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Why Women & Gender Studies?

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Body Mapping 2017 Capstone Final project. This image is a collage of all the 2017 graduate's personal body maps, created by Halley Pradell

The Department of Women & Gender Studies offers interdisciplinary perspectives on the past and current status of women around the world, and offers students the opportunity to learn about new and old formations of gender and its intersections with sexuality, race, class, nationality, religion, and age. Questions are addressed within the context of a transnational world and from perspectives as diverse as history, sociology, political science, linguistics, economics, anthropology, literary and cultural studies, philosophy, science, religion, and the arts. The Department offers a B.A. degree in Women & Gender Studies, with an Honors Degree option, and minors in Women & Gender Studies, Sexualities & Gender Studies, Women in Religion, and Domestic Violence Prevention & Services (DVPS). Each minor carries 18 credits. Majors may also choose to complete a concentration in Domestic Violence Prevention & Services or in Women in Global Perspective. Interdepartmental and double majors are also another option. In addition, internships are available, providing students with the opportunity to integrate what they have learned in the classroom with practical competencies that can only be gained from actual experience.

The mission of the Department of Women & Gender Studies as a multidisciplinary department, is to produce and disseminate knowledge about women and gender that utilizes interdisciplinary approaches to learning that engage faculty, students, and staff as well as the community at large.  We strive for excellence through teaching, scholarship, cultural events, and public engagement, anchoring our work in core principles of diversity, social justice, and inclusion in a globally connected world.

A Glimpse into the Capstone

The Women & Gender Studies Capstone (WOMS410) aims to give graduating majors a space to reflect on their undergraduate work, ultimately exploring their individual embodiment of "the personal is political." The Capstone promotes collaborative thinking, working, and expression. 

"This seminar-style course culminates the degree for graduating Women & Gender Studies majors," Dr. Pascha Bueno-Hansen notes, "exploring the purpose and developing concerns in the field of Women & Gender Studies. It reflects on what majors have learned in their course work, considers ongoing challenges to the field, accesses the current historical moment and prepares them for a future in which their Women & Gender Studies education plays a significant and positive role in all aspects of their lives."

Women & Gender Studies faculty teach the Capstone on a rotating schedule, and each Capstone reflects both the core emphasis of the Study of Women's Studies and the particular focus of the faculty member.  For example, in the Capstone taught by Dr. Bueno-Hansen in 2016, students created personal body maps, using embodiment as a bridge into all the other themes of the course. Through artistic expression, students reflected and analyzed course materials in the context of their lived experiences; a collage by 2017 Capstone student Halley Pradell, of the Body Mapping art produced by the 2016 Capstone students, is pictured above. 

As noted by 2016 WOMS Graduate Maggie K. Hussar, “In my experience, most collegiate courses measure knowledge and success in very limited and, quite frankly, white (as well as male and wealthy) ways of knowing. Our comprehension is measured with timed exams where we are expected to write lengthy essays, solve complex math problems, and recall details about content we might have needed to teach ourselves. What if English isn’t your first language? What if you have differing physical and mental abilities? What if you are a first generation college student who was not prepared throughout life to take exams like this? Who decided that doing well via these measurements meant you were smart or successful in the first place? The privileging of white ways of knowing/being were challenged in my 2016 WOMS capstone course. Unlike many other courses, my personhood and life were not asked to be left at the door - in fact, they were invited inside and acknowledged throughout the entire Capstone experience.   Being a Women & Gender Studies major at the University of Delaware was my greatest decision and one that continues to influence my scholarship, practice, and every day interactions.” 

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Why Women & Gender Studies?
  • Department of Women & Gender Studies
  • 34 West Delaware Avenue
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-8474
  • dearnold@udel.edu