Message from the Chair


It’s been a busy, busy spring semester!

January and February saw us all engaged in selecting a new assistant professor, Dr. Anastasia Todd, who comes to us from Arizona State University; I’ll say more about her in the fall. Until then, many thanks for search committee members Charlie Zhang and Melissa Stein, for all the faculty and students who participated, with a special shout-out to those affiliate faculty who pitched in, including Michelle Sizemore, DaMaris Hill, Rosalind Harris, Jan Fernheimer, Pearl James, Anastasia Curwood, Jenny Rice, and David Luke.  With more than 200 applicants, we had our work cut out for us. We were introduced to a lot of spectacular scholars and I only wish we could hire more! Gender and Women’s Studies is a vibrant field of study.

March came along and everyone scooted off to professional meetings. Graduate student Shawna Felkins escorted two undergraduate students, Astha Patel and Rory Barron, to present original research at the 26th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference of the American Men’s Studies Association in Minneapolis. Graduate students Mikaela Feroli, Ashley Ruderman, and Ruwen Chang were our first participants in the famous annual Duke University Feminist Theory Workshop. Srimati Basu and Charlie Zhang were among a whole bunch of UK faculty who attended the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Melissa Stein provided a keynote address to attendees at the Prejudice and Expertise: Discrimination in the West, 1850-2000 Conference at University of Warwick.

Also in March I was delighted to celebrate the amazing contributions of our department manager, Michelle Del Toro, among other nominees for the UK Women’s Forum 2018 Sarah Bennett Holmes Award. In addition to all the bureaucratic work of the department, Ms. Del Toro organizes every last detail of every event we and the African American and Africana Studies Program sponsor. There have been a lot! Here’s a list of amazing programs and visitors that GWS has sponsored or co-sponsored this spring:

  • The Black Women’s Conference focused on mass incarceration and the new Jane Crow.
  • Mohamad Hafez discussed his architecture and amazingly moving art portraying the emotions and politics of living in America in the midst of the Syrian crises.  
  • The Sexual and Reproductive Health Symposium featured scholars, local activists, and national advocates to kick off our new Sexuality Studies Certificate. Among the speakers were Miriam Zoila Perez, Rayne Parker, Toby Beauchamp, Nancy Rosenbloom, Giselle Henry, Kristen Mark, Keisa Fallin-Bennett, Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes, Arnold Farr, Grace Howard, Mel Stein, Charlie Zhang, and Melynda Price.
  • Gabriel Rosenberg presented “No Scrubs: Livestock Breeding, Eugenics, and State Power in the United States, 1919 -1933” and Sangay Mishra presented “Political Lives of South Asian Americans:  Beyond Ethnoracial Solidarity” as part of the Keys to Our Common Future program.
  • In conjunction with the School of Music and Department of Theatre and Dance, we hosted Abbie Conant, who gave a stunning performance in “Aletheia”.
  • Brian Massumi presented “Immediation: The Being of Relation" as part of the Committee on Social Theory “Affect” class; he was introduced by our own Charlie Zhang.

I want to thank those who helped sponsor some of these programs, namely the JustFund of Kentucky Foundation, the Office of LGBTQ* Resources, and of course the College of Arts and Sciences. If you would like to support GWS’s efforts to bring speakers and programs to central Kentucky, please do so here, or contact me.

Here at the end of the semester, we are looking forward to the presentations of our undergraduate capstone class. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend: Monday, April 30, 3.30 pm in the Niles Gallery. And don’t miss our year-end celebration on Thursday, May 3 from 2 to 4pm in the Alumni Gallery of the William T. Young Library. There we will celebrate our capstone and certificate students, as well as announce the undergraduate winners of the Kate Black Award, the Joan Callahan Award, and the Jan Oaks Award.

We will also toast some prize-winning graduate students. The College of Arts and Sciences recognized both Mikaela Feroli and Ashley Ruderman for their brilliant teaching; they will receive Outstanding Teaching Awards. The Provost’s Office has recognized Lauren Copeland as an excellent teacher by awarding her the 2018 University of Kentucky Outstanding Teaching Award. Lauren also has received the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Competitive Graduate Fellowship. In addition, we are pleased to announce that PhD candidate Billy Korinko will leave us for Berea College next year to teach and oversee the Gender and Peanut Butter program. We are incredibly proud of our graduate students’ accomplishments!

Whew! What a spring!


Carol Mason


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