What Makes Our Program Distinctive?
Interdisciplinary, Intersectional, International
The Program has a rich history of intellectual studies and creative work that links the campus to the community. Women and Gender Studies was inaugurated as a Minor in 1992 and expanded to a Major in 2006 and has become one of the strongest interdisciplinary programs on campus. Women and Gender Studies rigorously challenges conventional cultural assumptions about multiple forms of sexual difference as constructed by culture and history, and how these forms of difference intersect with forces like race, sexuality, class, and colonialism.
We have developed courses to introduce important and innovative research that addresses problems such as hierarchies of knowledge, global and transnational feminist movements, the historical roots of gender inequality, and the ethical and theological foundations of gender and human rights. The program reflects the fundamental commitment of the pedagogy of feminist and gender studies to give students critical tools to engage the challenges of contemporary life and to work toward a goal of social justice and social transformation.
Join us this year at a series of events that focus on women and gender in the Middle East, leadership in business and non-profit organizations, gender and immigration, transgender studies, and new feminisms in South Asian social media, film, and literature.
Jodi O’Brien, Professor of Sociology, presented the Charles M. and Shirley F. Weiss Lecture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on 13 September 2017. Her talk was titled “Beyond Discipline: A Queer, Transgender, Biocultural Perspective on Gender and Sexuality Studies.”
O’Brien is the Director of SU ADVANCE, a program funded by the National Science Foundation that promotes the advancement of women and minority faculty. Her scholarly work focuses on everyday forms of difference and discrimination, and the cultural politics of transgressive identities and communities. A distinguished scholar, she is the editor of the SAGE Encyclopedia of Gender and Society (2009) and recent former editor of the public sociology journal, Contexts. Her books include The Production of Reality, Social Prisms, Reflections on Everyday Myths and Paradoxes (2005), and Everyday Inequalities (1998).
Most recently, she has turned her attention to the intersection of religion and sexuality with an emphasis on queer Christians and the congregations that support them in essays such as “Stained-Glass Ceilings: Religion, Leadership, and the Cultural Politics of Belonging,” Social Philosophy Today (2012); “Queer Tensions: The Cultural Politics of Belonging and Exclusion in Same Gender Marriage Debates,” Interdisciplinary Readings on Sex and Sexuality (2007); and “Wrestling the Angel of Contradiction: Queer Christian Identities,” Culture and Religion (2004).