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College of Arts & Sciences

History of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program began with a certificate program in women's studies established in 1979. A bachelor's degree in Women's and Gender Studies was established around 2006.

In 2014 the program changed its name to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The names of the major and certificate also changed, and a new certificate in LGBTQ studies was added.

The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Ohio University is a community of scholars exploring gender as it informs both traditional approaches to disciplinary knowledge and everyday life in a range of historical and cultural contexts. Read more about WGSS Faculty.

The program promotes interdisciplinary teaching and research and provides a locus of feminist scholarship and activism on the campus, in the community, and beyond. The program's name recognizes the critical role of women's struggles in developing a broader consciousness of gender and sexuality, of masculinity and femininity.

Women's political struggles were struggles to challenge gendered expectations and raise the aspirations of women, their visions of their own capabilities, and possible collective futures. In so doing, these struggles can enable men, too, to recognize and resist the limits that accompany traditional concepts of "women's roles" and "men's roles" and of heteronormativity.

WGSS curriculum is designed to prompt students to critically reflect on the role of gender as a force structuring our social, political and economic lives. At the instantiation of the major in Women's and Gender Studies, the program identified two existing strengths—sexuality and gender and development—and built its curriculum and developed its faculty around those areas.

Today the program deliver WGSS 1000 to an average of 1150 students each year as well as serving around 30 graduate certificate students, 40 undergraduate certificate students and 25 majors. Students choose from more than 70 courses from core and affiliated faculty from 17 departments in their elective credits.

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College of Arts & Sciences