Scripps proposes big changes to GWS department name

By Lauren Prince ‘14Editor-in-Chief

Faculty of the Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) department have proposed changing the name of the department to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (FGS). This new name not only reflects the contemporary direction of the larger field of study, but also the subjects that the department engages in.

“To break the name down,” said Professor Chris Guzaitis, who, along with Professor Piya Chatterjee, proposed the name change, “‘feminist’ refers to how we theoretically and politically engage with the subjects of gender and sexuality as areas of study, so the name reflects both the subjects of study the department engages in and the theoretical approach to the study of these subjects.”

The proposed name change has been approved by the Academic Policy Sub-Committee of the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) and the FEC as a whole. On Thursday, May 9, it will be voted on and approved by the full faculty. Guzaitis also contacted the faculty from the other four schools whose courses are cross-listed, and they support the proposed name change.

“There is only one other college in the country that uses this specific name, Cornell University, but there are a large number of Feminist Studies departments, Gender Studies departments, and Sexuality Studies departments,” said Guzaitis.

By changing the name of the department, the name of the major on students’ diplomas will also change. There will, however, be no new requirements. There will also continue to be a Queer Studies track within the major.

The proposed name change will most immediately impact the first year students who begin this fall. Students who began at Scripps when the department was still named GWS can follow that catalog and graduate with a degree in GWS or can choose to change to the new name.

Lauren Mitten (’15) will choose to change her major according to the proposed name change. “Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies better reflects what we do in the major. I also like the political implications of noting that we are explicitly feminist and moving farther away from gender binary/essenialism,” she said.