Women's Studies (WMST) Director
: M. Loe PROGRAM SITE
The Women’s Studies Program is built on the understanding that gender is a crucial category of human knowledge and action. Women’s studies recognizes the complexity of human lives as gender interconnects with sexuality, race, class, ability, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and age in the constitution of experience and identities.
The program is at its core interdisciplinary, integrating knowledge from different disciplines to encourage critical engagement with all forms of experience from a feminist standpoint. Interdisciplinary study leads students to question frameworks, concepts, and methods, enabling them to understand better both the past and the contemporary world, while envisioning a future beyond traditional roles and inequities. By emphasizing interdisciplinarity, the program seeks to help students acquire the tools to analyze critically the societal, cultural, global, and personal issues that shape their lives and challenge them to look at these issues from multiple perspectives. It also encourages them to reflect on the ways in which knowledge is produced within different and oftentimes unrecognized systems of oppression, and to examine categories that are presented as natural and permanent in their cultural and historical context. Finally, the program strives to help its students acquire the skills of critical analysis and imagine alternatives that challenge the naturalizing of inequalities.
Women’s studies offers a major and minor as well as a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses for students. Some of these courses are listed as WMST courses. The basic introductory course is WMST 202
Students in women’s studies, as well as the campus community as a whole, are encouraged to participate in activities sponsored by the Center for Women’s Studies, located on the lower level of East Hall. During each year, the center initiates a wide variety of educational programming, including films, discussions, and student projects, which aim to establish an open dialogue about the many ways race, class, cultural differences, and sexual orientation both interact with and shape gender roles.
Majors in women’s studies typically go on to graduate or professional school in a number of different fields or work in areas of social policy, social change, and human services.
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ANTH 228, Women and Gender in Prehistory
Takes a feminist perspective to the study of gender and identity in prehistoric societies and ancient civilizations. By looking at the variation of gender roles and relations throughout history and cross-culturally, students help to deconstruct many modem-day assumptions about gender and gender roles in the present. The course will provide an overview of how material remains are used for understanding social identities in the past. It will review feminist critiques of archaeology and how feminism has impacted the discipline of archaeology. Students examine archaeological resources for gendering the past (burials, art, artifacts) and explore gender in a range of prehistoric cultural contexts (hunter-gatherers, farmers, states, and empires) using archaeological case studies as examples. Students additionally look at the ways in which historical archaeology has helped to better understand gender relations in historical contexts. Students critically examine how gender and identity have been represented in academic research, museums, and popular media, in order to deconstruct modem-day assumptions about gender. Case studies derive from the earliest human origins, ancient complex civilizations, and recent colonial America. This course is designed for students with little or no background in archaeology or anthropology.
ENGL 202, Justice/Power-Postcolonial Lit
An introduction to significant debates and texts in the field of postcolonial literatures. This course explores how the field engages with questions of race, gender, sexuality, class, caste, and migration. It considers how writers located in the global south or in the West as migrants navigate their spaces when faced with inequality and marginalization. The course examines both the legacies that empires have left and the nature of new empires that are being constructed.
HIST 211, Women's Rights in US History
Examines the social and cultural history of women in the United States from the Revolutionary era to the present day, tracing feminist ideas from the margins of democratic thought to the center of modern political discourse and culture. Students will explore how issues including race, class, region, religion, work, education, and generational differences have shaped women's lives and maintained gendered order in American society and how, in turn, women have shaped their lives in response to these issues, opportunities, and constraints. (US)
WMST 202, Intro to Women's Studies
Explores gender from a variety of angles, and in tandem with race, ethnicity, class, religion, sexuality, and other markers of identity. Students develop vocabulary and tools to speak and think critically about oppression, patriarchy, social change, and common assumptions about the world and people around us. A primary goal is to explore both the forces that feed into inequality and discrimination, and ways to resist, challenge, and overcome those forces. Students explores issues ranging from bodies, work, families, identity, politics, medicine, history, and the media, as well as the ways in which feminist movements around the world have addressed these topics.