Women's Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island explores scholarship and theories about gender and other social identities. Through core and cross-listed courses students examine identity as a category of analysis, investigate the construction of social differences, and explore the impact that these considerations have on knowledge production.
Women's Studies recognizes that questions of social identity make a difference to people's lives; it researches how taking identities into account changes what we know and can know about social formations; it explores the importance of "differences" between people, recognizing that "difference"is often about (unequal) power relations; it investigates how other identity markers such as race, sexuality, (dis) abilities, national identity, etc. make a difference to what we mean when we talk about "women" or "men"; and it creates new scholarship that acknowledges the difference that considerations of identity make to how we know and can act in the world.
Women's Studies is a self-reflexive project — that is, in addition to generating new knowledge that takes social identities into consideration, it also always asks questions about the construction of those categories of identity themselves. Thus, in Women's Studies, identity is more than a description or variable to take into consideration; it is an area of constant question and contestation -- and a central focus of the discipline. The academic discipline of Women's Studies involves the critical examination of existing theories and research and the expansion of knowledge through generating new questions across a wide variety of disciplines and issues.
Women's Studies gives students expertise and flexibility in a number of different fields, and provides them with critical-thinking skills and the kind of background and training more and more relevant to today's world. In Women's Studies, students acquire: knowledge and social awareness about differences between groups of people and respect for that diversity; the capacity to ask critical questions about how the world is organized--and posit other possibilities; and broad communication skills and the ability to see, understand, and translate multiple points of view for different audiences. Pursuing a program of study in Women's Studies strengthens individual intellectual and personal development, and is valuable preparation for a variety of career fields after graduation, including (although not limited to!) law, administration, non-profit organizations, NGOs, social work, education, health professions, life sciences, academia, government service, business, counseling, journalism, leisure and recreation, and library science, among others.
Students can complete a Major or a Minor in Women's Studies. Requirements for each of these can be found in the UPEI calendar. For more information, contact the Co-ordinator of Women's Studies, Ann Braithwaite via e-mail or in person in Main 504.
And be sure to check the Notices column on the side of this page often for information on upcoming Women's Studies and Women's Studies Society events (discussions, public talks, films, etc.), so you don't miss out on our range of exciting activities! We're making plans for the upcoming academic year already!
Want to know more about Women's Studies in the rest of Canada? Check out the home page of the (newly named) Women's and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes -- the national organization in Canada, for more information. And feel free to send me an email or drop by my office anytime with questions... or just to chat!
Ann Braithwaite, Ph.D.
Site updated: July 19, 2011>>>top