Women, Gender, and Sexuality

The Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has over a dozen scholars who teach and specialize in women's, gender, and sexuality history. This makes the history department one of the strongest faculties in the United States for research and study in this field. The program emphasizes the comparative study of women, gender, and sexuality, with strengths in social, cultural, imperial, and transnational history. Running through the diverse fields of study is an attention to the intersectionality of gender and/or sexuality with other vectors of difference such as race, class, and, religion. Research and teaching interests of the faculty include manliness and masculinities, queer theory, imperial and colonial studies, the body and reproduction, and feminism and feminist history.  Many other faculty on campus are engaged with issues of women, gender, and sexuality and welcome students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to the field.      

A lively community of graduate students and faculty work together to pursue mutual interests and engage in learning outside of the classroom.  Since the spring of 2000 graduate students in the department have organized an annual conference on Women's and Gender History in conjunction with women's history month.

Program of Study

Students may elect to prepare either a major or minor field in the history of women, gender, and sexuality. The field is structured as a comparative one. Students normally select two major geographic areas and/or periods (e.g., United States and Europe; India and Britain). Preliminary examinations are tailored to students' individualized programs of study.

To incorporate gender and women's studies scholarship more fully into their research, students in History may, in addition, choose to complete a graduate minor in Gender and Women's Studies. The minor consists of three courses, including one in feminist theory and one outside the student's home discipline. Doctoral minors in Gender and Women's Studies are encouraged to design dissertation topics around issues of women and/or gender and sexuality.