Center for the Study of Women and Society

Since 1977, the Center for the Study of Women and Society has promoted interdisciplinary feminist scholarship. The focus of the Center's research agenda is the study of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class and nation in relationship to the experiences of women and men in societies around the world.
The Center co-sponsors with the Women's Studies Certificate Programintellectual exchange symposia and lectures--- among scholars within CUNY as well as with visiting scholars. The Center also seeks to collaborate with grassroots and professional organizations. 


365 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Ph. (212) 817-8895
Fx. (212) 817-1539


Principal Staff

Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Director

Elizabeth Small, Assistant Program Officer

Featured Events


Projects & Campaigns

College and Community Fellowship (CCF)

CCF is an experimental program which addresses the transitional experiences of women leaving prison and returning to communities. It especially focuses on the educational needs of these women, many of whom had begun college in prison and wish to return to college upon release. A number of students in the Women's Studies Certificate Program are involved in CCF, acting as mentors to the women returning to college.

Community, Leadership and Education After Reentry (CLEAR) 

CLEAR supports a research group comprised of formerly incarcerated women and men, which focuses on publishing research on issues around reentry, policy and practice. CLEAR especially concerns itself with the barriers to successful reentry and reintegration, reinforced by the social stigma of imprisonment, including limited access to education, and civic participation, including voting rights. The group hopes to influence the development of public leadership by formerly incarcerated men and women to shape innovative policy and media responses, positive social and cultural representation of formerly incarcerated people, as well as new strategies, practices and policies for existing and future organizations serving the very large numbers of people in reentry.

Activist Women's Voices: Oral History Project

The Activist Women's Voices Oral History Project, funded by AT&T, the Ford Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication, and the New York Council for Humanities, is committed to documenting the voices of unheralded activist women in community-based organizations in New York City.

The Conviction Project

The Conviction Project aims at linking the social activism of CCF with academic studies and research goals and is an ongoing faculty and student seminar. Now in its third year, The Conviction Project Seminar will continue to focus on the history of the development of the prison-industrial complex, addressing both the impact of the privatization of prisons on those imprisoned and the intensification and extension of technologies of surveillance into everyday life. The seminar members will study the conditions and the experience of imprisonment of the body, mind, and spirit- both within and outside of prisons- especially in relationship to race, age, ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality. This seminar will also be concerned with silencing and censorship, traumatized memory and bodily discrimination, abjection and abuse, and the role of education in relationship to these issues- inside and outside of prison. Given these general themes, in 2002 we are focusing especially on reconciliation and racial relationships both in global and local contexts.

With/Out Walls: Incarceration, Education, and Control

As an extension of The Conviction Project, CSWS sponsors a two-day conference that brings together professionals form social service, policy-making, government and non-government organizations as well as not-for-profit agencies. They, along with many ex-offenders, discuss education for persons in prison and outside of prison. Each year this conference allows us to disseminate to various publics what we have learned through the Conviction Project Seminar. We have also put up a web site for CCF that we are in the process of developing as a site for public distribution of data on education in, and after, prison.

Future Matters: Technoscience, Politics, and Cultural Criticism

A two-day symposium on technoscience to be held April 10-11, 2003, the symposium promises to be a provocative and productive event and thirty-five scholars are already committed to participate. In convening the symposium, it is our hope that institutes and centers concerned with the study of women, sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, nation, and class will lead the way in rethinking political strategies and cultural criticisms for now and in the future. We are convinced that in taking technoscience as one of our primary concerns, we will be able to reconfigure the aims of recent cultural criticisms in order that cultural criticism can address some of the pressing questions of these times and help inform the future of global political practice.

Facing Global Capital, Finding Human Security: A Gendered Critique

With the National Council for Research on Women, CSWS received a Rockefeller Foundation Grant for 2002-2004. Together we will bring scholars from different parts of the world to study changing relationships of global capital, nation states, civil society, the private and public spheres, and the way these changes have provoked a need to reexamine definitions of citizenship and human rights. One of the project's aims is a seminar for 2002-2004 that will be hosted by CSWS. The seminar begins in Fall 2002 and will address the sites of accountability for human security around the world, the problems and possibilities that extend across cultural, social, and political borders, in particular on the gendered dimensions of human security, and their intersections with race, class, religion, sexuality, generation, and nation.

New Immigrant Women: Identification and Inventory

New Immigrant Women is a project of the Activist Women's Oral History Project, founded in the 1990's, with archival interviews and ongoing oral histories interviewing women artists who work with young people in the NYC community. The new project, funded by a Rockefeller Foundation planning grant, is locating oral histories that document the mobilization and experience of Latina and Asian American women in three American cities as the foundation of a National Women's Oral History Consortium.

Women's Studies Development

Women's Studies Discipline Council. The council brings together leaders of Women's Studies programs and women's centers throughout the CUNY system several times a year for discussions on new and ongoing issues relevant to students, faculty, and programs for the purposes of mutual support and networking.


Reports & Resources

The plastic brain: Neoliberalism and the neuronal self

CSWS Newsletter - A semi-annual publication edited by students in the Women's Studies Certificate Program.

Women's Studies Quarterly  - In collaboration with the Feminist Press


Opportunities, Grants & Fellowships

Sue Rosenberg Zalk Travel Award

The Sue Rosenberg Zalk Travel Award of $500.00 will be awarded to a student enrolledin the Women's Studies Certificate Program who needs to travel to an archive, library, or other source in order to complete his or her research. Preference will be gien to students who are at the dissertation stage. Students who wish to be considered for the award shold submit a copy of your transcript, a description of your project and the travel that is necessary for its completion (five pages maximum), and a recommendation from your advisor. 

Koonha Mitchell Award

The Koonja Mitchell Memorial Prize will be awarded to any Ph.D Program at the Graduate Center working on a dissertation concerned with issues of social justice. Special consideration will be given to work on militarism and trauma.