2021 Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Newsletter
Message from the Program Director
Hello, wonderful Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies alumni,
I began my new role this semester as director of WGSS with great excitement. I’ve arrived from the University of Maryland-College Park (UMCP), where I was professor and interim chair of the WGSS program. I’ve taught WGSS for two decades now, at 3the University of Toronto and Georgetown University before UMCP. I’m thrilled to be a part of a historic and path-breaking master’s program and a deeply popular undergraduate major and minor at GW. I meet students here who, like you, are hungry for ways to make scholarly ideas work in the world. I want to respond to this hunger via our curricular offerings, advising networks and speaker events. This semester, I organized talks on highly topical issues such as race and reproductive justice, decolonizing women’s issues in Afghanistan, transnational feminist responses to nationalism and finding a job during the pandemic. I’m also drawing on my experience shaping doctoral curricula and editing the journal Feminist Studies as I advise students.
What attracted me to GW was the many nodes of work on gender justice happening across campus and the vibrant base of support for the program from executive committee members in multiple departments. I want to reach out and harness the good work happening across campus, and consolidate WGSS as a site of intellectual nourishment and exchange. I’m holding ongoing conversations with the leadership of the schools of law, international affairs, public policy and Mt. Vernon campus to build ties and expand our program’s curricular reach.
I invite you, our alumni, to help us celebrate a wonderful 50th anniversary in 2022. You are the figures we uphold as models to our current students, as people who are analyzing and transforming their worlds. I’d love to hear from you and thank you for your continued financial and intellectual support as it helps us continue the program’s illustrious legacy.
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program Director
Fall 2021 Events Focus on Reproductive Justice and More
Over the course of the fall semester, we welcomed scholars both in-person and virtually to engage with our undergraduate and graduate students. Some highlights of these events included recounting the history of U.S. abortion access and demonstrating the relationship between racial marginalization and reproductive control, highlighting Black and Latina advocacy.
WGSS Program Director Ashwini Tambe also conducted a workshop on applying to doctoral programs. She discussed the typical components of humanities and social science doctoral programs, the job market for PhDs in WGSS and other fields and options for PhD programs in WGSS. Dr. Tambe also shared tips for constructing effective personal statements and CVs.
Our program also held a virtual brown bag seminar titled "Saving Afghan Women Again? Decolonizing Afghan Women's Lives and Rights," with Dr. Wazhmah Osman. Dr. Osman is an assistant professor in Temple University’s Department of Media Studies and Production and a faculty member in both the Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication program and the PhD program in media and communication. She is a faculty affiliate of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program, as well as the South Asia Center at University of Pennsylvania. During this brown bag seminar, Dr. Osman spoke about her book Television and the Afghan Culture Wars: Brought to you by Foreigners, Warlords, and Activists, Afghan and Iranian feminist online movements and the role of technologies of war, violence and representation.
You can watch the recordings and read more about these events on our events page.
In November, Michelle Nguyen, MA ’21, kick-started the fall 2021 WGSS Alumni Speaker Series. Michelle helped students visualize several best practices for job hunting, including finding job postings, tracking applications and balancing work and personal life. We love showcasing our outstanding alumni work in our Alumni Speaker Series, which was established in 2018. If you’re interested in being a panelist, please send us an email.
Alumni Class Notes
- Chris DeVries, MA ’83, alongside other former women candidates, formed a state-based political action committee in 2021 which is devoted to supporting pro-choice women candidates for state and local political office.
- Jamie Diamond, BA ’16, works in email communications for Hebrew Union College in New York.
- Nancy Fingerhood, BA ’92, participated in Family Court Awareness Month to bring awareness to how family court is failing children.
- Brandy Kerns, BA ’06, received her master’s degree in education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She is an early childhood special educator and currently raising her two young boys in Connecticut after 12 years of teaching in New York.
- Nikki Lane, BA ’09, is an assistant professor of Black queer studies in the Comparative Women's Studies Department at Spelman College.
- Caitlin Mitchel-Markley, BA ’02, was formerly an attorney and is now a poet and stay-at-home mom. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Gold Man Review, La Piccioletta Barca, Aurora: The Allegory Ridge Poetry Anthology (V2) and elsewhere.
- Amy Oden, MA ’12, is a multiple Emmy award-winning producer for a Maryland PBS affiliate. Her work has been fiscally sponsored by the International Documentary Association, granted fellowship at Johns Hopkins University and featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- Mindy Shapiro, MA ’86, worked as a Jewish communal professional, combining her love of feminism with Jewish communal life. Currently, she is a teaching artist in the mediums of papercutting, Zentangle® and book arts.
- Samah Sisay, BA ’15, is a human rights attorney based in New York City. She specializes in international human rights and challenging inhumane immigration policies and abusive police practices.
- Assistant Professor Sara Matthiesen published a new book Reproduction Reconceived Family Making and the Limits of Choice after Roe v. Wade (University of California Press, 2021). She was chosen to serve as a faculty fellow at the Humanities Center for AY 2021-2022 and joined Dr. Mary Ziegler on NPR's 1A with Jenn White to discuss the oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson, the history of Roe v. Wade and the future of abortion rights in the United States.
- Assistant Professor Eiko Strader published peer-reviewed articles in the journals Social Forces, Sociological Forum and International Migration Review and presented her research at the Academy of Public Administration Annual Social Equity Leadership Conference and at the Consortium of Race and Gender Scholars.
- Assistant Professor Jameta Barlow was a speaker at “Race and the U.S. Health Care System.” She was featured on the Podcast Pop Cultured with the Skimm and was quoted by ScaryMommy and Insider. She was also quoted in several articles from Medical News Today and The Washington Post, and was published in Psych Central.
- Associate Professor Kelly Pemberton presented a paper at Columbia University’s book talk, Modern Sufis and the State. The co-authored article was published under the title “A critical technocultural discourse analysis of Muslim fashion bloggers in France: Charting ‘restorative technoscapes’” in the Journal of Marketing Management vol. 37, nos. 5-6. She also delivered lectures on “Women and Female Spirituality in Islam” at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute and has continued to provide expert reports and testimony in asylum cases for nationals of Pakistan, India and Egypt.
- Associate Professor Daniel Moshenberg was quoted in the Fairfax County Times article Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project on affordable housing, accessory dwelling units, residents living with disabilities and eviction.
- Professor Kavita Daiya and Professor and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies Rachel Riedner gave presentations at the United Nations Generation Equality Forum. Professor Daiya also published her essay “Reframing Partition: Gender, Migration, and Storytelling in Postcolonial Conflict” in the MLA Guide to Teaching South Asian Women's Writing. She also published “Intimacy, Imperialism, and America: Revisiting Post-47 Postcolonial and Asian American Writing” in Asian American Literature in Transition: 1956-1996; the article “Entrepreneurship, and Transnational Dialogue: Reframing South Asian Textile Arts” in the journal Critical Asian Studies; and her second book, Graphic Migrations: Precarity and Gender in India and Diaspora (Temple University Press, 2020; Yoda Press, 2021).
- Professor Ashwini Tambe published a new book Transnational Feminist Itineraries: Situating Theory and Activist Practice (Duke University Press, 2021) and was featured in the CCAS Spotlight story “A Wider World of Women’s Studies.” She also published “Sexual Maturity Laws in India: Girls' Distinct Interests” in the November 2021 WEDGE Measurement Memo.