Gender and Sexuality Studies

Academic Year 2023 – 2024

General Information

130 Corwin Hall

Program Offerings:

  • Certificate

Director of Graduate Studies:

Graduate Program Administrator:


Gender and Sexuality Studies has a long and rich history at Princeton. Established in 1982 as Women’s Studies, the program was renamed Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2011 to reflect the trajectory and expanded reach of teaching and scholarship among Princeton faculty and in the field more generally. Faculty and students in the program are dedicated to the study of gender and sexuality in their complex articulation with race, ethnicity, class, disability, religion, nationality, and other intersections of identity, power, and politics.

Program Offerings

Program Offering: Certificate

Program description

The graduate certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies is designed to help graduate students acquire and develop substantive, methodological, and theoretical expertise in the interdisciplinary field of Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS). That interdisciplinary training is intended to supplement their work in their primary department and to support students whose graduate work engages gender and sexuality studies.

The GSS graduate certificate program is open to students currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Princeton University. Students who are interested in pursuing the GSS graduate certificate are encouraged to meet with the GSS Director to discuss their plans before registering. We encourage students to sign up as soon as possible, preferably in their first or second year, and no later than their fourth year.

Once earned, the certificate appears on a student's transcript at the time the Ph.D. is awarded.


Students pursuing the GSS certificate must complete at least two graduate-level courses. Courses must be offered by or cross-listed with GSS, or otherwise approved by the Program Director as a course that meaningfully engages gender and sexuality studies.

  1. If a department requires degree students to take a certain number of core courses, these cannot be taken to meet the course requirement towards the Certificate in GSS.
  2. Beyond “core courses,” if a department requires a designated number of electives, students can use those electives to meet the course requirement for the Certificate in GSS.
  3. Of the two graduate-level courses, at least one must be outside the student’s home department.

All students pursuing the GSS graduate certificate are also required to attend the GSS work-in-progress series for at least one event over the course of four semesters. The GSS work-in-progress series helps students develop fluency in GSS theory and methods; it also fosters scholarly community among GSS faculty and graduate students. Attendance is monitored to ensure that students have met this requirement.

Students pursuing the GSS graduate certificate must also participate in the student-led graduate colloquium for at least four semesters. The colloquium meets several times per semester. Certificate students are responsible for two formal contributions to the colloquium at any time in these four semesters: 1) present a dissertation chapter, or a conference paper based on dissertation research; and 2) serve as discussant on another graduate student’s work-in-progress.

Dissertation and FPO

Graduate students pursing the GSS graduate certificate must complete a Ph.D. dissertation that substantively integrates questions, concerns, and/or methodologies central to gender and sexuality studies, as certified by the program director. To help ensure that this requirement is met, at least one member of the student’s dissertation committee, either a reader or an examiner, must be an affiliated member of the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. 


  • Director

    • Wallace D. Best
  • Director of Graduate Studies

    • Shamus R. Khan
  • Director of Undergraduate Program

    • Brian E. Herrera
  • Executive Committee

    • Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Wallace D. Best, Religion
    • Catherine Clune-Taylor, Gender & Sexuality Studies Pgm
    • Javier E. Guerrero, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Brian E. Herrera, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Tera W. Hunter, History
    • Shamus R. Khan, Sociology
    • Anne McClintock, Gender & Sexuality Studies Pgm
    • Sanyu A. Mojola, Sociology
    • Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Sociology
    • Sara S. Poor, German
    • Rhaisa Williams, Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Associated Faculty

    • April Alliston, Comparative Literature
    • Bridget Alsdorf, Art and Archaeology
    • Wendy Laura Belcher, Comparative Literature
    • Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, Effron Center Study of America
    • Ruha Benjamin, African American Studies
    • Michael W. Cadden, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Margot Canaday, History
    • Zahid R. Chaudhary, English
    • Anne Cheng, English
    • Divya Cherian, History
    • Angela N. Creager, History
    • Maria A. DiBattista, English
    • Brigid Doherty, German
    • Jill S. Dolan, Office of the Dean of College
    • Patricia Fernández-Kelly, Sociology
    • Diana J. Fuss, English
    • Rubén Gallo, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Reena N. Goldthree, African American Studies
    • Jenny E. Greene, Astrophysical Sciences
    • Judith Hamera, Lewis Center for the Arts
    • Wendy Heller, Music
    • Brooke A. Holmes, Classics
    • Alison E. Isenberg, History
    • Amaney A. Jamal, Politics
    • Melissa Lane, Politics
    • Satyel Larson, Near Eastern Studies
    • Russ Leo, English
    • Sarah-Jane Leslie, Philosophy
    • Beth Lew-Williams, History
    • AnneMarie Luijendijk, Religion
    • Stephen J. Macedo, Politics
    • Gaetana Marrone-Puglia, French & Italian
    • Tali Mendelberg, Politics
    • Erika L. Milam, History
    • Sanyu A. Mojola, Sociology
    • Barbara N. Nagel, German
    • Elizabeth L. Paluck, Psychology
    • Sara S. Poor, German
    • Deborah A. Prentice, Provost
    • Jennifer Rexford, Computer Science
    • Carolyn M. Rouse, Anthropology
    • Daniel Rubenstein, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    • Esther H. Schor, English
    • Kristopher Velasco, Sociology
    • Janet A. Vertesi, Sociology
    • Moulie Vidas, Religion
    • Christy N. Wampole, French & Italian
    • Judith Weisenfeld, Religion
    • Tamsen O. Wolff, English
  • Professor

    • Anne McClintock
    • Rhacel Salazar Parreñas
    • Gayle Salamon
  • Assistant Professor

    • Catherine Clune-Taylor
  • Lecturer

    • Alfred Bendixen
    • Regina Langley
    • Caroline Matas
  • Visiting Professor

    • Rhacel Salazar Parreñas

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Permanent Courses

Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.

AAS 522 - Publishing Journal Articles in the Humanities and Social Sciences (also COM 522/ENG 504/GSS 503)

In this interdisciplinary class, students of race and gender read deeply and broadly in academic journals as a way of learning the debates in their fields and placing their scholarship in relationship to them. Students report each week on the trends in the last five years of any journal of their choice, writing up the articles' arguments and debates, while also revising a paper in relationship to those debates and preparing it for publication. This course enables students to leap forward in their scholarly writing through a better understanding of their fields and the significance of their work to them.

ARC 580 - Gender, Cities, and Dissent (also GSS 580/MOD 580)

This course asks how intersectional feminism, queer, and trans theory can spearhead new methods of research, objects of study, and ways of seeing and analyzing spaces, buildings, cities, and human alliances within them. Overall, the seminar focuses on practices and forms of organizing around LGBTQ+ rights and how historical actors have formed networks and associations to resist dominant spatial and political regimes.

ART 514 - Masculinity & Modern Art (also GSS 514)

In this seminar we examine representations of masculinity in modern European and American art, exploring how the complexity of gender appears in art and its reception. How did masculinity contribute to artists¿ formal and conceptual concerns, from revolutionary France to postwar New York? Topics include the masculine body, artistic brotherhoods, homoeroticism, historical trauma, the gendered dynamics of the studio, the politics of virility, and psychoanalytic approaches to art history. Readings open onto broader issues of gender, sexuality, and aesthetics, and bring feminist and queer critical approaches to the table.

COM 542 - Feminist Poetics and Politics in the Americas (1960s to the present) (also GSS 542/LAS 512/SPA 558)

This course aims to explore different forms that the question of liberation has taken in writings by women philosophers and poets whose work helped to create cultural and political movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Starting in the 1960s, the course touches upon different philosophical concepts and poetic figures that have shaped the language of women's struggles (intersectionality, black and third world feminism, subalternity and feminist epistemologies, capitalist accumulation and "witch"-hunting, (re)transmission of knowledge).

COM 553 - The Eighteenth Century in Europe (also ENG 546/GSS 554)

A consideration of the primary topoi and defining oppositions of Enlightenment thought. Texts and specific focus vary from year to year.

ENG 555 - American Literary Traditions (also GSS 555/LAS 505)

A study of selected major American writers in the context of intellectual, religious, and cultural traditions.

ENG 565 - The Victorian Novel (also GSS 565)

A study of 19th-century English fiction, emphasizing social contexts, narrative forms, and critical theory.

FRE 527 - Seminar in French Civilization (also GSS 508)

The role of political, legal, and economic institutions in the development of French society of the 19th and 20th centuries. The course studies writers actively involved in the political life of the country.

GSS 501 - Questions Across Disciplines in Women's Studies

A seminar for graduate students engaged in research in gender studies, examining the guiding concepts and methodologies across the humanistic disciplines. Taught by scholars from different departments, topics include approaches in anthropology, history, literature, sociology, film studies, and political science. Application available in 113 Dickinson Hall.

GSS 543 - Interest Groups and Social Movements in American Politics and Policy (also AAS 543/AMS 543/POL 543)

This course engages theoretical and empirical work about interest groups and social movements in American politics and policy-making. We examine theories of interest group and social movement formation, maintenance and decline; how interest groups and social movements attempt to influence public policy; the impact of interest groups and social movements; lobbying; the relationships between interest groups and the three branches of the federal government; interest groups, elections, campaign finance, PACs, and 527s; and the effectiveness of interest groups and social movements as agents of democratic representation.

HIS 519 - Topics in the History of Sex and Gender (also GSS 519/HOS 519)

A study of the historical connections linking sex and gender to major social, political, and economic transformations. Comparative approaches are taken either in time or by region, or both. Topics may include family, gender, and the economy; gender, religion, and political movements; gender and the state; and gender and cultural representation.

NES 515 - Ethnography of Gender and Islam (also GSS 515)

This course explores ethnographic approaches to the study of gender, Islam, and inequality. It surveys the theoretical approaches used to study the intersection of religious practices, gender, and sexuality. Topics include religious women's agency; queer and transgender agency; self and subjectivity; religious law, ethics and politics; governance and the state; and progress, secularism, imperialism and modernity.

REL 509 - Studies in the History of Islam (also GSS 509/NES 510)

Themes in Islamic religion are examined.

SOC 525 - Sociology of Gender (Half-Term) (also GSS 526)

This course offers an introduction to theory, perspectives, and empirical research in the Sociology of Gender. The course covers a combination of canonical and contemporary work, consider traditional and current debates, and will include local and global material. This is a reading and writing intensive class.

SOC 529 - Gender and Sexuality (also GSS 529)

This course offers an introduction to theory, perspectives, and empirical research in the Sociology of Gender and Sexuality. The course covers a combination of canonical and contemporary work, consider traditional and current debates, as well as cover US and cross-cultural material. This is a reading and writing intensive class.