The Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality (GCWS) at MIT brings together scholars and teachers at nine degree-granting institutions in the Boston area who are devoted to graduate teaching and research in Women's Studies and to advancing interdisciplinary Women's Studies scholarship.
The GCWS is designed to train a new generation of feminist scholars and teachers. The seminars reflect the important conceptual and theoretical innovations in the field that can result from cross-disciplinary collaboration. Faculty explicitly integrate analyses of class, race, culture, ethnicity, and sexualities and consider the practical implications of feminist theory. Courses are designed not only to examine existing feminist scholarship, but to open paths to the creation of new knowledge. Graduate courses also provide crucial intellectual support for students pursuing feminist work within the framework of the traditional disciplines.
The life force of the GCWS is our network of faculty. We convene regional faculty workshops and forums in which participants forge intellectual connections across institutional and disciplinary boundaries. In addition, curriculum development programs provide opportunities for faculty to form interdisciplinary teaching teams to teach our graduate courses. These teaching experiences push disciplinary approaches and understandings, explore interdisciplinary questions, and evaluate and put into practice new forms of pedagogy. Faculty often bring these insights to bear on both individual and collaborative research and teaching in their home institutions. In addition to curriculum development programs, faculty serving on a rotating basis on the Board of Directors gain valuable experience in program and curriculum design and evaluation, administrative cooperation and feminist participatory leadership.
Our course offerings, workshops, and sponsored events build community among and beyond our member institutions. Junior and senior faculty and graduate students interested in Women's and Gender Studies often are isolated in their home institutions, where there may be few relevant courses offered regularly, or where few faculty may be conducting research on gender. The Consortium offers these scholars a lifeline—a stimulating and supportive environment that encourages intellectual risk-taking. Through GCWS participation, graduate students may tap interested faculty for dissertation committees or forge ties with scholars at other institutions for conference panels and collaborative research. Our program makes synergistic use of disparate resources to advance women's studies graduate education and research.
By its model of representative and consensual governance, the GCWS demonstrates a successful sharing of resources and faculty in the creation of a multi-institutional, as well as interdisciplinary, community of scholars. Students and faculty move beyond the struggles for legitimacy and inclusion as scholars and teachers to the work of advancing feminist scholarship. By convening scholars from different disciplines and different institutions, the GCWS offers both graduate students and faculty more intellectual collaboration than most individual institutions can. GCWS participants contribute what they've learned to their own institutions and can find in the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality support for their progress toward promotion and tenure. Both scholars and graduate students apply new interdisciplinary understandings to their research and teaching, multiplying our impact through their pedagogy and publications.
The Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139