Women’s Studies explores theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of women across a range of contexts. Courses connect academic work with the social and political world outside the University, educate our students about a range of social issues and problems that relate to sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, and ethnocentrism; and link knowledge, research, teaching, and social activism. We immerse students in the discovery and production of knowledge that emerges from multiple perspectives. We engage students in the study of gender and the intersection of gender with other substantive categories of analysis and identity, including race, sexuality, class, (dis)ability, and nationality. We promote responsible citizenship in a diverse local and global environment. We empower students to think more critically about their own lives and to critique social, cultural, and institutional structures, policies and practices.
Undergraduate courses in Women’s Studies ensure that students receive an interdisciplinary education that bridges theory and practice, and focuses on the intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, and nationality in all areas of research. Electives in the social sciences, sciences, and humanities increase the interdisciplinary strength of the program.
- To provide students with the theoretical and methodological tools needed to examine the intersections of gender with other forms of difference and power, such as sexuality, race, class, and nation, in local and transnational contexts
- To provide a forum for intellectual debate and a catalyst for students committed to social action which addresses various forms of social injustice
- To provide fieldwork placements which culminate in a senior thesis
- To build supportive local community environments for women by disseminating fieldwork research findings back to the community
The Women’s Studies program is excellent preparation for life, and careers and graduate study in a wide range of fields, including government and public policy, non-profit and social justice organizations, law, educational institutions, and many other professional and human-service fields.
Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary area of scholarship and research and raises questions which have often been ignored or marginalized in traditional academic disciplines. Our Program builds on several decades of feminist work in women’s studies and deliberately integrates theory, research methods and service learning.
The courses in Women’s Studies emphasize participatory education in which student involvement, critical thinking, and personal insight are encouraged and made relevant in the learning process. In this Program, theory and practice are combined creatively and productively. Research, fieldwork, and service are central to the process of learning and applying knowledge. The Program stresses the importance of social responsibility, political activism, and community outreach. The curriculum explores how institutionalized sexism, racism, classism, and heterosexism limit human achievement and dignity. Local service learning fieldwork provides an opportunity to examine first-hand the changes necessary to eliminate these limitations.
Service learning fieldwork enables students to create richly detailed accounts of women as social agents whose identities and experiences are shaped by social, political and economic forces. Service learning is incorporated into the program through fieldwork in community agencies focused on advocacy, law and policy, reproductive rights and health, support services for survivors of violence and abuse, and U.S. politics.
As part of its mission to educational access for all students, particularly to students with paid work and care work commitments, the Program incorporates a broad range of educational formats including online classes, hybrid classes that combine an online component with face-to-face interaction, and face-to-face lecture/discussion and seminar classes.