1) How does the Women’s Studies Minor work with your major field of study? How has your study of women’s issues enriched your understanding of that major?
History: Women’s Studies is a new field, recent in history so there are not a lot of primary sources dealing with women’s issues, but there are lots of areas to study. Women’s studies is a model to study other minorities e.g. slaves, spouses. Also the perspectives are different between men and women. New influences reveal other viewpoints, sometimes even conflicting ones.
Sociology: Women’s Studies broadens the field of sociology adding to it feminist thought and theory and women’s roles in the construction of family. It also broadens its thoughts on equality. Pre-feminist theory left out women’s roles in society. Now they pay more attention to women’s issues.
Criminal Justice: Women’s Studies forces the field to pay more attention to women’s issues as well as to how race, class, and gender are interwoven and inseparable. It allows us to see other minority issues as well.
2) How has the Women’s Studies Minor Program increased your awareness of the significance of gender and gender roles in society? Do you watch the news or read newspapers differently as a result of studying in this program?
All three students felt that their study of women’s issues had increased their awareness of gender and gender roles in society. One said she was now more familiar with government policies. Also she was more aware of current issues, such as Title IX, that affect women, thanks to her women’s studies classes. Another said she was simply more aware of women’s issues altogether and looked at things differently to question women’s roles. In fact, she now questioned all subjects more, thinking more in depth about what is behind the newscasts and newspapers. A third added that she now noticed that women’s stories are so often relegated to the “Living” section of newspapers.
3) Describe your proposed Senior Seminar paper, thesis, and sources.
Although all three students were still at a fairly preliminary stage of the research for their senior seminar papers, they were still able to describe their topics and theses.
1)One student planned to study why Nebraska had first passed then rescinded the Equal Rights Amendment. Her study would be an oral history format, consisting mainly of interviews with the journalists who covered the story and with NOW members and officers in Omaha.
2)A second student would be studying mate selection on exchange theory, using mainly journal articles as sources.
3) The third student planned to study domestic violence comparing the Japanese and American cases, focusing either on laws or on different types of violence. A Domestic Violence law had recently been passed in Japan, but before that there had been nothing. That student was in contact with the Asian Women’s Document Center in Tokyo for sources.
4) What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the Women’s Studies Program?
The students came up with a substantial list of both strengths and weaknesses of the program and offered some concrete recommendations.
- An opportunity to establish strong personal and emotional ties and build a sense of community with other women’s studies students
- Women’s Studies courses are academically challenging
- Women’s Studies faculty take gender studies seriously, which not all faculty at UNK do.
- Women’s Studies classes offer more opportunity for discussion and encourage questions among students.
- Women’s Studies faculty encourage their students to attend and participate in academic conferences.
- There are too many sociology classes offered and not enough variety among the other WS courses
- There is a lack of recruitment for the WS program—it needs to promote the program especially in the Intro to WS class.
- The prerequisites for upper level WS classes outside a student’s major are often a problem.
- Have a table at Blue and Gold Day
- Co-offer a section of a General Studies class that would count for WS credit. For example, have one section of PSCI 110 or ENG 102 count for WS credit.
- Have an internship class
- Have WSTD 220 count as the prerequisite for some upper level WS courses.