Women's Studies to Gender Studies

Women's studies "founding mothers" Drs. Paddy Tsurumi, Constance Rooke and Jenny Waelti-Walters (above)
UVic women's studies courses were first offered in 1979, after six years of student demand and much lobbying by professors who supported the idea. Drs. Paddy Tsurumi, Constance Rooke and Jenny Waelti-Walters (above, L to R) were the "founding mothers." Tsurumi's button read, "Question Authority!"

Gender studies is a serious academic discipline, with courses and programs at North American universities for almost 40 years. It is one of the most dynamic new fields of research and scholarship.

The University of Victoria is widely recognized as having one of the best undergraduate gender studies programs in the country. UVic gender studies instructors have won teaching awards and prestigious research grants in recognition of their excellence and commitment.

In response to student demand, women's studies courses were first offered at UVic in 1979. In 2016, the department name changed to the Department of Gender Studies. Today, you can follow an honours, major or minor/general program in gender studies, or take one or more courses as electives.

All UVic students are welcome in gender studies. You can choose from courses based on a broad range of feminist knowledge that includes Indigenous women's writing and film, the medicalization of sex, feminist perspectives on popular culture, gender and international development, queer studies, the construction of masculinities, human rights and globalization, anti-racist education and activism, girlhood studies, international trafficking in women, and gender, nation and war.

UVic gender studies mission statement

The Department of Gender Studies at the University of Victoria offers students a range of cutting edge courses that address ‘gender’ as a social construction that intersects with other categories of difference within networks of power. Course topics include examinations of the relationships between gender and race, nation, citizenship, geographical location, class, sexuality, sex, ability, and age in the contexts of colonization, capitalism, globalization, and transnationalism. Interdisciplinary faculty research frames the department’s curriculum and its areas of analysis: Indigenous resurgence, anti-racism, nationalisms, human rights and development, medicalization, girlhoods, cultural production, and post-structuralism. Gender Studies, a discipline previously identified as Women’s Studies, continues to highlight historical and contemporary feminist scholarship, but also broadens this established approach with courses inclusive of queer and trans perspectives as well as the production of masculinities. Underlying all Gender Studies courses is the active pursuit of social justice enabled by critical analyses that expose inequities and interrogate their systemic foundations.