Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies


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As you learned in the reading for this week, one factor that distinguishes Women’s Studies from many other academic disciplines is that it was designed, from the beginning, as an interdisciplinary field. This means that the field uses scholarship and methodologies drawn from a wide variety of academic disciplines, and that scholars in the field (your professors, for example), may have backgrounds in any number of other areas in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

For students, this interdisciplinarity can be both exciting and confusing, as the field is so far-ranging and encompasses so many diverse issues and topics. In this course, Introduction to Women’s Studies, we will be surveying the field; you will be introduced to several topics and approaches to scholarship, some of which you may pursue in more depth in later courses.

Topics in Women’s Studies range from traditional history (the history of the struggle for women’s suffrage, for example), to art criticism (images of women in Renaissance Art, for example), to science (research into female cancers, for example), to sociology (research into the causes of domestic violence, for example), to many, many other topics, some of which we will cover in this course. We won’t be able to read everything in your textbook, however, so if there are topics which interest you that are not on our syllabus, please read more about them on your own!