UCSD’s Critical Gender Studies program began as Women’s Studies in the 1970s, alongside both an active non-academic women’s rights movement and the nascent institutionalization of women’s studies as an academic presence. The program was initiated with participation from students and faculty across the humanities and social sciences, including many of the same departments that continue to be involved. From the beginning, it understood itself as an interdisciplinary countercurrent, drawing from these disciplines and simultaneously offering a critique of accepted ideas and beliefs within them.
In the late 90s, the program’s faculty introduced curricular revisions and the name change to Critical Gender Studies. With this, UCSD became one of the first institutions formally to acknowledge and to embrace the importance of sexuality and racial formation for the interdisciplinary study of gender. Always forward-thinking and rigorously interdisciplinary, the program has proven immensely useful and enriching for the undergraduate students who have partaken in it for the last several decades. Given the rich history and roots of this program, we are pleased to announce that such benefits now extend to graduate students through the CGS graduate specialization.
UCSD has long been a vibrant site for the study of gender and sexuality, with many graduate students and faculty already engaged in gender-related projects. These students and faculty have collaboratively organized toward recognition of this focus in their research. The specialization has been put in place to respond to such demands, providing a central program through which graduate students may develop their work among peers who take up similar questions. The program encourages applications from all graduate students (who have been admitted to the participating departments) whose work takes up questions of gender. Through the contributions of CGS faculty who specialize in women of color feminism(s) and queer of color critique, the program helps to develop and foster an understanding of gender as necessarily linked to race, sexuality and other social formations.