Thanks to the Open Education Initiative Grant at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for providing the funds and support to develop this on-line textbook. It was originally produced for the course, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies 187: Gender, Sexuality, and Culture, an introductory-level, general education, large-lecture course which has reached upwards of 600 students per academic year. Co-authored by Associate Professor Miliann Kang and graduate teaching assistants Donovan Lessard, Laura Heston and Sonny Nordmarken, this text draws on the collaborative teaching efforts over many years in the department of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies. Many faculty, staff, teaching assistants and students have developed the course and generously shared teaching materials.
In the past, we have assigned textbooks which cost approximately $75 per book. Many students, including the many non-traditional and working-class students this course attracts, experienced financial hardship in purchasing required texts. In addition, the intersectional and interdisciplinary content of this class is unique and we felt could not be found in any single existing textbook currently on the market. In recent years, we have attempted to utilize e-reserves for assigned course readings. While more accessible, students and faculty agree that this approach tends to lack the structure found in a textbook, as it is difficult for students to complete all assigned readings and they are missing an anchoring reference text. This situation prompted us to begin drafting this text that we would combine with other assigned readings and make available as an open source textbook.
While this textbook draws from and engages with the interdisciplinary field of WGSS, it reflects the disciplinary expertise of the four authors, who are all sociologists. We recognize this as both a strength and weakness of the text, as it provides a strong sociological approach but does not cover the entire range of work in the field.
We would like to continue the practice of having our students access online content available in the University Learning Commons free of charge and hope this resource will be useful to anyone interested in learning more about the rich, vibrant and important field of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies.