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Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Not a Simple Story

Photo of Stephanie Mitchem with a blue shirt on.
Stephanie Mitchem, Interim Chair, Department of Women's and Gender Studies

This academic year, 2023-2024, the Women’s and Gender Studies Department will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the University of South Carolina. The beginning of then-Women’s Studies was not a simple story of setting up classes and then offering degrees. The program timeline highlights many of the people who led, met, taught, studied, argued, laughed, donated and researched over the years. The names on the timeline do not list all who have been involved in the growth of Women’s and Gender Studies at USC, but each contribution is valued and tells the true story of our program. For this reason, during our anniversary year, we are collecting oral accounts from those who were involved.  

The field of women’s and gender studies has expanded to realize there is not solely one woman’s story with one definition of feminism. Instead, there are multiple ways to think about women and gender with a multitude of ways that we approach our studies. Film studies, political science, creative writing, religion, sports, biology, education, anthropology, history, public health, criminal justice, medicine—each discipline has room to participate in women’s and gender studies. Many of our scholars draw on their expertise across multiple disciplines, crafting truly interdisciplinary studies.  

Throughout the year, we will have speakers and events presenting the rich tapestry that demonstrates the wider complexity of the field of women’s and gender studies as it has grown over 50 years.  Each event offers another perspective on how we think about women and gender. This anniversary year will offer opportunities to think about where we came from and where we are going.  

For now, as we celebrate our beginnings and developments, I thank all who have been part of this rich, complex, now-Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. We know there is more to come. 

Stephanie Y. Mitchem, Ph.D. 

Interim Chair, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.