Celebrating 50 Years of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies / Queer Studies Program at Oregon State University
In 2022, Susan Shaw, Professor and former Director of OSU’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program asked librarian, Jane Nichols, if The Valley Library would create and host a display of materials celebrating the program’s history. As the librarian for WGSS, she was well-positioned to bring together a team to work on this project. Drawing on OSU’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center holdings, they pieced together WGSS’ history through this exhibit.
The WGSS 50th Anniversary exhibit celebrates and documents the growth of the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies / Queer Studies program from its 1972 beginnings as a feminist reading group to its current success as an academic program with a thriving activist-scholar community. Detailing how the history of WS/WGSS/QS bleeds through to the present, this display highlights activism, community organizing, intersectionality, and the collaborative ethos which has guided the program, the faculty, and the students in their work both inside and outside of the classroom. Interviews, scholarship, zines, and art express the academic vigor and creativity of WGSS/QS faculty, alumni, and students across the years. Reflecting on WGSS/QS’ journey as a burgeoning discipline at OSU, the posters and accompanying book display explore the program’s ongoing commitment to tackling multifaceted societal injustices and look forward to the ways in which the program will continue to expand on and nuance the revolutionary energy of the early program leaders.
All are welcome to view the exhibit and check out books from the accompanying display, both located on the 5th Floor Alcove across from the Special Collections Special Collections and Archives Research Center.
Our work and this display take place on the Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon campus, which is located in the traditional territory of the Chepenefa (“Mary’s River”) band of the Kalapuya. Through this display we wish to create space for us the contributors and you the readers to interrogate understandings of this location’s history where after the Kalapuya Treaty (Treaty of Dayton) in 1855, Kalapuya people were forcibly removed to what are now the Grand Ronde and Siletz reservations. The Kalapuya are now members of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
We extend our appreciation to all who contributed to this project including OSU’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center staff Rachel Lilley and Anna Dvorak; OSULP librarian Jane Nichols and graphic designers Rox Beecher and Robin Weis; and interviewees Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill, Dr. Susan Shaw, Kryn Freehling-Burton, and Sujittra Avery Carr. Extra gratitude goes to Chris Snyder, School of Writing, Literature, and Film Graduate Teaching Assistant who authored much of the writing of the exhibit. This exhibit would not be possible without their collective contributions.