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Gender Studies

Since the 1960s, when the motto “the personal is political” became the rallying cry of the feminist movement, a growing body of research has challenged traditional hierarchies of race, class, and gender in the U.S. and worldwide, opening up the way for women and people of color to become allies in the quest for equality in education, the professions, family life, and the law. Gender studies is an interdisciplinary program for students who wish to explore the complex questions raised by the intersecting analyses of feminist, queer, postcolonial, and critical race theory across academic fields as diverse as literature, sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, linguistics, law, cultural studies, and the arts, in American as well as global societies. Committed to the significance of women’s experiences, gender studies is at the same time inclusive of varied perspectives, including homosexual, transgender, and queer. Its goal is to produce an enriched conception of the human that appreciates the diversity of our experiences, behaviors, and cultural backgrounds. Through coursework, students develop expertise in areas such as feminist theory and activism, including civil and human rights; historical and cross-cultural understandings of the sexed body; women’s contributions to the arts and literature; and the intersection of gender with race, class, and sexual orientation in American and global contexts.

Students are encouraged to take their interest in gender studies out of the classroom onto the campus, working with the College’s Women’s Center and other student groups to sponsor speakers, film screenings, workshops, and other events that raise awareness of women’s issues and the politics of gender within the College community. Students may choose to participate in the annual theatrical production of The Vagina Monologues; to edit or submit writing and artwork to the Women’s Center publication, Movement; to help organize annual events such as “Love Your Body Week,” “Consent Week,” or gender-themed film festivals; to develop gender-themed workshops for Diversity Week; or to create other opportunities for reflection and dialogue around gender issues on campus.


In consultation with their advisor and moderation committee, students construct an interdisciplinary concentration consisting of 19 to 24 credits. Students undertaking the gender studies concentration are required to take at least one of the two foundational gender studies courses, WS 101 CP or GS 101 CP. At least two of the courses in the concentration must be at the 300-level. The course list below is not exhaustive but offers an idea of the courses appropriate for a gender studies concentration.


Art History 207 CP Women Artists
Art History 309 Lacan and Visual Pleasure
BA Seminar 399 Eros and Thanatos: A Study of Sexuality in the West
Gender Studies 101 CP Explorations in Gender, Culture, and Society
Gender Studies 210m CP Gender and Violence I: Violence in the Private Sphere
Gender Studies 211m CP Gender and Violence II: Military Culture and War
History 205 CP Women in Western Civilization: Halos, Harlots, and Heroines
Linguistics 218m Language and Gender
Literature 270 CP Latin American Women Writing Resistance
Psychology 209 Human Sexuality
Social Science 302 The Foucault Effect
Women’s Studies 101 CP An Unfinished Revolution: Introduction to Women’s Studies
Women’s Studies 213 Women/Writing/Activism: Changing the World
Women’s Studies 225m CP African Women Writing Resistance
Women’s Studies 226m CP Women Writing Resistance in the Middle East
Women’s Studies 304 Doing Theory: Feminist, Postcolonial, Queer

Recent Senior Theses

“Using Boys: The Culture of Schoolplace Violence”
“‘I’m not a feminist but...’: An Exploratory Analysis of Women’s Resistance to the Feminist Label”
“What Makes a Man? Boyhood Gender Non-Conformity and Adult Homosexuality”
“The Sociopolitical Movement of African American Gay Men”
“Women and the Computer World: Why Role Models and Mentors are Necessary”
“Creative Resistance: The Survival of South African Women”
“Women and Mathematics: Sexual Inequality in Numbers”


Nancy Bonvillain, Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Joan DelPlato, Mileta Roe, Wendy Shifrin, Maryann Tebben, John Weinstein, Nancy Yanoshak
Faculty Contact: Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez