Founded in 1994 as the Women’s Studies Institute, the Institute for Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Georgia State University has played integral roles in creating knowledge about the workings of gender in social, political, and economic spheres locally and globally, contributing to the intellectual development of feminists in Atlanta and the world. As WGSS has grown to include five core faculty and over forty affiliate faculty across the university, we have developed a depth of expertise in the interrelated areas of sexuality studies, social change, and globalization. We have also developed wide-ranging expertise in an array of fields, from British literature to criminal justice, media studies to social work, and religious studies to educational studies.
The Institute for Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies was founded by its first Director, Diane L. Fowlkes, who led the development of its Master’s of Arts in 1996. Since that time, WGSS master’s graduates have continued on to prestigious doctoral programs, law school, non-profit work, and careers in government and private industry. Though students had developed undergraduate concentrations in WGSS for years, in 2003, under the direction of our second Director, Linda A. Bell, WGSS began to offer an undergraduate major and minor. With demand for the knowledge and critical thinking women’s studies offers, our program has created significant relationships not only with local feminist organizations, academics, and activists but also with feminists in universities, non-governmental organizations, arts and cultural alliances, and communities around the world. The Institute for Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is recognized as a site for cutting-edge theoretical analyses and applications of feminist and womanist knowledges.