Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Vail Fletcher, Ph.D., communication studies, and Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi, Ph.D., political science and global affairs, co-directors

The gender, women, and sexuality studies minor is a truly interdisciplinary academic experience designed to foster dialogue between the arts, humanities, social sciences, and all pre-professional areas of study, with the ultimate goal of greater understanding surrounding issues of gender identity and sexuality in their historical, structural, and institutional contexts. The gender, women, and sexuality studies (GWSS) minor offers a program that is critical and intersectional in its approach towards interrogating theories and practices as they pertain to gender identity and sexuality.

The mission of the program at the University of Portland is to introduce students to the study of gender, women, and sexuality, focusing on gender identity and sexuality as categories of analysis in historical, structural, and institutional contexts. The program rests on feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial pedagogies and teaching. It is committed to challenging all forms of oppression and dismantling hegemonic legacies in the production and dissemination of knowledge. Faculty welcome and encourage creative, innovative, and collaborative approaches in the study of gender, women, and sexuality. This program prepares students to be change-makers in all areas of life.

Learning Outcomes for the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Minor

Students completing the gender, women, and sexuality studies minor should be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate the ability to draw on different disciplines in understanding and studying gender identity and sexuality.
    1. Articulate orally or in writing the lenses through which at least two disciplines understand gender identity and sexuality.
    2. Articulate orally or in writing the methods used by at least two disciplines to study gender identity and sexuality.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to understand and discuss intersections between gender and variables such as sex, sexuality, race, class, age, ethnicity, religion, language, and nationality.
    1. Identify at least two variables that affect or are affected by gender identity and sexuality.
    2. Articulate orally or in writing how at least two variables affect or are affected by gender identity and sexuality.
  3. Demonstrate the ability, using intersectional, feminist scholarship, to critique ideological assumptions underlying institutions and structures.
    1. Identify and explain gender-related assumptions underlying institutions and structures.
    2. Critique orally or in writing assumptions underlying gender identity and sexuality from intersectional, feminist perspectives.

Capstone Experience

The capstone course is an opportunity to guide students through the development of their portfolios, which comprise: a minimum of five assignments from at least three different courses in two different disciplines, a self-assessment of the papers in the form of a reflective essay highlighting student learning progress over the course of the program and how they have demonstrated mastery of the program’s learning objectives. Both group and individual meetings with the instructor of the capstone course support the students in their articulation of their learning and the ways in which the GWSS program has prepared them to engage more meaningfully with the world after graduation.

Minor Requirements - 16 credit hours

Required Courses - 4 credit hours

GWSS 301Foundations of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

3

GWSS 498GWSS Capstone

1

Upper Division Electives - 12 credit hours

Select four courses from the following:
CST 411Communication Across Barriers

3

CST 431Intercultural Communication and Identity

3

CST 432The Global Commons: Gendered Storytelling, Feminist Futures, and Liberation

3

ENG 370Studies in Women Writers

3

ENG 401Seminar in British Literature I

3

GRM 401Multicultural Society in Germany

3

GRM 405German Women's Writing

3

Advanced Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

3

HST 321Modern American Women's History

3

PHL 314Metaphysics: Philosophy and Feminism

3

PHL 408Race, Gender, and Colonialism

3

PHL 410Education and Politics

3

PHL 412Philosophy of Law

3

POL 319Politics and Identity

3

POL 378Muslims and Islam in Europe and the U.S.

3

PSY 351Health Psychology

3

PSY 356/SW 356Perspectives on Human Sexuality

3

SOC 339Sociology of the Family

3

SOC 357/SW 357Perspectives on Gender and the Body

3

SOC 432Gender and Violence

3

SOC 436Women and Work

3

SPN 331Faith, Fervor, and Fear in Golden Age Spain

3

SPN 350Latin American Women's Voices

3

SPN 430Cervantes: Don Quixote and Beyond

3

SW 356/PSY 356Perspectives on Human Sexuality

3

THE 317/THE 417Trickery, Gender, Power, and Politics in the Bible

3

THE 331/THE 431Sexual Ethics

3

THTR 445Fashion History and Gender Expression

3

One time course offerings (designated 391/491) may fulfill the elective requirement if the topic is on gender, women, and sexuality studies. Please confirm eligible yearly course offerings with the program co-directors.