Department of

Critical Identity Studies


Investigating how gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, sexuality, dis/ ability, nation, non/religiosity, and region shape identities.

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Critical Identity Studies

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Understanding Identities

Combining a variety of academic disciplines (gender and women’s studies, ethnic studies, queer studies, disability studies, postcolonial studies), critical identity studies investigates the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, sexuality, dis/ ability, nation, non/religiosity, and region shape identities within structures of inequality and through systems and practices of power and resistance. As such, critical identity studies is necessarily interdisciplinary, intersectional, and oriented toward social justice.

Interconnected by design

Both the major and the minor use core and cross-listed courses to engage students in an investigation of theoretical approaches to, and experiential-based learning about, the historical, political, social, and cultural processes of identity formation. Ultimately, critical identity studies fosters in students an awareness of the ways in which identities are multiple, embedded in relations of power, and foundational to modes of operating in the world.

From the introductory course, “Sex and Power,” to the advanced theoretical courses which include “Whiteness,” “Masculinities,” “Gender Bending,” “Race and Culture,” “Feminism and Politics,” “‘Black Lives Matter,” and “Thinking Queerly,” CRIS courses are always interdisciplinary, intersectional, and oriented toward social justice. As such, Critical Identity Studies emphasizes the importance of communicating across differences as a means to fulfill the College’s mission of empowering students “to lead fulfilling lives marked by high achievement, personal responsibility, and public contribution in a diverse society.”

Evelyn Roman ’19 stands in front of her artworks celebrating Latinx women in Pearsons.

Evelyn Roman ’19 Honors Trailblazers Through Art

Evelyn Roman ’19, a major in sociology, decided to cap off her Beloit experience by giving back through art. 

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Constance Lee

Constance Lee

Constance wanted to expose herself to different identities, so she chose CRIS as a major.

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