Gender and Sexuality Studies

Program Type: Cluster or Certificate

The Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS) Cluster brings together dynamic faculty and graduate students conducting research in the theory and history of gender, feminism, and sexuality studies. It draws from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives including but not limited to anthropology, African American studies, art history, Asian and Asian American studies, communication, comparative literature, English, history, Latino/a Studies, law, linguistics, music, performance studies, philosophy, political science, radio/television/film, religion, rhetoric and public culture, sociology, and theater, as well as multiple literature and language departments and programs. While the majority of our students are pursuing Ph.D.s in programs housed within Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication, or the Bienen School of Music, we have also forged connections with MA and MFA programs on campus and, when possible, with students in other colleges at Northwestern.

GSS trains doctoral students in core concepts of gender and sexuality studies, while also mentoring students as they incorporate elements of this scholarship into interdisciplinary research projects centered in other departments and programs. Each year, a few GSS graduate students at the ABD stage fulfill a competitive year-long teaching assistantship which allows students to work closely with individual faculty members and also, in most years, teach their own 300-level courses to undergraduates. This TAship also extends each recipient’s funding package by an additional three quarters.

GSS also collaborates closely with the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN), which programs its own speaker series, faculty-graduate reading groups, and annual scholarly symposium. Furthermore, GSS and SPAN make a variety of funds available to support graduate student research and conference travel.

See GSS Cluster and Certificate Requirements for specific courses and procedures needed to complete this program.

Programs and Events

In addition to regular grad-level seminars, GSS students participate in a dedicated graduate colloquium with opportunities to offer and receive feedback on work-in-progress and to meet with visiting scholars. Other GSS events address areas related to professional development, conference planning, honing interdisciplinary approaches to research and teaching, and other topics, in sync with the stated interests of students in the cluster.

Many cluster events, such as visiting lecturers and conferences, are open to all members of the University. Cluster seminars are open to graduate students across the University. We encourage all students, faculty and staff of Northwestern to learn more about our research and activities by participating in our public events.

Who Should Apply?

Doctoral candidates from any field are eligible to apply to join this intellectual “home” outside their department. Past participants have come from the following programs:

  • African-American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Communication Studies (Rhetoric and Public Culture)
  • Comparative Literary Studies
  • English
  • French and Italian
  • German Literature and Critical Thought
  • History
  • Music
  • Performance Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Sociology
  • Spanish and Portuguese
  • Theatre and Drama

How to Apply

Prospective graduate students interested in participating in this program should indicate their interest when they apply to their respective graduate programs. Some students will be invited to Northwestern as Mellon-funded “fellows” of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Cluster, but any graduate student is welcome to join the Cluster upon matriculating, by contacting the Cluster director, who is also the Director of Graduate Studies in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and/or the program administrator of GSS (see below).

Who to Contact

Please contact the program director, listed below, with questions about this program. Or, explore the GSS website for more information.

Nick Davis
Associate Professor, English and Gender & Sexuality Studies

Jasmine Tucker
Program Assistant, Gender & Sexuality Studies