Women’s studies. The first words that come to mind to many of my peers are; man hatter, feminist, no career, foolish. Others may say; passionate, multifaceted, complex and interesting. Women’s studies are one of those majors or minors that leave people a bit confused on what your goal is.
When I decided to declare a minor in Women’s Studies my mother asked me not to tell my father, because he wouldn’t understand. This is very discouraging to hear as a child or a student. Thinking that the work that I was doing and the studies I was interested in were not important.
I soon learned that Women’s Studies was a multidimensional discipline. The
courses ranged anywhere from foreign policy studies to gender and sexuality. I found a common theme in many of my courses, being the social sciences.
History, sociology, and political science are some of the reoccurring topics within the program. I started my Women’s Studies exploration in Women and World Politics followed by American Women’s History and Sociology of the Family. All of these courses fell into different sub-departments, but embodied the social science discipline.
Social Science: a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society and with the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of society.
As I dig deeper into the logistics of social sciences in the world and at Plymouth State I realize how interdisciplinary it already is. There is business, education, history and language to name just a few of the many subjects that are considered social sciences. Social sciences have been around for centuries. The earliest recollection of studying social sciences begins in the Enlightenment.
“The development of social science subfields became very quantitative in methodology. The interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of scientific inquiry into human behaviour, social and environmental factors affecting it, made many of the natural sciences interested in some aspects of social science methodology.”
Plymouth State has had a Social Sciences department for many years. I called the administrative assistant of the department to ask some questions. She was unsure of the exact date that the department started, but did lead me to Dr. Chong to find some answers. “He has been here from the start.”
According to the December 2016 addition of the Plymouth Magazine Dr. Chong has been teaching at Plymouth State since 1966. The department developed overtime, classes were added and dropped to the majors and
minors within the department. Today with the new Cluster Approach the department will see itself in a few different “clusters”. Almost every single cluster has a major that is encompassed by the social science department.
All of the courses that I have taken at Plymouth have been highly discussion based where the class sits in a circle so everyone is equal. The professors I have had have all been strong women who are experts in their field. All of them have sparked my interest in Women’s Studies and encouraged me to never take “no” as an answer. I could easily say that these women have opened my mind to so much more, so thank you Dr. Shirley, Dr. Upham-Bornstein and Dr. Yap.