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Women, Gender & Sexuality Becomes UVA’s Newest Academic Department

Published February 14, 2017 in News

By: Lorenzo Perez, Senior Writer

The University of Virginia’s newest academic department resides in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, following the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s formal approval of the creation of the Department of the Women, Gender & Sexuality last month. Effective Jan. 18, SCHEV’s approval of the interdisciplinary program as a University department marked the culmination of a nearly two-year process.

“I am delighted to see the Women, Gender & Sexuality Program become an academic department in the College of Arts & Sciences,” said WGS Department chair Charlotte J. Patterson, who has served as program director since 2011. “This is well-deserved recognition for the difficult but important work done by growing numbers of faculty and students in Women, Gender & Sexuality classes.”

The Arts & Sciences faculty voted unanimously in the fall of 2015 to support the program’s move for departmental status. Offering courses on women's history, literature and art, women in sports, queer theory, gender politics, and LGBTQ Studies, the department engages in the study of gender and sexualities, with an emphasis on transnational perspectives.

A donation from the Serpentine Society, an inclusive alumni organization dedicated to reaching out to and advocating for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) UVA alumni/ae, faculty, and students, enabled  a recently completed search for a tenure-track hire in LGBTQ Studies. Doug Meyer, who has served as a WGS lecturer at UVA since August 2014, has been offered an appointment as Assistant Professor of LGBTQ Studies, beginning this July.

Meyer received his Ph.D. in sociology, with graduate certificates in women’s studies and lesbian/gay/queer studies, from the Graduate Center of CUNY in 2011.

His book, Violence Against Queer People:  Race, class, gender, and the persistence of anti-LGBT discrimination (Rutgers University Press) won the won the 2016 Stonewall Honor Book Award from the American Library Association and was recognized as among the “Best of the Best from University Presses” (“one of the ten best books published in 2015 for public libraries”) for 2016. Meyer published numerous journal articles on related topics and is currently working on a study of responses to sexual assault among gay, bisexual and queer men. 

At UVA, he has taught courses on Issues in LGBTQ studies, Queer Theory, Queer American History, LGBTQ communities, and related topics.

“I plan on teaching Queer Theory and Queer American History in the fall, and I am working on two research projects now, one of which focuses on media representations of the Pulse shooting in Orlando and another of which is my second book project focusing on sexual assault against gay, bisexual, and queer men," Meyer said.

Another longstanding A&S program, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, is in the process of seeking department status and is awaiting consideration by SCHEV this term.

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