The Boston University Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program boasts a tremendously diverse group of Core and Affiliated Faculty who hail from the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences but come together to build a vibrant community. The program supports interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching related to gender, sexuality, race, nationality, and other identity categories. We collaborate with Programs and Departments across the university to help our faculty achieve their goals in teaching, research, and service. Our Core and Affiliated Faculty offer innovative courses in the WGS Program as well as classes that are cross-listed in WGS and their home departments and colleges. They have the opportunity to join one of our interdisciplinary teams to teach our core sequence, WS 101 and 102, An Interdisciplinary Introduction to Gender & Sexuality Studies. Our faculty can apply for WGS Research Grants and funding to support events and other service activities.
Our program began in the 1970s and emerged in the 1980s as the Boston University Women’s Studies Program, a site of intellectual inquiry and feminist consciousness-raising concerning women’s lives. At that time studying women remedied newly recognized omissions across the academy. Beginning in the 1970s the Women’s Studies faculty created a rich array of courses in the humanities and social sciences concerning women in diverse cultures, societies and institutions throughout the world. The field of women’s studies soon grew to include inquiry into the gendered experiences of men alongside the continuing study of women.
Scholars began to problematize the very notion of sex as a biological given or social reality and focused concern on topics in sexuality that could not be reduced to concerns with gender. Current scholarship in the field examines the extent to which sexuality and gender have been linked together historically (through the recruitment of sexuality as the “performance” or “proof” of gender, for instance) as well as aspects of sexuality that are distinct from gender. This approach has led to important new insights, while also contributing to an understanding of how gender and sexuality intersect with other categories such as race and class. Our current program name, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies makes it clear that Boston University is a place at which the study of sexuality is welcomed and encouraged, both in conjunction with and alongside the study of gender.