Jul 15, 2019  
Course Catalog 2014-2015 
Course Catalog 2014-2015 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

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Carol Lasser, GSFS Director, 2014-15, Professor, History

Affiliate Faculty:

  • Ann Cooper Albright, Professor, Theatre and Dance
  • Richard Baldoz, Asst. Professor, Sociology
  • Crystal Biruk, Asst. Professor, Anthropology
  • Pamela Brooks, Assoc. Professor, Africana Studies
  • Ana Cara, Professor, Hispanic Studies
  • Cynthia Chapman, Assoc. Professor, Religion
  • Hsui Chuang Deppman, Assoc. Professor, East Asian Studies
  • Eric Estes, Dean of Students
  • Meredith Gadsby, Assoc. Professor, Africana Studies
  • Evangeline Heiliger, Visiting Asst., Professor, Comparative American Studies
  • Harry Hirsch, Professor, Politics
  • Wendy Hyman, Asst. Professor, English
  • Caroline Jackson-Smith,Professor, Africana Studies
  • Daphne John, Assoc. Professor, Sociology
  • Margaret Kamitsuka, Assoc. Professor, Religion
  • Wendy Kozol, Professor, Comparative American Studies
  • Sonia Kruks, Robert S. Danforth Professor, Politics
  • Shelley Lee, Assoc.. Professor, Comparative American Studies
  • Shulamit Magnus, Assoc. Professor, Jewish Studies
  • Greggor Mattson, Asst. Professor, Sociology
  • Pablo Mitchell, Professor, History and Comparative American Studies
  • Anuradha Needham, Professor of English
  • Patrick O’Connor, Assoc. Professor, Hispanic Studies
  • Afia Ofori-Mensa, Visiting Asst. Professor, Comparative American Studies
  • Gina Perez, Assoc. Professor, Comparative American Studies
  • Meredith Raimondo, Assoc. Professor, Comparative American Studies
  • Renee Romano, Assoc. Professor, History
  • Annemarie Sammartino, Assoc. Professor, History
  • Ann Sherif, Assoc. Professor, East Asian Studies
  • Harrod Suarez, Asst. Professor, English
  • Natasha Tessone, Asst. Professor, English
  • Rebecca Whelan, Assoc. Professor, Chemistry
  • Rebecca Wollenberg, Visiting Asst. Professor, Religion
  • Ellen Wurtzel, Asst. Prof., History

The Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies (GSFS) is an interdisciplinary academic program committed to transnational and cross-cultural perspectives on gender, sexuality, and feminism. The Institute is comprised of a Director and Affiliate Faculty from throughout the College of Arts and Sciences and from the Conservatory of Music. The GSFS major and minor provide students with methodological, theoretical, and research training in gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. The Institute also supports disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary projects and events related to gender, sexuality, and feminist studies for faculty and students.


Major (10 courses)

The GSFS major requires 10 full academic courses or their equivalent. The major is comprised of three requirements (one gateway course, Feminist Research Methodologies, and a capstone final project) and additional GSFS elective courses that build depth and breadth in areas of student interest. Of the ten courses required for the major, no more than five may come from one department or program.

Designated GSFS gateway courses (100 and 200 levels) come from throughout the curriculum and explore a range of theoretical and methodological approaches in gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. GSFS majors are required to take at least one gateway course in the first or second year of study, although no more than two 100-level courses can count toward the GSFS major.

Feminist Research Methodologies (300 level) focuses on disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches to knowledge, and prepares students to complete an independent research project pertaining to gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. Feminist Research Methodologies is optimally taken in fall of the junior year and is only offered during fall term.

For the GSFS capstone requirement, each major completes an original research, creative, or artistic final project that engages with gender, sexuality, and feminist studies appropriate to senior-level expectations within a discipline or interdiscipline. This capstone requirement should be completed no earlier than spring term of the junior year in one of three ways: (1) as the final project in a GSFS 300- or 400-level capstone course; (2) as a GSFS honors project (see below); or (3) through successful petitioning of the Director to allow completion of the GSFS final project in an alternative course. Majors must (a) inform the faculty member teaching a course that they plan to count the final project in that course toward the GSFS capstone requirement; (b) concurrently enroll in GSFS 400, a zero credit Pass/Fail course, during the add/drop period – this course requires consent from the Director of GSFS; and (c) fulfill all course requirements.

Capstone course and final project grades are determined by instructors according to regular course criteria and expectations. During the grading period, the Director of GSFS inserts a P or F evaluation (also determined by instructors) for GSFS 400. As appropriate to the (inter)discipline and focus of the project, GSFS final projects are expected to:
• be significantly informed by and engaged with gender, sexuality, and feminist theories, methods, and scholarship;
• be alert to methodological, representational and/or epistemological issues informed by gender, sexuality and feminist scholarship;
• attend to (and complicate, if necessary) issues of identity, positionality and intersectionality as relevant;
• be interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary in approach;
• have analytical and/or creative depth;
• demonstrate clarity and polish in expression and presentation; and
• demonstrate thoroughness in research and/or preparation.

Students wishing to declare a Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies major should select a faculty advisor from the list of approved advisors for the GSFS Institute. After consultation with her/his advisor, each student submits a rationale and list of courses for approval to the Institute’s Standing Committee on Majors. This Committee reviews student requests to count up to two courses that do not necessarily have a gender or sexuality focus but that provide students with background in their areas of specialization.

To request permission to cross-designate Oberlin courses that are not currently on the approved GSFS list but deal with gender, sexuality, or feminism, students or instructors must submit a Request Form and a class syllabus to the Director of the Institute. See the GSFS website for details and forms.

Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major.

A maximum of 3 courses from other institutions or study away programs can be approved toward the major. Of these 3 transfer courses, only one course can count in substitution for a gateway or capstone requirement.

Minor (5 courses)

The GSFS minor consists of five full academic courses or their equivalent of GSFS approved courses, at least one of which must be a gateway course. No more than one course at the 100-level can count toward the minor. Of the five courses required for the minor, no more than three can come from any one department or program. No more than one course from other institutions or study away programs may be transferred toward the minor. Minors are encouraged to include a gender-related Winter Term project in their course of study.


The Institute offers senior GSFS majors the opportunity for recognition of distinguished achievement in research and writing in gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. Students will be considered for honors in spring of junior year based on their performance in the major and the quality of the honors proposal. Students applying for GSFS honors must complete Feminist Research Methodologies in fall term of the junior year unless they make a case for an exceptional circumstance. (See the GSFS website for more information on deadlines and criteria for honors.)

Winter Term

When GSFS Affiliate Faculty members are on duty for Winter Term, they sponsor GSFS-related Winter Term projects. Project focus and requirements (beyond college guidelines) are determined between the student and faculty member in advance.

Field Experience and Study Away

A range of off-campus, study away, volunteer, and study abroad options offer excellent opportunities to GSFS students during Winter Term or full semesters and are highly encouraged.

Feminist Research Methodologies

Feminist Research Methodologies also counts as an elective course.

Elective Courses

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