The Gender and Sexuality Studies Department recognizes the University of California as a settler land-grant institution that exists on the occupied, unceded, and ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples. Our campus, UC Riverside, was built--and is currently expanding--upon land belonging to the Cahuilla [ka-weeahh], Tongva [tong-va], Luiseño [loo-say-ngo], and Serrano [se-ran-oh] peoples and all of their relatives and relations--past, present, and future. We gratefully recognize our responsibility to learn from and stand in solidarity with, the original and current caretakers of this land, water, and air, who also model a tradition of Indigenous resistance, community survivance, and sovereignty in the face of settler colonialism. We acknowledge Indigenous lands, rights, and peoples as a starting point for telling the truth about the histories of violence from which the university, and its employees, have benefitted. We are committed to moving beyond the symbolism of this statement by centering Indigenous feminist knowledge and practice in our teaching, hiring, and in the broader context of our engagement with the university and local communities.
OUR MISSION AND VISION
The Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies is the interdisciplinary nerve center of feminist, critical race, decolonial, transnational, and queer and trans research and teaching at UC Riverside. Our faculty engage in innovative, field-defining research addressing the greatest crises of our time—global political uprisings, food security, policing and state violence, homelessness, climate change, reproductive injustice, immigration and borders, institutional racism in healthcare, human domination of animals, and war, trauma, and violence—all with sustained attention to the underexamined role of gender and sexuality in the formation of these problems, and in the new ideas and practices that will lead to their solutions.
Our research is anchored in a broad range of intellectual disciplines (Critical Ethnic Studies, American Studies, Comparative Literature, Science and Technology Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, and Environmental Studies) while also shaped by, and accountable to, feminist, racial justice, critical queer and trans politics, and indigenous movements both in North America and around the globe.
We believe that interdisciplinarity and innovation are essential to understanding our world and its crises and possibilities, and therefore we value a diverse and evolving set of methodologies, with a particular commitment to the bold theories and methodologies that often resist easy marketability and/or that challenge the conventions of the neoliberal university. Our department nurtures the experimental and often unorthodox thinking of our students, many of whom challenge the very construction of the ideal student, scholar, and citizen. Our faculty are proud that our cutting-edge research and innovative teaching reflect our department’s commitment to accessible public education, cross-disciplinarity, intersectionality, and justice-centered epistemologies. Given that our department is embedded in the larger neoliberal university, we also recognize that we are not immune to racism, sexism, classism, heteropatriarchy, and many other systems of domination. We are committed to seeking out ways to address conflict and hierarchy that center accountability and healing, and that guide us toward generosity and non-disposability in both words and practice.
Gender Studies, Women’s Studies, Feminist Studies, and Sexuality Studies are political projects that developed in response to the exclusion of women, LGBT, and gender non-conforming people—as well as feminist, queer, and trans ideas—from the academy. These interdisciplines also foreground the ways that white supremacy, racism, socioeconomics, and ableism interlock with gender and sexuality to produce power asymmetries that shape everyday lives in profound ways. These departments also emerged in response to student activism, and ours takes this history seriously, recognizing our responsibility to address gender injustice on campus. In solidarity with other gender studies departments across the country, we are also keenly aware that feminist scholars operate under unique conditions of institutional constraint and administrative resistance, and that these obstacles have implications for the distribution of resources. This means, for instance, that many gender studies departments—including our own—are denied the resources to hire faculty in our commitment areas, and hence our faculty will not always reflect the full breadth of our intellectual and political commitments. We stand alongside feminist, queer, and trans scholars around the globe as we continue to spotlight the urgency of gender and sexuality studies as basic requirements for a broad, interdisciplinary education.
GSST Department Statement on Palestine
The Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSST) proudly stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and calls for the end of the genocide in Gaza. GSST is committed to the values of freedom and social justice in all communities around the world, and therefore, we call for the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination and liberation from settler colonialism.
We fully support a ceasefire in Gaza and allowing human aid to its devastated and traumatized population. We also recognize these measures as the first steps in addressing the occupation and stopping the devastating violence. The state of Israel, with the unrelenting support of the United States, has inflicted ruin and death on thousands and created mass displacement and dispossession across the Levant. Every day, every minute, every second, the death toll is rising. These violent measures are war crimes. We also fully support UCR-SJP's call to work towards UC divestment from corporations that are complicit, including, but not limited to: Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, Raytheon, and Boeing.
The department would like to reach out to those traumatized by this genocide, especially our Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students, a number of whom were and continue to be subjected to Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism, and anti-Palestinian violence and hatred. These acts of discrimination and intimidation are unacceptable. The Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies is committed to highlighting Palestinian rights, and we will continue to organize events and teach in our classrooms and communities about settler colonialism, militarization, and genocide and the harm that violence inflicts on marginalized people’s lives. We remain steadfastly committed to teaching, research, and service that advances freedom and liberation for all. As Black activist Fannie Lou Hamer said: “No one is free until everyone is free.”
GSST Faculty Letter to Students Regarding the Impact of Covid-19
We hope you have been well, healthy, and safe as can be under these difficult circumstances.
As a new academic year looms before us and despite the push to move forward, the faculty of the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies firmly recognizes that we continue to live amidst a global pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide.
As a department committed to critical feminist, queer, and trans research, we understand that the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has disproportionately impacted – and continues to disproportionately impact – Black and Brown communities due to systemic racism, misogyny, misogynoir, empire and colonialism, occupation and extraction, and xenophobia and white supremacy. We also understand how COVID’s continuing devastation continues to, directly and indirectly, impact our own communities within and around the University of California, Riverside.
As faculty members who hold multiple roles and obligations in our daily lives, we honor the multitudes that all of you hold as well: in addition to being students, many of you are caregivers, workers, and breadwinners of your families, as well as beloved members of different communities. At times, these varied commitments can create challenges that compromise the ways we participate in and inhabit the classroom. We fully acknowledge these challenges because they will continue to impact how we enter the classroom - especially for those who are the most marginalized by interlocking systems of oppression.
We want all of you to know that you can reach out to us for support and guidance during this difficult time. We remain steadfastly committed to teaching, research, and service that advances equity and justice for all, and to creating classroom environments where everyone can be safe and supported.
The Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies
Link to Resources of Support
GSST Department Statement on Anti-Asian Violence
The faculty of the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies stands firmly with Asian and Asian American peoples and communities in the struggle against anti-Asian racism and the devaluation of women, femmes, and sex workers. We send love to all who are grieving and trying to find healing during this time.
As a department committed to critical feminist and queer work, we understand that the devastating effects of anti-Asian violence are rooted in histories of and ongoing struggles around empire, imperialism, conquest, gender and sexual colonial fantasies, militarism, misogyny, racism, sexual violence, xenophobia, and anti-immigration laws. We also understand that anti-Asian violence is rooted in white supremacy and that it is crucial to connect what happened in Atlanta to the long histories of racial and state violence committed against Black, Indigenous, Asian/American, and Latinx peoples. Liberation for all is only possible when we address these deeply entrenched forms of racial brutality in holistic ways. We remain devoted to addressing these issues and advancing justice for all Asian peoples, including women, queer, trans, and nonbinary Asian people, immigrants, sex workers, and other Asian groups and people made deeply vulnerable by systems of interlocking oppressions. We remain committed that our teaching, research, and service are devoted to the core values of our department in dismantling these systems of oppression and in working to make the world a better place for all, especially those most marginalized by systems of oppression. We want our students to know that they can reach out to us for support and guidance during this time.
GSST Department Statement on Anti Racist Protests
The faculty of the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies stand in solidarity and struggle with nationwide protests opposing the murder of George Floyd and the injustice that Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color have faced in this country for the last 400 years. Devastating and systemic racism and anti-Blackness have led to a long list of deaths, including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Terrence Crutcher, Samuel Dubose, Michael Brown, Nina Pop, and too many others whom white supremacy has taken too soon. From police brutality to health disparities, including this current pandemic, anti-Black racism in the United States is pervasive and deadly. Our department is committed to addressing and opposing anti-Black racism as a central part of our feminist and queer politics and praxis.
We remain devoted to advancing equality and justice for all Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQ, immigrant communities, and people of all religions and ethnicities. As educators, we believe that we cannot build a world where people can live safely, indignity, and thrive until we address the politics of difference at all levels of our communities. Our teaching, research, and service revolve around this belief as a core value in our department.
We want our students to know that they can reach out to us for support and guidance during this time especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately impact the already dispossessed members of our community.
The Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies is home to more than 170 students, faculty, and staff dedicated to analyzing feminist theory, global cultures, and politics through a combination of academics and action. We offer courses on gender and sexuality in relationship to race, ethnicity, class, history, research, the environment, pop culture, and more. Our degree programs and internships prepare students to go forth and transform their world.
Learn more about our programs: