Women's and Gender Studies

A guide to research in women's and gender studies

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Definition of the Disciplines

One definition of the studies, from CREDO:

Women’s Studies (WST) is a multidisciplinary curriculum that identifies and challenges the androcentric (male-biased) foundation of society. It seeks to integrate information about women into society at both the individual and the structural or institutional levels and to illuminate the male biases that permeate society, particularly in academia. A suporter of women’s studies generally contends that knowledge is socially created. What has historically been accepted as “knowledge” and “fact” is actually androcentric, based primarily, if not completely, on the experiences of men. Historically, men have controlled society, they have been able to define whom and what is considered important or appropriate to study as well as how to study it. As a result of this male bias, much academic scholarship has excluded women and other minorities. 

Women’s Studies. (2001). In World of Sociology, Gale. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com.ursus-proxy-7.ursus.maine.edu/entry/worldsocs/women_s_studies


Gender Studies a multidisciplinary approach to studying gender. It considers the nature of gender, its social construction, why and how gender is important in different cultures, and the ramifications of gender at the institutional and individual levels. Gender studies is related to, but different from, women’s studies, which focuses on changing androcentric (male-biased) social institutions, particularly academia, to incorporate the contributions and experiences of women. Gender studies looks at the problematic nature of gender as a theoretical and methodological concept.

Gender Studies. (2001). In World of Sociology, Gale. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com.ursus-proxy-7.ursus.maine.edu/entry/worldsocs/gender_studies


LGBT: The phrase lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) refers to members of a community of people marginalized by sexuality and gender. The acronym LGBT itself owes its existence to decades of identity politics and organizing. Ethnoracial minorities who are LGBT face specific issues where sexuality, gender, and their experience as people of color intertwine, and LGBT categories are infused with racial readings not often discussed. This entry consists of two sections; the first discusses the historical relationship between these categories, and the second addresses specific aspects that relate to ethnoracial groups, LGBT identity, and community organizing.

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER. (2008). In Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com.ursus-proxy-7.ursus.maine.edu/entry/sagerace/lesbian_gay_bisexual_and_transgender

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