Women's and Gender Studies

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program offers a major and a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. 

The Women's and Gender Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary, critical, feminist, and cross-cultural exploration of the issues related to women’s rights, gender justice, and sexuality in a global context. Focusing on the interactions/intersections of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies fosters the generation of knowledge about women in all their diversity and encourages the critical interrogation of traditional academic disciplines.

Using cross-cultural and transnational perspectives, the program includes exploration of:

  • women’s lives, labor, and arts
  • structural violence, social justice, and women’s activism in the global context
  • the politics of sexuality
  • the structural, institutional, legal, and historical meanings of gender
  • the history of gender roles and performances
  • representations of women in different media
  • the impact of gendered analysis on the sciences
  • the gendered formation of knowledge

The Women's and Gender Studies program also encourages its majors and minors to engage in community service, either independently or through Community-Based Learning courses. 

Georgetown College offers both a major and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, and the School of Foreign Service offers a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.  Interested students should contact the director of the Women's and Gender Studies program, Professor You-me Park, as early as possible in their sophomore year to plan a program of study.

Major in Women’s and Gender Studies

The major in Women’s and Gender Studies requires a total of eleven courses. In addition to the three foundational courses (either Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies or Introduction to Sexuality Studies, Feminist Theory 1 or 2, and Women’s and Gender Studies Senior Capstone), students must take eight additional electives. The Women’s and Gender Studies Program offers five areas of concentration: Globalization and Poverty, Social Justice and Violence, Sexuality Studies, Cultural and Media Representations of Gender, and Race and Racism; see below for details. While majors are not required to declare a concentration, they are required to take at least one elective from either Globalization and Poverty or Social Justice and Violence, and one course each in Sexuality Studies, Cultural and Media Representations of Gender, and Race and Racism. 

The four additional electives are to be chosen by the student. Of the total electives required for the major, at least one must be outside the dominant Western European/North American context; these courses are indicated by an asterisk. Additionally, we urge students to take courses that encompass issues of diversity within the U.S. context. 

Requirements for the A.B. in Women's and Gender Studies

The A.B. in Women's and Gender Studies requires 11 courses as follows:

  • WGST 140, Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies, or WGST 141, Introduction to Sexuality Studies
  • WGST 200, Feminist Theory, or WGST 201, Feminist Theory 2
  • 1 elective in either Globalization and Poverty Area, or Social Justice and Violence Area
  • 1 elective in Race and Racism
  • 1 elective in Media Representations of Gender Area
  • 1 elective in Sexuality Studies Area
  • 4 WGST core or cross-listed electives, including 1 elective outside Western European/North American context

  • WGST 399, Capstone

NOTE:  The student may elect a Concentration in Women's and Gender Studies--see choices below.

Majors can also take three one-credit enrollments in Theater and Performance Studies practica to count as a three-credit elective course in the major. The credit can be obtained by participating in those Theater and Performance Studies (TPST) productions which incorporate in-depth exploration of gender- and sexuality-related themes, and enrolling in the practicum courses connected to them (typically numbered 090, 091, or 092). The choice of productions must be approved by the major advisor, and the credits can be bundled only once. 

Concentrations Within the Women’s and Gender Studies Major

While meeting the requirements of the major as stipulated above, students have the option to pursue a formal concentration in one of the following five areas:

  1. Globalization and Poverty
  2. Social Justice and Violence
  3. Sexuality Studies
  4. Cultural and Media Representations of Gender
  5. Race and Racism

A concentration would include the completion of five courses from one of the lists below, of which a minimum of two must be core elective courses offered by the women’s studies program, and as many as three may be cross-listed electives originating in other departments. Upon the approval of the director of the program, students may count appropriate courses that are not listed here towards the concentration.

1. Globalization and Poverty
  • WGST-228, Gender and International Development*
  • WGST-224, Labor/Sexuality/Globalization*
  • WGST-253, Women’s International Human Rights*
  • WGST-247, Population, Gender, and Environment*
  • WGST-350, Gender and Sustainability*
  • WGST-246, Transpacific Desires*
2. Social Justice and Violence
  • WGST-260, Violence/Gender/Human Rights*
  • WGST-251, Women and the Law
  • WGST-266, Women in American Politics
  • WGST-253, Women’s International Human Rights*
  • WGST-350, Gender and Sustainability*
  • WGST-222, Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault
3. Sexuality Studies
  • WGST-224, Labor/Sexuality/Globalization*
  • WGST-231, Gender, Sexuality in the Middle East*
  • WGST-233, Gender, Sexuality and AIDS*
  • WGST-234, Feminist Disability Studies
  • WGST-242, African Sexualities and Cultures*
  • WGST-223, Trans/Feminism
4. Cultural and Media Representations of Gender
  • WGST-234, Feminist Disability Studies
  • WGST-239, Culture, Medicine, and Gender
  • WGST-223, Trans/Feminism
  • WGST-233, Gender, Sexuality and AIDS*
  • WGST-238, Gender, Race, and Feminism
  • WGST-251, Women and the Law
5. Race and Racism
  • WGST-226, Inequality, Gender, and Prison
  • WGST-238, Gender, Race, and Feminism
  • WGST-266, Women in American Politics
  • WGST-260, Violence, Gender, and Human Rights*
  • WGST-242, African Sexualities and Cultures*
  • WGST-246, Transpacific Desires*

Note: Courses with the non-Western emphasis are denoted with an asterisk.

Integrated Writing in the Women's and Gender Studies Major

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University has always put a special emphasis on writing as an integral part of the critical exploration of society and culture. Both of our introductory courses (Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies and Introduction to Sexuality Studies) teach the fundamentals of academic writing, and the vast majority of our electives are student-centered, process-oriented seminars in which students work individually and in groups to prepare written and oral reports and critiques. Further, the program’s commitment to developing our students’ writing skills is most evident in the Senior Capstone course, in which all of our majors and minors are required to produce a senior long paper.

The Capstone Seminar creates a synthesis of their studies in the discipline, and aims to improve upon their research and writing skills. In order to demonstrate their competence as feminist writers, students apply feminist research methods and theories to a research problem/question of their own choosing.  They are asked to formulate their own definitions of feminist scholarship, and to understand a variety of critical, theoretical, and empirical approaches to studying major feminist concerns and topics. By the end of the course, students aspire towards writing a long paper that is of sufficiently high quality as to merit consideration for potential publication.

Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR

The minor in Women’s and Gender Studies requires a total of six courses:

  • Two (2) courses from the Foundational Courses 
    • WGST 140, Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
    • WGST 141, Introduction to Sexuality Studies
    • WGST 200, Feminist Theory, or WGST 201, Feminist Theory 2
  • Four (4) electives of their choosing 

Minors have the option of taking the Women's and Gender Studies Capstone course as their final elective but are not required to do so. We strongly encourage minors to participate in either fourth-credit options or Community-Based Learning (CBL) courses geared to volunteer efforts in women’s organizations or one in which the student uses feminist principles and skills. We also urge minors to consider issues of diversity when constructing their curriculum.


(For course listings for Women’s and Gender Studies see Schedule of Classes)