Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies

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Program Overview

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary program that challenges the cultural, intellectual, social and political assumptions about sex, gender and sexuality systems. A unique field, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies draws on scholarship from multiple disciplines to develop its own theories, methods and epistemologies. The inextricable linkage of theory and practice forms the foundation of the field. Courses in the program critically engage issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and other key components of identity, and the ways they intersect.


The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program offers you 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.
  • Analyze and critically evaluate the implications of specialized knowledge put into practice.

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

Apart from helping students to develop fresh perspectives, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program also provides for the WGS Center in Donnarumma Hall, which offers informational resources as well as a meeting place for student groups. The program brings in various speakers on all kinds of topics, often giving students the opportunity for interaction and discussion, and each year a "Person of the Year" is named at a signature event that highlights activism. Fairfield's location, just an hour from New York City, gives students and faculty easy access to lectures, conferences, and organizations devoted to understanding and promoting issues relevant to the study of women, gender and sexuality.


For an 18-credit minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, students complete:

  • Five courses, three of which must be gender-focused, and two others, which may be gender-focused or gender-component courses. Courses must be chosen from at least two disciplines.
  • WS 301 WGS Capstone Seminar after completing the other five courses. With permission of the director(s), other capstone experiences that focus on women, gender and sexuality topics may be counted in place of WGS 301. If another capstone experience is substituted, then a sixth WGS course must be completed from the list of approved courses.

Course Offerings

See Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies course descriptions from our catalog for more information.

(*indicates gender-component course)

Applied Ethics

  • AE 271: The Sacred Balance*
  • AE 283: Environmental Justice
  • AE 297: Eco-feminism
  • AE 298: Ethics and Feminist Perspectives



  • BI 71: Identity and the Human Genome*



  • CL 123: Women in Classical Literature



  • CO 236: Gender, Sexuality, and Media
  • CO 246: Family Communication
  • CO 323: Gender and Organizing
  • CO 338: Media Audiences*



  • EC 114: The Economics of Race, Class, and Gender in the American Workplace



  • EN 130: Literature by Women: Vision and Revision
  • EN 131: Contemporary Women Writers of Color
  • EN 162: Irish Women Writers
  • EN 171: Literature and the Visual Arts*
  • EN 200C: Special Topics: Dickinson, Whitman & Contemporary Poets
  • EN 216: Victorian Poetry & Poetics*
  • EN 234: American Women Writers of the 19th Century
  • EN 235: Edith Wharton & Her Circle
  • EN 263: African American Women Writers
  • EN 275: Modern Women Writers
  • EN 283: Films and Novels in the Asian Diaspora: Challenges to Citizenship*
  • EN 284: American Women Writers of Color
  • EN 291: Gender and Sexuality in Film and Literature
  • EN 314: Renaissance Eros
  • EN 336: Seminar on Toni Morrison
  • EN 353: Representations
  • EN 355: Gender Theory
  • EN 372: All About Eve
  • EN 374: The Woman Question: Early Feminism and 19th-Century Transatlantic Literature
  • EN 375: Caribbean Women Writers
  • EN 376: Global Women’s Fiction
  • EN 377: Urban Texts & Contexts



  • HI 146: Women's History as U.S. History
  • HI 240: The Personal is Political: Women’s Activism in the 1960s
  • HI 245: Feminism in the United States
  • HI 246: Women and Gender in U.S. History
  • HI 247: Family and Sexuality in U.S. History
  • HI 257: Who Built America? 
  • HI 263: Inventing Themselves: African-American Women in U.S. History
  • HI 346: Saints, Sinners, and Sisters (Women in American Religious History)
  • HI 366: Gender, Culture, and Representation: Women in China and Japan, 1600 to the Present

Modern Languages and Literatures

  • FR 305: French and Francophone Women Writers


New Media, Film, Television and Radio

  • FTM 201: Filmmaker Studies (when taught as "Women Directors")



  • NS 314: Maternal and Newborn Nursing
  • NS 314C: Maternal and Newborn Nursing Clinical



  • PH 211: American Philosophy*
  • PH 281: Philosophies of Love and Sex
  • PH 282: Violence and the Sacred
  • PH 283: Philosophy and Pornography



  • PO 119: Sex, Sexuality and Gender
  • PO 136: Gender, War, and Peace (also IL 151)
  • PO 153: The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender
  • PO 170: The Battle over Family Values in American Politics
  • PO 220: Seminar on Feminist Theory


Religious Studies

  • RS 205: Women in the Bible
  • RS 215: Women in Judaism
  • RS 236: Christian Feminist Theology


Sociology and Anthropology

  • AY 168: Sex, Gender, and Sexual Orientation
  • SO 142: Sociology of the Family*
  • SO 144: Sociology of Sexuality
  • SO 162: Race, Gender, and Ethnic Relations*
  • SO 166: Feminism, Gender, and Everyday Life
  • SO 167: Contemporary Media: Race and Gender
  • SO 169: Women: Work and Sport
  • SO 239: Sociology of Gender and Sexuality



  • TA 123: American Women Playwrights


Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

  • WS 101: Introduction to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • WS 299: WGS Studies Internship
  • WS 301: WGS Studies Capstone Seminar
  • WS 399: WGS Studies Independent Study


The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the dedicated members of our Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.


Fairfield University student working hard for her internship

Internships are available in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in a variety of fields related to non-profit work, social change, activism, the arts, media, and a host of other fields and professional contexts that will compliment your experience as a Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies minor. Internships allow students to explore the relationship between the theoretical and the applied and to make meaningful contacts with the wider community beyond the Fairfield campus.

Students interested in exploring the possibilities of a Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies internship should contact the program director, Dr. Anna Lawrence.

Life After Fairfield

Your choice of a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies will enhance your qualifications for almost any career. You'll develop new sensitivities and insights into the realities of gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality in politics, arts, society, and the workplace. You'll study these issues on both the theoretical and experiential levels, adding an educational dimension that will prove useful to prospective employers in business, government, the professions, and other fields.

WGS studies minors have gone on to work in the fields of:

  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Public Relations
  • Publishing
  • Business
  • Education

The list is endless. Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies will help you participate in the real world in which we live. A minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies will help set your resume apart from the stack a potential employer will sift through or ideally situate you for future academic work in a variety of fields.

Learn more about how the University's Career Planning Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime. The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program regularly sponsors events that allows minors to meet with graduates of the program as well as other minors and the talented faculty who contribute to the program.

The Lucy Katz Award

Since 1994, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program has annually recognized a woman on campus who has made an outstanding contribution to women's issues. Founding co-directors Dr. Johanna Garvey, Associate Professor of English, and Dr. Lucy Katz, Professor Emeritus, Business, believe such recognition will advance the understanding and promotion of women's issues on campus and off.

Recent Events

WGSS Alumnae Panel
February 23, 2017 at 6 p.m.
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Multi-Media Room

‌A panel of five successful Fairfield alumnae return to campus to discuss the many ways their WGSS minor has increased their marketability and helped them navigate the workforce. In addition to addressing a wide range of topics relevant to women in the workplace, including salary negotiation, sexual harassment, maternity leave, interview dress code and what it is like to work in a male-dominated profession, the event provides a networking opportunity for current students to connect with successful alumni.

Four of the five alumnae at last years panel.


Getting in Formation: Anna Arnold Hedgeman and Historical Narratives of Black Women’s Activism
March 21, 2017 at 7 p.m.
Kelley Center Presentation Room

Author, historian and women’s rights scholar Dr. Jennifer Scanlon discusses the fascinating story and historical impact of little-known feminist and civil rights activist, Anna Arnold Hedgeman, in an inspirational lecture held in celebration of Women’s History Month and Black History Month.

Student Resources

The following list compiled by Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies represents some of the academic and student groups and programs on campus that may be of interest to Women's Studies minors. If you would like a listing included here, please e-mail Dr. Anna Lawrence, Director of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Student Groups


Alliance is a group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) students and straight allies, which exists to promote diversity and acceptance on campus. Alliance holds weekly meetings and a number of events and activities throughout the year. The membership also acts as an advocacy group on campus for LGBT students and issues.

Contact: fairfieldalliance@gmail.com.

Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons

In our commitment to being men and women for others, we find it necessary to claim a space in which we can create and foster an all-inclusive community for students of various genders, sexes, and sexualities. This is a collective space for men and women to engage in an ongoing dialogue about the gender and sexuality injustices that occur on the campus and abroad. Such dialogue will contribute to mutual understanding and active service focused around these issues. We envision this environment will help foster growth in our community so that students of diverse genders and sexualities are distinguished as equals in academics, athletics, and social interactions.

Contact: rachel.lang@student.fairfield.edu

The Reproductive Rights Talk and Action Group (RRTAG)

The Reproductive Rights Talk and Action Group seeks to create consistent dialogue on the topic of global, intersectional reproductive rights of women and females, as well as to install action projects and events around campus to increase awareness regarding reproductive rights and justice.

Contact: reproductiverights4fairfieldu@gmail.com


Campus Services

Safe Space Program

The Fairfield Safe Space Program creates a network of campus-based allies to support and confirm the dignity and self worth of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer students and their allies.

In accordance with Catholic social teaching, the human rights of all are paramount to the Jesuit university educational experience. Fairfield University is committed to providing safe spaces where individuals can engage in discussion, education, advocacy, and awareness about LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) issues. These spaces are free from discrimination, ignorance, bigotry, and harassment, and provide a safe and accepting environment for all members of the Fairfield University community regardless of sex, race, color, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin or ancestry, disability, or special needs.


  • To institutionally support LGBTQ individuals and those who have family members that are LGBTQ by providing a campus environment that is safe physically, socially, spiritually, and emotionally
  • To provide education and experiential learning opportunities for the campus community to combat homophobia, heterosexism, discrimination, and ignorance about LGBTQ issues
  • To identify individuals in the Fairfield University community that will provide support, resources, information, and a safe place for LGBTQ students and their allies
  • To improve the quality of life for all student populations on campus
  • To provide visible resources and mentors for LGBTQ persons within the University community by providing a tangible sign of support

Faculty, staff, and student leaders can go through Safe Space training. Safe Space I training creates awareness of issues and builds participants' knowledge and skills. Safe Space II workshops examine particular issues more deeply, such as the coming out process and the intersection between sexuality and gender. A Safe Space I workshop must be completed before attending a Safe Space II workshop.

Contact: safespace@fairfield.edu

Coming Out/Being Out

A group for students exploring gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered identity in a safe, supportive environment. This group is for students in all stages of the self-discovery and coming-out process or those questioning their identity. It's a safe, respectful and confidential group to process issues of concern, worry, or hope as well as a place to develop supportive friendships and discuss issues involved in coming out and being out. This group meets once a week.

Contact: Susan Birge at sbirge@fairfield.edu

Ally Network

The Ally Network serves as a campus-wide resource to students who are in need of support. Upon completion of the training workshop, allies receive a Safe Space placard distinguishing them as part of the network. This placard is a symbol that the person will be understanding, supportive, and trustworthy if a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer student needs help, advice, or just someone with whom they can talk. The person displaying the symbol is also a person who can give anyone accurate information about sexual orientation issues.

Contact: safespace@fairfield.edu


The Mission of WiSTEM (Women in Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering) is to provide services and activities to help support women pursuing the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while building community beyond the traditional academic boundaries. The program also emphasizes connections with other women in related fields and between undergraduates, faculty, and female professionals outside academia.

Benefits include:

  • Living in an intentional community
  • Participating in courses in your major with floor mates
  • Special study groups
  • Pairing with student and professional mentors
  • Opportunities to participate in research projects

Contact: sfernandez@fairfield.edu

Service for Justice Residential College *(New Location)

When we are at our best, we deeply appreciate the gifts of others and seek to serve those in need. The Service for Justice Residential College (S4J) ,which will be moved into the new building on the Quad called 70 McCormick Hall (2 person residential hall), is a community based on exploring questions of service, diversity and social justice. Through conversations, reflection and action of students, faculty, and mentors with one another, the hope of this community is to appreciate an historical context of and passion for social justice, understand diversity and all its manifestations, communicate with others about and across differences, and take action and become change agents. In this way, all are able to construct and discern their own living and learning experience. This community welcomes students of all interests, backgrounds, and perspectives. Three overarching questions guide our community:

  • How can I make a difference here, now?
  • How can I understand, appreciate and explore difference?
  • How can I be me in this diverse world?

Contact: aconcepcion@fairfield.edu

Health Center

Women's Health Clinic by appointment only on Tuesday and Thursday 1:30-4 p.m.

Contact: sdunn@fairfield.edu

Diversity Committee-Fairfield United

Comprised of leaders of the diversity clubs on campus in order to collaborate on initiatives and programs.

Faculty Staff/Contact: Meredith Marquez, Assistant Director of Student Diversity Programs

Contact: mmarquez@fairfield.edu

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Office-DMH 115

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on two levels of inquiry, the theoretical and the experiential. The program demonstrates the ways in which cultural assumptions about gender and sexuality influence the development of personal identity and public roles that consequently affect all social and political structures. The Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies office provides a space for students to learn more about the minor program and acts as a meeting space for related groups and classes.

Office Hours

  • Tuesday: 9:00-2:00
  • Wednesday: 12:00-5:00
  • Thursday: 9:00-2:00

Contact: Gina Ludlow


Campus Ministry

Students for Social Justice (S4SJ)

S4SJ is a dynamic, student-lead group that aims to educate, advocate, and activate around issues of social justice, to be a voice for the voiceless, and to further enrich Fairfield's mission in the service of faith and the promotion of justice.

Contact: Conor O'Kane, cokane@fairfield.edu

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