Women's studies, also known as feminist studies, is an interdisciplinary academic field which explores politics, society and history from an intersectional, multicultural women's perspective. It critiques and explores societal norms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social inequalities. Women’s studies curriculum often encourages students to engage in hands-on activities, including discussion and reflecting on course materials.
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Women's studies, also known as feminist studies, is an interdisciplinary academic field which explores politics, society and history from an intersectional, multicultural women's perspective. It critiques and explores societal norms of gender, race, class, sexuality, and other social inequalities.
Women’s studies curriculum often encourages students to engage in hands-on activities, including discussion and reflecting on course materials. Some Women’s Studies courses offer a way of teaching which follows the methodology of pedagogy. Pedagogical teaching involves in-depth participation from both instructor and students of the course. Instead of a classroom setting where the instructor solely gives lectures on the course content, students are encouraged to actively participate.
Often in Women’s studies courses, several different assignments and projects make up the course content. Readings from renowned authors and writers in the field are offered as material in the course content. These authors include Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, among many other authors. Creative projects and group activities are often offered in the curriculum and encourage the students to think "outside the box" in looking at issues in the field.
Women’s studies, like gender studies, employs feminist, queer, and critical theory. Within the past several decades, Women’s Studies has taken a post-modern approach to understanding gender and how it intersects with race, class, ethnicity, religion, age, and (dis)ability to produce and maintain power structures within society that ensure social inequality. With this, there has been a focus on language, subjectivity, and social hegemony, and how the lives of subjects, however they identify, are constituted. At the core of these theories is the notion that however one identifies, gender, sex, and sexuality are not intrinsic. In fact, sex, gender, and sexuality are socially constructed.
In order to bring forth a goal of dismantling ideas and forces of oppression globally, Women studies is not limited solely to women issues, but various forms of oppression in which women issues become intricate focal points. The field recognizes that we must be active participants in alleviating all oppressions in order to create a safe space for women and that we have a responsibility to act and advocate on behalf of human rights. This understanding of how oppression influence all aspects of society directs the curriculum towards the recognition and understanding of issues such as racism, classism, homophobia and heteronormative practices, and ableism (Dill & Zambrana, 2009).
Women studies programs are highly involved in social justice and create curriculums that are embedded with theory and also activism outside of the classroom. Some Women Studies programs offer internships that are community-based allowing students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how oppression directly affects women’s lives. This experience, informed by theory from feminist studies, queer theory, black feminist theory, African studies, and many other theoretical frameworks, allows students the opportunity to critically analyze experience as well as create creative solutions for issues on a local level.
What should not be under-appreciated are the creative arts in women’s studies. Through literature, poetry, performing arts, and visual arts, women’s studies allows for the creative expression and analysis of the oppressing forces that influence the lives of women, while also providing a critical theoretical analysis of these issues.
SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA: http://en.wikipedia.org