The Department of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri is committed to the interdisciplinary, feminist study of the social, cultural, and historical processes that gender human identity. Central to the department's mission is the conviction that the study of cultures, knowledges, and representations cannot be separated from the study of women and gender, and that gender and sexuality are fundamental categories of analysis in all disciplines. In recognizing that the construction of these categories is contingent on time and place, the department stresses scholarship and teaching that are broadly comparative and range across multiple cultures, national and transnational contexts, and historical moments. Its faculty employ a broad range of theoretical approaches and methods that help students to integrate women's, gender, and/or queer studies with analyses of race, ethnicity, religion, spirituality, nationality, and class, and to think critically and synthetically about the multiple axes of power through which sexual and gendered identities are constructed. Courses encourage students to analyze the world in which they live, in order that they might act to transform it.
Your studies in the department of women's and gender studies will take you around the world, to the past and present, to home, to campus, and to your own lives. You will meet professors who are trained in an array of fields and take classes with students from across the university who are also trained in many disciplines. Imagine a class taught by an English professor with students from journalism, biology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy as well as women's and gender studies.
The diversity in our courses adds a level of excitement, exchange, and debate that makes the experience unique. You won't get lost in our classes. Your learning as an individual and your own perspectives and training are central to our course work. Learning from experts in the vast array of feminist studies, combining the knowledge base of a diverse student body, and having the opportunity to get to know your professors will make your experience in the department memorable.
We have been offering courses since 1971, and became one of the first women's and gender studies programs in the nation in 1980. We became a department in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2007. So we are both old and new.
More than anything we are looking ahead to create an innovative, exciting, and fascinating experience for undergraduate and graduate students. Do you want to do an internship on women and media in Buenos Aires? Do you want to get course credit for working at the domestic violence center? Many of our faculty members have experience with research around the world while some are producing knowledge closer to home. Undergraduate and graduate students have developed student groups: some devoted to activism, some to scholarship, and some to professional development. Getting "real life" experience—through research and direct experience—is one of the unique opportunities you'll get from participating in our department.