Women’s studies name change forum

The women’s studies program is contemplating becoming ‘women’s, gender and sexuality studies’ to reflect the growing scope of its courses and faculty research as well as the field as a whole.

The women’s studies program is contemplating becoming ‘women’s, gender and sexuality studies’ to reflect the growing scope of its courses and faculty research as well as the field as a whole.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union, room 296, the department will hold a public meeting to discuss the above and other alternative names.

‘The interdisciplinary field of women’s studies is quite dynamic,’ said Sally McWilliams, women’s studies director. While ‘women’s studies’ was once an accurate name, the program added a minor program for sexuality, gender and queer studies last year, an addition that has resulted in new courses differing substantially in focus from previous offerings.

According to McWilliams, scholars across the nation now study a much broader range of topics in conjunction with women’s studies, and PSU is no exception.

‘ ‘We also have faculty whose scholarship and teaching has moved to include more emphasis on gender and sexuality,’ McWilliams said.

However, some students and faculty members fear a name change that might not include the word women, because such exclusion could push sexism to the periphery of the program in favor of gender studies.

‘The name of the program should reflect the history of the program in honoring and studying the contributions of women to society and how gendered systems of power impact women,’ McWilliams said.

In light of such concerns, the program will likely not consider a switch to simply ‘gender studies,’ a change that could undermine one of its primary goals. According to this year’s class bulletin, the aim of the women’s studies department is to envision what the world looks like once women’s experience is fully included in people’s thinking. Without ‘women’ in the title, there exists a risk that the department could lose its grip on women’s experiences in its efforts to more closely examine the experiences of other groups.

In order to illustrate what the new name should reflect, the department has also proposed ‘women’s and gender studies,’ and ‘gender and feminist studies.’

‘ ‘Most important in the name is that we believe in it and that it speaks to our work,’ said Sally Eck, women’s studies senior instructor.’

The aim of the meeting tomorrow is to gather input from students, faculty, alumni and the community at large before coming to a final decision. The program, soon to become a full-fledged department, may not change its name at all, letting the new sexuality, gender and queer studies minor and the resultant expansion of course offerings speak for themselves.

Women’s studies expands
Sexuality, gender and queer studies minor requirements

The recently added minor in sexuality, gender and queer studies offers students an interdisciplinary course of study focused on sexuality and gender. The minor consists of four core courses and 16 elective credits from an approved list of courses. All courses must be taken with the A’-F graded option. All but eight credits must be upper division courses.

To meet the core course requirements, students must take all four of the core courses listed below.
UNST 266 Sexualities (4 cr.)
WS 370U History of sexualities (4 cr.)
WS 332U Race/class/gender/sexuality (4 cr.)
WS 360U Intro to queer studies (4 cr.)

Students must take 16 elective credits from the list of courses below.
The faculty advisor for the minor may approve other courses to fulfill the elective-credit requirements where appropriate.
ANTH 103 Intro to cultural anthropology
ANTH 432/532 Gender in cross-cultural perspective
BST 342 Black feminism/womanism
CFS 490U Sex and the family
ENG 494 Feminist film theory
ENG 494/594 Queer theory
ENG 447 Harlem renaissance
ENG 441/541 Same-sex desire in the English renaissance
PHE 335 Human sexuality
PHE 453/553 Women’s reproductive health
PHE 410 Sex education in America
PHE 410 Worldview of sexual health
PSY 410 Human sexualities
PSY 431/531 Psychology of men and masculinities
SOC 344U Gender and sexualities
SP 410 Sex and the media
SP 452/552 Gender and race in the media
SPAN 410 Transgenderism in South American literature
SPAN 436/536 Disease and literature in the Americas
WS/ENG 308U Lesbian literature
WS/ENG 308U Gay and lesbian fiction
WS 399U Sex and the state

For advising questions, please contact:
Hillary Reno, 503-725-3516, [email protected]
Ann Mussey, 503-725-8441, [email protected]