Women’s and Gender Studies at Half a Century: Imagining the Future and Meeting the Challenges

UWM’s Women’s & Gender Studies celebrated our 50th anniversary at the 2024 Women’s Consortium Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. We offer an undergraduate major and minor, a stand-alone MA and two coordinated MA degrees with library science and social work, and an interdisciplinary graduate certificate. For this roundtable, we discussed our program’s history, recent achievements, and challenges we continue to face. Teaching and researching WGS at a public university and engaging in community outreach during an age of economic austerity in a political battleground state means addressing increasing attacks on queer and trans identity; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; immigrant communities; and critical race theory, while further policing our ability to speak out against geopolitical turmoil and settler coloniality locally, nationally, and globally. We took this opportunity to imagine the future of the WGS program and to discuss strategies for addressing these challenges. We also outlined pedagogical and programmatic models that require minimal financial support and options for expansion when additional financial, institutional, and community resources are available. We enjoyed a lively exchange of ideas and strategies with attendees.

Pictured are (l-r) Leah Wilson, Carolyn Eichner, Anna Mansson McGinty, Xin Huang, Kristin Pitt, Morgan Foster, and Sharity Bassett

Pictured are (l-r) Leah Wilson, Carolyn Eichner, Anna Mansson McGinty, Xin Huang, Kristin Pitt, Morgan Foster, and Sharity Bassett