Photograph of WGSS students and faculty at a celebration.

Our History


The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Oregon State University was founded in 1972, originally as “Women Studies.” In recent years, our program joined Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, and World Languages and Cultures, to create the School of Language, Culture, and Society. As such, we are part of a vibrant and flourishing intellectual community. In 2012-2013, we renamed the program “Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies” to reflect our deepening commitment to queer studies and work on sexuality more broadly, as well as scholarship regarding gender constructions and processes, and critical men and masculinity studies. We have grown to include twelve core faculty members, numerous adjunct instructors, and more than fifty program faculty members from across the university. We offer a Ph.D., an M.A., and a B.A. as well as minors in WGSS and Queer Studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Our Mission and Values

Our program relies on multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of gender and sexuality, particularly as they intersect with race, ethnicity, class, culture, religion, nation, and ability. Our program emphasizes academic excellence, the use of feminist and anti-racist pedagogies, and scholarship that contributes to social change and justice. We are committed to challenging all forms of oppression, and we center queer, transnational, and women of color feminisms in our curriculum. We encourage creative, innovative, and collaborative frameworks of study, and we work to meet the needs of a wide range of students, developing curriculum that is meaningful for students who wish to pursue careers in academia, as well as those who may be interested in community organizing, feminist nonprofit work, and/or other professional areas.

Our Faculty

Our core faculty members are:

  • Dr. Bradley Boovy teaches in both Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the World Languages and Cultures Program. Dr. Boovy's courses focus on men and masculinities and queer film. He is currently collaborating with colleagues from across campus to develop a minor in Critical Men and Masculinities Studies.
  • Dr. Liddy Detar advises our undergraduate majors/minors in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and coordinates our undergraduate internship program.  She also teaches "Women: Self and Society," "Violence Against Women," "Women Worldwide," and "International Women.
  • Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill is the Director of Graduate Studies and the organizer of our Queer Studies program. S/he is a writer, scholar, educator, activist, and performer who specializes in queer and two-spirit indigenous studies.  S/he teaches "Introduction to Queer Studies," "Queer Theories," "Queer Indigenous Studies," and "Queer/Trans People of Color Art/Activism," as well as the graduate seminar "Systems of Oppression in Women's Lives."
  • Dr. Patti Duncan is the Coordinator of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She specializes in transnational feminist theories and movements, women of color feminisms, feminist media studies, and motherhood studies. Her courses include "Disney: Gender, Race, Empire," "Politics of Motherhood in Global Contexts," "Women in World Cinema," and graduate seminars "Transnational Feminisms" and "Women of Color Feminisms." 
  • Kryn Freehling-Burton teaches introductory courses including "Women: Self, and Society" and "Women: Personal and Social Change," as well as other courses including "Women in the Movies" and "Gender and Science." She coordinates our online major/minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and is also active in theater projects as an actor and playwright.
  • Dr. Janet Lee is a sociologist with research interests in feminist theories and narrative methodologies and women and literary histories. She teaches undergraduate introductory courses and global perspectives on women as well as graduate coursework in Theories of Feminism.
  • Dr. Ron Mize is an Associate Professor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Ethnic Studies. His scholarly research focuses on the historical origins of racial, class, and gender oppression in the lives of Mexicano/as residing in the United States. Dr. Mize teaches the graduate seminar "Critical Race Feminisms."
  • Dr. Nana Osei-Kofi  is the Director of the Difference, Power, & Discrimination (DPD) Program. Her work focuses on critical and feminist social theories and pedagogies, the politics of American higher education, and visual cultural studies/arts-based inquiry. Dr. Osei-Kofi teaches "Feminist Leadership" and "The Inclusive Classroom."
  • Dr. H. Rakes' research areas include queer theory, queer of color critique, disability studies, trans studies, and women of color feminisms—especially the convergences of these fields.
  • Dr. Larry Roper directs the College Student Services Administration Graduate Program as well as the Social Justice Studies Undergraduate Minor. He specializes in Leadership, Community Development, Diversity, Identity, and Social Justice.
  • Dr. Susan Shaw is the Director of the School of Language, Culture and Society and she continues to teach in the program. Her research interests include women and rock 'n' roll as well as women and religion. She teaches "Feminist Theology and Spirituality" and "Feminist Teaching and Learning."
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sheehan teaches in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. She specializes in late-19th and 20th-century American and British literatures and visual and material culture, and she offers various courses on gender, race, and modern literatures as well as the graduate seminars, "Feminist Textual and Discourse Analysis" and "Fashion, Gender, Modernity."
  • Dr. Mehra Shirazi's work focuses on health disparities through the lens of social justice with regard to class, race, geography, environment, immigrant status, and gender. She teaches "Global Perspectives on Women's Health," "Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Health," and "Feminist Research," a graduate seminar focusing on community-based participatory research methods.

Our faculty members have won numerous teaching, research, service, and development awards and are actively involved in the life of the University.

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