Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
Vail Fletcher, Ph.D., communication studies, and Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi, Ph.D., political science and global affairs, co-directors
Gender, women, and sexuality studies is an interdisciplinary field that fosters dialogue among the arts, humanities, social sciences, and all pre-professional areas of study, with the goal of understanding gender identity and sexuality in historical, structural, and institutional contexts. Gender, women, and sexuality studies encompasses varied areas of inquiry: the liberal arts, the social and natural sciences, engineering, nursing, education, law, business, medicine, and ministry. The bachelor of arts degree in gender, women, and sexuality studies (GWSS) offers a program that is critical and intersectional in its approach towards interrogating theories and practices as they pertain to gender identity and sexuality.
The mission of the program at the University of Portland is introduce students to the study of gender, women, and sexuality, focusing on gender identity and sexuality as categories of analysis in historical, structural, and institutional contexts. The program rests on feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial pedagogies and teaching. The GWSS faculty are committed to challenging all forms of oppression and dismantling hegemonic legacies in the production and dissemination of knowledge. They welcome and encourage creative, innovative, and collaborative approaches in the study of gender, women, and sexuality. The program prepares students to be change-makers in all areas of life.
Learning Outcomes for Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Majors
Students completing the gender, women, and sexuality studies major should be able to:
- Demonstrate the ability to draw on different disciplines in understanding and studying gender identity and sexuality.
- Articulate orally or in writing the lenses through which at least two disciplines understand gender identity and sexuality.
- Articulate orally or in writing the methods used by at least two disciplines to study gender identity and sexuality.
- Demonstrate an ability to understand and discuss the intersections between gender and variables such as sex, sexuality, race, class, age, ethnicity, religion, language, and nationality.
- Identify at least two variables that affect or are affected by gender identity and sexuality.
- Articulate orally or in writing how at least two variables affect or are affected by gender identity and sexuality.
- Demonstrate the ability, using intersectional, feminist scholarship, to critique ideological assumptions underlying institutions and structures.
- Identify and explain gender-related assumptions underlying institutions and structures.
- Critique orally or in writing assumptions underlying gender identity and sexuality from intersectional, feminist perspectives.
The capstone course is an opportunity to guide students through the development of their portfolios, which comprise: a minimum of five assignments from at least three different courses in two different disciplines, a self-assessment of the papers in the form of a reflective essay highlighting student learning progress over the course of the program and how they have demonstrated mastery of the program’s learning objectives. Both group and individual meetings with the instructor of the capstone course support the students in their articulation of their learning and the ways in which the GWSS program has prepared them to engage more meaningfully with the world after graduation.