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Letter in support of departmentalization of AAAS

May 13 2021

We, the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, congratulate the students, faculty, and staff who have successfully organized for AAAS departmentalization at Stanford. We respectfully uplift those committed individuals who have advanced departmentalization efforts on campus both recently and over the past several decades. We cannot forget that the trajectory of AAAS departmentalization at Stanford mirrors that of campuses across the country, departmentalization only realized through sustained activism and the intense labor of organizers and advocates. We continue to stand with African and African American Studies and support the university’s commitment to departmentalizing AAAS. 

A department of AAAS is critical to the intellectual rigor of the university. For generations, scholars in AAAS have produced wide-ranging research that contributes to and advances a breadth of knowledge. Foundations of gender research and feminist theories that inform our work at the Clayman Institute have been created by Black feminist scholars, including but not limited to scholarship on intersectionality, Black feminist movements, and the radical potential of gender research and feminist pedagogy to create more just institutions and communities for all. Black feminist scholars at Stanford and beyond continue to shape our field, asking critical questions about race, gender and technology, gender, race and the carceral state, and social movements and reproductive justice, to name a few. An AAAS department will advance Black feminist traditions, in particular engaging undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty alike in liberatory lines of inquiry. We have found that it is these intergenerational intellectual networks that produce the most rich communities and scholarship. 

The program in AAAS has already contributed immensely to the creation of this vibrant and intergenerational community on campus, and also to Stanford’s mission of teaching and learning. Collaborating with our colleagues in the program of AAAS has been central to our mission -- being able to collaborate with an expanded, more institutionally secure faculty will be immensely important for our future endeavors. We look forward to what may come with departmentalization, as its resources, research and teaching footprint, and community grows. Not only will this be an incredible opportunity for those in AAAS and adjacent fields, but it is a momentous occasion for the intellectual life and community of the university more broadly.

-- The Faculty Director and Staff of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research



A gender lens
exposes gaps in knowledge,
identifies root causes of barriers,
and proposes workable solutions.