Jun 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Women’s and Gender Studies

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Women’s and Gender Studies asks fundamental questions about human existence: Are women and men born or made? Do those categories adequately express gender identity? How do we understand femininities and masculinities throughout history? How does intersectionality-racial, ethnic, class, sexual identity-affect the experience of gender? What structures and social forces are involved in shaping our ideas about gender? An interdisciplinary program that invites students to take classes in anthropology, sociology, history, literature, politics and other disciplines, Women’s and Gender Studies challenges students to question what is “natural” about gender  in society; to examine the origins of such views and how they have changed over time; and to analyze how race and class intersect with sexualities and gender to construct popular culture and modern society. The program also focuses on uncovering the contributions women have made to society throughout history and how they have envisioned social justice and the common good. In addition, true to its roots in social movements that fought for equality and equity, Women’s and Gender Studies seeks to understand how systems of oppression and power function and how different groups respond to and resist injustice at home and abroad. Thus, the program teaches students to think deeply, to read critically, to write clearly, and to speak convincingly. Lastly, Women’s and Gender Studies prepares students to be agents of change who take community responsibility and social justice seriously, offering them multiple opportunities to engage in service learning and similar projects. In this way, thus the program fulfills its mission of educating the whole person for the complexities of a globalizing world.

Women’s and Gender Studies has a set of core courses that majors and minors are required to take, as explained below.  In addition,  there are WaGS courses in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences that students may can take for WaGS credit as electives.  See the section on Majors and Minors for a full description of the requirements.  The list of approved courses is included below.


Myrna Santiago, PhD, History, Women’s and Gender Studies, Director

Denise Witzig, PhD, Women’s and Gender Studies, Coordinator, Professor

Advisory Board

Loan Dao, PhD, Ethnic Studies

Monica Fitzgerald, PhD, Justice, Community & Leadership

Jennifer Heung, PhD, Anthropology, Global and Regional Studies

Samantha Joyce, PhD, Communication

Emily Klein, PhD, English

Molly Metherd, PhD, English

María Luisa Ruiz, PhD, World Languages and Cultures

Scott Schönfeldt-Aultman, PhD, Communication

Sharon Sobotta, Director of the Center for Women and Gender Equity

Aeleah Soine, PhD, History

Claire Williams, PhD, Kinesiology

Faculty Affiliates

Zeynep Atlay, PhD, Sociology

Nicole Brown, PhD, Sociology

Robert Bulman, PhD, Sociology

Catherine Davalos, MFA, Performing Arts

Rebecca Engle, MA, Performing Arts

Jose Feito, PhD, Psychology

Jeannine King, PhD, English

Kathryn Koo, PhD, English

Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, PhD, History

Patrizia Longo, PhD, Politics

Hilda Ma, PhD, English

Lisa Manter, PhD, English

Marie Pagliarini, PhD, Theology and Religious Studies

Sonya Schuh, PhD, Biology

Aeleah Soine, PhD, History

Cynthia Van Gilder, PhD, Anthropology

Ynez Wilson Hirst, PhD, Sociology

Learning Outcomes

When students have completed a minor or major in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, they will be able to:

  • IDENTIFY assumptions and arguments about gender, race, class, and sexuality in scholarly, popular, public, and interpersonal discourses.
  • EVALUATE different theories of feminism and debates about gender.
  • DIFFERENTIATE among complex and diverse points of view regarding gender, race, class, and sexuality in a variety of academic fields.
  • WRITE clear and well-reasoned prose employing appropriate methods of research in the field.
  • ENGAGE in Social Justice Praxis, including intellectual or social advocacy locally or globally.

Split Majors

Split majors combine work in Women’s and Gender Studies and another academic department or program. A split major must be approved by the chairs or directors of both departments. Split majors consist of at least 54 units, including the foundational coursework in both majors (e.g. WGS 101  and those of the other department) and at least 24 units of advanced coursework (300 and 400-level) planned in coordination with the chairs/directors of the involved programs. All split majors in WGS must complete the four core courses (WGS 101 , WGS 300 , WGS 351 , WGS 496 ).


    Bachelor of ArtsMinor


      Women’s and Gender Studies - Lower Division

      In addition, new courses are approved on a term-to-term basis. Examples of such electives include ENGL 322 - African-American Literature  or ENGL 300 - Medieval Literature .

      Women’s and Gender Studies - Upper Division

      Please refer to the Women’s and Gender Studies webpage for course offerings every semester.

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