Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies People

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Teaching Associates
  • Teaching Assistants
  • UMass/5-College

Laura Briggs, Professor and Chair

Info: AB, Mount Holyoke College, 1986; MTS, Harvard, 1989; Ph.D., Brown University, 1997
Phone: 413-545-1922
Area(s) of research: studies of U.S. empire; US women's history; politics of reproduction; gender and science; US and Latin America
Classes taught:
Biology of Difference
Feminist Theory
Race/Gender: Genealogies, Formations, Politics
Politics of Reproduction and Mother
Transnational Feminisms

Kiran Asher, Associate Professor

Info:  B Sc. Life Sciences, St Xavier’s College, Bombay, India; Masters in Environmental Management, Duke University; Ph.D. Political Science, University of Florida, Certificate in Women and Gender Studies, University of Florida
Area(s) of research:  gendered and raced dimensions of social and environmental change in the global south,  postcolonial feminist marxist critiques of development, political economy of environmental conservation
Classes taught
Feminist Theories of Women, Gender and Development
Feminist Theories
Sustainable Development, Women, and Gender: The Romance, Rhetoric, and Realities
The History and Politics of Development Theory
Introduction to Third World Development and Economic Globalization
Are We Modern Yet?:  Introduction to Social Theory
Conversations with the Ghost of Marx
Capitalism, Nature, Development
Social Movements, Globalization, and Nation-State-Capital
Colonialism and Development
Latin American Politics
Race and Ethnicity in Latin America
Sustainable Development, Women, and Gender: The Romance, Rhetoric, and Realities

Abigail Boggs, Lecturer/Associate Director of Graduate Program

Info: B.A. in Women and Gender Studies, Wesleyan University; Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, University of California, Davis
Area(s) of research: transnational feminist cultural studies, critical university studies, queer theory, critical ethnic studies, history of neoliberal economics
Classes taught:
Introduction to Women's Studies
Feminist and Queer Approaches to Critical University Studies
Feminist Interpretations of Western Thought
Feminist Approaches to Inquiry
Queer Transnational Feminist Cultural Studies
Objects and Everyday Life
American Popular Culture
The Individual and Community
Images of America(ns)

Arlene Avakian Arlene Avakian, Professor and Director Emerita

Info: B.S., Columbia, 1961; M.A., Massachusetts, 1975; Ed.D., 1985
Phone: 413-545-1922
Area(s) of research: social construction of identity, autobiography & memoirs, food studies, whiteness
Classes taught:
Social Construction of Whiteness and Women
U.S. Women's Lives in Context: Reading and Creating Political Autobiography
Critical Perspectives in Women's Studies
Gender and Food

Alexandrina Deschamps

Alexandrina Deschamps, Associate Professor


Info: C.Ed., West Indies, 1975; M.Ed., Massachusetts at Amherst, 1988, Ed.D., 1996
Area(s) of research: Third world and global women's issues, development alternatives - theory and practice, feminist pedagogies, Black Feminist theory, transnational feminist activisms
Classes taught:
Theorizing Black Feminisms
Caribbean Women Writing Resistance, Identity and Politics
Critical Race Feminisms
Introduction to Women's Studies
Gender and Difference: Critical Analyses
Black Feminist/Womanist Theory
Transnational Women's Economic and Political Activisms

Unthinking the Transnational

Ann Ferguson, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

Info: B.A., Swarthmore, 1959; M.A., Brown, 1961; Ph.D., 1965
Area(s) of research: ethics; feminist theory, race, gender and class, social justice; Foucault, sexuality
Classes taught:
Issues in Feminist Theory
Issues in Feminist Research
Latin American Feminisms
Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality
Philosophy of Women
Social Justice

Tanisha Ford, Assistant Professor (on leave Fall 2015)

Info: Ph.D., Indiana University 2011
Area(s) of research: Black Women's history, fashion and body politics, gender and social movements, Black Feminist theory, youth cultures, global popular cultures
Classes taught:
Feminism(s) and Fashion in the African Diaspora
Gender and Difference: Critical Analyses


Miliann Kang, Associate Professor


Info: B.A., Harvard, 1998; M.A., New York University, 1996; Ph.D., 2001
Area(s) of research: Asian American women's work; gender and immigration; feminist research methods; race, gender and class intersections
Classes taught:
Asian American Women: Gender, Race and Immigration
Critical Perspectives in Women's Studies
Introduction to Women's Studies
Issues in Feminist Research

Kirsten Leng, Assistant Professor

Info: B.A., Queen's University; M.A., Carleton University; Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2011
Area(s) of research: history of gender and sexuality; history of sexual science; history of feminism; Modern European history; feminist theory; sexuality studies
Classes taught:
Sex and Science:  Power of Knowledge
Theorizing Gender, Race and Power
Sex and European Feminism
Introduction to Biology of Difference
Sex Liberation: The 1970s


Svati Shah Svati P. Shah, Assistant Professor (on leave Fall 2015/Spring 2016)

Info: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., 1992; Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, M.P.H., 1997; Ph.D., Columbia University, 2006
Areas of research: political economy of migration, sex work, development, and urbanization in South Asia and South Asian diaspora
Classes taught:
Sexuality and Postcolonial Theory
Politics of Gender, Sexuality and Development in South Asia
Introduction to Sexuality Studies
Feminsit Theory
Transnational Approach to Queer and Sexuality Studies

Banu Subramaniam Banu Subramaniam, Professor

Info: B.S., Stella Maris, Madras, 1986 Certificate, Duke, 1993; Ph.D., 1994
Area(s) of research: race, gender and science
Classes taught:
Biology of Difference
Clones and the Politics of Cloning
Critical Perspectives in Women's Studies
Genes and Gender
Introduction to Women's Studies
Politics of Reproductive Cloning
Postcolonial Feminist Science Studies

Race, Gender and Science

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Assistant Professor

Info: Ph.D., English Literature, University of Pennsylvania, 2012; M.A., English and Creative Writing, Temple University, 2006; B.A. in Afro-American Studies, Smith College, 2003
Areas of research:  African diaspora literatures and culture; gender and sexuality; 20th and 21st century American literature; creative writing (fiction, playwriting, and poetry)
Classes taught:
Gender and Difference:  Critical Analyses
Gender and Genre in African Diaspora Literature
African Diaspora Feminist Poetics
Black Queer Feminisms
Writing for Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies majors
Writing Love in the African Diaspora
Creative Writing: Fiction

Angela Willey, Assistant Professor

Info: B.A., Fordham University; M.S., London School of Economics and Political Science; Ph.D. Emory University, 2010
Area(s) of research: feminist science studies; history of race, gender, and sexuality in science; cultural studies; sexuality; monogamy
Classes taught:
LGBT/Queer Studies

Issues in Feminist Research
Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Science
Rethinking the Sexual Body
Introduction to Women's Studies
Contemporary Feminist Theory
Explorations: Race, Class, Gender, and Culture
Introduction to Sociology
Monogamy: Queer Feminism and the Politics of Social Belonging

Linda Hillenbrand, Office Manager

Linda has been on the staff since 1993. She is responsible for office management, production of publications, the website, database, IT and budgetary responsibilities. Linda has been Vice President of the University Staff Association for many years and works with USA members on reclassifications. She is also treasurer and trustee for the Health and Welfare Trust, which pays for the dental plan that covers staff and faculty on campus and across the state.

Karen Lederer, Chief Undergraduate Advisor

Karen has been an undergraduate advisor in the department since 1986. She writes the newsletter, is the undergraduate field work coordinator, and teaches WOMENSST 295C Career and Life Choices for Women. Karen has been involved in the labor, peace and women's movements. Her other interests are wide ranging from quilts to celiac disease to the intergenerational legacy of the holocaust. Karen is an alum of the University, a STPEC (Social Thought and Political Economy) major and Women's Studies minor.



Christie Barcelos
Email: christiebarcelos@gmail.com
Public Health and Health Sciences
TA Spring 2015 - WOMENSST 290B
TO fall 2015 - WOMENSST 392R
TO spring 2015 - WOMENSST 201

Adina Giannelli
School of Education
TO Spring 2015 - WOMENSST 393J
TO Fall 2015 - WOMENSST 201
TO Spring 2016 - WOMENSST 297S

Alix Olson
Email: alolson@polsci.umass.edu
Political Science
TO Spring 2015 - WOMENSST 295F





Martha Balaguera
Email: marthabalaguera@gmail.com
Political Science
Program Coordination/Research

Rachel Briggs
Email: rachelrbriggs@hotmail.com
TA spring 2016 - WOMENSST 290C

Julie Andrea Chaparro
Email: julie.chaparro1@gmail.com
TA Spring 2015 - WOMENSST 290B
TA Fall 2015 - WOMENSST 187
TA Spring 2016 - WOMENSST 285

Sonny Nordmarken
Email: snordma@soc.umass.edu

Seda Saluk
Email: ssaluk@anthro.umass.edu
TA Fall 2015 - WOMENSST 187
TA Spring 2016 - 290C

Elise Swinford
Email: eswinfor@english.umass.edu
Writing Assistance




Listed below are disciplines with e-mail links to faculty at UMass and at the four colleges whose teaching or research is linked to women, gender, sexuality studies. Please contact the particular departments or programs at the colleges (links below for women and gender programs) or the University for up-to-date information on faculty leaves, schedules and phone numbers.

Amherst College
Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies

Rick Griffiths, Chair
Stephanie Kvam, Secretary
14 Grosvenor House, Box 2257
Fax 413-542-8192

Mount Holyoke College
Gender Studies Program
Christian Gundermann, Chair
Bridget Barrett, Administrative Support
Shattuck Hall

Hampshire College
Feminist Studies Program
College of Social Science
Margaret Cerullo
Franklin Patterson Hall
Smith College
Program for the Study of Women and Gender
Elisabeth Armstrong, Chair
Email the program
Seelye Hall 207b

African and African-American Studies/Black Studies
American Studies
Art History
Art (Studio)
Asian Studies
Biology & Chemistry (see Sciences)
Child Study (See Education)
Communication Studies (see Film/Media Studies/Popular Culture)
Comparative Literature (See also English Literature/Writing)
Dance (See Theatre/Dance)
Education of Child Study
Environmental Sciences/Environmental Studies/Sustainability
Film/Communications/Media Studies/Popular Culture
Government/Political Science/Politics/Law
Jewish Studies (See also Religion)
Journalism (See Film/Media Studies/Popular Culture)
Labor Studies
Latin American Studies
Literature (See Comparative Literature; English/Literature/Writing)
Media Studies (See Film/Media Studies/Popular Culture)
Physical Education
Physics (see The Sciences)
Public Health
Religion (See also Jewish Studies)
Sexuality Studies
Social Work
Urban Studies
Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies