By Jean Bowen
The department of Cultural Analysis and Theory (CAT) has launched a new graduate M.A. and Ph.D. program at Stony Brook University — more than two decades after the Women’s Studies department was established at the University.
This brings great news and opportunities for Women’s and Gender studies majors on campus hoping to pursue a higher education through exploring feminist theories in the history of cultures, media, literature, law, medicine, social structures and institutional organizations. The programs hope to challenge and inspire students to think about concepts of race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and disabilities.
“A lot of hard work and coordinating went into completion of the new programs at Stony Brook University,” said Dr. Lisa Diedrich, professor and director of graduate studies in the department of Cultural Analysis and Theory. “The M.A. and Ph.D. in Women’s and Gender Studies have long been in the works and countless people at Stony Brook have helped bring about the new programs.”
Many of the CAT professors have been the pioneers of Women’s and Gender studies at Stony Brook University, establishing and implementing programs to build the department since the 1990s.
“Faculty, administrative resources and an excellent conceptual and curricular foundation are already in place for the expeditious delivery of a world-class doctoral program,” said Diedrich, who has an M.A. in Women’s Studies from Lancaster University in England and a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She has taught at Stony Brook University since graduating in 2001.
Having both new degree programs are a dream come true for many students, all striving to gain experience and a quality education through a state university, at an affordable price. So what makes the program so unique and versatile for students? As released from the department on the Stony Brook Graduate School website:
The program is particularly strong in feminist theory, with graduate faculty from the Departments of Art, Comparative Studies, English, Hispanic Languages and Literature, History, and Philosophy offering courses in this area. Other areas of concentration include European and Latin American women’s history; women in British, American, and Caribbean literature; women in the Third World; women in science and medicine; and queer studies.
In 1969, the first Women’s Studies course was taught at Cornell University. The first Women’s Studies Programs in the country were created at San Diego State College and SUNY-Buffalo in 1970. According to research from the National Women’s Studies Association, as of 2012, there are only 16 institutions in the United States offering a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies.
Stony Brook University’s CAT undergraduate program — advised previously by Ritchie Calvin and now Nancy Hiemstra — has opened up many outlets in internships and careers at various centers on Long Island. These centers include Planned Parenthood, Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY), The University hospital, the Wo/Men’s and Gender Resource Center and The Center for Prevention and Outreach (CPO) office on SBU’s campus.
Undergraduate majors in the CAT department feature a B.A. in Cinema and Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, Humanities, Interdisciplinary Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.
The undergraduate major in Women’s and Gender Studies offers two tracks for major, specializing in either Gender, Sexuality and Public Health (GSPH) or Gender and Social Change (GSC). A graduate certificate has been offered through Stony Brook University in Women’s Studies as well as a five year Women’s and Gender Studies B.A./M.A. program in Public Health. The CAT department now offers three current graduate degree tracks: Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies.
“The new M.A. and Ph.D. will also be exciting for Women’s and Gender Studies undergraduates because the new (WaGS) graduate students will help model innovative interdisciplinary feminist research and pedagogy for undergraduates, especially those wanting to go on for further study in this area,” Diedrich said.
Every course has been designed to open students’ minds about the world around them from a feminist perspective. Concepts of feminism are explored through various works of famous writers, philosophers, scholars, activists and the experiences of real people.
Students enrolled into either the major or minor of Women’s and Gender Studies find passion and appreciation of their privileges in society and a purpose through the multiple courses offered at Stony Brook University.
Having graduate and doctorate programs will pave way for students to obtain careers in social work, law, public health, nursing, teaching, public policy as well as working for or establishing non-profit organizations.
Announcements from the university have been released stating that the new master’s program in Women’s and Gender Studies and Ph.D. program will soon be accepting applicants for the 2014-2015 academic year.
For more information on both graduate programs, visit the university’s website for Cultural Analysis and Theory, or stop by the department, room 2048 in the Humanities building, between the Javits Lecture Hall and the Administration building.