Linfield gender studies holds strong

Elizabeth Stoeger, Staff writer

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While gender studies programs and women’s studies professors have come increasingly under fire around the nation, the genders studies program at Linfield remains safe.

Female professors have seen their livelihoods threatened, quotes and syllabuses taken out of context and been threatened on a personal level, according to an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The situation is less precarious at Linfield. “The gender studies program [at Linfield] remains active because of dedicated professors who go out of their way to make it possible. Therefore, I see no threat to the program being cut,” said Paigh Denmark, senior gender studies minor and president of Students Advocating for Gender Equality.

Misconceptions about the field are also threats to its existence at other colleges.

Carly Thomsen, an assistant professor of gender, sexuality, and feminist studies at Middlebury College, said in the Chronicle article, “The assumption that women’s studies equals a kind of uncritical support for contemporary movements is wrong.”

The gender studies program at Linfield seems to be shielded from the turmoil. “While the minor is made up of a small number of students, those students seem to be really passionate about gender studies,” Denmark said.

She believes there is more ignorance of the gender studies program and SAGE’s existence than pushback against it.

“I have not seen any major incidents directed specifically to these two programs,” Denmark said.

The value of gender studies programs and classes focused on the female experience has been called into question.