WMST 400 Senior Seminar (4)
An interdisciplinary research seminar required of all seniors majoring in women's and gender studies. Students engage in research on a topic of interest, culminating in a substantial thesis. The thesis must advance a lucid research question and interrogate a range of sources that bridge disciplinary boundaries and reflect feminist theory and/or methodology. Students take this course in the fall of the senior year. The course serves as the writing intensive credit within the major as well as providing the basis for an oral presentation and defense in the spring of the senior year. Open only to students pursuing majors in women's and gender studies.
The Department of Women's and Gender Studies invites students to use gender as a fundamental category of analysis to understand the operations of power between men, women, and transgender individuals in past and present societies and to recognize how gender has informed and interacted with diverse axes of identification including sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, age, nationality, and religion. Majors will study the methods and theoretical paradigms of feminist and queer research, focusing on how theorists and scholars in the interdisciplinary field of women's and gender studies have critically engaged, challenged, and revised categories of philosophical and political thought, including liberalism, socialism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, and post-colonialism. They will learn how feminist methodologies have reshaped the ways we approach knowledge in the traditional disciplines and how they form the basis of gender, sexuality, queer, and masculinity studies. Students are encouraged to investigate historical and contemporary contributions of women as well as the significance of gender as a cultural construction in the social and natural sciences, in the arts and literature, and in religion. They will also analyze the multiple ways in which gender influences our individual and collective assumptions in local and global contexts and informs diverse political and social debates.