Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is an interdisciplinary field of study that draws from the humanities, social sciences, arts, and natural sciences to examine the lived experiences of marginalized groups as these are impacted by systems of power.
Creating agents of change
The goal of the field is to develop critical feminist methodologies, theories and epistemologies. These provide students with the tools to employ intersectional and transnational analyses that interrogate exploitation, imperialism, cisheteropatriarchy and white supremacy.
In addition to developing critical feminist perspectives through their coursework, our students apply the theoretical frameworks they learn in the classroom to real-life work and activist situations. Through their capstone seminar, all WGSS pursue an internship. There, students gain real-world experience by working with community non-profits such as Planned Parenthood, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), Family Support Center, Bolton Refuge House and EX-incarcerated People Organizing (EXPO). Other students gain experience right on campus while interning at the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.
Our core faculty, Dr. Kong Peng Pha, brings expertise in feminist and queer interdisciplinary and transnational scholarship to our program. His teaching, which reflects his scholarly work, covers current and cutting-edge scholarship in the field, equipping students with abilities to critically analyze historical and current socio-political systems.
Our affiliates illustrate a range of disciplines, including Psychology, History, English, Anthropology, Sociology, Economics and Communication and Journalism.
Is this field a fit for me?
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is a site of social change and activism just as much as theory. We provide many ways for you to expand your world view, from rigorous, rewarding classes on campus to hands-on learning experiences in the Eau Claire community and across the nation and globe.
What sorts of things happen in WGSS?
- Learn about LGBTQ social movements and plan the Eau Queer Film Festival through a travel seminar in San Francisco.
- Interact with women leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement and study their achievements through a class featuring a 10-day experiential learning excursion to significant southern locations where the movement unfolded.
- Study abroad with UW-Eau Claire faculty to Nicaragua, site of arguably the most dynamic women’s movement in Latin America. Students get a first-hand account of the struggles, creativity, and resiliency of women in the developing world.
- Take a Winterim course with students and faculty at the world-renowned Miranda House College in New Delhi, India. Students learn about gender in relation to Indian law and public policy.
Through the WGSS program, I have had abundant opportunities for both personal and professional growth. From organizing the 2016 Presidential election, to becoming more aware of how institutional inequality appears in facets of daily life – the WGSS program at UWEC has taught me so much. I feel 100% prepared and confident that I will do important activist work after graduation.