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social sciences

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Women's Studies  
page: 1  2  3  

Transgendered individuals who were born female but identify as male face much the same marginalization as male students in some women's studies courses, except that some feminists view this group as traitors to womanhood and thus actively discount their experience as women.

Individuals born male who identify as female are sometimes seen as "fake women" within women's studies.

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Both transgendered groups find their own experiences reflected within the women's studies curriculum only in the most progressive of departments. Even in these departments, it often takes significant pressure--from students or concerned faculty--for courses to explore transgendered experiences and issues.

Contemporary and Future Issues in Women's Studies

The discipline of women's studies is still struggling with ways of incorporating the experiences of all women into its area of study. Not only are lesbians, bisexual women, and transgendered people still marginalized within the field, but also women of color, poor and working class women, and women with disabilities.

Women's studies' roots in first-wave feminism probably account for its focus on white, heterosexual, middle-class women. As women's studies and feminism more generally realize the need to be inclusive, the very category of "woman" faces continual redefinition.

The inclusion of transgendered experiences into women's studies will, likely, be the greatest impetus for refining the definition of "woman."

However, inasmuch as women's studies is heavily reliant on post-modern theory, which is a branch of social theory that challenges the notion of an objective understanding of reality apart from authority structures, the continual re-interpretation of the field of women's studies is in a sense built into the field itself. Significantly, post-modern feminist theory challenges the idea that there is a single way to define "woman." This insight is likely to help shape women's studies into a more inclusive discipline.

Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur

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Aaron, Jane, and Sylvia Walby, eds. Out of the Margins: Women's Studies in the Nineties. London: Faimer Press, 1991.

Anderson, Mary, et al. Doing Feminism: Teaching and Research in the Academy. East Lansing: Michigan State University, 1997.

Butler, Judith P. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Culley, Margo, and Catherine Portuges, eds. Gendered Subjects: The Dynamics of Feminist Teaching. Boston: Routledge, 1985.

Earnshaw, Steven, ed. Just Postmodernism. Amsterdam: Rodophi, 1997.

Garber, Linda, ed. Tilting the Tower: Lesbians, Teaching, Queer Subjects. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Griffin, Gabrielle, ed. Changing Our Lives: Doing Women's Studies. London: Pluto Press, 1994.

Hesse-Biber, Charlene, Christina Gilmartin, and Robin Lydenberg,eds. Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Hinds, Hilary, Ann Phoenix, and Jackie Stacey, eds. Working Out: New Directions for Women's Studies. London: Faliner Press, 1992.

Kennedy, Mary, Cathy Lubelska, and Val Walsh, eds. Making Connections: Women's Studies,Women's Movements, Women's Lives. London: Taylor & Francis, 1993.

Korenman, Joan. "Women's Studies Programs Worldwide."

Messer-Davidow, Ellen. Disciplining Feminism: From Social Activism to Academic Discourse. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2002.

Rogers, Mary Francis. Who's Afraid of Women's Studies? Feminisms in Everyday Life. Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 2002.

Sahli, Nancy Ann. Women and Sexuality in America: A Bibliography. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1984.

Stimpson, Catherine. Women's Studies in the United States. New York: Ford Foundation, 1986.

Tierny, Helen, ed. Women's Studies Encyclopedia. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989.

Vicinus, Martha, ed. Lesbian Subjects: A Feminist Studies Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.


    Citation Information
    Author: Arthur, Mikaila Mariel Lemonik  
    Entry Title: Women's Studies  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated March 7, 2011  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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