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Women's Studies

The Women’s Studies Department provides an interdisciplinary and transnational analysis of the historical, theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of women and gender. Innovative teaching and collaborative research experiences help students analyze social and cultural differences, transform their understanding of traditional areas of study, and develop their ability to interact with the world in personal and intellectual ways.

Brenda Narvaez ’17 meets with prof. Anne Lacsamana to discuss her research project.
Brenda Narvaez ’17 meets with Associate Professor of Women's Studies Anne Lacsamana to discuss her Emerson Foundation research project.

A student’s activism leads to women’s studies, summer research

By the time Brenda Narvaez ’17 entered Hamilton College, she’d taught English to immigrants, among other work at a community service agency back home in Florida. She believes her activism is one reason why she felt at home in women’s studies courses at Hamilton. Narvaez, an intended women’s studies major, spent the summer before her sophomore year doing research related to women day laborers with Associate Professor of Women's Studies Anne Lacsamana.

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Narvaez had gotten to know day laborers at the agency back home. At Hamilton, when she heard about Lacsamana’s work with women day laborers, she asked to shadow her. Narvaez also offered her services as a translator for the professor’s work with the Spanish-speaking laborers. The upshot was a job as a research assistant and the college grant for summer research. Narvaez, who also intends to major in foreign languages, says women studies changes how its students look at the world. She thinks everyone should take a women’s studies course. “I just feel like people come out of there being a better person and having a wider perspective,” Narvaez explains.

Danielle Burby '12
Danielle Burby ’12

A graduate’s progress: words are her weapon of choice

Danielle Burby ’12 is a playwright who double-majored in creative writing and women’s studies at Hamilton College. Women’s studies fueled her writing, opened her eyes to injustice and instilled in her a desire for action. “Words are my weapon of choice and inequality (whether gender, race, class or sexuality-based) is my topic of choice,” Burby says.

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A theater company is producing her play Hooked,  which she wrote for her women’s studies thesis. Burby, who works as a literary assistant at the Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency in New York City, is writing another play, which will be included in another theatre's summer reading series.

“I picked my majors for love and because they were what I was good at. But I also knew very early on that I wanted to work in book publishing and that, career-wise, that’s where I wanted to go,” Burby says. “So, for me, creative writing was a very practical, career-focused decision. Women’s studies was my wild card, but it actually turned out to be very useful in my life after Hamilton as well. I think people might be shocked to hear it, but I have actually very directly benefited from my women’s studies in my professional life.”