Introduction to Women's Studies and the Susan B. Anthony Institute
Gender and Women's Studies focuses on the experiences of diverse groups of women and the changing cultural, economic, political, and psychological relations between women and men. Because women's studies asks questions about women and about gender that no single academic department is able to answer, the program encourages an interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. The program includes faculty from the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, who are appointed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Eastman School of Music, the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the Simon School of Business, the School of Nursing, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Areas of faculty interest include women in history, society, and politics; women and ethnicity; women and psychology; feminism in science and technology; feminism in literature, art, and media; and gay and lesbian studies.
The Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies is named to honor Susan B. Anthony, the nineteenth-century suffragist who led a successful campaign to have women admitted to the University of Rochester in 1900. The Institute draws on Anthony's goals and ideals and preserves her rich historical connection with the city of Rochester.
In 1980 the University launched a concentration in women's studies to address scholarly and curricular issues important for understanding the role of women. The program was officially opened in 1982, and in 1986 the University established the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Studies to support the program, faculty research, and attention to women's issues. In 1991 the Institute was awarded a three-year Rockefeller Foundation Grant. The Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships allowed us to have in residence visiting scholars whose work focused on the intersection of race, gender, and visual culture. The Institute name was amended between 1996 and 1997 to the more inclusive "Gender & Women's Studies."
The Institute sponsors monthly faculty research seminars, conferences, and a public lecture series. We offer an undergraduate major and minor in women's studies, and a graduate certificate in gender and women's studies. Susan B. Anthony Institute research grants, graduate teaching fellowships, and graduate dissertation fellowships support the ongoing research and curricular development of our faculty and students. Each year the Institute, in conjunction with the English department and Writers and Books, awards the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for excellence in fiction by an American woman. Past recipients include Gail Godwin, Mary Gordon, Ursula LeGuin, Toni Morrison, Marianne Wiggins, and Karen Tei Yamashita.