Director of Undergraduate Studies
Phone: (203) 432-0309
Genders and sexualities are powerful organizing forces: they shape identities and institutions, nations and economies, cultures and political systems. Careful study of gender and sexuality thus explains crucial aspects of our everyday lives on both intimate and global scales. The scholarship in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is interdisciplinary and wide-ranging, drawing on history, literature, cultural studies, social sciences, and natural science to study genders and sexualities as they intersect with race, ethnicity, class, nationality, transnational processes, disability, and religion.
Students majoring in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies take a series of core courses, develop an individual area of concentration, and write a two-term senior essay. The program encourages work that is interdisciplinary, intersectional, international, and transnational. Individual concentrations evolve along with students' intellectual growth and academic expertise. Recent examples of concentrations include literature and queer aesthetics; transnational feminist practices; the intellectual history of civil rights activism; AIDS health policies; gender, religion, and international NGOs; women's health; food, sexuality, and lesbian community; and gender and sexuality in early education.
Requirements of the major-Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies may be taken either as a primary major or as one of two majors. The major requires twelve term courses, including one gateway course, one intermediate course, one transnational perspectives course, one methodology course, the junior sequence, and the senior sequence. The area of concentration consists of at least five courses, the majority of which should be drawn from program offerings. Substitutions to these requirements may be made only with the written permission of the director of undergraduate studies.
Gateway course-The gateway courses (WGSS 110a, 111a, 115b, 120a, 200a, and 201b) offer broad introductions to the fields of women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Potential majors should aim to take a gateway course during the freshman or sophomore year.
Intermediate course There are two intermediate courses: Globalizing Gender (WGSS 295b) and Introduction to LGBT Studies (WGSS 296a). Majors are encouraged to take both but need take only one, preferably after the gateway course and prior to the junior sequence.
Transnational perspectives course Ideally, each student's course work engages a broad diversity of cultural contexts, ethnicities, and global locations. Such study illuminates the links among nations, states, cultures, regions, and global locations. Most students take several classes that focus on genders and sexualities outside the U.S. context; majors are required to take at least one. (WGSS 295b cannot fulfill both the transnational perspectives and the intermediate requirements.)
Methodology course-Given its interdisciplinary nature, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies necessarily relies on a wide range of methodologies: literary criticism, ethnography, visual analysis, historiography, and quantitative data analysis, among others. Each student is expected to acquire competence in at least one methodology relevant to his or her own concentration and planned senior essay. In preparation for the senior essay, students are advised to complete the methods requirement in the junior year.
Junior sequence-The two-term junior sequence consists of History of Feminist and Queer Thought (WGSS 340a) and the Junior Seminar: Theory and Method (WGSS 398b). All students must take both courses. (Individualized alternatives are found for students who study abroad during the junior year and for students in the Class of 2012.)
Senior sequence and senior essay-The two-term senior sequence consists of the Senior Colloquium (WGSS 490a or b), in which students begin researching and writing a senior essay, followed by the Senior Essay (WGSS 491a or b), in which students complete the essay. The senior essay is developed and written under the guidance and supervision of a WGSS-affiliated faculty member with expertise in the area of concentration. Students are expected to meet with their essay advisers on a regular basis.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior req)
Specific courses required WGSS 340a, 398b
Distribution of courses 1 gateway course; 1 intermediate course; 1 transnational perspectives course; 1 methodology course; 5 electives in area of concentration
Senior requirement Senior colloq and senior essay (WGSS 490a or b, 491a or b)
Course Listings: For a full listing of WGSS courses for the current academic year, go to the Yale College Program of Studies (Blue Book) publication. Click here to be directed to the on-line YCPS.