What makes you want to be a CRIS major?
My decision to become a CRIS major basically made itself. The CRIS program gives name, focus, and validity to what I had already been pursuing under the umbrella of WGST. The one thing that makes CRIS separates and elevates CRIS from WGST is its purposeful emphasis that studying just gender or just women is inadequate when analyzing systems of inequality and their formation, and often times, analyzing just one or two identity factors can become counterproductive to positive change. CRIS combats this contradiction by clearly acknowledging that a huge range of identity factors and historical changes play equally significant roles in identity formation and foundational systems. And I think that acknowledgement and specificity is vital.
So far, my favorite CRIS course has been the special project I conducted last semester. Although it was then credited as WGST, it would most definitely meet the criteria to qualify as a CRIS course. In that project, I was able to research and analyze how race, masculinity, and hip hop culture influence common perceptions of female sexuality and these perceptions then influence the prevalence of sexual assault in the U.S. I favored this course because I was able to directly apply my intellectual pursuits to issues that have had and continue to have a profound impact on my daily life. Like many other CRIS courses, the opportunity for me to identify myself in large, complex, flowing systems provided an invaluable learning experience.
What are your CRIS learning goals?
My learning goals for my CRIS major very much parallel the learning goals described in the CRIS catalog description, but specifically, I would like to focus my learning on the economic, gender, and race factors that profoundly influence popular, contemporary expressions of sexuality. Gender and Culture, Masculinities, and Thinking Queerly are all examples of classes that are going to help me further understand these factors. Each of these classes provides specific focus on one or two aspects of my learning goal. When I combine the focuses of each class, my learning goals can most likely be met.
What do you want to do with your CRIS knowledge/skills in your post-Beloit life?
This is a hard question and one that I am very much still processing mainly because I am already implementing my CRIS knowledge/skills everyday, so it is hard for me to think of just a few ways I plan to use them. However, in regards to my future plans, I have been playing around with a number of different ideas. I am pretty certain I would like to go on to pursue a higher degree in order to focus my area of specialization, and after that, I have considered some sort of teaching, particularly working to incorporate programs similar to CRIS into high school education. Additionally, I have been considering applying my CRIS education to an occupation that directly impacts the media and popular understandings of CRIS subjects. This could potentially be in the realms of advertising, marketing, or journalism.
What would you tell other students thinking about majoring or minoring in CRIS?
I would tell prospective CRIS majors and minors that CRIS is an area of study that directly intersects with themselves. In other words, the CRIS program has the rare potential to foster self-study and personal realization with simultaneous study of foundations, systems, and identities much broader and larger than one’s self. And I think the double-work that CRIS facilitates is unlike any other learning experience and helps create a mode of thinking that other studies cannot.