WGSS Mission and Values

    Elon’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program is a home for mentoring, pedagogy, and scholarship dedicated to feminist praxis: thought, action, and reflection oriented toward ending injustice in our local and global communities.  This requires carefully and collectively examining, understanding, and interrogating interlocking systems of power and oppression. These unjust systems include, but are not limited to, hetero-patriarchy, ableism, transphobia, white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism. It also means collaboratively fighting against these systems with radical, ferocious, and joyful persistence.

    The goal of WGSS is to change the worlds we have inherited, worlds riven by interlocking injustices. In light of this goal, we make these commitments:


    Collaboration and Coalitional Movement Building

    We are committed to cross- and inter-disciplinary knowledge-making that resists traditional siloed and hierarchical approaches to understanding.  We are committed to cross-campus partnerships and uplifting the experience and knowledge of students, staff, and faculty. As members of the Elon community, we are committed to partnering and collaborating with campus spaces as well as local community groups, cultivating our interdependence to make change.

    Critical pedagogy

    Our goals commit us to critical pedagogies that call into question who counts as a knower, what counts as knowledge, and what should be the purpose,  focus and result of inquiry. Critical pedagogies (including feminist, anti-racist,  and queer pedagogy) critique the relationships between traditional forms of education and scholarship and intersecting sources of oppression.  We are committed to envisioning and activating alternative spaces that foster non-hierarchical collaboration, reflection, and critique. We are committed to pedagogies of liberation.

    Intersectional feminist analysis

    We commit to understanding, teaching, and acting through intersectional feminist lenses, frames developed by Black feminists that highlight how multiple, diverse systems of power reinforce one another. Our work is informed by critical feminist, queer, trans, anti-racist, decolonial, transnational, liberatory and disability justice lenses, among others. We are committed to centering the voices of those most marginalized to end oppression.


    Praxis, as thoughtful action, requires an understanding of the world as it currently is, the imagination for what might be, and the development of strategies to effect positive change. Understanding and reflection, done well, need action to work towards a more just world. We are committed to the challenging, joyful, exhausting, vitalizing, collective work of feminist praxis.