Women's and Gender Studies earns Mellon funding

Photo Credit: Louise Pound Hall
March 27, 2024

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting humanities-based learning, the Mellon Foundation is supporting the Women's and Gender Studies (WGS) program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with $100,000 in funding. The foundation's new 'Affirming Multivocal Humanities' initiative addresses the continuing need for nuanced scholarship on the breadth of the human experience.

The funding will support "Gender Unbound: The Counter-Stories Project," involving curricular development for a new 200-level course called "Storytelling as Resistance: Gender, Race, and Sexuality."

"We are thrilled about the funding," Shari Stenberg, director of the WGS program, said. "Our project centers counter-stories—narratives by minoritized people that challenge and complicate dominant histories—that deepen our understanding of the rich tapestry of human experience. We are excited about this project because stories and storytelling make the intersections among us visible and tangible, and they point us toward necessary change."

The project will also include undergraduate research and experiential learning. The WGS program will create an oral history project that will allow students to highlight local and national voices. Curriculum on interviewing, storytelling methods, and digital platforms will prepare them.

"We look forward to undertaking research with students to gather stories from community members that may serve as catalysts for conversation, connection, and change," Stenberg said.

A webinar series for community, state, and national outreach will connect national speakers to students in the WGS programs at the University of Nebraska Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney. The process and outcomes will be shared at the National Women's Studies Association Conference.

Phillip Brian Harper, Director of Higher Learning at Mellon, said the study of gender and sexuality has become more central to the humanities over time.

"It is important that inquiry in these areas—which is of perennial interest to students—continue to enjoy robust support," he said.

Established in 1976, the multidisciplinary program within the College of Arts and Sciences offers an undergraduate major and minors and a graduate specialization and minor, as well as organizing and sponsoring events and supporting student endeavors with funding.

Stenberg is also Adele Hall Chair of English Professor in the Department of English.

Nebraska's program is among 95 public college and university programs nationwide that received funding. Mellon's full news release and details about the UNL program's support and the initiative are available online.