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Interdisciplinary Concentration in Gender, Nation, and Democracy

Program Planner

The end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries witnessed remarkable changes in the geo-political structure of the world. Extraordinary developments-the fall of the Soviet Union, the formation of the European Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa, conflicts in the Middle East, revolutions in Latin America, U.S. interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, rapid economic growth and accompanying social displacement in Asia-have made us question our assumptions about citizenship and nationhood. Scholars and policy makers alike have acknowledged the centrality of gender in debates about the meaning of nation and democracy in our changing world.

This concentration explores the intersection of gender, nation, and democratic aspirations in various regions of the world. The particular geographies of this concentration vary with the courses students choose, but completion of the concentration guarantees the student will have studied these issues in a transnational perspective. The concentration explores the material, spiritual and political conditions of women and how the constructions of gender affect those conditions transnationally and in particular geographical locations. Men’s and women’s access to political power, expressive modes, and economic opportunity, and the role of sexuality and reproduction in citizenship, are among the topics that highlight the complexity of “democracy.” Also bearing on the understandings achieved in this concentration are the influences of colonialism and neocolonialism; the effects of religious fundamentalism and militarization on gender practices; the relation between failures in nationalist and social reform movements and gender oppression; and the link between nationalism, capitalism, and patriarchy.

Faculty Sponsors

Ellen Friedman (English) and Cynthia Paces (History)



Choose one from the following

  • WGS 380/HON 338/Gender and Democracy* (counts as social science and history)
  • WGS 375/Global Feminisms* (counts as arts and humanities)
  • WGS 310/HON 337/HIS 324: Women in Eastern History:1848-present* (counts as social science and history)


Important Note: Make sure that 3 of the 6 courses in the concentration (including the core course above) are Social Science and History and 3 are Arts and Humanities

Choose five from among the following

Social Science and History
  • WGS 380/HON 338/Gender and Democracy*
  • WGS 375/Global Feminisms*
  • WGS310/HON337/HIS324/Women in Eastern History:1848-present*
  • WGS 381/ANT 311/Women and Migration*
  • WGS 301/HIS 385/Women in America*
  • WGS 260/AAS 280/Africana Women in Historical Perspective*
Arts and Humanities
  • WGS 376/LIT 316/Global Women Writers*
  • WGS 360/LIT 334/Latina/Latin American Women Writers*
  • SPA 338/Women’s Literature of Spain and Latin America*
  • WGS 325/Feminist Theories (Prerequisite: 1 WGS course)
  • WGS 365/AAS 375/Womanist Thought (Prerequisite:AAS280 or WGS260)
  • PHL 375/Equality, Ethics, and the Law (Prerequisite PHL 275 or permission of instructor)

*Courses without prerequisites

In addition to courses required by this concentration, a student must complete one approved course in quantitative reasoning and one approved course in laboratory science to satisfy breadth requirements in liberal learning. Students should consult their major or open option advisors about how best to complete other liberal learning requirements.