Center for 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.

  • 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.

    Established in October 1998, the Center for Women's and Gender Studies is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and serves students, faculity, staff, and community members through curricular and co-curricular programming.

    Located in the College of Arts and Sciences Building 120, the Center provides a comfortable and professional space for gender-related student organizations to meet and for Women Gender Studies minors to study. To reserve this classroom for a meeting, email Dr. Lisa Johnson.

    Fall 2017 Hours

    Monday - 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

    Tuesday - 9 -10 a.m. and 3 - 5 p.m.

    Wednesday - 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

    Thursday - 9 -10 a.m. and 1- 5 p.m.

    Friday -  9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

    • Fall 2017 - TBD

    The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy

    Women Faculty Collective Book Club (faculty and staff only)

    Expanding on two themes from previous semesters — critical university studies and self-care for academics — the WFC book club will be reading The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy, co-edited by Canadian Humanities professors Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber. Book club dates will be set based on participants’ schedules. Faculty and staff of all ranks and genders are invited to participate. RSVP to Lisa Johnson to reserve your space.

    • Sept. 20, 2017, 6-8 p.m. at the College of Arts and Sciences Building 117

    Girlhood, Triota Fall Film Series

    CASB 117 Our fall kickoff event is a screening of Girlhood. This French film by director Céline Sciamma features a dramatic coming of age story focused on the life of Marieme, a Black teenager living in a working class neighborhood outside of Paris, a population she notes is generally underdeveloped in French films. The New York Times describes it as a “socially conscious drama about the choices facing a tough, intelligent, basically decent young person in a world that views her with indifference and suspicion,” and The Guardian calls it “electrifying.” A short discussion will follow the film. Food and drinks provided. Cosponsors include CWGS, LLC, and the French Club.

    • Sept. 25, 2017, Noon - 1 p.m. at the Campus Life Center 309

    Women’s Faculty Collective Speaker

    Tami Blumenfield, Ph.D. is an anthropologist and filmmaker whose work focuses on rural Chinese communities undergoing profound transitions. She holds a doctorate and MA degree from the University of Washington and an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College. At Furman University, she is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and co-chairs the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

    Blumenfield has participated in multiple initiatives related to juggling family and academic work, particularly within anthropology, and is co-editor of "Doing Fieldwork in China...With Kids! The Dynamics of Accompanied Fieldwork in the People's Republic" (NIAS Press, 2015).

    Inspired by works including "No Time to Think," "Overworked and Overwhelmed," and "The Slow Professor," Blumenfield has also been deeply engaged in critical reexaminations of university life and in explorations of contemplative practices in higher education. This event will be tied in to the Women’s Faculty Collective Fall Book Club. This presentation is possible by funding through Academic Affairs.

    • Oct. 23, 2017, Noon - 1:30 p.m. at the Campus Life Center 309

    Through a Glass Darkly: A Father’s Search for his Daughter in a Late Ming Seance, Dr. Nicole Nicole Richardson. CWGS Fall Speaker Series

    CWGS celebrates Halloween with spooky research from Dr. Nicole Richardson, Assistant Professor of History at USC Upstate, whose research focuses on Chinese history and gender, reflected in this talk on a father’s struggle to come to terms with the death of his teenage daughter, and his efforts to reach across the veil separating the living, the dead, and the land of the immortals to find her. In 1642, 10 years after the sudden death of his beautiful, talented daughter Xiaoluan, Ye Shaoyuan continued to grapple with the meaning of her death. Why had she died only days before her wedding? Where was she now? Had she ever truly belonged to the world of mortals? Regretting that he had kept no picture of her in life, Ye hired a Daoist priest to summon her spirit into a mirror to paint her portrait. But when events did not go according to plan, an evening ritual stretched across days and months as Ye and the priest each struggled to influence and define their encounters with the spirit world. Ye’s account of these rituals not only offer us a glimpse into the rich cultural and religious world of seventeenth century China, but also reveal deeper tensions inherent in the Chinese family system between the emotionally intense but ritually unacknowledged bonds between fathers and daughters, and their inevitable separation through marriage, or — in this case — death. Ultimately, it is only in the realm of the spirits that Ye is able to transcend the inevitable separations of the mortal world and reconcile the loss of his daughter. Light catering will be provided.

    • Oct. 26, 2017, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the main quad 

    Fresh Check Day

    Fresh Check Day is the signature program of The Jordan Porco Foundation, in an effort to bring awareness of mental health resources and coping strategies to college campuses. It is a celebratory fair-like event that includes interactive expo booths, peer-to-peer messaging, support of multiple campus departments and groups, free food, entertainment, exciting prizes and giveaways. Fresh Check Day helps to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources and programs that exist on campus, in the community, and on a national level. Using a peer-to-peer messaging model, Fresh Check Day utilizes student groups to execute interactive booths that deliver mental health and resource information in a fun and engaging way. Triota will be assisting in this interactive and engaging event.

    • Oct. 26, 2017, 6-8 p.m. at the University Readiness Center Greatroom

    Major! Triota Fall Film Series

    Explore the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of transwomen of color for over 40 years. This showing will be cosponsored by Student Affairs in conjunction with Diversity Week. A short discussion will follow the film. Food and drinks provided.

    • Nov. 13, 2017, Noon - 1:30 p.m. at the Campus Life Center 309

    Unhomely Spaces: Discomfort and the Promise of Solidarity. Dr. Renu Pariyadath. CWGS Fall Speaker Series

    CWGS celebrates International Studies Week with a talk by Dr. Renu Pariyadath, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at USC Upstate, on the subject of expanding our sense of belonging, based on her award-winning paper from the 2017 ICA Feminist Scholarship Division. Feminist scholars have argued that contesting the unity of the discourse of ‘home’ is the foundation for building non-identity based community. For many migrants, home is often a space one cannot return to, making it a generative site to study alliance-building practices that are not attached to similarity, such as a common nation or identity. Migrants and the multiple metaphorical and material homes they occupy allow for disruptions in imagining home as a space of stability and comfort. This talk focuses on an ethnographic case study of a migrant organization to suggest that the conscious practice of questioning 'homes' allow for non-traditional alliances and goes on to discuss how such practices may be used by any of us to build new solidarities and community. Light catering will be provided. This talk is cosponsored by the Center for International Studies.

    Bodies of Knowledge Symposium
    The Symposium renewed and reinforced campus commitment to the principle of respecting sexual diversity, and to the acknowledgement of sexual orientation as a protected category of identity in Upstate’s longstanding Diversity Initiative. The symposium served to maintain and further fuel the energy of the students, faculty and staff who were galvanized to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff.

  • 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.

  • 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.


    The Lucy Stone Award for Outstanding Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies was developed in the 2008-2009 academic year. The award is named after a prominent abolitionist and female suffragist in the United States. Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree. She helped organize the first National Women’s Rights Convention. Called “the orator” and “the morning star of the woman’s rights movement,” Stone published her radical views in the Woman’s Journal and delivered a speech that sparked Susan B. Anthony to take up the cause of women’s suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote, “Lucy Stone was the first person by whom the heart of the American public was deeply stirred on the woman question." Stone was also the first American woman to revert to her maiden name after marriage.

    • 2017 Winner: Ashley Matheson, for her excellent academic work during her time at Upstate and for her unwavering commitment to the WGS program and the Triota Honors Society.
    • 2016 Winners: This year saw the program’s first “tie” for this award. Monique Gardner received this honor for her excellent course work and presentations at the UNC-Asheville queer studies conference in 2015 and at the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association conference in 2016. Ariana Sanchez received this honor for her leadership both in class and in extracurricular activities, including being the first CWGS representative on the student senate.
    • 2015 Winner: Stacey Gullion, for her outstanding academic work, including a presentation on feminist heterosexualities at the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association in Boca Raton, Florida, and her service to Triota as a tutor for WGST 101.
    • 2014 Winner: Chase Moery for his well-rounded scholarly profile, which included bold reflection papers in a variety of WGS courses, an internship as Bodies of Knowledge symposium organizer and a multi-semester commitment to community outreach with Girls on the Run. Chase was also a founding member of Triota.
    • 2013 Winner: Samantha Swordenfor her three-semester project on beauty culture and feminist disability studies.
    • 2011 Winner: Beth Tevault for her scholarly research on representations of madness in the Victorian novel.
    • 2010 Winner: AJ Jones for his scholarly project on the politics of diversity on university campuses.
    • 2009 Winner: Lindsay Harris for her research and presentation on bisexual epistemology at an international feminist philosophy conference.
    • 2008 Winner: Andrea Miller for consistently producing graduate school level work throughout her undergraduate career at USC Upstate.


    The Emma Goldman Award was developed in the 2008-2009 academic year to reward high achievement in IDS/WGS. The award is named after a famous Marxist feminist activist who developed a philosophy of feminist anarchism, a political philosophy that foregrounds individual and collective will over the will of the government. Emma Goldman (1869-1940) is known for her vitality and charisma and was admired by her allies for being a radical free-thinker.

    These characteristics reflect the independent spirit that leads some of our USC Upstate students to create a major of their own – in the absence of a Women’s and Gender Studies major – by majoring in IDS with a WGS concentration.

    • 2011 Winner: Sarah Wilson for her scholarly research in queer/feminist theories of (trans)sexuality.
    • 2009 Winner: Andrea Miller for her scholarly research in Marxist feminism and critical race theory.