Colorful Pride photo for Gender Studies Homepage
photo by Olivia Engle '20

What does it mean to be a feminist? How do ideas of gender roles and expectations vary over time, space, and place? What really is the sexuality spectrum and how can one begin to interpret it both accurately and equitably?

Whitman College's Gender Studies department is an academic convergence point where many professors from many fields, from sociology to biology, from anthropology to politics, come together to create an interdisciplinary landscape from which students can begin to answer these questions and delve deeper into the study of gender identity and representation. As an interdisciplinary program, Gender Studies enriches students' understanding of the complexity of human experience by providing a diverse knowledge of Gender and Sexuality Studies that is ground in History, Theory, Social Science, and broader Global Context. Topics of study are broad and engaging and include Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, and the study of Men and Masculinity, and take into great consideration the entanglements of knowledge, power, privilege, and exclusion, and the important ways that these dynamics influence and are influenced by the individual experience of gender and sexuality both personally and on a broader societal scale.

At Whitman, Gender Studies is not only interdisciplinary, but it is also highly personal. You will work with an adviser to tailor courses to your fields of interest, whether that be Latinx Experiences, Queer representation, Gender Activism, or a whole host of new, exciting, and important realms of interdisciplinary and intersectional gender and sexuality study. It is the aim of the program to not only provide students with an engaging learning environment, but also to create a place where all students feel comfortable participating in discussions about gender identity, sexual orientation, and the human experience, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, or ability. Further, the curriculum encourages students to be curious, creative, and critical learners that leave Whitman equipped with the tools to understand and engage with the vast scope of social, cultural, and political contexts of gender identity and representation that shape and will continue to shape our world. Over their four years at Whitman, students of the Gender Studies program are equipped with knowledge to appreciate and engage with the broad scope of human diversity and individual experience on a local, national, and international level. The study of Gender and Sexuality is an indispensable element of a contemporary curriculum that encourages students to make sense of and positively influence the world in which we live whether that be through post-graduate study, activist work, or a plethora of other careers after Whitman.