Gender and Women's Studies encourages students to ask difficult questions. Why, for example, do different cultures have different standards for successful masculinity and femininity, and how do these standards either constrain or empower individual action within society? Are gendered ideologies fixed in our biology, or is biological determinism a rhetorical tool used to justify contemporary political arrangements? How has academic knowledge been complicit in maintaining gendered hierarchies throughout history, and how can scholarly inquiry create a more inclusive and tolerant society?
Bowdoin Gender and Women's Studies majors come from a variety of backgrounds and interests, and Gender and Women's Studies classes bring together students of government, economics, sociology, anthropology, English, history, philosophy, religion, psychology, biology, neuroscience, etc. to discuss the social, political and material operations of gender.
As an academic field, Gender and Women’s Studies is an intellectual project that uses a multiplicity of methodological lenses. Students who take courses in Gender and Women's Studies are taught to think outside of the proverbial box; they are taught to critically engage with and question the legitimacy of commonsense truths about how the world works and how it can (or cannot) be changed. As such, Gender and Women's Studies students are uniquely prepared for a variety of intellectual endeavors because they have been taught an intellectual approach that encourages creative problem solving.
Our students go on to a wide variety of careers as doctors, lawyers, scientists, philanthropists, activists, social workers, teachers, and politicians, among others. They each share, in their professional lives, the unique critical skills fostered and developed by the Gender and Women's Studies curriculum. « Close
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Background photograph: Boody-Johnson House.