Gender Studies allows undergraduates the opportunity to shape a disciplinary or interdisciplinary plan of study focused on gender and sexuality. The plan of study, designed with the assistance of a Gender Studies adviser, can take the form of a gender track in a traditional academic discipline, interdisciplinary work on a gender-related topic, or a combination thereof. After completing the required introductory sequence, Problems in Gender Studies, students can then create a cluster of courses linked by their attention to gender as an object of study or by their use of gender categories to investigate topics in sexuality, social life, science, politics and culture, literature and the arts, or systems of thought.
The program is housed in the Center for Gender Studies, established in 1996. It now consolidates work on gender and sexuality, and in feminist, gay and lesbian, and queer studies. Along with fostering teaching, research, and discussion at the University, the center seeks to reach out into public areas where gender and sexuality come together with other political, artistic, and intellectual concerns.
The Lesbian & Gay Studies Project is housed at the center and actively collaborates in the planning of activities and initiatives. The center shares space with the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, with which it also collaborates on diverse intellectual and social programs. Ongoing activities of the center include weekly presentations featuring local faculty as well as scholars, artists, and activists from the Chicago community; the Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop; the Feminist Lives and Queer Trajectories Series; lectures, conferences, and symposia; speakers and film series; and arts programming. Faculty interests include gender and sexuality studies in the fields of literature, history, sociology, anthropology, cinema and media studies, law, medicine, and many other disciplines.
Over the past three years, undergraduates have contributed to a research project on the history of women at the University of Chicago. In the spring of 2009, the Center for Gender Studies mounted an exhibit of their findings in the Special Collections Research Center at the Regenstein Library.
Students in other fields of study may also complete a minor in Gender Studies.