Women’s Studies

Many long-time readers may know I have been studying political science for the last two years and am increasingly losing interest in solely studying this field.  My interests are broaden and it seems difficult to bring all those interests together within the confines of quality social science research.  It turns out I just may be the arts & humanities person that I was trying to quash.  Having always identified myself as a fervent feminist from the times in grade school where I relished being one of a few girls who received the okay to play with the guys during recess, to earning the reputation of being a fem-nazi for a Summer, to reading feministing.com everyday.  Little realizations like this have been popping up every now and then reminding me of who I am.  Suffice to say, I am rediscovering my passions.  Being that I am still interested in pursuing a career in academia, I was doing a little research on interdisciplinary doctorate programs.  So, I made a list of academic interests only to find interdisciplinary programs are not abundant.  I found myself joking to one of my close friends that I should get a doctorate in academia since I cannot decide on any specific subject.  But, in the end I found a few programs I truly like, maybe even love.

I started off just typing in phrases into the Google.  And, somehow I ran across a feature in Ms. Magazine.  Turns out their online version had a link to a program guide of women’s studies programs across the country.  Unfortunately, for those who are interested in the subject at the doctoral level, there are only fourteen programs from which to choose.  The only two I would be interested in pursuing were at the  University of Maryland at College Park and UCLA.  Maybe, UCLA.  I’m not sure I could see myself living in Los Angeles for an extended period of time (sorry, SoCal – I like the Bay better).  However, Smith College’s department for the Study of Women and Gender had a more comprehensive list including international institutions.  After browsing through this list and encountering many familiar names, I found that LSE’s Gender Institute is dynamic and incredible.  In fact, I downloaded a few of the working papers to read for some light reading on the subway about “Contemporary Spinsterhood in Britain,” “Narrating the Self,” and “In Search of Balanced Domestic and Employment Lives”   (read: DORK).  But, for the most part, it is incredibly disappointing to see such a dearth of women’s studies programs at the doctorate level.  Most of any college or university’s WAGS professors are cross-listed with another department often without doctorate degrees in women’s and gender studies, but in some other field like Philosophy, English, or Sociology.  It seems that in 2009 women’s studies are still relegated to the academic ghetto with the various ethnic studies fields.  Maybe, even lower.


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