Gender and Women's Studies
Major and Minor
Magali Roy-Féquière, Gender and Women's Studies, chair;
Catherine Denial, History
Nancy Eberhardt, Anthropology and Sociology
Brenda Fineberg, Classics
Lori Schroeder Haslem, English
Heather Hoffmann, Psychology
Frederick Hord, Africana Studies
Karen Kampwirth, Political Science
Lynette Lombard, Art
Elizabeth Carlin Metz, Theatre
Robin Ragan, Modern Languages
Natania Rosenfeld, English
Kelly Shaw, Psychology and Gender and Women's Studies
William Young, Philosophy
The program in Gender and Women’s Studies combines the field of women's studies with the study of masculinities, sexualities, and the intersections of gender with other social categories. Each of these areas brings to the study of society and culture the perspective of gender as a category of analysis. Such analysis, rooted in feminist scholarship, challenges the distorted perception of human experience that results when a dominant group (such as men, heterosexuals, whites) is viewed as the unquestioned "norm," omitting or casting as "abnormal" the experience of non-dominant groups. Such analysis insists that a liberal education opens our minds to the missing voices, experiences and concerns which expand our sense of the world and of knowledge itself.
Many of the courses in our program center on the role that women have played in history, culture and society. Attention to the importance of race and ethnicity, in intersection with gender, is pervasive in our curriculum. Some of our courses focus on men, with the lens of gender analysis applied. The complex interactions between women and men can be found throughout, and several courses include writings by or about lesbians and gay men.
The major requires two courses in a discipline outside of Gender and Women’s Studies in order to provide a base for the interdisciplinary work of the program. A sampling of these disciplines is explored in the required course in feminist methodologies, which introduces the examination of how academic disciplines have shaped our ideas of what knowledge is—who or what is worthy of study and which questions are worth asking—and our advanced courses continue this work through the intensive study of particular topics.
Through an understanding of the social and cultural factors that have shaped traditional and contemporary roles of women and men, students in gender and women’s studies courses can expect to gain a new understanding of their society and their own place in it, as well as a vision of how knowledge is formed and re-formed. We also hope that students use their knowledge outside the classroom. The field of Gender and Women’s Studies has from its beginning been connected with social and political concerns to transform the world in accord with visions of justice and equality. We encourage students to undertake internships or community action projects in which they may apply classroom learning to the pressing needs of our society.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - GWST 227, 312, 333, 373, and 383 serve as writing-intensive courses for majors. Courses from other departments may be substituted with permission of the chair.
- Speaking Key Competency - GWST 206 and 271 serve as a speaking-intensive course for majors
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Attention to information literacy and informed use of technology is concentrated in GWST 280 and in many of the 200- and 300- level courses in the program.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students graduating in the GWST major will be able to:
- Read, understand, and evaluate key concepts in the feminist theory and in gender studies scholarship
- Identify, compare, and evaluate gender constructions across cultures and in historically specific situations
- Describe and analyze intersections of gender with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, and nationality
- Define the concepts of privilege and oppression and critically apply them
- Write and speak effectively using feminist perspectives to analyze academic and social issues and questions