Gender and Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary program focusing on feminist explorations of the intersecting ways in which gender, sexuality, race-ethnicity, class, and nationality inform lives and illuminate social, cultural, and political life. Coursework is grounded in scholarship about gender and women in different historical eras and geographic regions. Courses emphasize the manner in which gender, as a symbolic system that relies on constructions of masculine and feminine difference, helps to constitute social, cultural, political, and economic processes and institutions. Courses also explore how gender and gender inequalities are constituted by and through social, cultural and political processes. Course materials challenge the idea of homogeneity in ideology, politics, or status among women and address the ways in which at various times, and often concurrently, gender is challenged and reproduced by individuals.
Gender and Women’s Studies courses are categorized in three ways:
- “Program” courses are interdisciplinary, taught wholly within the Gender and Women’s Studies Program, and carry a GAWS course number. These courses focus on the study of women, gender, and sexuality using feminist theories and methodologies. They explore not only what women have in common but also how different social locations (including class, nationality, ethnicity, race, and sexuality) shape their varied identities and experiences. They also explore the construction of masculinities and femininities in particular historical, geographical, and cultural contexts.
- “Discipline-focused” courses are classes taught by faculty whose primary appointment is in another department or program. They are listed under a course number from the originating department or program. These classes usually address the study of women, gender, and/or sexuality within the context of a particular discipline (such as History or English). Many of them also explore how feminist scholarship is reformulating research questions and analyses within that discipline.
- “Related” courses are listed under a course number from the originating department or program. These are courses in which substantive attention is given to issues concerning women, gender, and/or sexuality but such issues may not be the primary focus of the class.