College Offers New Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Major

College Offers New Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Major

Fairfield Students

The College of Arts & Sciences introduces new undergraduate major in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies — an interdisciplinary program where theory and practice forms the foundation of the field.

The College of Arts and Sciences will now offer a new, 30-credit major in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) for undergraduates. Previously, and for more than two decades, the minor in WGSS was a popular course of study, but widespread interest and timely classwork launched it into a full major program.

"Establishing a WGSS major presents an exciting opportunity for Fairfield University to further distinguish itself as the modern Jesuit university," said Shannon Kelley, PhD, associate professor of English and director of the WGSS program.  "Publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The Guardian have recently cited women, gender and sexuality studies as one of the most popular, meaningful, and attractive fields of study available to undergraduates." 

WGSS is an interdisciplinary program that challenges the cultural, intellectual, social and political assumptions about sex, gender and sexuality systems. A unique field, WGSS Studies draws on scholarship from multiple disciplines to develop its own theories, methods and epistemologies.

Courses in the program — such as “Environmental Justice”, “Identity and the Human Genome,” and “Contemporary Women Writers of Color” — critically engage issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and other key components of identity, and the ways they intersect.

The WGSS Studies program, whose minor does still remain an option for all Fairfield students, offers learners opportunities to identify intersecting systems of power; including race, class, ethnicity, gender, sex and sexuality; gain specialized knowledge and acquire proficiency in course content; apply theories, methods and epistemologies to course materials and lived experience; and analyze and critically evaluate the implications of specialized knowledge put into practice.

As an interdisciplinary program, WGSS offers a unique way to combine elements from other disciplines and bring them together in especially powerful ways: WGSS encourages research and scholarship that integrates diverse ideas.

Apart from helping students to develop fresh perspectives, the WGSS program also provides the WGSS Center in Donnarumma Hall, which offers informational resources as well as a meeting place for student groups.

The program presents various speakers on all kinds of topics, often giving students the opportunity for interaction and discussion, and each year a "Lucy Katz Person of the Year" is named at a signature event that highlights activism.

Post-graduation, with a major or minor in WGSS, alumni build careers in a number of in-demand professions including: medicine, law, public relations, publishing, business, and education.

Learn More About WGSS at Fairfield

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