The Major

Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies can be defined as the study of how gender is constructed, how it is inflected by differences of race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and so on, how gender affects the experiences and situations of men and women, and how assumptions about gender influence the construction of knowledge and experience. Scholarship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies has brought neglected material into established fields and raised important methodological questions that cross disciplinary boundaries and challenge established intellectual frameworks.  The program in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies thus includes courses from a wide variety of disciplines that focus in a coherent way on gender issues and/or sexuality issues, as well as core courses that acquaint students with the interdisciplinary of the field.

THE MAJOR

The Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies major encourages students’ exposure to the interdisciplinary character of feminist and sexuality – focused scholarship.  In addition, majors are required to gain some knowledge of methods within a field of discipline (3 courses in one of the categories listed below), to appreciate the importance of diversity (racial, sexual, class, ethnic, national, etc.) in scholarship on gender and sexuality, to gain exposure to feminist and/or queer theory, and to pursue work at an advanced level (3 courses at the 300-level).

In order to ensure that students reflect about the paths that they choose through the major, each major will be assigned to an advisor in the spring of the sophomore year.  With the advisor, the student will establish a revisable course of study for the following two years.  Students interested in declaring a major should contact the chair of the Program (Schmidt, x3143).

Required Courses

The major consists of at least 9 courses.  The following are required:

  • Introduction to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS 101)
  • Junior/Senior Seminar in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

See http://web.williams.edu/admin/registrar//catalog/depts/wgss.pdf  for more detailed information on the WGSS major.