Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program
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The Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum designed to give students the theoretical bases and methodological skills necessary for analyzing the historical, social, cultural, economic, and political dynamics that play out in the construction of gender and sexuality.
The program has four main aims:
To instruct students in the rapidly expanding scholarship within gender, sexuality, and women’s studies
To explore the multicultural and international contexts of the lives of women and members of the LGBTQ community and of constructions of gender and sexuality.
To introduce students to the social, cultural, economic, and political contributions of women and members of the LGBTQ community to the societies in which they live; and
To explore with students their individual investments in issues of gender and sexuality –past, present, and future – with an intellectually coherent curriculum.
In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, its faculty come from many departments in the university, including: Africana Studies; Anthropology; Art History; Classical & Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Communication; Criminal Justice; English; History; Philosophy; Psychology; Social Work; and Sociology.
The GSW Program offers both an undergraduate major (32 credits) and a minor (18 credits).
Students wishing to pursue a major or minor in women's studies should meet with the program director, Professor Janine Lanza, for advising.
What can you do with a GSW degree?
GSW majors and minors have gone on to do graduate work in programs such as Social Work and Sociology at WSU, University of Michigan, and University of Chicago, and are working for agencies such as the American Indian Health and Family Services and the Detroit Literacy Coalition.
Testimonials from former (co)majors and minors:
Robin Brandt, who received her co-major in Women’s Studies in 2013, is presently a student in the graduate program at the University of Chicago School of Social Administration. She is a counseling intern at the Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault and works with women who have faced sexual abuse or assault. She covers the hotline, goes to the hospital as an advocate for victims/survivors, and also attends court as an advocate.
“I feel that much of my education in undergrad, especially in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, is very applicable to what I am learning now, there is a lot of cross over! I'm not sure I would be in social work had I never taken a Women's Studies course.”
Amanda Levitt received her co-major in Women's Studies in 2013. She is presently pursuing an MA in the Department of Sociology at Wayne State University. She has been interviewed in various news media outlets, including The Detroit Free Press and CNN, about her fat activist work, and she runs a blog, "Fat Body Politics."
"The coursework within the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies undergraduate program not only helped me develop the critical thinking skills necessary to move on to a graduate program, but it also allowed me to transfer the theory and education I gained in the classroom to use as an activist. While I worked as an activist before I came to Wayne State, the program itself allowed me to be more critical of the work I was doing and showed me how I could make a more significant impact within fat politics and feminism overall."
Alanna Woolley graduated with a co-major in Women's Studies in 2011 and earned a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from Wayne State University in 2013. She is currently an ABE/GED Instructor for the Detroit Literacy Coalition-- a nonprofit founded by Dr. Daphne Ntiri, who served as her advisor for her Women's Studies capstone project. In addition to this position, Alanna is a research assistant at Wayne State University's Center for Urban Studies, where she primarily works on the Detroit Lead Partnership project to prevent childhood lead poisoning in the city of Detroit and Wayne County.
"Being a student in the Women's Studies department gave me so many opportunities. I met lifelong friends and relished the opportunity to work on a capstone project that was tailored to my individual interests. I stayed in touch with my advisor, Dr. Ntiri, who later hired me at the Detroit Literacy Coalition. I can't say enough good things about the students and faculty in the department."