum explores the economic and political implications of gender and sexual differences both in the U.S. and across the globe. Gender and Women's Studies faculty and students analyze the political contexts, histories, and interconnections of movements for social justice with a commitment to engaged scholarship that can change individual lives and transform institutions.

Academic inquiry into changing gender practices and representations of gender and sexuality allows students to understand themselves and their relationships with others and helps them make informed choices about their own lives. It provides solid grounding for active engagement in the university and community.

Further, a major, minor or graduate concentration in Gender and Women's Studies provides valuable background for students who plan to pursue a wide variety of careers, academic, activist and professional.

Gender and Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary field of teaching and research that explores issues related to women and gender across academic disciplines. Our courses grapple with complex and interesting questions, such as:

  • What is the impact of art and music on how we see ourselves as men, women, queer or straight?
  • Is the push for marriage equality a simple demand for civil rights or, as some have argued, a "mainstreaming" of the LGBTQ movement?
  • What are the limits of global sisterhood when women are so vastly different and enjoy such varied levels or resources and power?
  • How would we describe and define the changing nature of masculinity from the 19th to the 21st centuries?
  • What is 'Black feminism' versus 'postcolonial feminism' versus 'womanism'? Who defines the parameters of these political categories and how?
  • What are the major concerns of women in Iran, Sudan, India, Mexico and Zimbabwe and how do these concerns resemble or differ from the issues facing a diverse array of U.S.-born women?
  • What do terms like 'post-feminism', 'glass ceiling', postracialism' and neoliberalism really mean in terms of gender and sexuality?
  • How do religious and cultural institutions, government structures and laws impact our individual identities, personal choices and intimate relations?