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Women's Studies

Beginning in fall 2010, Salem will offer a new major in women's studies, along with the existing women's studies minor. There will be two concentrations available within the major: feminist/gender studies and womens advocacy. Your Program The overall major will be an interdisciplinary program focusing on the role of gender...
Dr. Gary LjungquistWomen’s Studies studies is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the role of gender in the development of individuals, societies and cultures and on the construction of gender by societies and cultures. Emphasis is placed upon the intersection of gender with race, class, ethnicity, age and sexuality and on issues of bias, inequality and male privilege. Students in women’s studies are encouraged to think critically and analytically; to explore a variety of disciplinary approaches to the interpretation of human experience; to use their own gendered life experience while at the same time trying to see the world through others’ eyes; and to create bridges between the academic and the experiential.

Your Program

The overall major will be an interdisciplinary program focusing on the role of gender in the development of individuals, societies and cultures and on the construction of gender by societies and cultures. Emphasis will be placed upon the intersection of gender with race, class, ethnicity, age and sexuality and on issues of bias, inequality, and male privilege.

As a major in women's studies you must complete a four-course women's studies core. Those courses are intro to women's studies, feminist theory, women's activism and advocacy and a senior project. You must also complete one of two eight-course concentrations (feminist/gender studies or women's advocacy).

-- Feminist/gender studies concentration: Choose from courses such as women writers 1900-present, gender and communication, history of dance, women and music, human sexuality, women in the Bible, internship.

-- Women's advocacy concentration: Choose from courses such as rhetoric of social intervention, organizational planning/evaluation, making change: public policy, advocacy and grassroots organizing, communication campaigns.

When you minor in women's studies you must complete a senior research project in which you use advanced theory to explore a topic of your choice. Recent topics have included female vampires, black sororities, resources for divorced women, female monasticism and women's role in organized religion.

Your Faculty

Dr. Gary Ljungquist is the coordinator of the women's studies program. Among the other regular women's studies faculty are Dr. Rebecca Dunn (biology), Dr. Jo Dulan (English), Dr. Janet Zehr (English), Dr. Terri Smith (sociology), Dr. Traci Porter (Biology), Dr. Krista McQueeney (Sociology), Dr. Richard Vinson (Religion) and Dr. Amy Rio-Anderson (religion).

Faculty from many departments at Salem offer courses that will count towards your minor in women's studies.

Your Results

The benefits of a women’s studies major or minor are many. Women’s studies provides you with all the benefits of a liberal arts degree, which emphasizes critical thinking, communication and many other skills that can be applied to many careers. Also, it provides you with deeper insights into issues related to women — celebrating women’s achievements and appreciating women’s struggles against oppression.

While as a women’s studies major or minor you will look for the silenced voices of women in history, you will also add your own voice to discussions of such issues as sexual harassment, pay equity, violence against women and children, the role of women in the arts, changing perspectives on gender and sexuality and many more.

Women’s studies is not just about women; it is about the dynamics of gender. The fields of law, medicine, education, social work and government service need expertise in gender issues. Increasingly, when you major in women’s studies you are in demand as a consultant to industry, education and in the service sector.

Women’s Studies Major

The major requires 12 courses: a four-course women’s studies core, and completion of one of two eight-course concentrations, Feminist Studies/Gender Studies and Women's Advocacy. At least six courses toward the major must be completed at Salem.

Courses in the Feminist Studies/Gender Studies concentration demonstrate the diversity of women’s studies and feminist scholarship and the impact that feminist inquiry has had on academic disciplines. These courseswill expand students’ knowledge of women’s life experiences, women’s creativity, transnational feminist thought and the intersections of gender, race, class and sexuality.  This concentration prepares students for future scholarly work and offers students a broad liberal-arts perspective on feminist scholarship. 

Courses in the Women's Advocacy concentration prepare students to work in organizations that seek to bring positive change to the lives of women. In addition to the four-course women’s studies core, the advocacy concentration requires a three-course advocacy core, plus five more courses chosen from a list of approved courses, with WMST 270 (Internship in Women’s Studies) strongly recommended.

Women’s Studies Minor

A minor requires completion of six courses, of which no more than two may come from a single discipline, with the exception of Women’s Studies. At least three of the six courses, including WMST380, must be completed at Salem. 

Women’s Studies Courses (WMST)

200. Independent Study in Women’s Studies One-quarter to one course

Independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to students with a 2.0 cumulative average and permission of the coordinator of the program. Independent study may take the form of readings, research, conference or project. Independent study may be taken for a total of four courses, no more than two in any term.

204. Introduction in Women’s Studies One course

An interdisciplinary course focusing on the life experiences of women from diverse backgrounds and on the theoretical frameworks which feminist thinkers have used to analyze and transform cultural, political, and scientific ideologies. Includes a brief overview of the history of the women’s movement. Emphasis on the interconnections among gender, race, class and sexual orientation.

210. Feminist Theory: Lenses and Methodologies One course

A study of the varieties of modern feminist theory, including Women’s Liberation; Marxist feminism; gynocentrism; the politics of difference; essentialism; theories of feminism related to lesbians, women of color, working class women; and global perspectives on women. Exploration of different models for using gender along with race, class, ethnicity and sexuality, as lenses of analysis will facilitate the development of critical and analytical methodologies. WMST majors and minors will develop a theoretical basis and research methodology in preparation for the senior project. Prerequisite: WMST 204 or permission of instructor.

220. Special Topics in Women’s Studies One course

An issue or problem in women’s studies will be studied intensively. The specific content and methods for study will be announced prior to the beginning of the course. Spring and as needed.

240. Women’s Activism and Advocacy One course

Building on an exploration of the involvement of women in historical and contemporary social movements for human equality and social justice, this course emphasizes ways in which women conceptualize, strategize, implement and assess social movements and organizations, particularly those whose goal is the betterment of women’s lives and opportunities. Prerequisite: WMST 204 or permission of the instructor.

270. Internship in Women’s Studies One course

An opportunity to use the knowledge and skills the student has learned in course work to solve problems in a real work setting; the apprenticeship aspect of the internship implies that the student has some base of knowledge and will increase her knowledge and skills by direct contact with an experienced, knowledgeable mentor. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors with a 2.0 cumulative average; maximum credit per term is one course; admission by application only.

290. Honors Independent Study in Women’s Studies One course

Advanced independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to juniors and seniors with a 3.5 cumulative G.P.A. and permission of the coordinator of the program. Honors Independent Study may be taken for a maximum of two courses.

380. Senior Project in Women’s Studies One course

Completion of an advanced level investigation of a topic related to women and gender under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The investigation should involve advanced reading in feminist theory. Approval of the coordinator of the Women’s Studies program is required. Women’s Studies majors with the Feminist Studies concentration must make specific use of feminist theoretical and analytical sources in their projects. Students with the Women’s Advocacy concentration must focus on some aspect of women’s advocacy and activism.