COA tries hard to be an accepting and open community. We think a lot, both individually and collectively, about what makes up identities, how they change, and how to consider and handle difference. There are a host of moral and ethical questions: What should we do with the identities we have? Do we determine our identities, or do our identities determine us?  How can we cross gulfs of gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, and religion to create community?

Claiming identities but resisting labels 

And then there’s the personal, the embodied reality. No matter what you study or teach, you still have to find a way to inhabit, assemble, recognize, and maintain a personal identity and sense of self. Finding coherence can be a challenge. How do you experience gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and class?  Do they constrain or empower you?  

Follow your questions, find your contexts

Study gender and identity through education and psychology, anthropology and literature, history and philosophy. Courses like Sex, Gender, Identity, and Power, Adolescent Psychology, and Feminist Theory in a Transnational Frame enable students and faculty to work with feminist and queer theory, race and ethnicity, questions about individuality, and structures of social power. 


  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><strong>Reminder</strong>: Areas of Study at COA aren’t majors or formal concentrations. All COA students design their own <a href="/academics/human-ecology-degree/">major in human ecology</a> and are free to chart their own path. Your major is defined by you, not us.</p></div>
  • <div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><strong>Reminder</strong>: ‘Areas of Study’ aren’t the only way to think about courses.  Browse and explore <a href="">here</a>.</p></div>


    Karen Waldron
    Faculty, Literature and Theory
    Bonnie Tai
    Co-Director, Educational Studies, and Founding Coordinator, College Opportunity and Access
  • Photograph of Palak Taneja, Faculty Member in Literature and Writing. 
    Palak Taneja
    Faculty, Literature and Writing
    Netta van Vliet
    Faculty, Cultural and Political Anthropology, Postcolonial and Feminist Theory