Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies 50-year Celebration

For 50 years, OSU’s program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies has offered feminist education, encouraged feminist activism, and advocated for inclusion, equity, and justice on OSU’s campus and beyond. We’re recognizing this milestone anniversary with a celebration week, starting January 23 with a keynote by feminist activist and scholar Loretta J. Ross and concluding with an alumni reunion weekend and celebration dinner.

We invite alumni, current and former program faculty, supporters, and students to join us for the week’s events. We hope many alumni can return to campus for our weekend reunion, but, for all those who can’t make it to Corvallis, we’re also offering many activities as virtual or hybrid opportunities. Links to sign up can be found below.

Celebration Events

Monday, January 23, 5:30 p.m., CH2M HILL Alumni Center
Keynote Lecture: Loretta Ross

Loretta Ross joined the women's movement in 1978 by working at the first rape crisis center in the country where she learned about women's human rights, reproductive justice, white supremacy, and women of color organizing. She co-founded SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities.

Watch the keynote.

Tuesday, January 24, 5:30 p.m. | Virtual Poetry Reading "Writing as Resistance"

OSU students, faculty and staff, alumni, retired and former faculty and staff, donors, and those who have spoken, presented or collaborated with faculty and students at OSU are invited to share original work challenging all forms of oppression.

To participate, submit the full text of a poem or prose performance piece, plus a three sentence biography to event organizers at the link below. Work submitted can be any style and any length, but should not exceed three minutes when spoken aloud.

Submissions close January 20, 2023. Those whose work is selected for reading will be notified by January 21. The Writing as Resistance Coffeehouse will be held via Zoom from 5:30-7 on January 24, 2023.


Wednesday, January 25, 5:30 p.m. | Virtual Book Club

We invite you to read Sara Ahmed’s "Living a Feminist Life" and then join us us on Zoom for a discussion led by Dr. Susan Bernardin, director of the School of Language, Culture, and Society and faculty member in WGSS.


Thursday, January 26, 5:30 p.m., The LaSells Stewart Center (Ag Production Room)
WGSS Today: Issues and Activisms - Hybrid Panel Discussion

Leaders in the field will join us on campus and via zoom to talk about where the field of WGSS is today, important issues for the field, and significant issues of concern for feminist activism and education.

Panelists: Dr. Carrie Baker, Smith College; Dr. Tracy Butts, California State University, Chico; Dr. Melinda de Jesus, California College of the Arts; Dr. Priya Kandaswamy, San Diego State University; Dr. Andres Lopez, Carleton University, Dr. Jules Gill-Peterson; 
Johns Hopkins University.



Alumni Reunion: January 27-29

The cost for the full Alumni Reunion is $250 per person and includes the reception, celebration dinner, drag show, and continental breakfast.

You may select to register for a single day, or all of the reunion, by purchasing tickets in the link below.

Register Now

Friday, January 27 
  • Alumni Reception | 5:30-7 p.m., Reser Stadium, Loge
    • Registration closed
  • Meet and greet | 7 p.m., Whiteside Theatre
  • Drag Show | 8 p.m., Whiteside Theatre. Free for OSU faculty and students. Cost for non-OSU community members: $10.
Saturday, January 28
  • Campus Tour | 10 a.m., TBA
  • Arts and Activism Exhibit and Project | 11 a.m., Memorial Union
  • WGSS Faculty Hybrid Panel, “WGSS at OSU Today,” | 1 p.m., Memorial Union Horizon Room
    • Panelists: Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill, Dr. Patti Duncan,  Kryn Burton-Freehling, Dr. Susan Shaw and Dr. Mehra Sherazi
    • Zoom link
  • Alumni Hybrid Panel, “What Can You Do with a WGSS Degree?” | 2 p.m., Memorial Union Horizon Room
    • Panelists: Michelle Kilkenny, Dawn Schiller, Andrés Lopez, Lindsay Schnell, Folah Fletcher and Makiko Matsumoto
    • Zoom link
  • Graduate Student Hybrid Panel, “What Are Today’s Graduate Students Researching?” | 3 p.m., Memorial Union Horizon Room
    • Liz Flud, Kyles Gemmell, Kobe Natachu, and Trung Nguyen
    • Zoom link
  • 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner | 5:30 p.m., Memorial Union Horizon Room
    • Cost: $50 per person (cost is already included in the alumni reunion fee). $20 discounted student tickets available.
      • Registration closed
Sunday, January 29
  • Drop-in Continental Breakfast | 8-10 a.m., TBA

Origins of WGSS at Oregon State University

50 years ago, Oregon State University’s Women Studies Program came into existence as the result of a sex discrimination lawsuit by Dr. Jeanne Dost. Working with Dr. Margaret Lumpkin and Dr. Joanne Trow, Dr. Dost founded and directed Women’s Studies and the Women’s Center, among the first programs and centers in the country. Feminist faculty members from around the university taught the original courses on overload and without compensation.

When Dr. Dost retired, Dr. Janet Lee became director in 1991 and led Women Studies to become an active part of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program. She also developed an undergraduate minor in WS and placed a number of WS courses in the baccalaureate core.

Dr. Susan Shaw co-directed and then became director of the program in 2000 and worked with colleagues to develop a BA/BS, MA, and PhD. OSU is one of only 19 programs in the country to offer the doctoral degree. In 2012, the program changed its name to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies to reflect both new hires within the program and current trends in the discipline. Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill created a Queer Studies undergraduate and graduate minor in 2013.

The program became part of the School of Language, Culture, and Society in 2010 and since then has been coordinated by Dr. Lee and Dr. Patti Duncan. Currently Dr. Driskill, Dr. Mehra Shirazi, and Kryn Freehling-Burton serve as co-coordinators.

WGSS Today

Today, WGSS at Oregon State is a vibrant program with 12 core faculty members and 18 graduate teaching assistants. 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 curriculum reflects the diversity of expertise, experience, and identity of our faculty. At the undergraduate level, we offer such exciting courses as Queer Pop Culture; Disney: Gender, Race, Empire; Feminist Activisms, Men and Masculinities in Global Context; Politics of Motherhood in Global Context; Indigenous Two-Spirit and Queer Studies; Women of Color Feminisms; Transgender Lives; Muslim Women; and Arts and Social Justice. At the graduate level we offer such courses as Critical Race Feminisms; Queer of Color Critiques; Race, Gender, and Health Justice; Transnational Sexualities; Decolonizing Methodologies; Feminist Textual Methodologies; and Social Justice Theory and Practice.

Our undergraduate program is fully online. WGSS has been a leader in Ecampus since the late 1990s, and students around the country and across the world enroll in our BA/BS degree program.

Our program houses two scholarly journals. Dr. Patti Duncan is editor of Feminist Formations, one of the leading journals in the field. Dr. Susan Shaw is a founding co-editor of the ADVANCE Journal, a peer-reviewed online open access journal about institutional transformation, inclusion, equity, and justice. The journal is a product of the $3.5 million, 5-year (2014-2019) National Science Foundation Institutional Transformation grant that was housed in WGSS.

WGSS has also been a leader in study abroad, offering short term programs in the UK, India, Guatemala, Spain, and Costa Rica. The program also entered into a collaboration with Global Education Oregon to offer a fall semester-long program. Gender, Race, & Social Justice in London provides an opportunity for students to live and learn for 14 weeks in central London, taking courses with an OSU faculty leader and British faculty who are part of GEO’s London Centre.

Support WGSS

Sponsored by

  • College of Liberal Arts
  • Office of Institutional Diversity
  • Difference, Power and Discrimination Program
  • OSU Athletics
  • Hattie Redmond Women and Gender Center
  • Pride Center
  • Ecampus
  • Valley Library
  • Student Affairs
  • the ADVANCE Journal