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women’s studies or needs to have a main focus in order to do its work. After I weighed both sides, I agree with Brown’s argument that feminism should be transformed into a universal subject that can be studied in many fields. First, the curriculum for the women’s studies program is not focused and not well grounded. Second, most women’s studies are interdisciplinary programs, and they have weaknesses and problems that other departments do not have. Third, deciding what courses should count for women’s studies. The curriculum for this program is not focused and not well grounded in women’s studies. The majority of the program’s courses are not from the program itself, but from other departments. Unlike women’s studies, other departments have their own courses and their own focuses. For instance, in the English department, there are no cross-listed courses. An English major only takes courses from the department itself. The problem with the women’s studies program because it contains a mix of disciplines such as political science, philosophy, literature, history, sociology, cultural anthropology, and music. For example, the XXXX College Catalog explains that the Women and Gender Studies Program draws on the commitment and expertise of feminist scholars in more than 15 academic departments for our wide range of course offerings (215). In XXXX College, a student who majors in Women and Gender Studies is only required to take 3 women’s studies classes, and the remaining 5 classes may come from different departments. The elective courses are so broad. Therefore, the central focus of the program is not within the department itself.
In addition, most faculty who teach women’s studies also teach in different departments. Brown says, “Almost all women’s studies programs rely on faculty and curricular offerings in other departments, both because they are too small to do otherwise and because of the proud interdisciplinary under girding the intellectual project of women’s studies” (84). For instance, XXXX College catalog shows that there are 4 distinguished professors, 32 professors, 18 associate professors, and 4 assistant professors, and they are all affiliated faculty (215). All of these professors teach women’s studies as well as classes like English, political science, classics, psychology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, computer science, and economics. Because the women’s studies are interdisciplinary programs, they have several weaknesses that other departments do not have. First, women studies programs are not self-governing departments because they have courses and faculty from various departments. The departments keep some of the power to hire, fire, and schedule. Second, Students often have trouble getting courses taught regularly. If the departments have other priorities, the program will lose faculty member, who may not be replaced. Third, it is extremely difficult to have meetings with faculty fully participated because faculty are from all different departments and timeconflict must exist among them. Generating a coherent and vigorous women’s studies program is almost impossible because the courses from other departments do not closely relate to the program. Most women’s studies programs constitute about twenty four to thirty credits. Out of the twenty four to thirty credits, only six to nine credits are from other departments. The majority of credits are electives. Therefore, it is very difficult to create a good program because the questions of what to expect students who major in women’s studies ought to know and what they should be trained are still unanswered. Due to the
fact that women’s studies is so broad, it should be no longer be considered as an object of study and should not be feasible as a discipline. Deciding what courses should count for the program is very hard. Brown says, “For many women’s studies programs, the deciding these things lead to some strange curricular formations: Chaucer taught by one faculty member may count for women’s studies, but not when it is taught by another…a students wants to know if her invertebrate biology course, in which she focused intensely on biological discourses of mating, might count and why not? (85). However, the XXXX catalog says that a biology course can fulfill a Natural Science requirement as well as a Women and/or Issues of Gender requirement in the General Education Requirement (97). Even though a biology course may discuss the anatomical differences of sex, but it does not talk about the issues of women or gender. The XXXX Catalog describes that the purposes of women studies are to, “Make women’s contributions to the world’s knowledge and cultures…and create an understanding of the ways in which gender intersects with race, religion, class, ethnicity, ability and sexual orientation to shape all human experience, including the pursuit of learning” (215). Analyzing reproduction and anatomical differences of sex are not even a small part of women’s studies’ priority. If a biology course has nothing to do with issues of women or gender, why does it fulfill the Women and/or Issues of Gender requirement under Pluralism and Diversity? Within the weakness of the women’s studies program, feminism should be transformed into broad subject that can be learned in many fields. The majority numbers of courses found in women’s studies programs can be found in other departments as well. Therefore, the program should no longer be considered a single subject of study.