Women’s and Ethnic Studies (WEST) is an interdisciplinary program that brings together faculty from across the campus. The WEST major and minor – as well as our certificate programs in Native American and Indigenous Studies, Latino/a Studies, and Global Studies – center on the histories, experiences, and cultural expressions of women and racial or ethnic groups not only in the United States but also across the world. Our approach is intersectional in that it explores the connections among race, class, gender, sexuality and other hierarchies. WEST emphasizes cultural responsiveness, critical and cross-disciplinary thinking, creative and innovative teaching, community engagement, and local and global awareness. We aim to create an equitable and sustainable world by analyzing structural inequality from a historical and cultural perspective and exploring strategies for change. WEST offers one-on-one mentoring, small classes, travel courses, and a range of scholarship and internship opportunities.
An important goal of the minor is to focus on knowledge grounded in the experiences and perspectives of women and racial/ethnic groups that have been marginalized and excluded from full participation in society.
Women’s and Ethnic Studies provides all students with tools to accomplish the following goals:
- to introduce students to an interdisciplinary perspective, and thereby make visible a range of approaches, including those that are non-traditional or marginalized;
- the ability to adopt an intersectional approach to the study of privilege and oppression, which emphasizes the interrelations among race/ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality;
- the capacity to effectively work with people from various sexual orientations, classes, genders, and racial/ethnic backgrounds, and
- the knowledge to shape our collective future in ways that foster a recognition of the practical and fortuitous advantages of diversity and equity in community life.
Women’s and Ethnic Studies also provides students with a forum for exploring the realities of their own experiences and discussing those realities in a systematic, informed way.