Centre for Women’s Studies

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Established 1987 due in large part to the persistence of Barbara Kane, Denise Cuthbert, Jan Van Bommel and Pauline Nester and the support of many faculties at Monash. It argued that gender scholarship was a legitimate discipline, women’s studies could stand alone of its own merit and that some things must be understood through a gendered lense.

  • In 1997, Maryanne Dever (now at UTS) became the first direct appointment to the centre.
  • In 2000, a Gender Studies major was created involving an introductory unit and 7 or 8 second year units independent from the Women’s Studies major. The centre assisted in the development of some of the Women’s Studies units currently available at the Malaysia campus (originally collaboratively taught at Monash Clayton). It is important to note that women’s studies have faced similar criticism to feminist movements in that they often fail to encapsulate all the nuances and represent all gendered issues.
  • In 2006, women’s studies was combined with gender studies resulting in an increase in student enrollment.
  • In 2009, during a review of the Bachelor of Arts at Monash University, a decision was made to disestablish the gender studies major. In order to survive and continue providing students with the content of these units, many were retitled and combined with/converted to Sociology units.

Currently, the centre aims to maintain space to signal commitment to gender, provides a public lecture annually and acts as a gender research hub and provides support for critical gender research. It’s main focuses at the moment are gendered violence and on using gender as a critical framework for mothering and families.

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