2018-19 Catalogs

Women and Gender Studies Overview

Director: Rosemary Cleary, 94 Bedford St., Portland

Women and Gender Studies Council: Professors: Chapkis, Messerschmidt, Raimon, Wininger; Associate Professors: Carroll, Cleary, Kent, Laz, Thompson, Walker; Assistant Professors: Ouellette, Sparks.

The Women and Gender Studies Program offers students an opportunity to explore ways of thinking about gender. Our interdisciplinary program focuses on such issues as the gendered construction of science; gender and cultural production; histories of gender inequality, social transformation, and activism; queer and transgender experiences; gendered inequities in work; eco-feminism; and critical intersections of race, ethnicity, ability, nationality, religion, class, sexuality, and gender.

As they develop skills in feminist analysis, critical thinking, and writing, Women and Gender Studies students investigate and challenge long-standing assumptions about gender and society. Students also encounter new ways of conducting research, analysis, and communication, from community-based learning to archival research and multimodal projects. Our students often apply their theoretical knowledge through internships with local organizations and agencies. Women and Gender Studies majors are prepared for graduate and professional schools in a variety of disciplines as well as for careers in business, public service, and nonprofit organizations.

Committed to an international/global perspective, the program has hosted visiting scholars from many countries, including Iceland, Russia, Croatia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Scotland, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, Iraq, and Sweden.

Each semester, the program offers a rich array of co-curricular programming and performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed scholars, activists, and performers, including our annual celebration of Women’s History Month.

Prerequisites and Grade Policy

There are prerequisites for many of the Women and Gender Studies courses. See departmental course listings for specific information. A minimum grade of C or better is required in major/minor courses. Courses taken pass/fail must be approved by the Director.

Curriculum Summary and Guide

The Women and Gender Studies curriculum is built upon a shared commitment to the principles of educational excellence and educational opportunity. It is structured to ensure that students encounter the interdisciplinary fields and approaches that characterize Women and Gender Studies. Students develop skills in research, writing and analysis as they progress through the curriculum. Consequently, there are prerequisites for upper-division courses. The first-year student is encouraged to complete Core curriculum requirements, including Introduction to Women and Gender Studies (WGS 101 or EYE 109) and College Writing (ENG 100). In the second year, students should take Rethinking Gender and Culture (WGS 201), followed by Contemporary Feminist Theories (WGS 390) and Politics of Difference (WGS 380). Students who minor in another discipline should also begin the suggested sequence in that year. Third-year schedules should include at least two Women and Gender Studies topics courses, drawn from two of our four subject areas. Fourth-year students are required to take the Capstone Experience in Women and Gender Studies (WGS 490) and select either the internship or thesis option. These courses offer advanced experience in feminist theories, research, and practice, while allowing students to pursue their own interests under careful guidance.

To graduate from this program, the student must have:

  • completed 36 hours of required coursework, as described above;
  • attained a cumulative GPA of B- (2.67) in 201, 380, 390, 490.

Students who wish to graduate with honors in this major must:

  • maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.50 in all of the courses that count toward the WGS major.
  • maintain a cumulative institutional GPA of 3.00;
  • have demonstrated superior work in the thesis or internship;
  • be recommended by a faculty member who teaches courses within the program; and
  • be approved by the Women and Gender Studies Council.