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Immersion and Study Abroad

Why Immersion? An Immersion sequence that includes courses and/or projects in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies will foster interdisciplinary thinking about contemporary and historical understandings of gender, sexuality, and identity. By working with gender and sexuality studies faculty, students will explore a deeper understanding of the complexity and wholeness of human experience. An Immersion experience with gender and sexuality studies compels the student to recognize the problems and possibilities of the changing times in which we live. It also empowers them to promote positive changes in the world.

Immersion/Honors Projects

Bitania Endalkachew: “As a part of the gender and sexuality studies honors research program, I hope to investigate the ties between religion and gender within older forms of Christianity in Ethiopia. As one of the only nations that were not colonized, Ethiopia represents the purest data available of African religion outside of colonialism. Although there may still be influence, this study hopes to uncover how religion operated in Africa separate from colonial impact, specifically in terms of gender. In cultures around the world, rigid gender norms originated from colonial force which usurped older cultural traditions. By negating that to the best of our ability based on history, I hope to find how gender is presented in black society and how religion has played a part in that. Does Ethiopian religion actively assign these gender roles as present in the country, and the world today? Was there any more flexibility in gender norms back then? Or was another factor more responsible for what roles were designated to who? Hopefully by the end of this project, I will be able to answer all of these questions.”

Roshni Srivastava and Oluwatobi Odungunwa: “During the fall semester, we are planning on collaborating with the Equity Alliance to create a ‘Souls to Polls’ type of event catered towards Vanderbilt Staff. We will reach out to Charlane Oliver and other Vanderbilt staff members this summer to gauge availability and interest. In the meantime, we will be trying to flesh out the details of the project. We will also be creating a contingency plan in case we have to reach out to staff virtually.

Our goals for this project are to increase voter empowerment and registration as well as the importance of local elections during this polarized political climate.”