My Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree is one of the first of its kind in Ohio University’s history of the program: Geography and gender studies combined.
At face value, these two disciplines appear on two ends of the social sciences spectrum — believe me, I find myself having to explain my disciplinary selection to anyone who asks.
But as a student of these two studies, my perspective is very different.
Gender, gender identities, and gender roles are socially constructed processes that impact the environment in which we interact with, like various government institutions and our global economy, including the earth and natural resources we depend upon for survival.
My BSS explores this intersection of gender and the spaces in which we live, and investigates how environmental pollution and environmental justice issues overlap with issues of resources access (largely divided by gender) and resource use (various by socioeconomic status). My title, “Feminist Political Ecology,” is a deliberate attempt to highlight my interdisciplinary skillset.
Not every self-described environmentalist considers gender issues as ‘important’ to the cause. Not every feminist considers environmental justice to be a primary target of scholarship and activism. I see the linkages between these two disciplines — two areas of scholarship I’m incredibly passionate about.
My BSS has allowed me the opportunity to step beyond one academic discipline and gain additional, relevant knowledge on a connection that impacts us all.