Document Type : Research Paper


1 Resident Researcher of Women and Family Research Center

2 Assistant Professor, Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran


The departments of Women’s Studies were established in 1970s in the United States. The quantities of the departments and the subjects they cover have increasingly grown during these years by a significant co-relation with the reality of change in women’s status. Women’s Studies are established as the academic wing of the women’s civil movements and it can be understood in terms of changing meanings of the women’s rights and empowerment. Despite its discursive dynamism, Women’s Studies subject is challenged by the paradigmatic shift of gender that has made it insufficient in the content and even in its name. The present study, then, employs the process tracing method based on the records of the Women’s Studies historians to indicate the reflection of women and gender paradigm shifts and their subsequent opportunities and challenges. The process tracing is conducted in three historical phases including binary sex paradigm: women against men (1970-early 1980s), paradigm change from woman to women- women to gender issues (1980s- Mid 1990s), and the dominance of the paradigm of sexual orientation and gender identity (Mid 1990s- Present). To trace this process within the United States is expected to reveal the gender discourse globally.


Main Subjects

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