Why Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies?
Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University contributes to the university’s broader mission of encouraging critical thinking through a focus on feminist and womanist interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and community participation.
You should major or minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies for the same reasons that you might major in many other humanistic or social science fields (such as English, History, Sociology, or Anthropology). WGSS is for you if you are interested in gaining critical thinking skills, reading and interpreting broad and complex arguments, formulating original and bold claims, and entering an irresistibly lively and enlightening dialogue.
While it’s true that the WGSS major will likely provoke the dreaded question, “What are you going to do with that major?” (which you will probably get anyway), there are many compelling reasons for choosing a WGSS major or minor:
Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies investigates the interlocking nature of all forms of oppressions, including, but not limited to, sexism, racism, nationalism, homophobia, ableism, and classism. As a field of inquiry, we are interested in social justice issues and in developing creative approaches to redress inequalities. This kind of understanding can help you in virtually any field you may enter.
As an interdisciplinary major, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies offers training in a wide range of feminist methods and perspectives. The WGSS program at GSU offers a multicultural, globalized curriculum. You are entering a world and a workforce in which an understanding of diverse people, the nature of globalization, and its connections with gender and sexuality will be a tremendous asset. Some examples of these careers include: scholar, medical professional, filmmaker, human resources or compliance officer, public relations expert, editor, publisher, journalist, teacher, professor, activist, non-profit director, lobbyist, policymaker, lawyer, court advocate, child or victim advocate, therapist, counselor, social worker, child care provider, archivist, librarian, politician, community organizer and public health advocate.
Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies connects the immediacy of lived experiences to academic work. It challenges you to think critically about the world in which you live – a skill that is both necessary in becoming an engaged citizen of the world and one that translates easily into a variety of employment opportunities in non-profit work, governmental agencies, and the business world.
Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies emphasizes the significance of developing communication skills that are crucial to almost any career choice. Most of the courses are writing intensive, and many of them incorporate public speaking, so students have the opportunity to develop their communication skills. Many workplaces seek these sorts of “transferable” professional skills in which WGSS students excel.
For more information about the undergraduate major, minor and/or internship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, contact the WGSS Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Julie Kubala at [email protected].
Having been out of school for more than a decade while working in construction, auto mechanics, and food service, I transferred to GSU from another local university after a close friend recommended that Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at GSU would be an ideal place for me to develop a vocabulary for my emerging interests in critical theory and surveillance studies. In my first semester at GSU I took the Intro to WGSS course out of curiosity, and went from not knowing anything about the field, to declaring a minor, and finally to majoring in WGSS. Little could have prepared me for the profound intellectual challenges I met in the course of my WGSS studies. I graduated with my B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in the spring of 2015, and then began a Ph.D. program in Literature at Duke University the following fall. Meeting the rigorous expectations of this Ph.D. program would not be possible without the solid theoretical foundations I was given through WGSS. Even the extrinsic lessons I learned from spending time around professors and graduate students in the WGSS offices have found application in my current efforts as a doctoral student. Whenever anyone asks me what my academic background is, I never speak in disciplinary generalities, but rather say specifically that I got my B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University.
Becoming a WGSS major at GSU is the smartest choice I made for myself in college. Having tried other majors, I was looking for a course of study that held subjects that mattered to me as an individual and in which I could see my community reflected. The courses, the professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students all played big roles in the learning process. Discussion centered classes with a true feminist pedagogy challenged the way we learned and helped me understand the material better. I was also challenged to grow as a student and to better communicate my positions on theories ranging from intersectionality to queer theory, feminism, and praxis. Through WGSS, I served as co-president of Faces of Feminism, where I learned organizing skills and met a community of organizers and activists from GSU and around Atlanta with whom I am still in close contact. I graduated with my B.A. in WGSS in 2014. With a solid foundation provided by WGSS, I am now working at Project South, alongside people I met through WGSS. I felt confident applying for this position because of the experiences offered to me by WGSS and because of the principles I learned through the program.
I began my college career at Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) in Dunwoody and transferred to Georgia State in 2012 after completing most of my core classes. The courses I took at GPC gave me my first taste of intersectional feminist theory and I was hooked after that! I entered GSU with a declared major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The WGSS classes challenged me to grow in my critical thinking skills and forced me to come to more informed and thought-out conclusions about nearly all of the assumptions I had about life. It was challenging and exhilarating, and I came to love the thrill of in-depth, meaningful, and wonderfully abstract conversations that made me reconsider everything I thought I knew. Studying in WGSS very much aligned with the importance I place on understanding why the world works the way that it does. After completing my B.A. in 2014 I started a Master’s program in Art Therapy Counseling at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. While different, my two areas of study complement each other extremely well. My degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies provides the theoretical framework for my work as an art therapist and my identity as a mental health professional. I believe that art therapy can be a tool to combat neoliberalism and catalyze social justice efforts. My background in WGSS very much supports my current work!
I came to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as a lifetime athlete who had just backed out of a commitment to play lacrosse at a school out of state. I began to confront, deconstruct, and re-concieve the deeply gendered social, political, and physical world I lived in. As a coach, mentor and childcare volunteer, I became especially interested in exploring new ways of cultivating relationships with kids that challenge normative body, spatial, and intellectual dynamics. Before graduating from the B.A. program in 2012, I began to apply to graduate programs in the field. Two months after graduation, I was accepted into Ohio State University's Ph.D. program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and awarded a University Fellowship for the first year. I am looking forward to the next 5 years of continuing research on multiple contexts and aspects of childcare. I hope to teach at the university level upon completion of my degree.
I hopped from major to major for several years before discovering my passion for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Something clicked after taking my first WGSS course at GSU, and I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be. Introduced to feminist and queer theories of gender, race, class, and sexuality, and the ways power, privilege, and oppression function in society, my relationship with both myself and the world around me became forever changed. More than an academic discipline, WGSS provides a platform for social change. As an aspiring archivist, I find that I directly engage my B.A. in WGSS on a regular basis, working to preserve historical artifacts and documents that tell the important, inspirational, and oftentimes painful stories continuing to shape the world we live in. I want to make sure that these pieces of our collective past, especially those rendered invisible by mainstream history books, are made accessible to everyone. I am currently an archives assistant for the City of Portland Archives and Records Center and Oregon Health and Science University’s Historical Collections & Archives and a Master of Library Science & Information Systems student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Getting my Bachelor’s in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University completely changed my life. The professors, the classmates and the incredible curriculum we read turned my world upside down and right side up again. The most important lesson I learned was we must not only study and critique the world, but instead commit ourselves to transforming it. I found family in the program, and in fact, ten years later I still have best friends from our Queer Theory class. Since getting my Bachelor’s in WGSS, some of the things I have done include working alongside Iraqi and Palestinian refugees in Clarkston and organizing tipped workers in Georgia. I currently work as a social worker alongside people in Georgia who are facing the death penalty. Clichés aside, I am certain that I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for Georgia State's Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.
I became a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major at Georgia State University because that was the department that felt most like home. I was full of energy and ideas, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department helped me focus, shape, and channel that energy into an intellectually engaged and politically productive life. The faculty in particular were models for how I could live in the world as an intellectual committed to social justice. So much of who I am today, the causes I believe in and issues I’m committed to, were formed in those early years in the department. Currently, I am co-editing an anthology called Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam's Call. My writings have also appeared in anthologies such as Think Again and If We Have to Take Tomorrow, publications such as Positively Aware, Achieve, The Gay and Lesbian Review, and the blog dot429. I have a Huffington Post blog where I write about race, gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS issues. I am a past fellow of The Lambda Literary Foundation LGBT writers retreat. In my professional life I am the Program Coordinator for a Black LGBT rights project at Emory University where I am organizing a conference called "Whose Beloved Community?: Black Civil and LGBT Rights Movements." I also led a CDC-funded social marketing campaign at AID Atlanta targeting young black gay men called From Where I Stand, which included a book, a documentary, and a series of billboards around Atlanta.
Institute for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Georgia State University
25 Park Place
Atlanta, GA 30303
Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 3969
Atlanta, GA 30302-3969