Feminist Studies is an interdisciplinary area of inquiry that has been producing cutting-edge research and fostering innovative teaching for over thirty years. It is interdisciplinary because it draws from and contributes to theories and methodologies central to disciplines throughout the social sciences and humanities. At the same time, like other disciplines that emerged from existing areas of study, it has developed a research tradition, an approach to methodology, a body of theory, journals, a professional association, conferences, curricula, graduate programs, and the other institutional accoutrements of an autonomous discipline.
The roots of Feminist Studies lie in the study of women’s experiences and a critique of their neglect in knowledge production. But the name “Feminist Studies” reflects the fact that the subject matter includes more than women: research and teaching focus on the ways that relations of gender, intersecting with race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, age, religion, ability, and other categories of difference, are embedded in social, political, and cultural formations. Feminist Studies encompasses teaching and research interests in men and masculinities and sexualities, as well as women.