Formed in 1973, the Department of Women's Studies at the University of Minnesota was first in the nation to offer a major in women’s studies. Women’s studies as a field owes its emergence and institutionalization to feminism both as a social movement and as a way of knowing. Aware of its institutional location, academic feminism carefully considers the relationship between knowledge and power by challenging disciplines and their methodologies, decolonizing pedagogies, and striving to restructure institutional relationships between the university and its publics to address structural inequalities. We strive to decolonize knowledge by attending to the historical legacies and contemporary manifestations of capitalism, empire, and racism that are embedded and embodied throughout institutions including higher education.
As times have changed, we have evolved to address emerging concerns integrally related to the field. We added a feminist studies doctoral program in 1998 and became the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies to reflect some of these changes.
We continue to cross disciplinary and community boundaries to do our work. Through the engagement of students, community members, and scholars, we reflect upon the ethics, politics, and materiality of knowledge production.