Women's and Gender Studies

Established at USC Upstate in October 1998, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies (CWGS) is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and serves students, faculty, staff and community members through curricular and co-curricular programming. As part of the USC Upstate commitment to recognizing and supporting diversity efforts on campus, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies promotes a safe and healthy university environment by creating and enhancing leadership opportunities, personal growth and professional development for women in our campus community. We recognize that there is no one "women's" experience and strive to address and celebrate the diversity among women, as well as the commonalities that we share.

"Feminism is the political theory and practice that struggles to free all women: women of Color, working-class women, poor women, disabled women, lesbians, old women--as well as white, economically privileged, heterosexual women. Anything less than this vision of total freedom is not feminism, but merely female self-aggrandizement." - Barbara Smith, 'Racism and Women's Studies'



As an interdisciplinary program of study, women's and gender studies introduces students to the scholarship, literature and creative works on and by women that are transforming the liberal arts and the professions. A concentration in women's studies allows a student to explore the histories and situations of women in different cultural and social contexts. Women's and gender studies addresses the myriad ways in which gender difference structures our social relations, cultural values, institutions, academic disciplines, and the production of knowledge.

Women's and gender studies courses introduce students to ideologies and political theories that have been used over time to explain the natures of women and men and their functions and roles in society. Women's and gender studies courses prepare students to utilize traditional and feminist perspectives to analyze gender, sex, and sexuality as biological, psychological, social and cultural phenomena. A women's and gender studies concentration is useful preparation for training in the professions and for postgraduate work in a variety of fields. On a personal level, it enhances the human potential of both women and men by questioning and redefining societal values.

Courses cross-listed as women's studies courses provide students with discipline-specific attention to these issues, whereas a cognate, IDS concentration, or minor in women's and gender studies provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of these topics.

Courses leading to an interdisciplinary concentration or minor in women's and gender studies:

  • Familiarize students with an interdisciplinary theoretical framework in which gender is the central category of analysis
  • Encourage writing, speaking, and thinking critically about issues of gender in the contemporary world
  • Study the position and concerns of women throughout history, across the world, and from different economic, ethnic, and racial groups
  • Examine cultural assumptions about gender, race, class, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation in light of information made available by new theories and research
  • Challenge students to think critically about the ways in which gender interrelates with structures of power
  • Explore the links between discrimination against women and other forms of oppression
  • Foster an understanding of the limitations placed on individuals and on society by narrowly defined sex roles
  • Apply classroom learning to personal, academic, community, and vocational settings.

Vision Statement

The vision for the Women's and Gender Studies Program includes an increase in the number of students pursuing the women's and gender studies minor, cognates, and concentrations. Students of women's and gender studies will be able to complement their major coursework in any discipline, developing specialized understanding of women's and gender contributions and experiences. To enact this vision, new courses in women's and gender studies will be developed that support our content standards and the University's metropolitan mission.