Over the past 40 years, new scholarship has greatly enriched our understanding of gender and challenged the invisibility and marginalization of women and scholarship on women in higher education. Women’s research centers, such as CSWS, have constituted an important institutional base for the production and distribution of the research that provides a strong foundation for courses in traditional disciplines and interdisciplinary programs that examine women and gender issues.
While CSWS has strong and deep roots in the social sciences, in the last 35 years we have created an intellectual community that also includes scholars in the humanities, the professional schools, and the sciences. CSWS helps to connect scholars at the University of Oregon and the Northwest region to national and international networks of scholars and research centers.
Among our goals:
- To build and sustain a vibrant intellectual community and strengthen the infrastructure that supports the varied efforts of individual researchers on campus and in the region who are doing research on gender; on the ways race, ethnicity, class, region, sexuality, and culture texture women’s lives; or on women’s historical and/or present efforts to transform the institutions and processes that embody unequal and unjust social relations.
- To nurture and develop collaborative research projects initiated by CSWS that respond to important social, theoretical, or institutional issues related to our mission. For example, the Women in the Northwest Research Initiative was conceived by recognizing that feminist scholarship in this region is critical to the efforts of policymakers, teachers, and others to understand and develop changes leading to stronger communities and enhanced opportunities for all women in this state.
- To create bridges between research, teaching, public understanding, and discussion about women’s lives. Scholarship about women and gender is transforming the way we think about women in the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and in the professions. This research also has the potential to shed light on the complex challenges facing us as members of global, national, and local communities. At CSWS, we take seriously the goal of widely disseminating the findings and insights of this new scholarship with our colleagues in higher education, other teachers, the general public, and the advocates working worldwide to better the lives of women.
- To explore and work to remedy through research and advocacy the conditions that may undermine the ability of women—and particularly from groups traditionally underrepresented in academia—to thrive as researchers. As more women from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds enter academia, efforts must be made to ensure that institutional policies or structures hindering women researchers are identified and changed. CSWS aims to work closely with academic units and the university administration to meet this goal.
- To build a sustainable research center by seeking external funds to build the endowment and thereby expand the center’s programming and our ability to directly support research activities.