Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the complex interaction of gender with other identity markers such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, nation, and religion. Gender— femininity and masculinity—is such a basic form of social organization that its operation often passes unnoticed. Feminist scholarship demonstrates that traditional categories used for social analysis and their accompanying interpretive approaches often reinforce gender hierarchies and inequalities.
Interdisciplinary study emerged in response to the partial answers to social problems provided by the disciplines, and our faculty employ a wide range of qualitative research methods for understanding gender roles across historical periods and in different cultural contexts. Our core courses address the concepts of gender and the body, gender and power, and gender and knowledge through a range of topics such as freedom and liberty, social movements, masculinities, work and leisure, politics of social justice, intersectionality, colonial and sexual violence, and visual culture and citizenship.
Gender Studies opens new paths of inquiry and offer fresh approaches to such questions as:
- Is gender different from sex?
- Is gender inequality based on biological differences between men and women?
- What does masculinity studies have to teach feminists?
- Is sexual orientation genetic, personal choice, both, or neither?
- What is the meaning of transgender and is it the same as intersex?
- How is power exercised and reproduced?
- What is intersectionality?
- How does popular culture influence body self-image?
- What are the myths and realities of the male body?
- How do representations of the body change over time?
- What role does gender play in perceptions of cultural Otherness?
- What are the different forms of gendered violence?
- What role does gender play in medicine, science, and technology?
If these questions intrigue you and you would like to know their answers, this is the right major for you!
If you are interested in broader questions of social justice, this is the right major for you!
You may also consider pairing Gender Studies with another degree. A double major in Gender Studies enables you to enjoy all the advantages of disciplinary and interdisciplinary training. The study of women, gender, and sexuality is central in every field of knowledge today, from the study of politics and society to biology and medicine. Whether you are interested in gender inequality at work, LGBT health issues, or women and international development, a double major in Gender Studies will enable you to push the boundaries of knowledge in traditional fields to address the issues that matter most to you.
Our graduates work in a range of occupations, including human services, social work, non-profit organizations, private businesses, advocacy, and the arts. A Gender Studies undergraduate education also provides a solid foundation for pursuing a graduate degree in law, medicine, education, public policy, public health, in addition to any of the social science and humanities majors.
You might be interested in reading 5 Reasons You Should Major in Women’s Studies, written by our alum, Hilary Watchler.