A History of Women's and Gender Studies in the Global South

Adrianna L Ernstberger, Purdue University


Marilyn J. Boxer has stated that “women’s studies forms an integral and transformative part of the history of humanity”. It is this history that is at the heart of my research. My dissertations aims to explore the mostly ignored history of Women’s and Gender Studies as it has emerged in the Global South. What were the significant factors necessary in the establishment of Women's and Gender Studies in the Global South? What have been the notable successes and challenges to Women's and Gender Studies both within the Global South and throughout the discipline as a whole? What is the role of transnational feminisms in the spread and sustainability of the discipline? And finally, has technological advancement, increased globalization, and thirty-years of scholastic rigor ushered in an era open to the concept of a Global Women’s & Gender Studies; or, has the establishment of transnational feminisms heightened the need for localized specificity over globalized universality? I argue that there are three major distinctions about Women’s and Gender Studies in the Global South. One, that the discipline is inherently interdisciplinary from its earliest formations throughout the region. Two, that the realities of post-colonialism and neo-liberalism have created an economic imperative, rather than an ideological impetus, for student’s pursuing degrees in Women’s and Gender Studies. And three, that the history of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Global South is without exception, tied to the history of transnational feminism.




Decker, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Womens studies|History

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