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Department of Women's and Gender Studies

As a field, Women’s and Gender Studies [WGS] integrates feminist theories and practices to challenge socio-economic, philosophical, representational, and political hierarchies. WGS both contests multiple forms of oppression and transforms knowledges, institutions, policies, representations, and social relations. Via diverse methodological practices, WGS scholars investigate how gender relations and practices are embedded in, and shaped by, a wide range of social, political, material, and cultural realities.

Women’s and Gender Studies at Syracuse University emphasizes feminist intersectional and transnational teaching, research, and service. Through interdisciplinary and comparative approaches, our curriculum provides substantial training in multiracial feminist theories and methods, examines the conceptual underpinnings of multiple and interrelated forms of inequality, and emphasizes how race, ethnicity, nationality, class, age, sexuality, and different abilities not only shape ideas and practices about gender, past and present, but also impact social, political, and affective realities. Students engage in the study of women and gender intersectionally, cross-culturally, and transnationally by focusing on questions of power and injustice; social, economic, and epistemic violence; and agency and resistance.

Departmental areas of interdisciplinary specialization include: transnational, decolonial, and women of color feminisms; feminist cultural studies; comparative feminist research on gendered violence and cultures of violence; and feminist theories and practices of resistance and social change.

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New WGS Chair


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Professor May specializes in Black feminist thought, feminist philosophy, African American literature and intersectionality. May is also the newly elected president of the National Women’s Studies Association, a professional organization devoted to feminist scholarship and to the field of women’s and gender studies.