Starting in May 2022, the University of Saskatchewan will be offering a new 15-credit unit certificate program in queer theory, gender diversity, and sexualities studies. The certificate is just one of 14 programs being launched this spring by the College of Arts and Science, nearly doubling the number of certificates currently offered.
The interdisciplinary certificate will incorporate courses from several departments within the college including history, Indigenous studies and psychology.
Josh Morrison, a faculty member in the department of women’s and gender studies, will be teaching four courses as part of the certificate, including a new upper-year capstone course. Morrison says that the certificate will help students develop interdisciplinary skills beyond their major.
“Certificates offer important avenues for students to broaden their horizons,” Morrison said. “[The certificate will] expose more students to the benefits of interdisciplinary work … and the ability to communicate with others across different identities and backgrounds.”
Alessio Ponzio, a faculty member in the department of history, will be teaching two courses focused on the history of sex, sexuality and gender. Echoing Morrison’s thoughts on the importance of interdisciplinary work, Ponzio says that the certificate is not a substitute to the women’s and gender studies program, but an add-on.
“Our certificate will allow students to multiply their perspectives on gender, sexuality and diversity through the opportunity of attending classes in multiple departments,” Ponzio said.
Ponzio also says that his students responded enthusiastically to the development of the program and the opportunity to complement their studies with an accredited certificate.
“Many students interested in queer studies, gender, sexuality and diversity have been piecing together their own unofficial certificate. They have been searching for classes that could somehow help them understand themselves and the world around them,” Ponzio said. “This certificate will give these students a home.”
The certificate will explore queer theory, with an emphasis on queering spaces within academia and the media. Morrison says that the certificate will provide insight into other systems, including race, class and health through the broad scope of queer studies.
Morrison says that sexualities studies methods are applicable across disciplines and can enhance many fields of work, noting the impact that sexuality has on working environments.
“Sexuality influences knowledge production, employment, culture, and politics with an eye towards increasing social justice and equality across and through society and communities.”
According to Ponzio, there are 14 comparable programs at universities across Canada with “sexualities” in the title, but only two of these focus on queer studies.
“Academia is showing increasing interest in gender, sexuality and queer studies, but there is much to do, and with this certificate, the University of Saskatchewan is showing their committment to equity, diversity and inclusion,” Ponzio said.