Learning Goals for the Major

Overall Learning Goals

  • Awareness of the intersections of gender with other forms of difference and power - such as sexuality, race, class, and nation - in local and transnational contexts. Learn about different forms of activism evident around the world. This will culminate in senior work which will be informed by feminist theory and methods, and combined with a discipline (or core field). The range of chosen fields may draw from social science, humanities, or a variety of forms of artistic expression.

Reaching these Learning Goals

Critical Thinking Goals
  • Critical analysis: identify and evaluate arguments, rhetorical styles, synthesize ideas, and develop well-substantiated, coherent, and concise arguments.
  • Logical reasoning: identify and follow a logical sequence or argument through to its end; recognize faulty reasoning or premature closure
  • Abstract thinking: generalize for a specific purpose and/or in a way that clarifies and heightens understanding of major issues at stake: identify the essential or most relevant elements of a concept, event, object, text, etc.
  • Argumentation: marshal appropriate and relevant evidence in order to develop a clear claim or stance using specific rhetorical approaches.
Doing Research

Note: These are field specific and the specific combination of research methods learned and mastered will depend on the student's chosen field specialization.

  • Problem solving: identify important historical and contemporary issues relating to gender and women's studies, evaluate various responses to them, and adapt the knowledge.
  • Research skills: produced or locate resources and learn to build a research agenda. Read broadly in order to develop well-focused projects, using primary and secondary sources. Delineate key points in scholarly articles and respond to them. Use different modes of research, including empirical methods, scholarly literature, and theoretical and artistic engagement. Develop advanced library skills tailored to specific research projects, including facility with electronic databases, bibliographic reference materials, archival documents, and image and sound repositories.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches: draw from multiple fields of study or define new fields; grasp means and significance of expanding, crossing, transgressing or bridging disciplinary boundaries.
Knowledge About the Field
  • Intersectionality: analyze gender as it intersections with other relations of power, such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, nationality, religion, geography and age; distinguish universalist understandings of gender, women and sexuality from multi-dimensional analyses that recognize interconnectivity and mutual constitution of categories.
  • Gender issues: recognize the social, political, economic, national, and cultural dimensions of gender as these relate to disparities in power and privilege. Become familiar with a range of past and present major issues pertaining to gender, such as race and citizenship, reproductive and sexual politics, media representation, understandings of masculinities and femininities, racialization of gender and sexuality, women's enfranchisement, gender and violence, identity politics, immigration, sex discrimination, changing families, gender and environment, labor, language, health disparities, gender and science, histories of colonialism, nation-state formations.
  • Feminisms, feminist theories and feminist research: describe and distinguish a broad range of feminist theories and practices in their specific cultural and historical contexts both nationally and internationally; identify the contributions and limits of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary feminist research and scholarship.
  • Historicization and contextualization: articulate differences in sociopolitical contexts that inform opinions, theories, identities, subcultures and politics pertaining to gender and sexuality. Discuss issues of gender and sexuality in the context of their specific histories, knowledge frames, and politics. Work flexibly with a variety of epistemological approaches, recognizing each as culturally specific and inherently limited.
Ways of Communicating
  • Written and Verbal Communications: Express ideas effectively, both verbally and in written form, tailoring arguments and presentation styles to audience and context
  • Visual Media and New Technologies: evaluate, interpret, and generate information from a variety of sources, including print and electronic media, film and video, and internet technologies
  • Other forms of communication may vary depending on the disciplinary specialization (or field specialization in WAGS). These include artistic forms of expression through dance, theater, and creative writing.
Critical Practice
  • Creativity: bring together a variety of texts, ideas, theoretical, political, empirircal, aesthetic, and rhetorical approaches in order to responde imaginatively to social, political and intellectual issues.
  • Collaboration: work collectively, take initiative, offer and receive constructive criticism, exchange ideas and creatively work together toward a common endeavor.
  • Engaged Practices: engage in a variety of feminist approaches, linking theory with practice. Learn how to be an effective advocate iniformed by transnational, political, sociocultural, and philosophical contexts.
  • Knowledge production: understand that social, cultural, and scientific knowledges are rarely pre-given, but produced. Demonstrate ways in which various cultural practices, including cultural traditions, academic practices, and information genres participate in and shape specific productions of knowledge, considering roles played by aesthetic forms, scientific journals, popular fiction, news media, the Internet, and practices of citation.
  • Ethics: articulate ethical positions of scholarly and activities theories of gender; that is, consider what approaches inform value judgments on specific gendered or feminist practices. Understand other ethnical research concerns such as human subjects and plagiarism.
  • Critical self-awareness: demonstrate self-reflexivity about one's ideas and social and political positions.

Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

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