Faculty: Craig Allin, Tori Barnes-Brus, Marty Condon, Erin Davis, Carolyn Zerbe Enns (co-chair), Melinda Green, John Gruber-Miller, Leslie Hankins, Michelle Herder, Genevieve Migely, Alfrieta Parks Monagan, Joseph Molleur, Michelle Mouton, Mary Olson, Christina Penn-Goetsch, Shannon Reed (co-chair), Kirilka Stavreva, Catherine Stewart, Jama Stilwell, Aparna Thomas, Ellen Whale

Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes:

  • Intersectionality, which highlights the diversity of human experience and the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, class, sexuality, nationality, religion, and other social categories.
  • Interdisciplinarity, which features the synthesis of theoretical and methodological approaches grounded in multiple disciplines.
  • Social justice and feminist perspectives, which facilitate the investigation of power dynamics, oppression, and social change practices across historical and cultural contexts; and the integration of academic approaches, activism, and service.

Major: A minimum of nine and ½ course credits, which include GSS 171, 270 , 510 (510 taken twice over the course of an academic year in subsequent semesters), and 487; also six course credits selected from additional Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies courses and from the list of departmental courses approved for GSS credit, and an experiential learning component. Departmental courses must be selected from a minimum of two divisions, and at least three must be at the 300 level.

Each student will develop a brief rationale for her or his program of study, which will be approved by the major advisor and a secondary program advisor from a second division of the college. In consultation with these advisors, the student will also: (a) select courses and/or contexts in which she or he will acquire the theoretical and methodological skills to complete a capstone project, and (b) indicate how the proposed course of study provides intersectional, global, and historical perspectives relevant to the study of women, gender, and sexuality

Minor: A minimum of five and ½ course credits which include GSS 171, 270, 510 (510 taken twice over the course of an academic year in subsequent semesters), and at least three additional courses selected from Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies courses or other departmental courses approved for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies credit.  Two of these three additional courses may not be counted toward a major in another department or program. At least two courses must be at the 300 level.

171. Gender, Power, and Identity
This interdisciplinary core course in the program analyzes how notions of race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, physical ability and other aspects of social location materially influence people’s lives. To conduct our analysis, we will consider various strands of feminism, divergent positions among queer theorists, and arguments drawn from other identity based fields (e.g ethnic studies, American studies, postcolonial studies) in order to survey and compare several perspectives on gender, race, sexuality, race and class. Placing gender and sexuality at the center of analysis, we will address some of the basic concepts in Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies. We will also explore questions regarding incorporating other social categories such as race, ethnicity, class and nationality. Throughout the course we will complete readings, watch films, and engage in exercises to explore the past, present and potential future understandings about gender and sexuality, paying close attention to political, cultural, and economic contexts. THOMAS

180-181. Introductory Topics: Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

See Topics Courses.

270. Social Justice Perspectives and Practices
Intersectional and interdisciplinary exploration of feminist and other social justice perspectives and practices relevant to understanding and responding to social oppression.  Course discussions focus on power, privilege, oppression, and implications for social change. Activities and assignments focus on using social justice remedies or ‘tools,’ such as individual resistance, policy, advocacy, and social action, and collective struggle to propose solutions to contemporary problems.  Areas studied might include critical race theory and critical race feminism, queer theory, women of color feminisms, transnational/global feminisms, disability studies, liberation theory, postcolonial theory, feminist ‘locational’ theories.  Specific topics vary by instructor. Prerquisite: GSS 171, or EST 123, or SOC 101, or ANT 101, or PSY 276, or POL 243. (Interdisciplinary) REED or THOMAS

271. Feminist Theories
Examination of a variety of theories about feminism, the nature of gender, and its relationship to biological sex, and women's and men's roles in society. Theoretical perspectives that posit reasons for the existence of privilege, oppression and various "isms" (e.g., sexism, heterosexism, and racism) will be examined as well as goals and strategies for social change associated with these diverse perspectives. Prerequisite: GSS 171 or any course approved for Women's Studies major credit.

275-276. Topics: Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

See Topics Courses.

280/380. Internship: See Additional Academic Programs, All-College Independent Study Courses 280/380.

290/390. Individual Project: See Additional Academic Programs, All-College Independent Study Courses 290/390.

301-302. Advanced Topics in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Topics selected by the Women's Studies Committee. Prerequisite: GSS 171, 271, or PHI 352. See Topics Courses.

393. Global Feminisms
The course will examine the meaning of "feminism" in a global context and study the ways in which local movements, national and international agencies have addressed the issue of gender oppression in the world. The course will also examine some of the issues that have become part of the global agenda for women over the last few decades. Particular attention will be given to women's movements worldwide and the multiple ways in which women have organized to improve their lives. Prerequisite: GSS 171, 271, or PHI 352. Alternate years. (Social Science)

487. Project
A substantial culminating capstone for the Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies major, typically completed  in the senior year. Consists of an original research/criticism paper, a creative writing/performance/exhibition, or a practicum, and a public presentation and defense. Pre-requisites include GSS 171, 270, at least four other courses to be counted toward the major, and the approval of the project proposal by the two advisors and instructor.

510. Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies in Action (1/4)
What is the relevance of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies?  How does it intersect with other academic disciplines?  How does it prepare you for life after Cornell?   In this adjunct course, Cornell professors and alumni will share the relevance of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies to their own lives.  In monthly gatherings, we will discuss how this interdisciplinary field intersects with and influences other disciplinary perspectives and how it prepares us for the future. Professors will share the ways that studying women, gender, and/or sexuality has shaped their own teaching, research, and activism.  Alumni will also talk about the effect of GSS studies on their own lives and career paths. (CR)