The Gender Studies Program at Austin College puts gender, women, and sexuality at the center of academic inquiry. Students examine the intersections of power, gender, identity, sexuality, and society.
Why is this important to study?
- Many cultures across the world recognize third genders in culturally specific ways
- Women working full-time in the United States earn on average 80 cents for every dollar earned by men
- While LGBTQIA rights in the United States are among the most comprehensive, people identified in this group can be legally fired in Texas as well as in 28 other states
- The United States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave
- Although the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy was lifted in 2011, openly transgender people still cannot serve
- Transgender women of color are about 6 times more likely to experience police violence than non-transgender LGBQ peers
- At least 1 in 2 transgender people suffer sexual abuse or sexual assault
- 66% of likely voters who know a transgender person expressed support for equality
- a recent NYT/CBS News poll showed that 46% of the American public believes transgender people should have to use restrooms matching their birth gender, while only 41% believe transgender people should be able to use restrooms that match their gender identities
Why chose to take courses in gender studies?
- At AC, courses span the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, providing a uniquely interdisciplinary education
- Gender Studies is not only for those who identify as women; gender binaries and hierarchies affect everyone, including straight white men!
- One’s experience of gender differs depending on factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, and sexuality
- Furnishes a lens that can be used to analyze anything from scientific practices to literature to current events
- Enhance and enrich your understanding of your courses in other subjects.
- Provides a useful framework for thinking about community and world issues impacted by gender and sexuality issues.
- Describe identity more articulately by understanding the differences between genders, sex, and sexuality
Meet the Faculty
Tom Blake teaches medieval literature, including writers like Marie de France and Ibn Jubayr. His research interests include postcolonial theory and gender studies, and his courses often deal with topics such as medieval theories about racialized and gendered bodies, medieval villain queens, and gender-nonconforming characters in medieval literature.
|Karla McCain, Program Director for Gender Studies, teaches chemistry and a class on Women and Science. Her research interests include the ways in which gender influences scientific careers and approaches in reducing underrepresentation of women and other historically excluded groups in science. She has frequently spoken on these topics at regional, national, and international conferences.|
|Randi Tanglen teaches courses about the lost and forgotten voices in American literary history, especially those of women and minority writers. In Randi’s courses you might study women’s diaries and letters, Indian captivity narratives, slave narratives, and even women’s scrapbooks. She has also sponsored the GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) student organization at Austin College.|
|Brian Watkins includes gender as an important part of holistic social analysis in his anthropology courses, and he teaches an upper level course for Gender Studies: The Anthropology of Sex and Gender.|
|Matt Findley teaches a course on Psychology of Gender. His graduate training in the field of Social Psychology, as well as his personal research in the domain of interpersonal relationships, sparked his interest in many gender related topics.|
|Roger Platizky teaches courses in LGBT and women’s literary history and has research interests in these topics. He has been involved with several iterations of the Women's and Gender Studies organizations at Austin College over the past 25 years. Since 1994, he has sponsored a student organization, AC Cares, which educates the campus and community about HIV and AIDS.|
|Ashley Tharayil teaches courses in development economics and health economics, where some attention is focused on women, and, issues that they face in education, health, and, society, in the US and around the world. She is also the Austin College liaison for the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP).|
|Audrey Flemming examines the politics of gender in both her research and her courses offered at Austin College. Gender politics is an issue that surfaces within her research related to democratic studies and identity politics. Her courses connected to these areas of study, such as Advanced Comparative Politics, Introduction to International Relations, Identity Politics, Introduction to Comparative Politics, Cuban Politics, and Latin American Politics, offer brief introductions to the politics of gender through the examination of relevant theoretical frameworks and case studies.|
Erin Copple Smith studied gender & sexuality as part of her PhD program in Media & Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is excited to bring that work to bear on her teaching within the Gender Studies program at Austin College. In her classes, she asks students to consider the role that media play in representing and perpetuating norms related to gender and sexuality, and also how we as audience members and citizens can think critically about those norms when they encounter them.
Recent courses count toward the gender studies minor:
ANTH 250/350 - Anthropology of Sex and Gender
PSY 235 - Psychology of Gender
SCI 201 - Women and Science
REL 253 - Sex, Self, and Society
ENG 250 - Literature and Sexualities
HIST 253 - Women in Europe
MEDA 250 - Mediating Gender and Sexuality
ENG 252 - Literature, Medicine, and Culture
PSCI 250/350 - Identity Politics
Careers for students of gender studies are as diverse as the programs which support it. Students hone a repertoire of abilities in critical thinking, writing, and research as well as a set of knowledges necessary for ethical and effective leadership. These students have earned valuable insights into situations of power and inequality within complex systems. Recent graduates have pursued careers in the ministry, education, social work, the arts, business, and the military.
No matter your future goals or occupation, gender and sexuality issues impact your career, your community, and the world. Understanding how gender influences these conditions and experiences culturally, legally, economically, and politically can help you improve your career, your workplace, your community, and the world at large.
Links of Interest:
- National Women's Studies Association (NWSA)
- American Men's Studies Association
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, & Intersex Association (note: not an academic association, but one accredited by the UN)
- Center for LGBTQ Studies
The Gender Studies faculty are committed to creating classrooms that respect the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity in our community and to supporting students wherever they are in their self-understanding. One of Austin College’s fundamental values is nourishing a community that is diverse in many ways. In recent years, the college has been deepening its inclusion of diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity. Faculty and staff have been increasing their understanding of the best ways to educate a student body that includes students who identify as straight, as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGB/T/Q), in many other ways — as well as students who are still exploring how they want to identify in a safe environment. LGB/T/Q students have formed groups to support one another. The Board of Trustees has established college policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity (along with race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, or veteran status).