What is women's studies?
As an academic discipline, women's studies is rooted in the work and accomplishments of the student, civil rights, and women's movements of the 1960s and 70s. At the inception, the primary question for teachers in this field was "Where are all the women?" That sounds pretty simplistic, but it was a time when women's voices had little to no representation on campuses or in curriculum.
Times have changed! Thank goodness.
Women's studies programs today are complex because they examine identity, power, privilege and social structures that reach far past the simple category of "women." The National Women's Studies Association defines the discipline in this way:
"Women's studies has made the conceptual claims and theoretical practices of intersectionality, which examines how categories of identity (e.g., sexuality, race, class, gender, age, ability, etc.) and structures of inequality are mutually constituted and must continually be understood in relationship to one another, and transnationalism, which focuses on cultures, structures and relationships that are formed as a result of the flows of people and resources across geopolitical borders, foundations of the discipline."
At UW-Eau Claire, women's studies fulfills a unique role. Although other offices and programs advocate for gender justice and equity on campus, WMNS serves as an identifiable center for interdisciplinary research, collaboration and services. Outreach and action projects are integral parts of this process. Interaction with the world tests academic theory learned in course work against the realities of women's lives.
James Halverson | Admissions internWhen talking to future Blugolds, I always recommend taking at least one women’s studies course before graduating, to reinforce critical thinking skills and help open the mind.
Is this field a fit for me?
What sorts of things happen in WMNS?
- Study with UWEC faculty in Nicaragua
- Learn about LGBTQ social movements through Eau Queer travel seminar to San Francisco
- Interact with women leaders of civil rights through the Civil Rights Pilgrimage
- Take a Winterim course with Indian students and faculty at Miranda House College in New Delhi
A group of UW-Eau Claire students embark today on a travel seminar that will take them to the Frameline Film Festival, the world’s largest international queer film fest in San Francisco, where they will create films.Immersed in learning
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