An interdisciplinary and dynamic field, Women’s Studies has undergone impressive expansion in recent decades. In the Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research, students study women, gender, and sexuality in terms of cultural norms and their implications for people’s lives and for social justice. We approach these topics with a feminist lens and from perspectives emerging from the interlinked fields of feminist, queer, trans and critical race theory. We explore how gender intersects with other axes of identity such as race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, (dis)ability, age, and more. Our department’s expertise encapsulates a wide array of interdisciplinary strengths across feminist theory and various feminist approaches to health studies, media studies, history, globalization and development studies, law, philosophy, writing studies and literature, and film and visual culture, as well as significant work in queer theory and sexuality studies. We are one of only a few units across the university recognized as a department in both the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Faculty of Social Science. Further, we have a rich network of Affiliate faculty members appointed in many other departments across Western who are integral members of our learning community. We promote feminist scholarship through provision for resident scholars, a distinguished Speakers Series, faculty colloquia, annual conferences (including Flaunting It!, our undergraduate conference on gender and sexuality). We also have an active and lively Women’s Studies Students’ Collective which organizes talks, performances, and social events and annually publishes selected undergraduate essays and creative work in their journal Tulips.
With a focus on learning through debate, inquiry, and critical reflection and analysis, WSFR invites students to discover and critique feminist interventions in traditional modes of knowing and to generate their own methods of discernment within the extensive areas of women, gender, sexuality, and diversity.