Women and Gender Studies (WGS) is a fairly new interdisciplinary development for higher level education, with the courses under the curriculum empowering cultural, social and political contexts for discussions such as race, gender and sexuality.
Dr. Sarah Mayberry Scott, an assistant professor of communication studies and director for the WGS minor, shared how students may explore gender, sex or sexuality from a historical, biological, philosophical or the social/critical perspective, depending on which WGS course they choose. Additionally, she discussed learning how social and cultural constructs of gender impact on art, literature, politics and communication.
“They may contemplate and analyze sex/gender in cultural, social and political spheres or how gender is constructed, maintained or challenged in our institutions of work, education, family and religion,” Scott said.
The WGS program is a committee of faculty and staff that are committed to women and gender causes and education. The committee has been instrumental in providing Safe Zone training, recognizing important dates such World AIDS Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Pay Equity Day and Women’s History Month.
“Women’s History Month means celebrating the achievements and victories of women’s rights. It means amplifying women’s place in the historical narrative that has traditionally been erased or minimized. It also means contending with a history that did not always include all women and imagining a more inclusive future. It means thinking contemporarily about how to use our voices to celebrate, uphold and provide space for voices often marginalized or silenced,” Scott said.
Dr. Heather McNamee, the bachelor of science in education social science program director and assistant professor of history will be teaching two WGS courses in the upcoming year. In the summer, she will teach Enslaved Women in the Americas, an online course that will examine the experiences of enslaved women in South America, the OvCaribbean and North America.
“We will look at how enslaved women faced unique oppressions and also how they resisted slavery in myriad ways,” McNamee said.
In the fall, McNamee will teach The History of Sexuality, examining the longer political, legal, social and cultural fights for both women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
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