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    San Francisco State University Women and Gender Studies Department

    new2By Dr. Deborah Cohler

    Founded in 1971, the Women and Gender Studies (WGS) Department at San Francisco State University has been offering courses in LGBT studies for more than four decades. Our undergraduate and graduate students take courses on queer and trans theory, literature, culture, and communities, and study the history of gender and sexual identities in the context of race, community, citizenship, labor and globalization. Our students engage in challenging academics, work closely with professors in small classes and lead community initiatives.

    Many undergraduate students interested in LGBT studies and activism major in WGS and minor in LGBT studies. Often WGS senior internship projects take students into queer community spaces in the Bay Area, from LGBT Youth Space in San Jose and the SFAIDS Foundation to activist groups such as Gay Shame.

    WGS graduate students conduct independent research for their M.A. thesis projects, many of which bring to light important aspects of queer culture, history and activism. Some recent graduate research projects include topics such as butch resilience at the Annual Butch Voices conference; bisexuality in “The Good Wife;” trans male self documentation; a study of queer trans Tumblr; “pinkwashing” in Israel/Palestine; and queer native sovereignty. As these topics indicate, WGS graduate students consider LGBT topics in relation to the politics of race, current events, communities and cultural practices. After graduation, WGS students often go on to careers at nonprofit organizations; work in higher education, medicine or law; and share their work as novelists, poets, essayists and performers.

    Faculty research topics include the history of queer San Francisco, LGBT studies in Turkey, queer oral history practices and the queer rise of lesbian cultures in wartime. In addition to their research and teaching interests, WGS faculty are involved in community projects, serve on boards for such groups as the GLBT Historical Society, participate in local and national film festivals and contribute to national and international dialogues.

    Dr. Deborah Cohler is the Chair of the SFSU Women and Gender Studies Department.