Gender and Sexuality Studies

Introduction to the Major

Faculty members talk about what you can learn and what makes this major special.

Mission Statement

This major aims to break new ground in the field of Gender and Sexuality Studies through full deployment of interdisciplinary approaches to question existing "knowledge" from the perspectives of gender and sexuality.

We are born with either the physical attributes of a "male" or "female," and through the various processes of life, we develop "gender" identities. As we encounter gender-oriented messages in our daily lives, our behavior becomes aligned with societal norms that we perceive as "natural." Considering that modern society has been constructed on the basis of man-woman dualism and heterosexuality, there is no doubt that we need to develop a clear view of gender and sexuality in order to understand people and society, and their ways of thinking. Initially, the concept of "gender", used to describe sex differences defined by society and culture, was differentiated from the term "sex", which described biological differences.

This epistemological distinction has been explored more deeply in recent years with the emergence of Sexuality Studies. This area of study is still new and dynamic developments are expected over the coming years, but issues of gender and sexuality are also being taken up in other fields of research.

It is anticipated therefore that students in this major will firstly employ a gender/sexuality perspective to comprehend the basic concepts and social constructions of sex, gender, and sexuality. Secondly, they should understand the processes of constructing/reconstructing a gender order in educational, occupational and domestic settings, and be able to identify gender messages in languages and various media, which are accepted as a matter of everyday occurrence, from a gender/sexuality perspective. Thirdly, they should develop positive attitudes to engaging with theoretical problems of a large scale, such as inequality, class, power, and the conflict between "nature" and "culture."

Learning Goals

Learning goals for students majoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies are as follows.

  1. To acquire a perspective of gender/sexuality. Students should take as many specialized Core Courses as possible in order to gain an awareness of the biases of man-woman dualism and heteronormativity that pervade mainstream thinking, and to confront their own phobias (such as aversion to non-hetero sexualities).
  2. To become aware of other forms of inequality besides gender/sexuality, such as social class, ethnicity, race, nationality, education and disabilities. Students should develop a capacity to recognize how differentiations can lead to discrimination, how discrimination can become structuralized, and how it can therefore become invisible within society.
  3. To make use of their Liberal Arts education and interdisciplinary approaches, students should familiarize themselves with a wide range of approaches, develop techniques that integrate different approaches and analytical methods, and cultivate the skills to tackle diverse and complex social phenomena.
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