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    Welcome to the Department of Women's and Gender Studies

    We began thirty years ago as a small program with no permanent faculty and are now a vibrant department with a broadly interdisciplinary faculty of nine specializing in fields including History, Global Studies, Sociology, Public Health, Anthropology, Political Science, Media Studies, Studio Art and Photography, and Literature and Literary Theory.  Women's and Gender Studies expands the process of knowledge production by considering what it means to take gender, race, class, and sexuality seriously in our explanations of the world. It provides a methodology that is interdisciplinary, multicultural, and feminist. Our goal is to offer courses and programming that take full account of the broadest spectrum of issues concerning women and gender in the U.S. and globally.

    Our highly published faculty have channeled their research into a number of new and innovative courses such as Women in Science, Women’s Spirituality Across Cultures, The International Politics of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Militarization and Transnational Latina/o Literature, Performance in Photography, and Women and Creativity.  Faculty interests extend across the globe encompassing western Europe, the Middle East, eastern Europe, Africa, India, Latin America, the United States, and the Caribbean.  Over the years we have also supported the development of women’s and gender studies and feminist courses in traditional disciplinary departments all over the campus.

    Our unique and popular internship program supports undergraduate students who do research, policy, and direct service projects in a variety of local agencies and institutes.  During the 2012 Fall Semester, for example, the Department placed eight student interns in sites such as the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Crisis Unit, the Family Violence Prevention Center housed in the Compass Center for Women and Families, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, the North Carolina Council for Women, which, with our interns’ assistance, puts out an annual report on the Status of Women in North Carolina, and the Center for Women’s Health Research.  You can read some our interns’ own words about their experiences here.

    We also house the distinctive Women and Science Program which is directed by Women’s and Gender Studies and Anthropology professor, Dr. Silvia Tomášková.  The program’s mandate is to work with the science departments on the UNC campus to attract and retain more women and minority students and faculty in the sciences and mathematics and to encourage greater attention to gender, women’s, and feminist issues in these fields.

    The Major and Minor in Women's and Gender Studies

    Students who declare our major take 24 credits, choosing from courses offered within the Department as well as from the many courses offered by other departments and cross-listed with Women's and Gender Studies.  Three courses – Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, Introduction to Feminist Thought, and Principles of Feminist Inquiry (the senior capstone course) – are required of all majors.  All of these are regularly taught by Department faculty.  In addition, majors take one course on “Minority/Third World/Non-Western Women and Gender.”  Our students gain greater interdisciplinary experience by taking the rest of their courses in at least two out of three sets of “perspectives” – humanities/fine arts, social sciences, and history.  Most majors also choose to do an internship but may opt to take an additional “perspective” course instead.  Students with an excellent academic record and a strong interest in doing independent research may elect to do a year-long Honors course and write and defend an Honors thesis.  The requirements for the 15-credit minor include Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies and three courses from at least two “perspectives.”  Minors are encouraged to do an internship (which replaces one of the three “perspectives” courses).

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