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Department of Women's and Gender Studies

Welcome to the Women’s and Gender Studies Department!

Land Acknowledgement

Syracuse University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Department acknowledges, with respect the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Indigenous peoples on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now operates.

As a department, we also recognize the matrilineal Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the foundations of which have influenced feminist praxis in the region historically and contemporaneously. For more information, please visit the Onondaga Nation website.

About Us

The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) emphasizes intersectional, decolonial and transnational feminist theories and methods to investigate how gender, sexuality, race, caste, nationality and citizenship status, health and dis/ability status, and class relations and practices are embedded in and shaped by diverse social, political, material, economic, and cultural realities. Across disciplines, WGS employs critical, decolonial, multiracial, antiracist and anti-caste, queer, class liberatory, and dis/ability-focused theory and frameworks to interrogate comparative feminist theories and the construction of gender within these and related contexts. WGS students recognize, analyze, and challenge issues of power, oppression, injustice, as well as social, economic, ecological, and epistemic violence.

Since its founding in 1976, WGS has expanded from an undergraduate program to include a graduate program of study offering a Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in addition to a major and minor Bachelors Degree. Located within Syracuse University’s School of Arts & Sciences, WGS has made notable contributions to the university’s curriculum including in the departments of English, History, Anthropology, and Education among others. Faculty involvement in teaching and research has been the core of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program since inception with a multidisciplinary team of faculty from across multiple social sciences as well as STEM fields. For a list of the diverse array of core and affiliated WGS faculty, please visit this link.

WGS faculty take on mentorship of emerging scholars, engaging in public scholarship, partnering with the innovative Democratizing Knowledge, and publishing and presenting on cutting-edge research. Please visit links to books published by our faculty and news regarding faculty, student, and departmental achievements.

Students choose our program because of the faculty contributions not only to the field, but also to community engagement, public scholarship, and commitments to supporting feminist and queer scholarly, career, and academic projects.

Through coursework and mentorship with WGS faculty, our students will:

  • Identify histories and contemporary forms of feminist and queer agency and resistance, social movements, and collective action.
  • Integrate feminist and queer theory and practice to challenge social relations, representations, knowledges, institutions, and policies.
  • Engage and employ multiple modes of knowledge including conventional texts as well as creative work, activism, and popular culture.
  • Model feminist and queer competencies of collaborative learning that embrace cooperation and mutual aid.
  • Study the effects of socio-political hierarchies and cultural and ascribed identities to interrogate, analyse, and theorize how these systems shape lives and the world.

Sample courses cover topics such as:

  • Feminist Theory
  • Women, Gender and Violence in a transnational context
  • Gender and Popular culture
  • Black Feminist Thought
  • Intersectionality
  • Indigenous Feminisms
  • Feminist Dis/ability Studies
  • Latine/x Feminisms
  • Love and Solidarity
  • Decolonial Feminisms
  • Feminist Research Methods

Student Learning Outcomes and Opportunities

Graduates of both the undergraduate and graduate degree programs develop crucial, critical thinking skills that challenge intersecting oppressions and address and offer solutions to systemnic problems. Students are encouraged to put their education into action and work to transform knowledges, institutions, policies and social relations, and gain experience in bridging research and theory to practice. Skills gained such as research, analysis, leadership, oral and written communication, and presentation and problem-solving are valuable in a variety of career paths including, but not limite,d to the following:

  • Advocacy or social services
  • Arts and media
  • Journalism
  • Public relations
  • Politics and law
  • Community development
  • Business
  • Government
  • Health and medicine
  • Education
  • Research

Study abroad

Broaden your perspective with an international experience through Syracuse Abroad, with more than 100 programs in 60 countries.

All international centers offer several interdisciplinary courses in Women’s and Gender studies, cross-listed with the humanities and social sciences.

Women’s and Gender studies majors most often go abroad to Syracuse University centers in Florence, London, and Madrid, and World Partner programs including DIS Copenhagen and Fordham University in Pretoria.

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Books by Faculty
Gwen Pough portrait

(Dec. 11, 2023)

College of Arts and Sciences Names Gwendolyn D. Pough Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Pough will work with A&S leadership to enhance structures and policies to foster an environment where everyone is valued and empowered.

Mariaelena Huambachano smiling in a red, striped poncho

(Nov. 27, 2023)

Indigenous Studies Researcher Advises the UN on Inequalities in Food Security and Nutrition

A&S scholar, Mariaelena Huambachano, travels the world gathering and sharing research on the wisdom of “Traditional Ecological Knowledge”, while passing it down to the next generation through her teaching at Syracuse.

Gwen Pough portrait

(Nov. 6, 2023)

A&S Professor Wins Award for a Career Record of Outstanding Mentorship

Gwendolyn D. Pough, a scholar of Black feminist theory, is recognized by the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric & Composition.

Pratt portrait

(July 19, 2023)

Remembering Minnie-Bruce Pratt, Professor Emerita of Women's and Gender Studies and Writing and Rhetoric

Pratt was a faculty member in A&S for over a decade and played an instrumental role in developing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies program.