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Learning Goals for the Major

The Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies fosters an understanding of gender as central to organizing societies, cultures and economies in a variety of contexts, past and present. Our students learn how gender intersects with other forms of difference and power – race, sexuality, class, religious affiliation, nationality—and their transnational circulations. Majors and minors in GSFS will learn the history of this intellectual endeavor, how it has shifted and why it is no longer accurate to describe it as the study of women. Our courses address concerns that are specific to women. But students will also study masculinities, sexualities, the relationship between nation formation and gender systems, and the force and form of race and ethnicity. Cumulatively GSFS courses illustrate how feminism is a historical activist movement and a tradition of critical thought. 

GSFS majors and minors acquire the theoretical and engaged research tools to examine the world around them. These tools include critical race theory, critical sexuality theory, as well as gender and feminist theories in national and global contexts. The core courses in the program as well as the cross-listed courses across the curriculum allow students to see feminist studies in a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary settings. The goal is to produce feminist scholars who are adept at understanding how power operates in the social world and come to understand feminism as a set of theories, methods and an ethic. 

Learning Goals

Students should be able to: 

  • cultivate competencies in interdisciplinary and transnational approaches to the creation, meaning, function, and perpetuation of gender and sexuality in societies, both past and present. 
  • analyze gender always in conjunction with other categories of difference. 
  • become proficient critical theories of race, sexuality, as well as postcolonial, global and transnational feminisms. 
  • appreciate and understand the interrelationship of activism and intellectual inquiry. 
  • forge connections between personal experiences and larger social institutions and practices. 
  • develop a nuanced understanding of the events that shape contemporary culture’s portrayal of feminism, both in the US and as a global discourse about women and social change; 
  • gain competence in applying theory to practical experience for social transformation and citizenship that is both engaged and global.


Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Chellis House Women's Resource Center
56 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753