Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies
Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary field in which women, men, gender, and sexuality are examined by looking at various cultures and historical periods and by employing diverse methods of inquiry. Students in the major will gain theoretical and methodological tools grounded in feminist and queer scholarship. Majors will study the history and development of feminist and queer thought, as well as the evolution of the field of women’s studies, with a strong emphasis on intersectional analyses (i.e., the ways in which race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and nationality interact). Students will become familiar with how theorists and researchers in gender, women’s and sexuality studies critically engage theoretical paradigms, such as liberalism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and post-colonialism. Majors will be introduced to research methods that unearth invisible or silenced knowledge and that revisit and revise previous readings of cultural products and practices. They will study methods of feminist and queer research in the social sciences and humanities, including oral history, case studies, archival research, visual and literary criticism, survey content analysis, and field work. Majors will learn to ask the basic questions underlying the production of new knowledge, including: Who does research? Does it matter who the researcher is? How does the social location (race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality) of the researcher shape the production of knowledge? What is the relationship between feminist and queer research and social and political change?
Major Requirements: a minimum of 32 credits
Core Requirements: 12 credits
Three courses from at least three of the following four topic areas:
A. Sexuality and Queer Studies
B. Cross-Cultural and Transnational Approaches
C. Literary and Artistic Criticism
D. Political/Philosophical/Historical/Social Analyses
At least two courses at the 300-level:
These courses should be chosen from the above four course areas. See the list published during each semester’s preregistration period for the most current course offerings in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies.
Special-topic courses (195, 295, and 395) and other variable content courses may be counted toward the major with approval from the Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies Committee.
To be considered for honors in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS), graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must achieve a GPA of 3.6 in the major and a GPA of 3.5 overall. As determined by a consensus of the GWSS committee: students must also demonstrate excellent performance in classes; a breadth of courses, indicated by at least one course taken from each of the major’s four rubric categories; and a commitment to the field of GWSS as evidenced by strong interest above and beyond completion of the major. Students who have met the GPA requirement will be invited to submit a brief statement (300–500 words) describing how they have met these criteria; only students who chose to submit such statements will be considered for honors in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies.
Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies Course Descriptions