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Academic

Talk to the Director  |  WC Libraries  |  Writing Tutor  |  Study Night  |  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.

WC libraries

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
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.  Visit the 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 Ive 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."
 
Tufts 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.

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