Gender and Sexuality Studies

Oil on canvas of different body shapes and sizes
Courtesy of Richard Sager '74, detail of "The Group" (oil on canvas).

Students in Swarthmore’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program study the social relations of power in a variety of cultural, historical, and national contexts. The objective of the program is to bring feminist and queer theory in conversation with new research methodologies in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The program emphasizes complex interrelationships among gender and sexuality, race and class, and local and global politics.

Students have the opportunity to pursue an academic minor in gender and sexuality studies or to design their own special major in the field. Gender and sexuality studies at Swarthmore is distinguished by the courses it offers across the three academic divisions of the College. These include courses in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, and engineering.

A sampling of courses offered includes Feminist Film and Media Studies; Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theory; Gender, Sexuality, and the Body in Islam; Chinese Feminism; Latino and Latin American Sexualities; and Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement.

Students who minor in gender and sexuality studies take a minimum of five courses that emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of the field. The curriculum begins with an introductory course that highlights key concepts, questions, and analytical tools that have shaped the field. Students take a course on theory and methodology in gender and sexuality studies, which can focus on topics as diverse as gender and education and feminist critiques of biology. Program faculty members are committed to incorporating historical and contemporary perspectives on the study of gender and sexuality into the program of study.