Message from the Chair


Welcome to GWS! A new generation of Gender and Women’s Studies is here. An influx of new people in our department over the past few years has brought to UK innovative research, teaching, and community engagement. We are building on the foundation that Joan Callahan, Ellen Rosenman, Deb Crooks, Susan Bordo, Patty Cooper, and Karen Tice built for us as program directors and department chairs. I am honored to follow their lead, serving as chair beginning July 1. My delight in this role is due entirely to the excellent faculty, staff, and students who make up the GWS community.  

Our junior faculty consists of Dr. Melissa Stein, Dr. Chamara Kwakye, and – beginning this fall – Dr. Charlie Zhang. Dr. Stein has created a spectacular interdisciplinary online course called Health, History & Human Diversity, which she is teaching for the first time this summer.  Students enrolled in this class are lucky to have the benefit of Dr. Stein’s expertise, one manifestation of which will appear this fall; her first book, Measuring Manhood: Race and the Science of Masculinity, 1830-1934, will be published by University of Minnesota Press. In addition to her scholarly research on African American women in academe, Dr. Kwakye this spring served as the guest artist for The Girl Project, an arts-meets-activism initiative involving teenage girls.  She helped them produce the performance piece JUMP at The Roc Center at Immanuel Baptist Church in May.  The newest of our junior faculty is Dr. Charlie Zhang, whose areas of expertise are masculinity studies, queer of color critique, neoliberalism. He has published in Feminist Studies, Feminist Formations, and Shanghai Journalism Review. We are looking forward to his contributions and feel so lucky to include him among our ranks.

Not to be outdone by our fabulous junior faculty, our senior scholars are pumping out book after book with much acclaim. You can read about studies published last spring by Drs. Basu, Riggle, Alcalde, and Bordo on our faculty bookshelf page. Our affiliate faculty is also doing amazing things, and I hope to report on their work later in the year. As a small department, we are grateful for collaborations with our affiliates.    

As for our students, we couldn’t be prouder.  Two of our doctoral students were selected in a college-wide competition for honors as teaching assistants. The new PhD program is progressing with the incoming of our third cohort this fall.  Our undergraduate program is growing because of the youthful verve these graduate students bring to the department.  Many thanks to our Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Alcalde, our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Basu, and our TA Coordinator, Dr. Stein, for mentoring students.  I was so pleased with the senior capstone presentations our graduating majors and minors gave in May – their research projects were wonderful. You can see in this photo how they took pride in their work – and, by the way, why you should be involved in the future of GWS by making a charitable contribution to the Department. We offer intellectual opportunities and a sense of community in GWS that can be found nowhere else on campus. Help us do more of that with a generous show of support.  Click here to GiveNow.

Onward!  Let’s go with gratitude to those who came before and embrace all the possibilities that the new academic year has to offer.

Carol Mason
Department Chair 


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