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

How do ideas about gender roles and expectations vary over time and across place? What really is the sexuality spectrum and how can one begin to interpret it both accurately and equitably?

Courses in Gender Studies approach questions like these from a range of academic perspectives, including anthropology, history, language and literature, politics, psychology, rhetoric, writing and public discourse, sociology, and visual culture, among others. Through a focus on gender identity, sexuality, and gendered representation as central categories of analysis, Gender Studies enriches students’ understanding of the complexity of human experience. Although many of the field’s lines of argumentation are inspired by feminism, Gender Studies courses take a broad variety of theoretical approaches to topics in women’s studies, men’s studies, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies. Courses also investigate the entanglements of knowledge, power, privilege, and exclusion, and the important ways that these dynamics influence and are influenced by the experience of gender and sexuality on a personal level and on a broader social scale.

What are Gender Studies Classes Like?

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.

Gender Studies After Whitman

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.