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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

Study of Women & Gender

Archival photo of women marching for reproductive rights

The Program for the Study of Women and Gender examines gender, race, class and sexuality as important and simultaneous aspects of social worlds and human lives. Students examine the construction and operation of power relations, social inequalities and resistances to them in national, transnational, cultural, historical and political contexts. As an interdisciplinary endeavor, the program looks at how different academic disciplines view the operation of gender in the labor market, the family, political systems and cultural production. The study of women and gender is joined to an understanding of the forms of activism around the globe.

Photo above: March on Washington for Women’s Reproductive Rights, Washington, D.C. (circa 1989)
Loretta J. Ross Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College

Announcements

Feminist Public Writing Workshop With Katina Paron

Tuesday, September 28, 4-5pm, Zoom
Have you ever wanted to write for your local newspaper or your favorite feminist website? This Feminist Public Writing Workshop will help you develop the skills you need to express yourself in public writing. This workshop is for new writers wanting to cover the feminist movement using journalist principles that will inform and engage readers. Sponsored by the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and the Calderwood Public Writing Program at Smith. Register here.

 

SWG Professor Loretta J. Ross has a TED Talk!

Don't call people out--call them in. Listen HERE to the TED talk by Professor Ross. 

“Gender and Neoliberalism: The All India Democratic Women’s Association and its Strategies and Resistance” written by SWG Professor and Chair Elisabeth Armstrong

LeftWord Books hosted a book discussion with SWG Professor and Chair Elisabeth Armstrong (author of the recently republished book), Meera Veelayudhan, Policy Analyst & Former President IAWS, Rajni Palriwala, University of Delhi Professor of Sociology (Retired), and Indu Agnihotri, Former Professor, CWDS. View the discussion here.

SWG Community

Requirements

Not every course that is cross-listed in the program or taught by SWG faculty will address all of these goals for the major in the Study of Women and Gender, but we expect that every graduating senior will have engaged these concepts and ways of thinking more than once during the course of the major. The goals of the major are to:

  • Understand the social construction of familiar or naturalized categories, while also acknowledging that these social constructions have real effects in subordinating groups and in marking bodies.
  • Understand and be able to apply the concept of intersectionality—a dynamic analysis of how the intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, nationality, and other aspects of identity mutually and simultaneously constitute structures, social processes, ideologies and representations in the complex, multidimensional power hierarchies of society.
  • Analyze social change and understand agency and resistance.
  • Engage theory, read and write about theoretical texts, and recognize that theory emerges from different disciplinary locations.
  • Examine historical periods and beliefs different from the current moment.
  • Analyze forms of representation and discourse as they shape experience and shape our understanding of ourselves and of the world.
  • Approach problems and questions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
  • Engage in systemic analysis with attention to institutional and economic structures of power.
  • Understand theories of transnational, postcolonial and diasporic studies.
  • Understand feminist pedagogy and ethics of knowledge production.

Advisers

All members of the Program Committee for the Study of Women and Gender serve as advisers for the major and minor.

Requirements for the Major

The major requires the completion of 10 semester courses, including at least two 300-level seminars, totaling 40 credit hours. These courses shall comprise SWG prefix courses and department-based courses chosen from a list of possibilities compiled yearly by the Program for the Study of Women and Gender. These courses must include: 

1. SWG 150 Introduction to the Study of Women and Gender (normally taken in the first or second year; may not be elected S/U)
2. One course with a queer studies focus
3. One course with a race and ethnicity studies focus
4. One course with a transnational, postcolonial or diasporic studies focus
5. Four courses with the SWG prefix, including 150 and one 300-level seminar
6. Two 300-level courses (total)

A single course can be used to fill more than one of these requirements. Transfer students are expected to complete at least half of their major (or five courses) at Smith (or with approved Five College courses). Students with double majors may count a maximum of three courses toward both majors.

In the senior year, a student will complete a statement reflecting on the connections among the courses in their major. The senior statement and SWG advising checklist are due to the faculty adviser by the Friday prior to spring break.

Advisers

All members of the Program Committee for the Study of Women and Gender serve as advisers for the major and minor.

Requirements for the Minor

The minor requires the completion of six semester courses, totaling 24 credit hours from SWG-prefix courses or cross-listed courses. These courses must include:

1. SWG 150, Introduction to the Study of Women and Gender (normally taken in the first or second year, and which may not be elected S/U)
2. One course with a queer studies focus
3. One course with a race and ethnicity studies focus
4. One course with a transnational, postcolonial or diasporic studies focus

A single course can be used to fill more than one of these requirements.  Minors are strongly encouraged to elect at least one course at the 300 level.

Honors Requirements

A student may honor in SWG by completing an 8-credit, two-semester thesis in addition to the 10 courses in the major and fulfilling all the general requirements. Eligibility of students for honors work, and supervision and evaluation of the thesis, are determined by the Program Committee for the Study of Women and Gender.

SWG 430D Honors Project
An 8-credit, two-semester thesis in addition to the 10 courses that fulfill the major. Eligibility requirements for honors work, and supervision and evaluation of the thesis are determined by the Program Committee for the Study of Women and Gender.
Credits: 4
Members of the department
Normally offered each academic year

 

Special Studies

SWG 400 Special Studies 
For qualified juniors and seniors. Admission by permission of the instructor and director of the program. No more than 4 special studies credits may be taken in any academic year and no more than 8 special studies credits total may be applied toward the major. Credits: 1-4 
Members of the department 
Normally offered each academic year 


Courses

Fall 2021 SWG Courses

For more information, see the Smith College Course Search.

SWG 150 Introduction to the Study of Women and Gender
An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of the study of women and gender through a critical examination of feminist histories, issues and practices. Focus on the U.S. with some attention to the global context. Primarily for first- and second-year students. Enrollment limited to 25. {H} {S} Credits: 4
Kelly P. Anderson
Elisabeth Brownell Armstrong
Jennifer M. DeClue

SWG 200 The Queer ’90s
In this course we will immerse ourselves in the 1990s, looking specifically at the emergences and points of contention that made the ‘90s a queer, radical, deeply contested decade. The Queer 90s examines the moment in lesbian and gay studies when the recuperation of the term “queer” emerged. By engaging with the readings and films assigned in this course students will gain an understanding of the AIDS crisis and the rage that mobilized ACT UP. Students will learn what the Culture Wars, Welfare Reform, and the conservative attacks against the National Endowment for the Arts have to do with one another. In order to grasp the charged feeling, the urgency, the upheaval of this era we will read foundational queer theoretical texts and analyze a selection of films from the movement known as New Queer Cinema. Prerequisite: SWG 150. Enrollment limited to 25. {A} {H} {L} Credits: 4
Jennifer M. DeClue

SWG 222 Gender, Law and Policy
This course explores the impact of gender on law and policy in the United States historically and today, focusing in the areas of constitutional equality, employment, education, reproduction, the family, violence against women, and immigration. We study constitutional and statutory law as well as public policy. Some of the topics we will cover are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, pregnancy/caregiver discrimination, pay equity, sexual harassment, school athletics, marriage, sterilization, contraception and abortion, reproductive technologies, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and gender-based asylum. We will study feminist efforts to reform the law and examine how inequalities based on gender, race, class and sexuality shape the law. We also discuss and debate contemporary policy and future directions. {H} {S} Credits: 4
Carrie Baker

SWG 228 Theorizing Queer Feminism
This course is an introduction to queer feminist theory. We will consider varied articulations of both feminism and queerness and ways the relationship between them has been narrated and debated. Questions explored include: what might it mean to “queer” feminism? What might it mean to understand queerness through a feminist lens? How might we understand the place of the figure of the lesbian in imagining queer feminism? What sorts of ethical questions might queer feminist perspectives center? Concepts explored include: the centrality of race to concepts of gender and sexuality, relationships among feminist, queer, and trans studies, and sexual ethics. Prerequisite: SWG 150. Enrollment limited to 18. {S}
Credits: 4
Kevin Henderson

SWG 241 White Supremacy in the Age of Trump
This course will analyze the history, prevalence, and current manifestations of the white supremacist movement by examining ideological components, tactics and strategies, and its relationship to mainstream politics. We will also research and discuss the relationship between white supremacy and white privilege and explore how to build a human rights movement to counter the white supremacist movement in the U.S. Students will develop analytical writing and research skills while engaging in multiple cultural perspectives. The overall goal is to develop the capacity to understand the range of possible responses to white supremacy, both its legal and extralegal forms. Enrollment limited to 50. {H} {S} Credits: 4
Loretta Ross

SWG 245 Colloquium: Collective Organizing
Offered as SWG 245 and CCX 245. This course is designed to introduce students to key concepts, debates and provocations that animate the world of community, labor, and electoral organizing for social change. To better understand these movements’ visions, we will develop an analysis of global and national inequalities, exploitation and oppression. The course explores a range of organizing skills to build an awareness of power dynamics and learn activists’ tools to bring people together towards common goals. A central aspect of this course is practicing community-based learning and research methods in dialogue with community-based activist partners. Enrollment limited to 18. {H} {S} Credits: 4
Elisabeth Brownell Armstrong

SWG 377 Feminist Public Writing: Calderwood Seminar
This interdisciplinary course will teach students how to translate feminist scholarship for a popular audience. Students will practice how to use knowledge and concepts they have learned in their women and gender studies classes to write publicly in a range of formats, including book and film reviews, interviews, opinion editorials, and feature articles. We will explore the history and practice of feminist public writing, with particular attention to how gender intersects with race, class, sexuality, disability, and citizenship in women’s experiences of public writing. We will also some of the political and ethical questions relating to women’s public writing. Prerequisite: SWG 150 and one other SWG course. Cannot be taken S/U. Instructor permission required. Enrollment limited to 12. {A} {S} (WI) Credits: 4
Carrie N. Baker

Fall 2021 Cross-Listed Courses

For more information, see the Smith College Course Search.

 

AMS 245 Feminist & Indigenous Science Studies 
Evangeline M. Heiliger, Christen Mucher

EAL 245 Writing, Japan and Otherness  
Kimberly Kono

ENG 243 The Victorian Novel
Cornelia Pearsall

ESS  240 Exercise and Sport for Social Change 
Erica S. Tibbetts

FYS 129 Tierra y Vida: Land and the Ecological Imagination in U.S. Latino/a Literature  
Michelle Joffroy

FYS 132 Girls Leaving Home
Ambreen Hai

FYS 179 Rebellious Women
Kelly P. Anderson

FYS 183 Geisha, Wise Mothers, and Working Women
Marnie S. Anderson

FYS 184 Educating Women: A History and Sociology, at Home and Abroad 
Rosetta Marantz Cohen

HST 278 Colloquium: Decolonizing U.S. Women's History 1848-Present 
Jennifer Mary Guglielmo

MES 213 Colloquium: Sex and power In The Middle East
Susanna Ferguson

PSY 375 Research Seminar on Political Psychology
Lauren E. Duncan

REL 227 Women and Gender in Jewish History 
Lois C. Dubin

SOC 229 Sex and Gender in American Society 
William Cory Albertson

SOC 317 Seminar: Inequality in Higher Education
Tina Wildhagen

SOC 333 Seminar: Social Justice, the Environment and the Corporation 
Leslie L. King

SPN 230ww Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Culture and Society-Creative By and With Spanish Women 
Reyes Lázaro

WLT 205 Contemporary African Literature and Film 
Katwiwa Mule

For Five College SWG courses, see https://www.umass.edu/wgss/fall-2021-course-guide

Martha Ackelsberg
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emerita of Government & Professor Emerita of the Study of Women & Gender

Paula Giddings
Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies 

Marilyn Schuster
Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emerita in the Humanities (Study of Women & Gender) & Provost and Dean of the Faculty Emerita

Susan Van Dyne
Professor of the Study of Women and Gender and Chair of the Archives Concentration Emerita


Adviser: Elisabeth Armstrong

All students should work with their academic adviser to define their academic goals for study abroad before meeting with the SWG study abroad adviser.

Requirements

Minimum eligibility for study abroad: 3.0 GPA (some programs require higher) and program approval from your SWG adviser.

Study Abroad Programs

See the Office for International Study for Smith-approved programs.


Graduate Programs

Ph.D. Programs

 
UNITED STATES

Arizona State University, Ph.D. in gender studies

Claremont Graduate University (Claremont, CA), Ph.D. and M.A. in women’s studies in religion

Emory University (Atlanta, GA), Ph.D. in women’s studies

Indiana University, Bloomington, Ph.D. in gender studies

Ohio State University, Ph.D. and M.A. in women’s, gender and sexuality studies

Oregon State University, Ph.D. in women's, gender and sexuality studies

Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), Ph.D. in women’s and gender studies

Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY), Ph.D in women’s and gender and sexuality studies

Texas Woman's University, Ph.D. in multicultural women’s and gender studies

University of Arizona, Ph.D. in gender and women’s studies

University of Buffalo, Ph.D in global gender studies

University of California, Los Angeles, Ph.D. in gender studies

University of California, Santa Barbara, Ph.D. in feminist studies

University of California, Santa Cruz, Ph.D. in feminist studies

University of Kansas, Lawrence, Ph.D. in women, gender, and sexuality studies

University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ph.D. in women’s studies

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Ph.D. in women’s, gender and sexuality studies

University of Maryland, College Park, Ph.D. and M.A. in women’s studies

University of Michigan, joint Ph.D. programs in women’s studies and English, history, psychology, or sociology

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (with Center for Advanced Feminist Studies), Ph.D. in women’s, gender and sexuality studies

University of Washington, Seattle, Ph.D. and M.A. in gender, women’s and sexuality studies

Yale University (New Haven, CT), Combined Ph.D. in women's, gender and sexuality studies

INTERNATIONAL

Central European University, Budapest, M.A. and Ph.D. in gender studies (a Smith alum directs the program)

Josai International University, Ph.D. and M.A. in women’s studies

London School of Economics and Political Science, Gender Institute, England, Ph.D. and M.Phil. in gender studies; M.Sc. in gender and social policy

Manchester University, M.A. in women’s studies

Monash University (Melbourne, Australia, Ph.D. and M.A. in women’s studies

The Netherlands Research School of Women's Studies (NOV), Ph.D. in women’s studies at six Dutch universities

Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada), Ph.D. and M.A. in gender, sexuality and women’s studies

University of Auckland, New Zealand, M.A. and Ph.D. in gender studies

University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada), M.A. and Ph.D. administered by Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

University of Melbourne (Melbourne, Australia), Ph.D. and M.A. in gender studies

University of Sussex (Brighton, UK), D.Phil. and M.A. programs in gender studies

University of Sydney (New South Wales, Australia), Ph.D. and M.A. (by research) in women’s studies

University of Toronto (Women and Gender Studies Institute), Ph.D. (Doctoral Program in Women and Gender Studies (DWGS)) and M.A. programs

University of Warwick, England, Ph.D. programs in women and gender; M.A. in interdisciplinary gender studies, gender and international development, or gender, literature and modernity

University of York (York, England), D.Phil., M.A., and M.Phil. programs in women’s studies

York University (Ontario, Canada), Ph.D. and M.A. in gender, feminist and women’s studies

 

Dual Degree J.D./M.A. Gender and Women’s Studies Programs

George Washington University, J.D./M.A. in women’s studies

Pace University and Sarah Lawrence College, J.D./M.A. in women’s history and law

State University of New York, J.D./M.A. women’s, gender and sexuality studies

University at Albany & Albany Law School, J.D./MA in Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies

University of Arizona, J.D./M.A. in women’s studies

University of Cincinnati, J.D./M.A. in women’s studies

University of Florida, J.D./M.A. in women’s studies

Other Gender and Law Programs

American University, Women and International Law Program L.L.M. in international legal studies with a specialization in gender and international law.

For more information, including law schools with feminist journals and women’s rights clinics, see this listing (pdf).

See also “Second-Degree Feminism,” Ms. Magazine (Fall 2014), p. 15.

M.A. Programs

UNITED STATES

Brandeis University (Waltham, MA), M.A. in women’s, gender and sexuality studies

Claremont Graduate University (Claremont, CA), interdisciplinary M.A. program in applied women’s studies

Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA), M.A. in Africana women’s studies

DePaul University (Chicago, IL), M.A. in women’s and gender studies

Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, MI), M.A. of liberal studies in women’s and gender studies (interdisciplinary)

Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL), M.A. and graduate certificate in women’s studies

George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), M.A. Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in women and gender studies

George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), M.A. in women’s studies; M.A. in public policy with a concentration in women’s studies

Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA), M.A. in women’s studies

Jewish Theological Seminary, M.A. in Jewish women’s studies

Loyola University, Chicago, M.A. in women’s studies, and a three-course graduate certificate; Mary Griffin Graduate Scholarship in WST available to one full-time graduate student in the program

Minnesota State University, M.S. in women’s studies

Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), M.A. in women’s studies

Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL), M.A. and graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies

San Diego State University (San Diego, CA), M.A. in women’s studies

San Francisco State University, M.A. in women’s studies

Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, New York), M.A. in women’s history

Simmons College (Boston, MA), Interdisciplinary M.A. program in gender/cultural studies

Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, M.A. in women’s studies and a graduate certificate in women’s studies

State University of New York, Albany, M.A. in women’s, gender sexuality studies

Texas Woman's University, M.A. in women’s studies

Towson University (Maryland), M.S. in women’s and gender studies

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa M.A. in women’s studies

University of Cincinnati, M.A. in women’s studies

University of Florida, M.A. and M.W.S. in gender, sexuality and women’s studies

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, self-designed, interdisciplinary M.A. in women’s studies

University of Louisville, M.A. in women’s and gender studies

University of Memphis, interdisciplinary M.A. program in women’s studies

University of North Carolina, Greensboro, M.A. in women’s and gender studies

University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, M.A. in women’s studies

University of South Florida, Tampa, M.A. in women’s studies

University of Texas, Austin, M.A. in women’s and gender studies

University of Wisconsin-Madison M.A. in women's studies/gender studies

INTERNATIONAL

Manchester University, M.A. in women’s politics and policy research

Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s (Newfoundland, Canada), M.A. in gender studies

Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada), M.A. in women’s and gender studies offered jointly by Dalhousie, Mount Saint Vincent, and Saint Mary’s universities

Oxford University (England), One-year interdisciplinary master’s degree

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby (British Columbia, Canada), M.A. in women’s and gender studies

Trinity College at University of Dublin, The Centre for Women’s Studies offers the M.Phil. in women’s and gender studies, also welcomes applications from those wishing to do the M.Litt. and Ph.D. degrees, which are by research alone

University of Leeds, multiple post graguate programs at the master’s and Ph.D. levels in women’s, gender and sexuality studies in multiple contexts

University of Nijmegen (Netherlands), M.A. degree specializations, including feminist theology

University of Ottawa (Canada), collaborative program in women’s studies at the master’s level

University of Toronto (Canada), graduate collaborative program in women’s studies, M.A. and Ph.D.

University of Western Ontario (Canada), M.A. in women’s studies and feminist research

University of Wollongong (Australia), M.A. in women’s studies

University of York (England), standalone M.A. in women’s studies. Also offers M.A. in women’s studies by research and an M.Sc in women, development and administration


SWG Alumnae Network

SWG alumnae and current majors are welcome to search the SWG alumnae database.

  • Current majors can identify alumnae who have worked in their fields of interest or who have done graduate work or could provide tips about internships.
  • Alumnae can help prospective and current students see all that a major in women’s and gender studies has mattered and catch up with what classmates have been doing.
  • Members can create a profile and make information available for others to search (you control what information appears in search results).

SIGN IN      CREATE AN ACCOUNT      SEARCH

 

Contact

Program for the Study of Women & Gender

Seelye Hall 207A
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3390

Chair: Elisabeth Armstrong
Administrative Coordinator: Lorraine Hedger

Individual appointments can be arranged directly with the faculty.