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Feminism and Women's Studies

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A Brief Overview of Feminism and Women's Studies

Feminism uncovers the ways in which social and cultural assumptions and structures are shaped by gender.

By focusing on the extent to which traditional questions, theories and analyses have failed to take gender into account, Women's Studies (as a field) adopts scholarly and critical perspective toward the experiences of women.

The objectives of Women's Studies include:

  • finding out about women by raising new questions and accepting women's perceptions and experiences as real and significant;
  • correcting misconceptions about women and identifying ways in which traditional methodologies may distort our knowledge;
  • theorizing about the place of women in society and appropriate strategies for change;
  • examining the diversity of women's experiences and the ways in which class, race, sexual orientation and other variables intersect with gender.

Although studying women is its starting point, by uncovering the ways in which social and cultural assumptions and structures are shaped by gender, Women's Studies also studies men and the world around us.

It is interdisciplinary, integrating insights from many different experiences and perspectives. Drawing from scholarly work within nearly every academic discipline as well as from the work of "grassroots" feminism, Women's Studies has its own distinctive, evolving theories and methodologies.

Last modified 2005-01-19 07:49 AM

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