Section 1


The mission of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) is to explore, analyze and challenge the ways in which gender shapes people’s lives.  Assumptions about gender difference saturate many aspects of social and political life and create different forms of inequality in the workforce, in education, in cultural production, in scientific research, as well as in resource allocation in both public and private institutions.  Because gender assumptions manifest differently in various communities, in our courses we systematically incorporate analysis of how race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and physical ability shape gender inequality.

We train students to identify where and how inequalities are produced and reproduced.  We also give them the skills to figure out how to initiate change and work for justice. They go on to challenge gender inequalities in their personal lives, in their communities, and in their future careers. 

What GWS graduates say about the department:

"I’ve actually found it (GWS degree) really makes me stand out, which is useful in a competitive job market…it shows an ability to look at in issue from multiple perspectives. "

From a triple major: "If I had to say which major was most formative for me, I would argue GWS had done the most for me as a college student [and] a future professional… I gained the most basic skills and explored myself and what my goals are in life.” 

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Intellectual Reasoning and Knowledge

Students will acquire a level of proficiency in Gender and Women’s Studies, which can include but is not limited to broad and deep knowledge about feminist movements, intersectionality, queer and trans studies, imperialism and coloniality, and feminist and queer theories and methods across academic disciplines and fields. Students will learn that feminisms are both historical movements as well as bodies of critical inquiry, encompassing a wide range of actors and objects of study, including forms of information retrieval and knowledge production.

2. Critical Inquiry and Creative Literacy

Students will apply feminist and queer theories in developing their own capacities for critical inquiry and creative literacy. Students will also exercise their skills in oral and written communication, expressing new ideas in scholarly compositions and also generating multidisciplinary projects.

3. Social Awareness and Understanding Power

Student will recognize the gendered dimensions of social, philosophical, aesthetic, cultural, and political claims about national and global movements and events. Students will become familiar with feminist and queer theories and movements that consider together indigeneity, race, religion, nation, disability, gender, and sexuality to understand historical and contemporary formations of power.

4. Self-Reflexivity and Community Engagement

Students will demonstrate self-reflexivity about their ideas and social and political positions in their classrooms and communities, learning how to build and sustain relationships in striving for both immediate harm reduction and long-term social justice.

5. Global Consciousness

Students will understand how complex and interdependent forces –environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political— shape a range of possibilities and foreclosures for individuals and populations unevenly across the world, learning to apply indigenous, postcolonial, and transnational feminist and queer critiques to those forces.