Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The First Day of School

I had my first Gender and Crime class this morning (funny they changed the title from Women and Crime to Gender and Crime last week and enrollment shot up, filling the class, just two days before the start of it). The professor is awesome; I am really looking forward to listening to her lecture for a semester. She is primarily a criminology professor, but her interest within the field is female offenders.

The highlight of the first session went something like this: Dr. Cecil was giving a very brief history of feminism and feminist criminology and asked the class who believed in women's rights...I'd say 70% of the class raised their hands (disturbing to me that it was not everyone, or at least all of the women - which is most of the class, save for 5 or 6 guys), and then she followed up by asking us to keep our hands up if we considered ourselves a feminist. Only myself and one black woman in the front row kept their hand up. Our professor smiled at each of us (all two of us) and said, "Well, good to know I'm not totally alone." Which served to bond us three a little bit. And then she went on to read the dictionary definition of a feminist (which is, for those who do not know, "an individual who believes in social, financial, and political equality for all.") She noted that most studies show that when people are asked if they believe in, "insert definition here," more than 75% of peopled polled (men and women) agree, that number drops to less than 1/3 of that percentage if the question contains the word feminist.

Needless to say this is going to be a great class for me, and I already made friends with the middle aged black criminology major who I talked to after class.

AND! Crazy small world...a friend I went to high school with is in my class. We haven't seen each other in 11 years, yet both chose the same semester to back to school and the same class to take first. Funny, that.

Oh and one post script – I found this cool little ‘what is women’s studies’ thing on the Emory University site (they have one of the best PhD programs in the country) and I thought it might serve as explanation about my studies to my friends and family:

What is women's and gender studies?
Women's and gender studies draws on the humanities, arts, social and biological sciences to explore the broad range of intellectual questions concerning both the social positions of women and the gendered constructions of knowledge, identity, and culture. Students in the program have the opportunity to study theories of feminism, gender, and sexuality; the diversity of women's experiences and representations past and present; and women's movements in the United States and around the globe.

What can I do with a degree in women's and gender studies?
The women's and gender studies curriculum prepares students for a wide range of careers. Graduates of our program are applying their skills and knowledge to academic and professional pursuits in medicine, law, education, government, social service, public policy, religion, counseling, international relations, journalism, publishing, business, and the arts. Click here for a list of what some of our graduates are currently doing.


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