To our WGS community:
As a Women’s & Gender Studies Department, we are sharing the attached essay, “Learning to Shout,” written by our colleague Dr. Justin Sprague. We are sharing this, with Justin’s consent, because as a department we feel that his powerful voice and narrative provides insight into the very real and personal toll that racism takes on people in our community. Histories of racialized violence exist in perpetuity, and it is our hope that through sharing Justin’s own story, in his own words, that this will incite each of us to pay more attention, to do more, and to be better in the world.
In this piece, Justin shares his experience with anti-Asian racism. Justin rightly highlights and deftly unpacks how “White supremacy operates at its core through anti-Black racism. Our suffering as AAPI [Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders] operates through the mechanisms of Black suffering. As a byproduct of white supremacy, anti-Blackness has and continues to lay the blueprint for all racism.” We encourage you to bear witness in order to be called to action. The emotions any of us feel in response to someone's disclosure of pain as the result of oppression are real, but to be valuable they must be utilized as a catalyst to engage in work that dismantles white violence, white domination, and racism in all of its forms.
We can and we must do better. Our question to all of us: how are each of us going to be part of the solution? How will we each begin to shout for justice?
The faculty of WGS
For more than fifty years, Women's and Gender Studies at West Chester University has integrated the valuable life experiences of those people who have been traditionally neglected in academia:
- people of color,
- LGBTQA people,
- indigenous people, and
- people of the global south
We continue this tradition by encouraging our students to incorporate their own voices and experiences into their studies, which helps students understand their own identities in relation to society and culture. It is through this shared understanding that sustainable social change begins, develops, and perseveres.
One way change occurs is within your engagement with others. Today, employers seek people who can effectively address diverse issues and diverse people. Many disciplines teach you about the importance of diversity. Our program will not only do this, but will also teach you the language and skills you need to create and facilitate a respectful space for all of your future clients, patients, employees, or students.
In this major and minor, students learn about, analyze, and apply:
- How categories of identity (race, class, gender, age, ability, sexuality, nationality, etc.) and structures of inequality are historically and currently experienced, represented, and resisted by people
- Transnational Feminisms
- How the theoretical issues examined through intersectional feminism are produced in specific cultural global contexts
- How gender operates in our lives—as women, men, and those for whom those categories do not apply
West Chester University offers a major (30 credits) and a minor (18 credits) in Women's and Gender Studies and the new Sexuality Studies minor (18 credits). To declare a major or minor, email Joan Woolfrey.
Interested in joining our Gender Studies Club?