This Department is committed to developing a strong intersectional and transnational focus throughout the curriculum
The Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University believes that developing skills in civic literacy must be a significant part of a 21st century university education.
Gender Literacy — understanding the social meaning of the distinction between the sexes — is a key component of comprehensive civic literacy. Equally important is understanding how race, class, and sexual orientation intersect with gender to create social meaning and political impact. Central to the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies curriculum and assessment is the critical exploration of gender, race, sexuality, and class. This provides the foundations for active engagement in contemporary society.
Our students demonstrate gender literacy through critical thinking, analytical, written, and oral communication abilities. A further skill our students develop is to demonstrate the connections between unexamined assumptions about women and the sociopolitical conditions that result. Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies understands that competency in these gender-literacy skills is necessary for maximum civic engagement in the global community today.
The education to prepare students to be thoughtful, responsible and ethical participants in civic life requires an environment of intellectual inquiry and academic freedom. The Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies is in full support of the intellectual and academic freedom of scholars to pursue their chosen research interests. Women’s Studies has waged long, arduous and successful struggles in the US and elsewhere for recognition as a legitimate field of scholarship and teaching, and those of us who teach and research in this field are well aware of the pernicious consequences of limiting intellectual freedom.
Academic freedom does not mean that published research is immune from legitimate and scholarly criticism, and in fact, academic freedom includes the freedom to debate and challenge scholarship that promotes ideas contrary to an inclusive and egalitarian society.
The field of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies is committed to the creation and promotion of research and teaching that challenges racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and related bigotries that undermine the possibility for all populations to exist free from discrimination, deprivation, hostility, violence and marginalization. It is dedicated to analyzing and critiquing social institutions that support or promote oppressive conditions against any targeted populations. Informed by feminist methodology and feminist theory, the core mission of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies is to promote positive social transformation that eradicates the full range of bigoted institutions that prevent people from realizing the highest possibilities for their lives. Further, it rejects any claims to a natural, biological or essential basis for social hierarchies that impute lesser or greater social value to designated populations.
(For an expanded, PDFversion of this statement in relationship to the work of Professor Kevin MacDonald and similar works, please click here.)