The gender, sexuality and women’s studies program has given out majors to students since the early 1970s. Now, the department is looking to address a minor issue.
The GSWS program will offer a minor in LGBTQ and critical sexuality studies this semester, which requires 18 credits in classes about sexuality through a variety of lenses.
According to the GSWS website, the minor will allow students to address “the social, political, medical and theoretical foundations of what we call sexuality.” The minor is available beginning this semester, so if a graduating senior has completed the requirements, they are able to apply for the minor.
Critical sexuality studies is distinct from the general GSWS program in the way it approaches the study of sexuality. According to Frayda Cohen, the director of undergraduate studies in the GSWS program and the advisor for the new minor, critical sexuality studies approaches the study of sexuality in an interdisciplinary way.
“[Critical sexuality studies doesn’t see] sexuality as part and parcel of something else, but rather as the central line of inquiry,” Cohen said. “That means it would cross English, anthropology, sociology, various methodologies in search of this kind of critical exploration of sexuality.”
Cohen said the program started the minor to reach out to groups of students who didn’t see their interests represented in the general study of gender and sexuality studies.
“We felt although a lot of our courses certainly speak to a broad array of gender expression [and] sexuality expression, that there was a certain population in the school who weren’t seeing our curriculum as something for them,” Cohen said. “Part of it is reaching out to students who are interested in critical sexuality studies, specifically.”