The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department strongly supports students who wish to undertake an honors project in their senior year. Such projects provide an excellent opportunity for the integration of diverse intellectual materials. The department encourages students to begin planning for their honors project in their junior year and advises them to begin work on it as early as is practical.

An honors project can be an exciting venture that helps to fulfill a number of goals – it can be a constructive follow-up to your previous years of classes or study away/abroad; it can build your confidence as a young professional; it can be a prelude to graduate school. WGSS faculty members are eager to help you plan this option.honors key

The following are requirements for the honors in WGSS:

I. Grades

A general GPA of at least 3.3 and a WGSS GPA of at least 3.5.

II. Courses

A. Honors students must complete all regular requirements for the WGSS department degree.
B. Before starting the honors project, the student should have completed one WGSS introductory course, WGSS 200 Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies, and at least 5 other courses which satisfy WGSS degree requirements. Students are strongly advised to take WGSS 300 Advanced Feminist/Queer Theories and Methodologies.
C. Before finishing the honors project, the student should have completed 12 courses in WGSS of which not more than 8 credits are independent research courses.

III. Application Procedure and Timetable: All dates below apply to students who will graduate in May. Deadlines are one semester earlier for students who will graduate in December. The student is strongly encouraged to discuss the honors project preparation and plans with her/his advisor in the beginning of the junior year.

A. April 15 of Junior year (or September 15 if on Study Away in Spring of Junior year):
The applicant should submit a three to five page proposal to the WGSS faculty containing the following information.

1. Statement of the project topic or thesis.
2. Methods and overview of the research

a. the type of research to be done
b. where it is to be done
c. summary of how much has already been done

3. Explanation of the importance of the project and how it fits into the student’s education
4. Timetable for research and write-up.
5. Selection of primary faculty advisor and other advisors (on or off campus) who may be used. The primary faculty advisor as well as one other advisor must be drawn from the WGSS faculty list in the College Catalog.
6. Preliminary bibliography

B. September 15 of Senior Year:

One page progress report to advisor
Two to three page bibliography

C. October 2 of Senior Year:

List of seniors approved for a WGSS Honors Project to be forwarded to the Dean of Academic Programs by the WGSS Chair.

D. January 15 of Senior Year:

Progress reports. Five to ten page overview and summary of the paper to be submitted to the faculty advisors. This will be considered by the faculty with a response from the faculty terminating the project or giving permission to continue the project. This update will be provided to the Dean of Academic Programs for students who will graduate in May.

E. March 15 of Senior Year:

Oral presentation of the paper to WGSS faculty and students.

F. March 31 of Senior Year:

Outside examiner form and Honors Project Abstract due.

G. April 15 of Senior Year:

Copies of the full paper should be submitted to each faculty member. The full presentation of the paper and hearing before the department faculty should be scheduled sometime the following week.

H. April 22 of Senior Year:

Last day for oral examinations and submission of Examining Committee Recommendation form.

I. April 30 of Senior Year:

Revised list of students submitted by Chair of WGSS to Dean of Academic Programs.

J. May of Senior Year:

Deadline for submissions
May 11 (approx.):
Lunch for Honor Projects students
May 22 (approx.):

IV. Final Honors Project

The final project will usually consist of a paper that is separate from the capstone project. The final project must be of professional quality. The length of the final project will be negotiated by the primary faculty advisor with, if necessary, input from the Chair of WGSS.

The student will work with a primary faculty sponsor of the honors project, but the ultimate oversight and final awarding of the honors must be done by a majority vote of the faculty members of the WGSS Steering Committee. Proposals, reviews, and the final paper should be submitted to the committee through the Chair of WGSS.

Recent honors Projects

G. Charles Kilian ’13 (Saint Paul, MN), Honors Thesis: “Nos ancêtres, les pervers: Reading Queerly and Constructing the Homosexual Before the Closet (1810-1830)".

Stacey Liou '10
The Constructions of Commonality and Difference in a Critique of Identity Politics

My project explores the intersection of identity politics and universalist humanity.  The postmodern difference undergirding much of identity politics tends to preclude re-formulations of common dignity and humanity.  I try and recuperate universality for identity politics, and vice versa. 

Emma McFawn '10
Writing Recovery: The Processes of Reconciliation and Reemergence in Abortion Poetry

My project explores how the conflictual desires and multiplicities of the post-abortion woman are navigated and reconciled in the encompassing space of poetry.  This project aims to restore hope and possibility after abortion by turning natality inwards and saying to oneself, "I love you: I will that you be."

Linda Nguyen '10
The Past, Present, and Future of the Women's and Gender Resource Center

What is the WGRC, and why is it important? I try to think about the space in relation to community, identity, and student organizing.

Stephanie Stoumbelis '10
How and Why We Do What We Do: Linking Theory and Practice in Choreography as Methodology

The main goal of this project is to argue that the Macalester Dance Department’s Spring Dance Concert is an important site of knowledge production about gendered realities. I will claim that the choices that we choreographers make are structured by what we believe about bodies, identities and experiences and how we believe they can and should be represented.

Thuto Thipe '10
A Rock Strikes Back: Women's Struggles for Equality in the Development of the South African Constitution

I examine at the Women's National Coalition, formed in 1992 to represent women's voices in the development of the South African Constitution. I analyze how they became a key actor in the negotiations about the Constitution to influence it be provide one of the most comprehensive representations of gender and sexuality rights of any national Constitution.

View past projects