Women and Gender Studies at Bates is an interdisciplinary program of study.
The program offers specialized introductory, methodology, and senior capstone courses, as well as courses taught by faculty members from across disciplines, departments, and programs. Faculty with expertise in a wide range of fields — including art and visual culture, classics, languages, history, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, and interdisciplinary studies — contribute to the program’s curriculum.
The goal of the Program in Women and Gender Studies is to enable learners to recognize, analyze, and transform gender relations as they appear in everyday life. The program provides the opportunity to study women as social agents whose identities and experiences are shaped by systems of race, class, sexuality, and national power. At the same time, to study gender is to refute simple assertions about women, men, and gender binaries, and to strive instead for richly detailed accounts of the political, economic, and technological conditions through which relations of power have been established and maintained.
Analyzing gender enriches our ability to apprehend the differing social roles assigned to individuals, the inequitable distribution of material resources, and the ties between structures of knowledge and larger systems of privilege and oppression. Courses examine women and gender relations in multiple cultural, historical, and material contexts, encouraging the use of transnational, multiracial feminist perspectives. Students may choose to either major or minor in women and gender studies.