The College of Arts and Sciences Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Sexuality Studies offers a broad interdisciplinary investigation of gender and sexuality as keys to understanding human experience, fully integrating the study of gender and sexuality in its core curriculum. Genders and sexualities are powerful organizing forces: they shape identities and institutions, nations and economies, cultures and political systems. Careful study of gender and sexuality thus explains crucial aspects of our everyday lives on both personal and global scales. The scholarship in Gender and Sexuality Studies is interdisciplinary and wide-ranging, drawing on communication, history, literature, cultural studies, and social and behavioral sciences, to study genders and sexualities as they intersect with race, ethnicity, class, nationality, disability, and religion.
At its core, the undergraduate program encourages students to question the meanings of “male” and “female,” as well as of sexual norms, in both Western and non-Western societies. Courses seek to unravel the ways in which ideas about gender and sexuality shape social roles and identities, in addition to the ways in which race, class, and ethnicity function in the experience of gender and sexuality within a culture. Gender and Sexuality Studies challenges the privileging of some categories (i.e., male or heterosexual) over others, along with the social and political implications of such hierarchies. Out curriculum makes gender and sexuality central rather than peripheral terms of analysis and seeks to complicate what is often presented as “natural” or “normal” in traditional academic curricula.
Students come to Gender and Sexuality Studies with an intellectual curiosity about the ordering of society and questions about their relationship to it. By its very nature, Gender and Sexuality Studies enables students to combine intellectual inquiry with lived experience. To this end, students are encouraged to participate in internship opportunities and independent studies. Through these initiatives, students gain professional experience as well as an opportunity to test lessons learned in the classroom. Those who major in Gender and Sexuality Studies frequently pursue dual majors in other departments; they go on to careers in law, media, social work and research, government, development, and activist work, among others.
The Gender and Sexuality Studies (GNSX) major is an interdisciplinary major that is framed by the disciplines of Addictions Studies, Anthropology & Sociology, Art, Communication, Criminal Justice, History, English, and Psychology. The curriculum is designed to provide students with both the theoretical and analytical tools to examine the interplay between institutions, culture, politics, social movements, and individual identity. In order to provide a framework to ensure a consistent set of expectations across disciplines, the GNSX program has a set of five program outcomes. Courses within the major will address one or more of the following program outcomes:
- Explore marginalized epistemologies and experiences and their implications for diverse bodies. Examine the impact of gender and sexual identities on human relations within local, national, transnational, and global communities both historically and currently.
- Examine the impact of gender and sexual identities on human relations within local, national, transnational, and global communities both historically and currently.
- Analyze the construction and maintenance of power dynamics within legal, criminal, political, economic, educational and cultural systems.
- Evaluate the multiple constructions, in both production and reception, of gender and sexuality across multimodal media, including literature, pop culture, social media, etc.
- Demonstrate the ability to articulate and apply an intersectional analysis-grounded in feminist, queer, and emerging theories, research practices, and methodologies-evaluating issues related to gender and sexuality in order to foster advocacy and promote social justice.