Our History

IMG_2934Founded in 1994 as the Women’s Studies Institute, the Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Georgia State University has played integral roles in creating knowledge about the workings of gender in social, political, and economic spheres locally and globally, contributing to the intellectual development of feminists in Atlanta and the world. As WGSS has grown to include five core faculty and over forty affiliate faculty across the university, we have developed a depth of expertise in the interrelated areas of sexuality studies, social change, and globalization.  We have also developed wide-ranging expertise in an array of fields, from British literature to criminal justice, media studies to social work, and religious studies to educational studies.

img_10071The Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies was realized after 20 years of dedicated struggle by a group of faculty committed to the project of establishing WGSS at GSU. Among this group were its first two Directors. Our founding Director, Diane L. Fowlkes, led the development of the Master’s of Arts in 1995.  Since that time, WGSS master’s graduates have continued on to prestigious doctoral programs, law school, non-profit work, and careers in government and private industry.  Though students had developed undergraduate concentrations in WGSS since 1984, the Institute’s second Director, Linda A. Bell, led the establishment of the Bachelor of Arts in 2003, enabling WGSS to offer an undergraduate major and minor.  With demand for the knowledge and critical thinking women’s, gender, and sexuality studies offers, our program has created significant relationships not only with local feminist organizations, academics, and activists but also with feminists in universities, non-governmental organizations, arts and cultural alliances, and communities around the world.  The Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is recognized as a site for cutting-edge theoretical analyses and applications of feminist and womanist knowledges.

Event History

Spring 2015 Events
January 26th, 2015 — ‘Looking Back, Moving Forward’ Celebrating 20 years of African-American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at GSU with Paula Dressel and Carolyn Denard.

March 6th, 2015 — Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 20th Anniversary Symposium with keynote by Janet Jakobsen (Barnard University).

Fall 2014 Events
November 3rd, 2014 — Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Director’s Celebration.

Spring 2014 Events
Monday: February 10th, 2014 — Dorothy E. Roberts, “The Future of Reproductive Justice.”

Fall 2013 Events
Tuesday: October 1st, 2013 — Adele C. Licona, “Stories and Bodies-So-Far: Queer/ed Relational Re/Mixings as Coalitional Gestures”. An exploration of queer youth-driven participatory media projects that produce (and are produced by) remixed stories and bodies. Such queer/ed remixings challenge dominant cultural logics of embodied coherence by disarticulating (and rearticulating) gender, sexuality, anatomy, and desire. This talk will consider the possibilities of coalitional gestures at work in these corporeal and narrative remixings and how such gestures might intervene in rhetorical appeals to “exceptional” youth.

Spring 2013 Events
February 21, 2013 — Molly Doane, “From Cooperative Work to Work Cooperatives: Gender, Family, and Labor in the Fair Trade System.”

April 11, 2013 — Roopali Mukherjee, “Cadillac Consumer: Black Material Culture and the Care of the Racial Self.”

Fall 2012 Events
Thursday: September 13th 2012 – The Anne L. Harper Annual Lecture in Women’s Studies by Dr. Samantha King, professor at Queen’s University and author of Pink Ribbons, Inc. “Imperial Charity: Commodity Feminism and the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness.” Held in the Bennett A. Brown Commerce Building (18th floor, 34 Broad Street at the corner of Marietta Street and Broad Street). Reception at 4:00pm, talk at 4:30pm.

Monday: October 8th 2012 – Lecture by Mary Lou Rasmussen, professor at Monash University. “Cool Secularism? Reframing “Progressive” Sexuality Education.” Co-Sponsored by Faces of Feminism and SPEAK. Located in the Troy Moore Library (Rm 939 of the General Classroom Building) at 4:30pm.

Spring 2012 Events
Tuesday: January 24th 2012 – Brown Bag lecture by Dr. Katherine Hankins of GSU’s Department of Geosciencs, “The Politics and Political Subjectivities of Neighboring in the Inner City.” Held at noon in the Special Collections Conference Room (8th floor of GSU’s Library South).

Thursday: February 23 2012 – The 2012 Anne L. Harper Annual Lecture in Women’s Studies by Dr. Andrea Smith, professor at the Department of Media & Cultural Studies at the University of California – Riverside, and editor of Color of Violence: the INCITE! Anthology. “Decolonizing the Anti-Violence Movement: Incorporating Anti-Racist Strategies in the Movements Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.” Reception at 4:30pm and lecture at 5pm in the Brown Room (18th floor of the Bennett A. Brown Commerce Building).

Thursday: March 22nd 2012 – Brown Bag student lecture by two Women’s Studies graduate students. Held at noon in the Special Collections Conference Room (8th floor of GSU’s Library South).

Fall 2011 Events
Friday: October 7th 2011 – Brown Bag lecture by Dr. Nadine Sinno of GSU’s Middle East Institute, “Reporting from the Home Front: Arab Women’s War Narratives in the Digital Age.” Held at noon in the Special Collections Conference Room (8th floor of GSU’s Library South).

Thursday: October 20th 2011 – Book release for Keywords in Youth Studies: Tracing Affects, Movements, Knowledges. The WSI will host a discussion by the editors of this new anthology – Dr. Susan Talburt, Director of the Women’s Studies Institute at GSU, and Dr. Nancy Lesko, Professor of Curriculum and Teaching at Columbia University – and four contributors from GSU. Held at 4:30pm in the Troy Moore Library (939 General Classroom Building)

Wednesday: November 2nd 2011 – Brown Bag lecture by filmmaker Laura Zaylea, “Closer than Rust: Queer Film and Queer Community.” Held at noon in the Special Collections Conference Room (8th floor of GSU’s Library South).

Monday: November 14th 2011 – A lecture by Dr. Robyn Wiegman, Professor of Women’s Studies and Literature at Duke University. Generously co-sponsored by by Faces of Feminism, the GSU feminist campus organization, and SPEAK, the Women’s Studies graduate student group. Held from 3:30pm to 5pm in the Special Collections Conference Room (8th floor of GSU’s Library South).