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Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Talk to the Director
Steph Gauchel, M.A., Director of the Women's Center
I have been interested in understanding the role of gender in the world
ever since I took my first Women's Studies course in the early 90s.
Since then, I have completed a B.A. in Women's Studies; an M.A. in
Gender and Sexuality Studies; and prior to coming to Tufts University, I
worked in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality academic program at Harvard
University. I enjoy helping students of all genders understand how
gender impacts their own lives as well as the world we live in. As
Director of the Women's Center, I represent the special concerns of
women on university committees and advocate for students regarding
issues related to gender. I am also able to provide students with
academic and personal advising on course selection, majors and careers,
transition to college, and identity formation and development.
The Women's Center has two libraries: a general topic library related
to women, gender, and social justice on the first floor of the Women's
Center and the Peggy Barrett library dedicated to comprehensive sexual
health and sexual violence prevention located upstairs in our Barrett
Study. We house books, magazines, films, an internship career services
binder, pamphlets, brochures and other resource information. We invite
you to stop by and check out our collection. All items can be viewed at
the Center and some can even be taken home. Feel free to drop by the
Women's Center Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm or during study nights,
Monday- Wednesday from 7- 11 pm!
- Films - The Women's Center owns many documentaries and films:
stored in our general library on the first floor. These films can be
viewed on our multimedia system and some maybe loaned out. Many of
these films were purchased with funding provided by the Campus
Violence Prevention Project.
- Lending Library -
Our lending library includes fiction and non-fiction books
that cover a wide array of topics related to women and
gender that are great for research or pleasure. Books are
available for your use at the Center or to sign out.
Check our rotating display for some new reading suggestions
from the Women's Center staff!
- Resource and Safer Sex Materials -
The Women's Center has pamphlets and resources on various topics
including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS, STIs, safe sex, queer
issues, mental health, nutrition, eating disorders, sexual assault,
breast cancer, pregnancy, birth control, gynecological information
and relationship abuse. We also provide free male and female condoms
as well as dental dams and lubrication. All of these materials are
free and available to peruse without needing staff assistance.
Women's Center writing tutor
Jessica Pfeffer is a doctoral candidate in the English Department.
Her research interests include Renaissance literature, queer theory,
gender and sexuality studies, and the body. Prior to coming to Tufts,
Jess got her M.A. in English at NYU and her B.A. in English at the
University of Pennsylvania.
Jess will hold writing drop-in hours every Wednesday at late-night study
from 7:00-9:00pm. Sessions will be booked on a first-come first-served basis,
and Jess will be available to address all stages of paper writing,
from constructing an outline to organizing citations.
Late Night Study
Escape from Tisch and come study or hang out with us on Monday,
Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 7-11. There are snacks, computers,
free printing, and comfy chairs. For those who like silence, there is a
quiet study room upstairs. Stay downstairs for little background noise,
cable television, or some riveting conversation.
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
For many people, taking a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course is an "ah-HA"
moment. Often, it is the first time that a student will see the world
analyzed through the lens of gender and have the chance to think
analytically and critically about the construction and intersections of
human identities, particularly as it pertains to the lives of women. By
viewing the world with the lens of gender and being introduced to
feminist theory, many of our own experiences with gender become
articulated, sometimes, for the first time. For women, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
has historically provided an empowering space that offers a language for
understanding objectification, harassment, and/or violence that does not
blame women. Though more recent, men too often find empowerment through
the study of hegemonic masculinity and understanding its constructed
nature as well as understanding more about the broad experiences of
women. Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies has also become a space to consider the lives of
people who do not identify within the normalized and polarized cultural
ideas of male and female / men and women that does not rely on pathologizing this experience.
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies can help students articulate the impact gender has on
ones own life and around the world. It is a rigorous, interdisciplinary
field of study and a discipline that, over time, has located itself
within all of the humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences.
Feminist theory can be applied to and used as a critical lens for the
approach to any academic focus; it asks its researcher to consider their
own power, privilege, and oppression and that of their subject as well
as to articulate and illuminate the social construction of the topic
being studied and the discipline that is being employed. Important
to feminist theory and understanding the experience of women and gender
is always a consideration of other aspects of intersecting identities
such as race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, gender identity
and expression, religion, age, and citizenship, just to name a few; we
are not just a woman, man, or gender, we are people and individuals who
also carry a perceived and/or claimed race, sexual orientation, and so on.
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies can be its own major and you can focus on any discipline
from within Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or you can apply
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and
feminist theory to any other major. This range of application can, for
example, provide a student the opportunity to bring together disciplines
such as sociology and economics in consideration of the experience of
gender within a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies senior project; a student can major in
Community Health and minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies to optimize the focus of
their studies in women and health; or a student can use Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
courses or feminist texts that focuses on the international status of
women to help enhance a major in International Relations.
Tufts Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies website >
Student perspectives on Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
"Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies appeals to me because it examines how gender, race,
sexuality, and class influence and affect so many different aspects
of life. It's a mix of everything and topics can range from
sociology and anthropology to economics and biology. I've learned
how to approach people, questions, and problems from many different
angles. Intersectionality is fundamental in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; I meet
a range of very different people with diverse interests, and all of
us find a common space in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies."
"I accidentally stumbled upon many Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies classes freshman
and sophomore year and became an accidental Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major
when I realized that all of those classes were the most interesting,
rewarding, challenging and eye-opening classes I´ve ever taken. What
sets WGSS apart is that it forces you to turn a critical eye on your
own life and your own experiences. It forces you to identify,
critique and challenge your own assumptions and biases. Becoming
aware of your own internalized racism, internalized sexism,
internalized homophobia, etc. can be very difficult and emotional,
but this newfound awareness is empowering and changes the way you
see and think about the world. The WGSS community is also incredibly
warm, helpful, familial and supportive."
"For me, the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major at Tufts gave me an academic lens
that made gender visible. The best part about the major is that this
framework can be applied to anything and everything, from the way we
talk about conception, to the way we educate our children. This
freedom allowed me to follow my own interests as well as develop new
ones. Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is a supportive discipline which encourages
making the personal political and the political personal."
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies says:
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary field focusing on women in
diverse contexts, emphasizing the local and global interconnections
across categories such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, and
sexuality. Scholarship in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies analyzes the various
historical and political circumstances, socioeconomic forces, and
cultural representations that shape gendered lives.
Feminist inquiry is a rigorous intellectual enterprise which
fundamentally transforms traditional disciplinary assumptions and
theories, creates new models for teaching and research, and develops
practices for challenging systems of power. Each semester, Women's,
Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Tufts lists at least twenty courses in a range of
departments and programs which are feminist in perspective and make
use of recent scholarship on women and gender.