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The Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies program (WGSS) examines how power operates in relation to socially constructed categories such as “woman,” “man,” “homosexual,” and “heterosexual.” Courses in WGSS explore how diverse people’s experiences and identities are shaped by, and shape, the intersectionalities of the categories of gender, race, class, nation and sexuality. WGSS also analyzes how identity is communicated by and reinforced within ideological, economic and political domains. The critical inquiries undertaken in WGSS courses are historically and geographically contextualized, with an eye to the contemporary moment and an emphasis on the generative debates within the field. Because the WGSS program involves both explorations across a broadly defined area of inquiry, as well as an examination of the methods and knowledges of specific disciplines, it is a richly interdisciplinary program.
The focus on contemporary circumstances, set within a framework of a commitment to social justice, demands that WGSS students learn to link academic work and activism, theoretical inquiry and practical experience. While the WGSS program is grounded in a political commitment to feminism, its curriculum is not limited to the presentation of any single doctrine, methodology or position. Instead, students are encouraged to think critically and develop their own positions on the entire spectrum of questions that inform the curriculum.
WGSS majors are prepared to be nuanced analytical thinkers, inventive problem solvers and strong communicators, and therefore are qualified for a wide range of occupations and graduate work.