Administrative Unit: Gender and Women's Studies
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans: M.A.
Degrees Offered: M.A.
Minors and Certificates: Doctoral Minor, Graduate/Professional Certificate
Gender and women's studies is a well-established field of scholarship—a multidiscipline with its own body of theory, its array of accepted methods, and a history of scholarly contributions focused on the place of gender and women in society. Its research and teaching seek to expand the understanding and appreciation of gendered lives and experiences, both historically and in contemporary societies. In building this understanding, scholarship encompasses the arts and humanities and the social and natural sciences.
Scholarship and teaching in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies actively engages with multiple dimensions of the social, political and cultural dynamics of power. For example, gender and women's studies scholars explore how gender is intrinsic to global processes, how these processes intersect with local, regional and national identities, and how gender itself is shaped by race, ethnicity, dis/ability, nationality, sexuality, class, caste, age, and religion. Gender and women's studies scholars make contributions both by reevaluating past knowledge and by developing new interdisciplinary research methods and theories. Many academic disciplines, in fact, have undergone paradigm shifts that have been directly influenced by the theoretical and research approaches developed in the field of gender and women's studies.
Department faculty members and affiliates bring together a broad range of interests, research agendas, and teaching styles. The curriculum reflects this interdisciplinarity and offers students an opportunity to apply gender analysis in fields such as African American studies, African studies, American Indian studies, anthropology, the arts, Asian American studies, communications studies, comparative literature, Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, disability studies, education, folklore, health sciences, history, international studies, law, Latin American Studies, literature, media, philosophy, performance studies, political science, psychology, sociology, sexuality studies, South Asian studies, and visual culture. Faculty members have national and international reputations both as gender and women's studies scholars and as disciplinary scholars. In publications, leadership and awards, the department is among the most visible gender and women's studies departments in the country.
During a period of activism and debate that extended across the University of Wisconsin System, the women's studies program was established in 1975. It has grown steadily from a small program offering three courses a year to one of the largest and most well-respected programs in the United States. An undergraduate major serves more than 100 students each year; an undergraduate certificate serves approximately 150 students; a master's program admits approximately six students each year; and a doctoral minor and certificate at the graduate level are also offered. In 2008, the program achieved department status and changed the name to the Department of Gender and Women's Studies.
The department lists more than 100 courses, both crosslisted and specific to the department. Many courses are available to both advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Some enroll only graduate students. The department offers 20–25 courses each year, augmented by crosslisted courses from other departments. Selected courses are also offered in the summer.
Center for Research on Gender and Women
The Center for Research on Gender and Women was established in 1977 to promote scholarly interactions among women and gender studies researchers on campus, as well as linkages with women's studies centers and scholars nationally and internationally.
The research center engages in different kinds of activities to stimulate gender and women's studies research, including organizing lectures, colloquia, workshops and conferences, featuring campus, national and international speakers and creative artists. The center promotes research collaboration and externally funded research projects, provides proposal writing support, sponsors an honorary fellow program, facilitates networking of women and gender studies scholars across campus, and fosters links with other gender and women's studies research centers around the country and the world.
These exchanges, as well as other events sponsored by the center, serve to draw together faculty, graduate students, and community members for mutual enrichment. Questions about the center should be sent to the director of the Center for Research on Gender and Women:
3409 Sterling Hall
475 N Charter Street
Madison, WI 53706