University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Mission

The Department of Gender & Women’s Studies provides an institutional home and an intellectual community to develop and disseminate knowledge about women and gender through an analysis of texts, social and cultural practices, and social institutions, both local and global, historical and contemporary. We explore the diverse empirical realities and creative meanings of gender and the lives of women, including their representations in the arts, culture, and history in global perspective. We examine the structures of inequality and the movements for social change, especially attuned to the intersections of gender with other dimensions of difference and inequality such as race, class, sexuality, religion, disability, and national origin. Through our scholarship, teaching and outreach, we engage our communities, our state, and the world with a commitment to social justice.

We strive to support and produce first-rate and innovative scholarship. Only through research excellence can we understand the past, reveal and explain the present, and advocate for a better future. We share an investment in the centrality of feminist thought and of gender as a category of analysis. Committed to interdisciplinarity, we believe that multiple theoretical and methodological approaches can serve to illuminate shared problems in new ways and provide pathways toward their resolution.

We embrace the power of education as a way to shape the future. We see the classroom as a potent site for the production of self-knowledge, and we also demand that students look through and beyond their own perspectives to understand the lives of other people across different locations, times, sexes, genders, sexualities, races, cultures, religions, and disability statuses. We believe that education does not flow in just one direction, but rather, as we share our expertise with our students, our own perspectives and claims are transformed.