Dr. Alice Dreger
Dr. Alice Dreger, Guggenheim Fellow and Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics at Northwestern University, taught the 2010 women's studies course What is Sexual Orientation?

Women's Studies at Cornell

The women's studies program at Cornell College provides an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural perspective on gender and society. Through an examination of feminist theories, methodologies, and movements, students explore the social, political, and cultural experiences of women. Students also examine the social and historical constructions of gender, the meanings and values associated with these constructions, and the cultural representations of women.

The women's studies program also highlights the diversity of women's experiences. Students explore the diversity of women by analyzing the intersections among the statuses, constructs, and identities of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, class, sexuality, and nationality. Students also study the interlocking mechanisms of oppression, including sexism, heterosexism, racism, classism, ageism, ableism, and colonialism, as well as processes of ethnocentrism, heteronormativity, privilege, and other forms of bias that may contribute to limited or distorted views of women's lives.

The women's studies program also emphasizes the importance of bridging theory and practice when addressing women's/gender issues in society. In addition to exposing students to feminist theory and research, women's studies courses frequently engage students in activist and service projects. Students are also encouraged to pursue internships, off-campus study, and campus leadership roles as a way to integrate classroom and real-world learning.

The Cornell women's studies program offers a unique and exciting course of study for exploring the values of a liberal arts education. Our program integrates disciplinary-specific issues with the interdisciplinary theories and practices of women's studies. In addition to core women's studies courses, the women's studies program includes a wide range of cross-listed courses from disciplines as varied as art, biology, history, religion, politics, sociology and others.

Our women's studies alumni have left Cornell with the knowledge and skills to pursue a wide range of careers/graduate studies, including but not limited to work with victims of domestic violence, a directorship of a campus women's center, and graduate studies in social work, public health, women's history, sociology, and political science.