WHAT IS WOMEN &/OR Gender STUDIES?
Women’s Studies is an academic discipline that grew out of social and cultural changes that took place in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The incorporation of Gender Studies into academia began in the 1980s. Since then, this field has experienced vast development and transformation. Most colleges and universities now offer courses, minors, and majors in this area.
This program seeks to expand students’ awareness of women’s issues, concerns, contributions, and achievements as well as critical studies of areas related to genders (i.e., masculinities and femininities), sexuality, and identities.
Both Women’s & Gender Studies differ from other fields in that their focus is to examine the experiences of, and scholarship by and about, women and other under-represented identities from a critical perspective. This perspective fills in gaps of information, exposes misconceptions and discrimination, and questions conceptions of human society, values and culture. Both Women’s & Gender Studies stress an interdisciplinary perspective and encourag the exploration of issues and the world through multiple, critical academic disciplines. It is simultaneously a way to develop and enhance knowledge in one’s own discipline or major.
WOMEN’s & GENDER STUDIES AT WESTERN
At Western, the offerings in these fields, both classified as “Women’s Studies” complement the offerings in other programs and departments to provide special opportunities to those who seek more knowledge about historical and contemporary roles of women and other gendered identifications. Our program is continually developing, and the faculty is available to work with interested students.
WHO CAN TAKE WOMEN’s STUDIES COURSES?
Any student may enroll in a course with a Women’s Studies label without being a minor, as long as she or he has met the prerequisites for the class.