Honors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The Honors Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is available to both our Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies majors and non-majors. Honors theses may be either an analytical paper based independent research or a creative project such as a short story collection, novella, memoir, graphic novel/memoir, poetry collection, etc. Honors students are advised by professors on the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Resource Faculty. We recommend starting Honors preparation as early as possible by taking courses in your area of interest and building relationships with potential faculty advisors. Lecturers do not direct Honors theses, but may supervise Directed Readings on relevant topics.
The Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR) office provides information and guidelines about grant and fellowship support for Honors theses and other undergraduate research projects.
Creative projects of high intellectual caliber are eligible if they are accompanied by a scholarly analysis. This analytical component can be broadly conceived and should be developed with the thesis advisor and the honors writing tutor. It will be no shorter than 10 pages, but length will be determined by its function within the whole of the thesis.
However, students should not think of this option as a coupling of the creative work(s) with a paper about them. Rather, your thesis must offer a contextualization for the creative work, a framework in which you present your poetry, graphic images, stories, etc., as an integral part of your research project overall. Thus, the thesis builds up to the creative component. It offers a setting for your work, an argument for it. It presents your work as another citation of sorts, another text you are referring to, just as you might choose a feminist author to posit his/her work as an example. The additional analytical component for the creative work is not the entirety of your thesis, but another section where a close reading of your creative work can be laid out for your audience. Your honors thesis can present the creative component as an answer to a problem, or an exploration of an issue. The creative component offers a way of thinking about issues and areas of thought that is not possible in analytical research form, and vice-versa.
Also note, the close reading of your work does not necessarily have to be conceived of as a separate section. In the course of your honors thesis, your final chapter, for example, may present your poetry, stories, etc., as your example of a feminist re-vision of a particular genre. You may cite the creative works and blend them into your argument. In this example, your creative component is an appendix, referred to in the thesis.
Most important is to remember that these are not hard and fast rules, but guidelines to be negotiated. We suggest setting up a meeting with your advisor and discuss a possible structure for the thesis you have in mind. That should help you balance what you want to achieve with what Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies needs from you. Your proposal for the honors program is your “pitch”. As long as it is rigorous, and sufficiently feminist in its conception, it should be accepted. Your advisor will be working with you closely, as will the research and writing mentor and your peers as part of the honors workshop, so you’ll be formulating your project throughout your senior year.