Areas of Excellence

Concentrations of faculty with particular interests have created centers of excellence in the Women’s Studies Department. With significant concentrations of faculty supporting them, we offer joint PhD programs with the departments of English, History, Sociology, and Psychology, as well as Graduate Certificates in Women’s Studies and LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies.

Because of our faculty strengths in studies of gender and health; gender, race, and ethnicity; and LGBTQ studies, we also offer undergraduate minors in these areas. Through our hiring of jointly appointed faculty, our teaching across units and disciplines, and our collaboration with colleagues and students in our PhD programs, Women’s Studies enjoys strong ties with multiple units and is one of the most important interdisciplinary units at U-M.

The vitality of the Department and breadth of our research and teaching is reflected in several interdisciplinary rubrics that loosely organize our undergraduate major and our scholarly activities. Each rubric represents a concentration of Women’s Studies faculty interests and expertise:

  • Gender, Culture, and Representation—Focused on the humanities and the arts as well as cultural history, scholarship and teaching in this area explore the ways in which gendered meanings are produced through cultural artifacts, representations, and performances, both in the present and in the past. Faculty with expertise in European and American history, literature, and music comprise the core of this area.
  • Gender and Health—Studies in this area investigate how gender and health interrelate and are shaped within political, cultural, and environmental contexts. We are one of the only Women’s Studies Departments in the nation with several professional health practitioners (nurses, nurse-midwives, and MD's) as members of our permanent faculty.
  • Gender, Race, and Ethnicity—Scholars and students in this area scrutinize theories and histories of the interlocking nature of multiple categories of identity and difference. With joint faculty appointments with the ethnic studies programs within the Program in American Culture and the African and African American Studies Program, as well as in disciplinary departments, we have significant faculty strength in this area.
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ), and Sexuality Studies—Scholarship and pedagogy in this area explores the role of sexuality in individuals, in cultural representations, and in the distribution of power. The University of Michigan boasts one of the largest groups of faculty working in this area in the country, many of whom hold appointments in the Women’s Studies Department.
  • Gender in a Global Context—Research and teaching in this area examines issues in all of the other areas, but considers them in terms of our interconnectedness as part of a global community. A Global Feminisms Project, underwritten by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Rackham Graduate School, has propelled this area into developing cutting-edge curriculum, while ties to Fudan University in Shanghai and opportunities for international service learning during the spring/summer term have extended our global connections.