This information is part of the Colgate University catalog, 2023-24.
Professors Julien, Loe
The Women's Studies Program recognizes gender as the primary category of human knowledge and action. Women's studies understands 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. Centering underrepresented voices and knowledge, our students analyze how social power and cultural norms shape the ways in which class, gender, race, and sexuality assign value to bodies, and why this matters.
The program is interdisciplinary, integrating knowledge from different disciplines to encourage critical engagement with all forms of experience from feminist perspectives. Interdisciplinarity leads students to question existing frameworks, concepts, and methods, enabling them to understand better both the past and the contemporary world while also envisioning a future beyond traditional roles and inequities. In other words, Women's Studies classes teach students to unlearn what they have been taught about institutions, people and places, a valuable lifelong skill.
Women's Studies courses are anchored in five pillars: praxis, self-reflexivity, intersectionality, gender lens, and context. In emphasizing interdisciplinarity, the program helps students acquire the intellectual and praxis-based tools to allow them to critically analyze the societal, cultural, global, and personal issues that shape their lives, and challenge them to look at these issues from multiple perspectives and with a gendered lens, across time and space.
Program courses are intersectional, meaning we encourage students to reflect on the ways in which knowledge is produced within different, intersecting, and oftentimes unrecognized systems of oppression and to examine categories that are presented as natural and permanent in their cultural and historical context. In this way, the program prioritizes self-reflexivity. Lastly, the program aims to help students acquire the skills of critical analysis and imagine alternatives that challenge the naturalizing of inequalities, by reading deeply and writing well as the basis of praxis. Our senior capstone experience invites majors and minors to move from theory to practice, and translate their values into a final praxis project that can generate dialogue and action in their communities.
To be considered for Honors, concentrators must have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 in Women's Studies. Students who choose to pursue honors must announce their intention to do so by submitting proposals preceding their final term of study at Colgate. Additionally, these honors projects must be completed and approved by faculty sponsors and by the Women's Studies director. High honors in women's studies may be awarded to successful honors candidates who have been invited to present the results of their written projects in oral form to the women's studies faculty. A committee of faculty will vote on granting high honors for exceptionally strong intersectional projects that engage feminist theory and communicate across disciplines.
The Combahee River Collective Feminist Praxis Award — awarded to graduating seniors who have demonstrated sustained intersectional leadership and coalition-building that highlight and challenge the ways major systems of oppression are interlocking. It recognizes them for working toward a nonhierarchical distribution of power on our campus and in our community as they promote the vision of a revolutionary society.
The Women's Studies Award for Academic Excellence — awarded by the program to a senior major in women's studies on the basis of the highest grade point average within the Women's Studies Program.
The courses listed below are offered by the WMST program. As an interdisciplinary program, select courses from other departments/programs may also count toward the WMST major and minor requirements. Use the major/minor links below to find other courses that count toward these requirements.
Majors and Minors
- WMST 202 - Women's Lives: An Introduction to Women's Studies
- WMST 205 - Queer Latina Visualities: Art, Theory, and Resistance
- WMST 260 - Intersectionality in Theory and Practice
- WMST 279 - Black Feminist Thinkers
- WMST 291 - Independent Study
- WMST 301 - Feminist Methodologies: Theory and Praxis
- WMST 302 - Special Topics: Women's Lives in Text and Context
- WMST 312 - Gender, Race and Punishment: Toward an Inclusive History of the American Carceral State
- WMST 339 - Critical and Feminist Disability Studies
- WMST 341 - Corridors of Black Girlhood
- WMST 391 - Independent Study
- WMST 490 - Women's Studies Senior Seminar
- WMST 491 - Independent Study
- WMST 499 - Honors in Women's Studies