The Women's Studies Program offers a variety of interdisciplinary courses for students to learn about gender, social politics, theory, methods of inquiry, and practice, as well as to empower themselves to participate in social change.
Women's studies scholars have introduced new theoretical insights and new understanding of basic concepts such as work, art, politics, literature, and history. The Women's Studies Program aims to:
- engage students in the intellectual content of the discipline: women's issues, the role of gender, and the relationship between gender and other politicized aspects of "identity," including race, class, age, religion, sexuality etc.
- instill in students an appreciation of the holistic character of women's studies. Women's studies scholarship is not just a question of content, but also of method - methods that are inflected by the interdisciplinarity of women's studies. Students:
- explore how women's studies treats women's issues in different disciplines, such as literature studies, political science, sociology, communications, philosophy, biology etc.
- develop their understanding of these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective (i.e., one that takes into account and sees the interconnections between this array of disciplines).
- show our students the real-life implications of their academic engagement. That is, we challenge students to see the relationship between theory and practice: to see how the academic study of women's issues and gender is informed by and has the power to transform real lives - both others' and their own.
The Women's Studies Program sponsors regular symposia on gender issues that include presentations by women's studies faculty as well as scholars from throughout the United States. With the support of the Laura C. Harris endowment, the Women's Studies Program has recently hosted internationally-renowned scholars such as bell hooks, Cynthia Enloe, Carol Cohn, and Spike Peterson. Program members also participate in the Great Lakes Colleges Association, which provides conferences for women's studies students and faculty.
Many students double major and find that the other major is enhanced by women's studies.
Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of internships located throughout the country that acquaint them with women's issues. Students are encouraged to develop leadership skills by taking an active part in campus life, including projects developed by the program. Recent projects include a national grant application, a campus-wide study on violence and a benefit concert.
Denison's women's studies faculty are dedicated to helping students develop rigorous analyses and creative leadership skills. Outstanding student research in women's studies is recognized through the Nan Nowik Memorial Awards given for work in feminist scholarship, creative expression, and political service and activism. Students participate in collaborative research with faculty, campus symposia, and the biennial Great Lakes College Association's Women's Studies Conference, as well as other intellectual activities.
Women's studies majors and minors have become successful in human resources, personnel, community organization, government, social services and in nonprofit organizational work. Majors and minors find positions in various businesses that make use of their special knowledge of gender issues. Women's studies is a valuable liberal arts major that prepares students to take leadership positions in the corporate world as well as to participate in today's changing society.
Some of our students do graduate work in women's studies to prepare for college teaching, public policy research, social services or public administration; others enter medical school, law school, business school or pursue other advanced degrees.