The Department of Women & Gender Studies at the University of Delaware is an interdisciplinary department that provides students with the tools to develop their critical perspectives as scholars and social activists. We teach students to re-examine traditional beliefs and to recognize that all systems of oppression must be examined, whether they concern patriarchy, gender, race, class, ethnicity, age, sexuality, or nationality. Our voices, courses, and writing focus on the complexities and dynamics of intersectional approaches and our calendar and classrooms provide students with resources for examining and identifying pathways to social change.
From Fall 2019 through Fall 2020, Women & Gender Studies will spearhead the major teaching initiative, "OUR VOTE: History, Advocacy, Justice," to commemorate the power and privilege of suffrage. Not only does 2020 mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment allowing certain women the right to vote, it is the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment allowing non-white men the right to vote. These milestones also coincide with a presidential election year, and the power of voting will be much in the news and on our minds.
Partnering with departments and units across the UD campus, "OUR VOTE" will engage students and the community on topics and events that reflect upon the history and impact of social justice advocacy, the democratic process, and laws which both advance and restrict the rights of citizenship and political access. Just as in 1920, when suffrage was still denied to many Americans, voting rights remain under attack in many states, disproportionately affecting low-income and minority voters. So, too, is the very notion of democracy — and the rights of citizens and non-citizens —threatened in nations worldwide.
Events currently planned for "OUR VOTE" include a themed curriculum for interested students, with a three-semester listing of relevant courses across the University. Musical, dance, and theater performances will address the history of suffrage and civil rights and the voices of women and social-justice leaders in America. A community-reader series will focus on the struggles for empowerment and social justice, with special lectures from faculty across a broad range of perspectives from multiple disciplines. Student research will get students writing, thinking, researching, and creating projects that deepen their understanding of democracy and the right to vote.
We encourage alumnae and alumni to become involved in "OUR VOTE" initiatives, so please let us know if you have ideas or topics you would like to see addressed during the three semesters, and if you would like to participate. Whether you are currently working in politics, government, or social justice advocacy, or have a historical perspective to share, and would like a chance to speak or present at one of our events, please let us hear from you.
The faculty and students in Women & Gender Studies are feminists, scholars, and activists committed to understanding ways in which systems of inequality are reproduced and maintained, and are equally committed to seeking strategies for building social justice. As you discover our Department and its many offerings and programs, you can learn about the extraordinary engagements, scholarship, solutions, and creativity that reflect what we do and what we care about in Women & Gender Studies—and the enormous contribution that our faculty, students, and partnerships make within and far beyond the University of Delaware.
– Patricia Sloane-White