Chair, Associate Professor KATHRYN R. KENT

Advisory Committee: Professors: BUELL, BUNDTZEN, DRUXES**, C. JOHNSON, SAWICKI. Associate Professors: BANTA**, CASE, M. DEVEAUX. Visiting Associate Professors: HONDERICH§. Assistant Professors: CEPEDA, MARASCO, MARTIN*, SCHMIDT, SOLUM. Librarian: OHM. Health Educator: DENELLI-HESS. Director of the Academic Resource Center: FOSTER. Student Life: ANSELL.

Women's and Gender Studies can be defined as the study of how gender is constructed, how it is inflected by differences of race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and so on, how gender affects the experiences and situations of men and women, and how assumptions about gender influence the construction of knowledge and experience. Scholarship in Women's and Gender Studies has brought neglected material into established fields and raised important methodological questions that cross disciplinary boundaries and challenge established intellectual frameworks. The program in Women's and Gender Studies thus includes courses from a wide variety of disciplines that focus in a coherent way on gender issues, as well as core courses that acquaint students with the interdisciplinarity of the field.


The Women's and Gender Studies major encourages exposure to the interdisciplinary character of feminist scholarship. In addition, majors are required to gain some knowledge of methods within a field or discipline (3 courses in one of the categories listed below), to appreciate the importance of diversity (racial, sexual, class, ethnic, national, etc.) in scholarship on gender, to gain exposure to feminist theory, and to pursue work at an advanced level (3 courses at the 300-level).

In order to ensure that students reflect about the paths that they choose through the major, each major will be assigned to an advisor in the spring of the sophomore year. With the advisor, the student will establish a revisable course of study for the following two years. Students interested in declaring a major should contact the chair of the Program (Kent, x2549).

[ ] Courses not offered in 2007-2008 are listed in brackets.

Required Courses

The major consists of at least 9 courses. The following are required:

Women's and Gender Studies 101 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies

Women's and Gender Studies 402 Junior/Senior Seminar in Women's and Gender Studies (The seminar explores topics in Women's and Gender Studies, and varies from year to year. Majors may take more than one seminar, space permitting.)

Distribution Requirements

1. One of the following feminist theory courses:

[Women's and Gender Studies/Linguistics 156 Language and Gender]

[Women's and Gender Studies/Philosophy 225 Introduction to Feminist Thought]

[Women's and Gender Studies/Philosophy271T Woman as "Other"]

Women's and Gender Studies/Philosophy 300 Witness: Disability, Gender and Testimony

Women's and Gender Studies/Religion 307 Feminist Approaches to Religion

Women's and Gender Studies/Philosophy 311T Body Politics: Power, Pain, and Pleasure

Women's and Gender Studies/Political Science 336 Sex, Gender, and Political Theory

[Women's and Gender Studies/English 371 Feminist Theory and the Representation of Women in Film]

[Women's and Gender Studies 388/English 386/Comparative Literature 342 Psychoanalysis, Gender and] Sexuality

Women's and Gender Studies/Africana Studies 400 Race, Gender, Space

2. Racial, Sexual, and Cultural Diversity

Majors must take at least one of the following:

[Women's and Gender Studies/Economics 211 Gender in the Global Economy]

Women's and Gender Studies231/Latina/o Studies 230/Theatre 230 Approaching Performance Studies*

[Women's and Gender Studies/Religion 232/History 309 Women and Islam]

Women's and Gender Studies235/American Studies 235/Comparative Literature 268/Latina/o Studies 235 Latina/o Theatre and Performance, 1950-2000*

[Women's and Gender Studies/Religion 246 The Gendering of Relgion and Politics in South Asia]

Women's and Gender Studies/Religion 256 Engendering Buddhism: How Women and Men Shape and Are Shaped by Buddhism (W)*

Women's and Gender Studies/Philosophy 300 Witness: Disability, Gender and Testimony

Women's and Gender Studies/History 308 Gender and Society in Modern Africa

Women's and Gender Studies/English 309 Anger, Violence, and Voice in Black Women's Studies

Women's and Gender Studies/Asian Studies/History 319 Gender and the Family in Chinese History*

Women's and Gender Studies/English 342 Representing Sexualities: U.S. Traditions

Women's and Gender Studies/History 356 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in U.S. History

Women's and Gender Studies364/Africana Studies 403/Comparative Literature 361/English 364 Women Writing Africa (W)*

Women's and Gender Studies/Anthropology 370 Gender and Social Change in Modern Africa*

[Women's and Gender Studies/History 383 The History of Black Women in America: From Slavery to the Present]

Women's and Gender Studies/History/Latina/o Studies 386 Latinas in the Global Economy: Work, Migration, and Households

Women's and Gender Studies 400/Africana Studies 400/Comparative Literature 369/English 365 Race, Gender, Space*

[Women's and Gender Studies 415T/Africana Studies 400T Racial-Sexual Politics and Cultural Memory]

Or students may petition to have a course not on the list considered.

3. Thematic Cluster

At least three of the seven electives, with at least one at the 300-level, should be identified by majors as comprising a thematic group. This requirement aims to have majors create some focus and depth within their interdisciplinary study by forming a cluster sharing common approaches, themes, or issues.

  1. a. Literary or artistic expression
  2. b. Historical perspectives
  3. c. Forms of political and social organization
  4. d. Theorizing gender across cultural differences and/or disciplines
  5. e. Queer Studies
  6. f. Ethnicity and Race

4. Interdisciplinary electives must be taken in at least three departments/programs and at least two divisions.

5. Three of the seven electives must be at the 300 level.


Honors in Women's and Gender Studies may be granted to majors after an approved candidate completes an honors project, delivers a public presentation of the work, and is awarded honors by the Women's and Gender Studies Committee.

The honors project may be fall semester (plus winter study) or a year-long project. It may consist of a conventional research thesis of 40-70 pages or of other modes of presentation (e.g., art, music, poetry, theater, fiction). Proposals for non-thesis projects should include evidence of experience and competence in the chosen mode.

A student may become a candidate for honors in Women's and Gender Studies after the following criteria are met:

1). in April of the junior year, submission and Women's and Gender Studies Committee approval of a 4- to 6-page project proposal, in which the ideas, aim, general methodology, and preliminary bibliography for the project are outlined and a faculty advisor is named; prior to submission of this proposal, students must consult with a reference librarian.

2). at the end of the junior year, cumulative grade point average of 3.5 from courses taken in the major;

3). in the first week of classes of the senior year, submission and approval by the faculty advisor and second reader of a 5- to 10-page "Plan of Action" (an overview of what has already been completed and a schedule of what needs to be accomplished to finish the project). Where appropriate, students pursuing honors will continue to consult with the second reader over the course of the semester(s).

All honors work, including the public presentation, will be evaluated by the Women's and Gender Studies Committee. It will decide on the awarding of honors; the advisor will award the grade(s)


The Williams College Women's and Gender Studies Program encourages potential majors to study abroad in order to enhance their education and gain international perspectives on gender and women's issues and feminism. There are many excellent study abroad opportunities offering students a variety of possible experiences: among them cultural immersion, field work, intensive language learning, independent study, participation in another educational system. There are several semester-long programs with a specific focus on women and/or gender administered by other U.S. Colleges that would especially enrich the educational experience of our majors:

Antioch College: Comparative Women's Studies in Europe fall semester

Augsburg College, Center for Global Education: Crossing Borders: Gender and Social Change in Mesoamerica fall semester; and Social and Environmental Justice in Latin America spring semester

School for International Training:

The Balkans: Women and Democratization, fall or spring semester

Jamaica: Gender and Development, fall or spring semester

Mali: Gender and Development, fall or spring semester

The Netherlands: Identity, Gender and Sexuality, fall or spring semester

Sequence Courses

Women's and Gender Studies 101 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies

Women's and Gender Studies 402 Junior/Senior Seminar

Elective Courses

[ArtH/Classics 216 Body of Evidence: Greek Sculpture and the Human Figure]

[ArtS 313T Art of the Public]

[Classics/ArtH 216 Body of Evidence: Greek Sculpture and the Human Figure]

Comparative Literature 340 Literature and Psychoanalysis

[History 335 Britain 1945-1990: Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change]

[History 343 Gender and History in Latin America]

[History 394 Comparative Masculinities: Britain and the United States Since 1800]

[Music 132 Women and Music]

[Music 133 Men, Women, and Pianos]

[Music 138 Sibyl of the Rhine: The Life and Times of Hildegard of Bingen]

[Political Science 209 Poverty in America]

[Religion 209 Slavery and Women in Early Christianity and Ancient Judaism]

[Religion 278 Gender, Religion and the State]