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WGSS Launch Celebration

October 18, 2018

On October 18, 2018 WSU faculty launched the new Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), rolling out an Affiliate Faculty system that welcomes any WSU faculty member with teaching or scholarly interests in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies to participate. Over 80 WGSS community members gathered at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center on the Pullman campus to celebrate the new program.

During the event, attendees feted WGSS with local cuisine and games, while supporters offered insight into its vision and goals. The new College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean, Matthew Jockers, spoke about the historical and continued importance of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at WSU. Todd Butler, CAS Associate Dean of Faculty and Chair of English, discussed the several-year effort to re-organize and move WGSS. Professor of English Donna Potts shared her personal and professional understanding of the necessity for investment in gender justice. Along with the evening’s speakers, WGSS announced a Cross-Listed Course Revision grant opportunity for new Affiliate Faculty, and community members played gender trivia, with several victors receiving prizes for their gender knowledge expertise.

About the Program

The launch showcased development of the new WGSS interdisciplinary program and its administrative move under the umbrella of the English Department, which officially took place in July 2018. The curriculum offers training and opportunities to analyze the ways in which social class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, age, and ability intersect. WGSS prioritizes the application of this intersectional lens to prepare students for careers in a diverse world and to develop strategies in social and institutional change.

The program is directed by Associate Professor Pamela Thoma, whose research and teaching interests include Asian American studies, feminist and queer theory, contemporary film and television, and the health humanities. The WGSS director works with an Advisory Committee made up of WGSS Affiliate Faculty. WGSS offers a major in Women’s Studies, with a minimum of 36 required hours, as well as the opportunity to pursue minors in Women’s Studies and Queer Studies.

A Special Thanks

The WGSS celebration was organized by Director Pamela Thoma and Advisory Committee members Linda Heidenreich, Marian Sciachitano, and Nishant Shahani, with much appreciated assistance from Jillian Watson and PhD students Tabitha Velasco and Lindsey Carman. Thanks to all who helped with the planning and support of the event.