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On Purpose: Portrait of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

August 16, 2018
To commemorate our 150th anniversary in 2018, the College of Liberal Arts commissioned 60 photographs taken by Xavier Tavera. Departments and programs partnered with Tavera to envision their images and to write the narratives that accompany each photograph. View On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts.

Three graduate students gather around a table.
Pictured L to R Jose Santillana, Nina Medvedeva, Nicholas-Brie Guarriello

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS) is a department, a vision, and continuous political labor.

We are a community of thinkers who prioritize human connection, alliance-building, and feminist and queer insurgencies within, across, and beyond familiar boundaries of social sciences, arts, and humanities.

Our engaged work spans institutions, social movements, bodies, and identities. We unsettle regimes of power in empires, governments, organizations, disciplines, and communities whenever and wherever the less powerful are silenced.

We make black, brown, indigenous, queer, and disabled bodies and struggles matter.

We agitate for justice and catalyze new worlds. We fight for spaces where those who have been rendered invisible as knowledge-makers in places of learning can whisper, scream, shout, and pray for radical social change.

We stand with those who have been multiply violated by our sociopolitical systems built on legacies of genocide, slavery, colonialism, and empire.

We reclaim ethics and aesthetics in anti-hierarchical ways. We tell stories in languages that have been erased, while continuously experimenting with new ways of relearning the meanings and practices of freedom for all.

We philosophize in ways that disrupt the violence of a white supremacist, sexist, heteropatriarchal, capitalist order, and we stand against fascism—past and present—in all forms. 

GWSS is forever changing because we believe that learning is always unfinished. This means that we are not shy to face our own complexities and contradictions inside and outside of the classrooms and the spaces of the University.