One of the oldest feminist academic programs in the country, the Women’s Studies Program at California State University, Sacramento was founded over thirty-five years ago. It has hosted such distinguished professors as Kate Millet, author of many books including Sexual Politics, and Sally Roesch Wagner, noted writer, historian, and Matilda Joslyn Gage biographer. The program has graduated dozens of Women’s Studies scholars who have gone on to outstanding careers as professors, writers, and researchers, as well as community activists and social service workers.
Women’s Studies has always been committed to integrating research and scholarship with active social change. Over the years, Women’s Studies has lead the fight to make the campus more sensitive to the needs of women, including demanding that the University develop a sexual harassment policy, advocating for Rape Education and Prevention Programs and promoting progressive educational materials and practices throughout the campus.
The Women’s Studies Program provides students with a disciplinary model of the study of women’s contributions to culture, knowledge, and society. A critique of social conditions creating women’s oppression is integral to the program. Women’s Studies promotes teaching and research in the service of eliminating sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression. The program is committed to change and to integrating community activism and academic study. The program is based on a mixed model of course offerings. This model combines Women’s Studies code courses with services and cross-listed courses from other departments. The program is grounded in both the emerging feminist discipline and the traditional disciplines. The mixed model allows the Women’s Studies Program to fulfill a dual role, i.e., expanding and developing Women’s Studies as a bona fide field of inquiry tied to the women’s movement, while at the same time infusing feminist scholarship into the discipline. The program affirms the Preamble and Purpose of the National Women’s Studies Association, which states:
“Women’s Studies owes its existence to the movement for the liberation of women; the women’s liberation movement exists because women are oppressed....Feminist aims include the elimination of oppression and discrimination on the basis of sex, race, class, religion, disability, and sexual orientation.”