Womens Studies


The department of Women's Studies, Gauhati University was established in the year 2009. The field of Women's Studies is a growing reflection of the changes that are taking place in the realm of academics worldwide. Women's Studies as an academic discipline appeared for the first time in the United States in the second half of the 1960s as the educational wing of feminism. Women's Studies pointed out that women tended to be invisible from academics because emphasis was always laid on important men and men's ideas and interests. It also questioned the ways in which conventional androcentric knowledge accepted by society has concealed the lives and experiences of women. Women's Studies, therefore, aims to develop new ways of thinking about research and constructing knowledge which would be sensitive to women's circumstances and perspectives. Inter-disciplinarity, reflexivity and non- conformity demarcates Women's Studies from other traditional disciplines.

The mission of the department is to train students and research scholars in thinking critically about society and gender based discriminations. The attempt would not only be to create socially sensitive and responsible individuals but also to mainstream gender issues at all levels. In this venture, concepts, theories and research methodologies used by feminist scholars would be familiarized to students. Papers on specific disciplines are offered to demonstrate how disciplines have changed when encountering the challenge of exclusion of women. Class room teaching in the department would be supplemented with tutorial classes which are intended not only to be doubt clarification sessions but also as a platform for exchange of thoughts and ideas. Term papers, seminars, field study, book reviews and movie screenings are planned to ingrain an environment of academic rigour which prepares a strong foundation for future teachers and researchers.

Women's Studies is a new and vibrant academic area. Employment prospects in the discipline are bright because of the encouragement of the University Grants Commission under its XIIth plan. The UGC has recommended that Women's Studies Centres be opened across various parts of the country and the number of posts under the Women's Studies programme has also been increased manifold. This implies that teaching and research activities are going to increase in Women's Studies. Graduates in Women's Studies also have an edge in sectors such as NGOs, Media, Policy Think-tanks, Autonomous Research and Development organizations where knowledge of critical concepts in gender is essential.


A student shall do a total number of twenty papers, 16 core and 4 elective of 6 credits each, in the four semesters. Each paper will carry 80 marks - 16 marks for internal evaluation during the semester and 64 marks for external evaluation through the end-semester examination. Each student will write a dissertation in the fourth semester which will bear 12 credits. All the papers in the First and Second Semesters are compulsory or core papers. The Third and Fourth Semesters have both core and elective papers. A few papers are open to students of other disciplines also. The names and numbers assigned to the papers are as follows:

The Internal Assessment marks for each Course will be calculated as shown below:

First Semester
WS101 Core Introduction to Women's Studies
WS102 Core Feminist Theory-I: Theoretical Perspectives
WS103 Core Women's Movement-I
WS104 Core Women in Indian Society
WS105 Core Gender and Education
Second Semester
WS206 Core Feminist Theory-II : Concepts and Debates
WS207 Core Women's Movement-II
WS208 Core Gender and Literature
WS209 Core Feminist Research Methodology-I
WS210 Core Feminist Economics
Third Semester
WS311 Core Feminist Research Methodology-II
WS312 Core The State, Citizenship and Law
WS313 Core Eco-feminism, Environment and Sustainable Development
WS314 Elective Women, Work and Labour
WS315 Elective Engendering Governance
WS316 Elective Women's Rights and Legal advocacy
Fourth Semester
WS417 Core Women, Science and Technology
WS418 Optional Political Economy of Gender and Development
WS419 Optional Gender and Geography
WS420 Optional Interrogating Violence: The Gender Dimension
WS421 Optional Women, Health and Rights


The first digit indicates the semester and the next two the course number.

Elective Courses are exclusively for students of the department of Women's Studies while optional courses are open for students of open for students of other disciplines as well.

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M. Phil Awarded : 9 scholars.

M.Phil in Women's Studies

The department follows the eligibility criteria and admission procedure set by the University. The names and numbers assigned to the papers are as follows-

Paper 1 (Compulsory): Women's Studies-Concepts and Databates

a) Module 1:An Introduction to Women's Studies
b) Module 2:Basic Concepts
c) Module 3:Recreating Knowledge
d) Module 4:Feminist Theories
e) Module5: Feminist Critical Theory
f) Module 6: Organising Women's Studies
g) Module 7:Policy Issues

Paper 2: (Compulsory): Women's Movements and Women's Organizations

a) Module 1: Early Feminism and Women's Rights
b) Module 2: Social Evils in the 19th Century and the ideology of reform movements in India
c) Module 3: Women's Movements in India
d) Module 4: Women Pioneers in India
e) Module 5: Women's Movements in pre and post-independence India
f) Module 6: Status of Women in Society
g) Module 7: Status of Women in northestern Societies

Paper 3 (First Half Compulsory): Feminist Research Methodology

a) Module 1: Scientific Social Research
b) Module 2: Feminist Research
c) Module 3: Research Design
d) Module 4: Data Analysis and Interpretation

Paper 3 (Second Half-Optional-any one):

1. Women and Media
2. Women and Politics
3. Women and Education
4. Women and Literature
5. Women and Psychology
6. Women and Development
7. Women and History
8. Women and Law
9. Gender Economics

The Ph.D programme of the department, at present, has 30 registered research scholars. The Department follows the eligibility criteria and admission procedure set by the University. The names and numbers assigned to the papers are as follows:

Paper 1: History of Civilization

Module I: A History of the World
Module II: Feminist Thought
Module III: A Historical Perspective on Modernity

Paper 2:

Part One: Women's Studies & Concepts and History
Module I: An Introduction to Women's Studies
Module II: Recreating Knowledge
Module III: Organising Women's Studies
Part Two: Women's Movement
Module I: Social Evils in the 19th Century and the Ideology of Reform Movements in India
Module II: Women's Movements in India

Paper 3: Feminist Research Methodology

Module I: Scientific Social Research
Module II: Feminist Research
Module III: Research Design
Module IV: Review of Literature

Paper 4: Computer Application

Module I: Basic Methodology + Hands on Computer Training
Module II: Data Analysis and Interpretation

Though a new department, the symbiotic relationship that the department shares with Women's Studies Research Centre, G.U. would provide the students and researchers of the department with access to a library which has a rich collection of approximately 1500 books, 9 journals and 7 newspapers. The library plans to expand its collection of books in the coming years. Moreover, the centre also has an invaluable collection of reports on women published by various national and international agencies.

Students who are keen on photocopying relevant sections of books and journals can do so at a minimal cost. A photocopier is available for the purpose.

Access to internet facilities ensures that students would have access to academic sites like Jstor and INFLIBNET.


Polly Vauquline
MA (Gauhati) PhD (NEHU) Gender Geography, Women's Studies
Jayanti Sharma
MA (in Political Science, Gauhati) Women's Studies (Guest Faculty)
Alpana Borgohain
MA (Dibrugarh) PhD (Dibrugarh) MPhil (Dibrugarh) Women's Studies
Poonam Kakoty Borah
MA (JNU) MPhil (JNU) Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Political
Pallabi Gogoi
MA (Gauhati) Women's Studies (Guest Faculty)
Syeda Sakira Sahin
MA (JNU) PhD (Gauhati) Women's Movement, Women's Rights and Citizenship, Women's Health
Prafulla Hazwary Leo
MA (Gauhati) Social Work (Guest Faculty)
Ratna Bhuyan
MA (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati) Feminist Economics (Guest Faculty)
Rukchana Rahman
MA (Gauhati) PhD (NEHU) Feminist Theory (Guest Faculty)
Sheila Borah (Retired Professor)
MA (Dibrugarh) PhD (Gauhati) History (Guest Faculty)
Sutopa Raichowdhury
MA (Gauhati) Women and Science (Guest Faculty)
Swarnalata Das (Retired Professor)
MA (Gauhati) PhD (Gauhati) Education (Emeritus Fellowship)


Prof. Polly Vauquline M.A (GAU), Ph.D (NEHU)
Gender Geography,Women's Studies
Telephone-+ 91-94351-44275 (M)
email: pollyvauquline@yahoo.co.in
Location:  New Academic Building, Gauhati University.

Scientific Officer

Ms. Lakheemi Devee
Ph: +91-9954320152(m)
Email: lakhimee@gmail.com
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