Considering its position as one of the world’s top research universities, it is only fitting for Stony Brook to have centers for many diverse topics of research. Just after the end of the past spring semester, it was announced that the University would open a new Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities. The center opens this semester, and will begin a Master of Arts program in the topic in Fall 2015.
The only thing that surprises me about the opening of this center is that it took this long for it to secure funding. Stony Brook is home to “Men and Masculinities,” which is the nation’s most prestigious academic journal on the topic. The founding director of the project, Michael Kimmel, is the editor of the journal and is well known for his intense study of the subject. He has written eight books on the topic, one of which ended up being a best seller. Kimmel is obviously immensely qualified for this position.
The opening of the new center eases many of the concerns that I have about the equity of funding a Women’s and Gender Studies department without an equivalent for the male persona. Many of the members of the center’s advisory board are extremely well known in the feminist field, which should give it even more credibility. By expanding Stony Brook’s brand to this new development of feminist theory, the school will gain even more prominence.
This is a great direction for the university to pursue and is a development that will greatly increase its image. While women’s studies uses the female gender to study history, politics and other social changes, the male gender should also have this equal opportunity.
One major issue for many feminists is the topic of gender discrimination. By allowing students to study the origins of male dominance throughout history, a more informed opinion and view to the feminist movement can be established. A part of the education process is being open to both sides of the argument and learning the same history through different lenses. This is also a chance for SBU to collaborate work and research and develop ways to break down stereotypes and misinformation about both genders.