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Areas of Concentration

Note that these concentrations are flexible and overlapping to some extent. Students may change their area of concentration as they move through the program.

Medicine, Science and Technologies of the Body

This concentration addresses a critical area of interdisciplinary gender studies: competing accounts of sex characteristics and gender attributes advanced by various academic fields, with a focus on the social, human, and natural sciences and particularly medicine. Issues investigated include: gender differences in mathematics performance and technological orientation; theories concerning biological bases for gendered behavior; gender biases in medical experiments, testing, and sampling; gendered patterns in diseases, health, and indicators of well-being, correlated with race, class, and region; the influence of gendered notions of truth, rationality and objectivity; prospects for more inclusive or diverse medical, scientific, and related knowledge, considered in historical, cross-cultural, and/or interdisciplinary perspective; the technologization of the sexed and raced body in and through discourses of "appropriate" gender identity; and the cultural construction of medically defined gendered bodies.

Candidates choosing to specialize in this concentration include those attracted to academic research careers, or to government and non-profit agencies concerned with health, welfare, education, urban, environmental, and international development issues.

Sexualities, Desires, and Identities

Courses in this concentration address the increasingly debated status of the sexed and gendered body in human lived experience, and the ways in which individuals' sense of self or identity has a corporeal dimension variable by sex. A central task of candidates undertaking this concentration is to evaluate this wide array of understandings of the relationship between embodied selves, sexualities, and gendered identities, particularly as they intersect with other indices of social belonging (race, nation, class, and ethnicity) and differ within and across national boundaries. Here, students will study the historical, cultural, and textual construction of sexual identities and their iteration with constructions of gender normativity, focusing on the complicated and vexed relationship between sexual identities, sexual desires, and gender norms and proscriptive institutions.

This concentration serves the needs of candidates planning academic teaching and research careers focused on gender and sexuality issues; those interested in non-profit and government work related to health, human services, education, international human rights, or development; or those planning careers in non-profit think tanks. Private sector careers related to this concentration include those in media, advertising, marketing, publishing, and many other fields.

Cultural Representations and Media Practices

Courses in this concentration interrogate the cultural regulation of understandings of gender across many societies, some analyzing classical tests, others addressing more contemporary cultural discourses and media with particular focus upon the interactions of gender and race, ethnicity, or aboriginality. Candidates taking this concentration examine the processes of gendered meaning making in a wide variety of cultural practices and institutions - from queer cybercultures to mainstream Hollywood cinema.

This concentration serves candidates intending to undertake careers involving academic research and teaching, or government and non-profit agencies focused on international relations or trade, world development, human rights, education, employment, labor relations, endowments for the arts and humanities, health and welfare, education, criminal justice, or arts administration. Private sector employment in multi-national corporations and foundations and either academic or trade publishing may also be a goal.

Keep in mind that the courses listed on our website constitute only a fraction of available options - many units on campus offer courses and graduate minors that feed into our doctoral program. For more information, see this link.

In consultation with their academic advisors, students will select elective courses suitable to their chosen area of concentration and their graduate minor. Elective courses are offered both within and outside the Department of Gender Studies.