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November 21, 2016

Dr. Alexis Lothian delivers first of two 2017 Sally Miller Gearhart Lecture(s) in Lesbian Studies

Event poster [see PDF version for recognizable text]2017* Sally Miller Gearhart Lecture in Lesbian Studies — Part 1!

* Yes, we know that it is still 2016. :)

Please join us for the first of TWO very special lectures!

Title: Queer Longings in Straight Futures: Notes Toward a Prehistory  for Lesbian Speculation
Speaker: Dr. Alexis Lothian
Date: December 1, 2016, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Location: Knight Library Browsing Room

Description: The story of lesbian science fiction is generally assumed to begin in the 1970s, as feminist political and literary movements converged with gay liberation. For her forthcoming book Old Futures: The Queer Cultural Politics of Speculative Fiction, Dr. Lothian researched speculative narratives by women, queers, and people of color that are not often included in genre histories of science fiction, from nineteenth-century utopias to twenty-first-century digital media. This talk expands upon arguments made in the book, drawing on her research in early-twentieth-century feminist speculative fiction to examine moments of desire and connection among women. Appearing amid futuristic visions that otherwise reproduce straight and narrow understandings of gender, race, and sexuality, these fleeting nonheteronormative imaginaries complicate our understanding what it has meant, and what it could mean, to speculatively enact the possibility of lesbian worlds.

Bio: Alexis Lothian is Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies and Core Faculty in the Design Cultures and Creativity Program at University of Maryland College Park. Her scholarship is situated at the intersection of queer studies, speculative fiction, and social justice in digital culture. She is completing a book manuscript titled Old Futures: The Queer Cultural Politics of Speculative Fiction, which will be published by NYU Press, and has published in venues that include Poetics Today, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Cinema Journal, Camera Obscura, Social Text Periscope, Journal of Digital Humanities, Extrapolation, and Ada: a Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. She is a founding member of the #transformDH digital humanities collective and the editorial team of the open access journal Transformative Works and Cultures, a member of the Tiptree Award motherboard, and co-chairs the academic track at the feminist science fiction convention WisCon.

Poster PDF version


Details about the second lecture will be posted in December!

November 14, 2016

Keywords for Video Game Studies: Diversity

Please join us for the first in a series of lectures:

Keywords for Video Game Studies

Speaker series

First lecture: Diversity

Date: November 30, 2016
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: EMU 119, University of Oregon

“Why Diversity and Intentional Inclusion Is Needed in Our Games” with Tanya DePass

A brief talk followed by Q&A with students, staff and faculty on why diversity and inclusion in video games and tabletop is not just important but vital to keeping the genre alive.  From Street Fighter to Mafia III, games are slowly getting better about who’s in the lead, who lives, who dies and who’s story is told; but it’s still moving at a snails pace.  This talk will go into why representation is important for the player base that is not reflected in advertising, or who we see as the “industry” versus who is actually making, playing and researching games.  The history of why #INeedDiverseGames, where it started, where it’s going and why it’s important to bring diversity of race, gender, sexuality and ability to the table along with the latest killing everyone simulator will be threaded throughout the talk.

Tanya DePass is the founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games, a not-for-profit foundation based in Chicago, that is dedicated to better diversification of all aspects of gaming.  She’s also the founder and Editor In Chief of  Fresh Out of Tokens podcast where games culture is discussed and viewed through a lense of feminism, intersectionality and diversity. She’s also the Diversity Liaison for GaymerX and often speaks on issues of diversity, feminism, race, intersectionality and other topics at multiple conventions throughout the year. Her writing about games and games critique appears in Uncanny Magazine, Polygon, Wiscon Chronicles, Vice Gaming, Paste Games and other publications.

An image of the flyer is also available below. We hope to see you there!

Series made possible by Women’s and Gender Studies, English, Environmental Studies, the Center for the Study of Women in Society, the New Media and Culture Certificate program, the LGBTQIA Scholars Academic Residence Community, LGBT Education Support Services, UO Housing, the UO Residence Hall Association. and UO Think.Play.  Contact Dr. Edmond Y. Chang for more information at
Poster for keywords in video game studies lecture 1: diversity
October 3, 2016

What’s New in Video Game Studies? A Conversation with Dr. Edmond Y. Chang

When: 7:00 – 9:00 pm, Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Where: Straub 251, University of Oregon

Constance Steinkuehler argues in “Why Game (Culture) Studies Now?” that “games are a productive context for research not only in terms of what they reveal about cognition (i.e., problem solving and its meaning) and the characteristics and features of successful and sustainable online communities but also in terms of what they can tell us (as both culture and cultural artifact) about life in a world that is increasingly globalized and networked.” In this conversation, I hope to outline some of the new and forthcoming ways scholars, teachers and gamers are answering the game studies call, including queer game studies, environmental game studies, race and indigeneity in games, games and disability, and video game pedagogy.

Image credit: Phillip Toledano

poster for what's new in video game studies

September 30, 2016

WGS mourns the loss of Sandra Morgen

An announcement can be found on the CSWS website. Sandra Morgen spoke at the WGS commencement ceremony in 2014 and has been a long-time ally of WGS. Our condolences go out to her friends and family.

Photo of Sandra Morgen

Sandra Lynn Morgen 1950-2016
“Let me live lovingly, generously, courageously…”

September 29, 2016

UO African American Workshop and Lecture Series

this post courtesy of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The University of Oregon African American Workshop and Lecture series connects national experts with UO thought leaders and change agents.  It is focused on helping our campus to better understand the most promising practices in this area and utilizing their expertise to institutionalize more effective environments, practices and policies. While some of the speakers will deliver large campus addresses, many of them will work with smaller groups of our campus community including advisors, deans, student leaders, faculty, staff, vice presidents and supervisors to raise awareness, hone existing practices and, in some instances, develop new skills.  Equally as important is the fact that the speakers and their areas of expertise align very well with the President’s three priorities of excellence, access and a successful student experience as well as with the IDEAL framework for Inclusion, Diversity, Evaluation, Achievement and Leadership. We are grateful to the Black Student Task Force (BSTF) for their vision in bringing this series to our campus, to the President’s Office in providing generous support for the series and to our campus community for their support and active participation.

Below, please find the topics that will be addressed by the speakers who are scheduled to visit during the 2016-2017 Term:

Envisioning, Attaining and Institutionalizing Diversity in STEM Education and Research
Dr. Kelly Mack – Monday, October 17, 2016
  – RSVP by October 14 @ noon

STEM at the UO – Students in Science
10:00 -11:30 a.m.
Crater Lake Room, North & South

Community Public Forum
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Crater Lake Room, North & South

Historically, African Americans have made important contributions to medicine, technology, science and math, but those contributions have lagged recently in the wake of inadequate K-12 education and poor pipelines to science opportunities. The UO seeks to be a leader in STEM education and research by educating and empowering the broadest array of talent. To that end, we have invited Dr. Kelly Mack, Vice President for American Association of College and University’s national project to reform undergraduate STEM education. Dr. Kelly will host a town hall meeting with faculty, community partners, staff and students on the most promising practices for engaging faculty, undergraduate and graduate students in STEM education and professions. She will also meet with leaders who are responsible for faculty development to share tips and strategies for persistence among women, African Americans, and other minorities in higher education.

Show Me The Money: The Changing Landscape of Diversity in American Philanthropy (November 8, 2016): Access to higher education comes at a price and as state resources continue to decline, colleges and universities are turning to philanthropy to help educate our future generation of leaders. Berkeley and University of Michigan, among others, have raised millions of dollars in support of African American scholarships and other diversity initiatives. As we seek to become more excellent, it is only fitting that we seek philanthropic resources in this area. To help the UO learn more about how to raise money for African American initiatives and support diversity work more generally, we are bringing to campus George Zeno, whose successful leadership has raised millions of dollars in funding at UW and now at Berkeley. On campus, he will meet with development officers, Deans, students, and prospective donors to ensure that we are not just effectively fundraising, but that our fundraising opportunities are as inclusive as possible.

Transforming Our Judiciary, Changing Our World (October 31-November 3, 2016): Around the world, the judiciary is a leading force for societal transformation and change.  Among the global leaders in this area is Ghana’s first female Supreme Court Justice Lady Georgina Theodora Wood. She will visit our campus in early November 2016 to talk about the judicial reform that she has catalyzed in Ghana and other parts of the African continent, as well as her focus on alternative dispute resolution.

A Deeper Black: Race in America, (February 3, 2017):
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of “Between the World and Me” and winner of the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction. Coates is the 2017 Ruhl Lecturer at the UO School of Journalism and Communication. Incoming UO freshmen are reading and discussing the book over the course of the coming school year as part of the 2016-17 UO Common Reading book selection. Coates’ lecture is titled “A Deeper Black: Race in America” and will tackle the systemic racism and racist policies that have been inseparable from the growth of the nation.

Empowered To Lead: Best Practices for Enhancing Campus Climate (Date TBA): Inclusive faculty recruitment and student success are important to our excellence as a university. To kick off the speakers’ series, we will explore these subjects with three workshops hosted by Dr. Benjamin Reese, VP for Equity and Inclusion at Duke University. Dr. Reese has more than 40 years of experience in the areas of organizational change, cross-cultural development, and conflict resolution. His first workshop will focus on search committees and institutionalizing best practices for ensuring excellent, diverse candidate pools. The second will focus on how implicit bias impacts assessments as they relate to performance evaluations and other feedback required from supervisors. The third workshop will focus specifically on how implicit bias can affect the way in which we advise students, the propensity to track students into certain majors and the assumptions that we make about experience, ability and mindset. In each of the workshops, participants will learn about the specific manifestations of implicit bias and how to counteract it in ways that lead to increased faculty diversity and better outcomes for selecting and engaging students.

August 30, 2016

What can you do with a degree in WGS?

We love to keep abreast of what our grads are doing in their lives and careers. If you’ve landed a sweet job, tell us about it with our alumni update form! We are working on compiling a list of careers our grads are pursuing for informational purposes for current and future students.

Rebecca Sprinson (Women’s and Gender Studies, ’09) is current featured on the CAS website for her work as the executive director of the Eugene Education Foundation. Check out her story here.

May 18, 2016

WGS Students to Present at All-Campus Undergraduate Research Symposium

Congratulations to WGS students Sophie Albanis, McKenna O’Dougherty and Daisy Ahlstone on their acceptance to the 2016 Undergraduate Research Symposium!

The Symposium will take place Friday, May 20, 2016 in the Global Scholars Hall, with primary activities and presentations beginning at 3:15 pm. A brief schedule:

  • 3:15 – 5:00 pm: Concurrent Session 1 oral presentations
  • 5:15 – 5:30 pm: Remarks from Provost Scott Coltrane & Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies Lisa Freinkel
  • 5:30 – 7:30 pm: Poster and creative work presentations
  • 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Concurrent Session 2 oral presentations

Sophie, McKenna and Daisy will give oral presentations with the following titles:

Sophie Albanis: “The Chieftain’s Weary Daughter”: The Feminist Legacy and Mainstream Appropriation of Sarah Winnemucca
McKenna O’Dougherty: Poetry as a Portal and the Spaces Left Blank by Modern Settler-Colonial Education: A Native Feminist Reading of Joy Harjo’s “Perhaps the World Ends Here”
Daisy Ahlstone: The Great Tip-stery: An Exploration of Alice Sheldon’s Gender Play in the James Tiptree, Jr. Papers (1960’s- 1970’s)

Please join us in congratulating Sophie, McKenna and Daisy and supporting WGS research and research at large by visiting our students and students from diverse disciplines at the Symposium.

The full program booklet for the symposium can be found here.

May 3, 2016

Summer schedule is live!

Photo of Bryce Creek swimming hole. Credit Halvor TwetoBy popular demand, our summer class schedule is up, full of major-required classes to help you get your requirements done at a cheaper price. Plus, this summer we are offering WGS 361 ONLINE so you can get elective/upper division credit for studying gender, queer theory and more through the lens of Buffy the Vampire Slayer–without having to come to campus!

Happy summer everyone!

p.s. Curious about the featured image? It’s Brice Creek swimmin’ hole–a staple of Eugene summer.

Class names

WGS 101 – Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies – NO PREREQS!
WGS 315 – History/Development of Feminist Theory
WGS 321 – Feminist Perspectives: Identity/Race/Culture
WGS 351 – Intro to Global Feminisms
WGS 352 – Gender, Literature & Culture
WGS 361 – Serious Research Mode: Critical Approaches to Buffy the Vampire Slayer – NO PREREQS!

See below for full descriptions. Registration is open now!

WGS Class Schedule

Class Descriptions

WGS 101 – Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies

Madhurima Das
MTWR 2:00 – 4:30, June 20 – July 17
! Fulfills Social Science group requirement
! Fulfills Identity, Pluralism & Tolerance requirement

This class introduces basic concepts and perspectives in Women’s and Gender Studies. Focusing on contemporary women’s  issues, we will examine gender with a particular emphasis on how it interacts with race, class, sexual orientation and ethnicity. The central aim is to foster critical reading and thinking about the ways in which the interlocking systems of colonialism, racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, ageism, and heterosexism shape people’s lives. We will also examine how women have resisted these inequalities, worked to create new systems of change, and engaged in national and global transformational politics. Specific topics may include race and racism, body image, sexuality, AIDS and cancer, sexual and domestic violence, and workplace and family issues. We will place these contemporary concerns within their historical, cultural, social, and theoretical contexts, and students will have the opportunity to engage in active discussion.

WGS 315 – Feminist Perspectives: Identity, Race, Culture

Jeremiah Favara
MTWR 10:00 – 11:50 pm, July 18 – August 14
! Fulfills Social Science group requirement
! Fulfills Identity, Pluralism & Tolerance requirement

What is feminist theory? What is the relationship between theory and practice? What does it mean to do theory?

This course will provide you with a broad overview of the key feminist theoretical debates from the “Second Wave” of feminism to the present. Though we will emphasize feminist theories dating from the late 1960s to the present, we will include earlier historical suppositions as well. By the end of the quarter you will be able to understand feminist theoretical writings not only as abstract philosophical statements but also as products of and responses to specific historical moments.

The selected readings represent different approaches to theoretical inquiry as well as feminist work conducted from within a wide range of disciplines: anthropology, cultural studies, history, media studies, literature, philosophy, psychology, and science and technology. Our goals are that you sharpen your critical skills, appreciate the diversity of approaches and assumptions of feminist theorists, apply feminist theories to disciplinary issues, and develop your own voices as theorists.

WGS 321 – Feminist Perspectives: Identity/Race/Culture

Professor Lani Teves
MTWR 10:00 – 12:20, August 15 – September 4
! Fulfills Social Science group requirement
! Fulfills American Cultures requirement

This course examines the ways in which race, class, gender, and sexuality intersect to form systems of inequality, formations of identity, and sites for political agency. Multi-racial interdisciplinary feminist perspectives have interrogated the politics within feminist discussions to re-center intersecting identities to better understand the histories, experiences, and the contemporary politics of women of color. This challenge to both the academy and institutional systems has called for a complication of monolithic assumptions within the “study of women.” The readings emphasize theoretical dialogues confronting the complexities of inclusion/exclusion in feminism, first/third world constructions, and difference within difference that further complicate our assumptions of identity, community, and culture. Such frameworks through the course include, but are not limited to; indigenous feminisms, critical race theory, borderlands, and globalization. Through film and literary narratives students will have the opportunity to critically analyze the social positions, representations, and political projects centering the lives and experiences of women of color.

WGS 351 – Intro to Global Feminisms

Professor Yvonne Braun
MTWR 10:00 – 11:50 pm June 20 – July 17
! Fulfills Social Science group requirement
! Fulfills International Cultures requirement

This course is an exploration of global feminisms, feminist activism, and women’s movements organizing locally and across borders. Through films, readings, and discussion, we will explore the varied expressions of women’s activism at the community, national, and transnational levels, considering how feminists construct diverse interpretations of feminism and how, in the era of globalization, feminist and women’s movements engage and challenge the state, civil society, international agencies, and corporations for a more just world. At the same time, we will explore the tensions, coalitions, and conflicts within transnational feminist theorizing and praxis using case studies from diverse regions around the world. This course meets the Social Science group requirement in that it will consider multiple examples of movements from all over the globe and therefore be broadly comparative in scope. It will also consider multiple different cultural contexts.

WGS 352 – Gender, Literature and Culture

Amy Billingsley
MTWR 2:00 – 3:50 pm, July 18 – August 14

Angela Rovak (3rd session)
MTWR 2:00 – 4:20 pm, August 15 – September 4

! Fulfills Arts & Letters group requirement
! Fulfills Identity, Pluralism and Tolerance requirement

Because some of the most compelling feminist theory is expressed in literature, this class explores the way novels, short stories, memoirs, and poetry contribute to the terms of feminist analysis in a variety of political and national contexts.

In this class we will focus on the theoretical insights offered by literature written by women and on some central issues raised by feminist literary critics. Among the questions we will explore are: What is the relationship between gender and writing? What do women need in order to write? How well (or poorly) do literary traditions fit the expression of women’s experiences? How do women challenge these traditions? What (if anything) constitutes “women’s writing”? How do race, class, and nationality shape literature by women? Is literature a form of feminist theory? Is literature a form of political activism?

The literature for this course is primarily contemporary and it intentionally deals with women’s place in a range of political, cultural, and national contexts. We will study the cultural specificity of each work and their shared themes.

WGS 361: ‘SERIOUS RESEARCH MODE’: Critical Approaches to Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professor Edmond Chang
! Fulfills Arts & Letters group requirement
! Fulfills Identity, Pluralism & Tolerance requirement
! Counts for Queer Studies

When Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show debuted in 1997, no one could have foreseen the cult following, the spinoffs, the cultural phenomenon, and the critical and scholarly interest it would inspire. This course will take up a range of critical approaches including media studies, fandom studies, cultural studies, feminist and queer theory.  Our goal is to address the critical question “Why Buffy?” and how might Buffy help us think about the recent resurgence of the figure of the vampire, about the role of monsters, and about cultural anxieties over race, gender, sexuality, and bodies.

This online course will engage in watching, reading, guided discussion, and some analytical writing. You will be required to screen select Buffy episodes (and perhaps other things from the Whedon universe) as the focus of discussion and academic critique. Discussions, response papers, and other assignments will be held online via the course website and Canvas portal.


April 21, 2016

Bechdel Test Burlesque

Poster for Bechdel Test BurlesqueDate: Friday April 29th 2016
Times: Doors 7:30 PM.  Show 8 PM.
Cost: Free to UO students, faculty, staff, and community on a first come basis
Place: Global Scholars Hall Great Room (GSH 123)
Other info: Ages 17+ Contains some nudity


Naked. Nerdy. Feminist. This is Bechdel Test Burlesque, the super-powered byproduct of the intersection of feminism and pop culture! Five of the Northwest’s top burlesque producers have joined forces to build a more feminist world through smart, sexy, nerdy burlesque.

Bechdel Test Burlesque is invited to the University of Oregon for a free performance thanks to Assistant Professor Edmond Y. Chang and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department. The performance is presented in partnership with and as a finale event of the Residence Hall Association’s Geek Week. Audiences should come ready to celebrate their fandom and their feminism. Cosplay encouraged.

This special brand of thrill-joy feminism aims to subvert pop culture tropes, celebrate body and sex positivity, and honor strong female characters from fan favorite films, comics, literature, television, and more. This critically acclaimed performance intends to introduce the art of burlesque to a new audience while adding a critical voice to the dialogue around gender, race, sexuality, consent, and nerdy pop culture.

“It’s a great concept, stripping burlesque of all male-centric notions of ‘naughtiness’ and titillation and somatic advertising.” – David Schmader, The Stranger

“…smash the patriarchy with striptease!” –  Amanda Vail, Women Write About Comics

“Fucking Awesome” – Alison Bechdel

This event is made possible by the generosity of the UO Residence Hall Association and Residence Life, the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, the Center for the Study of Women in Society, the School of Journalism and Communication, and UO’s Sexual Wellness Advocacy Team.  With added thanks to Phoenix Inn Suites Eugene, UO Scheduling and Event Services, and the Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Program.

April 15, 2016

“The Politics of Style: Black Women, Social Movements, and Global Fashion Economies” Tanisha Ford

Flyer for Tanisha Ford talkWhen: April 29, 2016, 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Where: Knight Library Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid St, Eugene (on UO campus)

Tanisha Ford is an assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her book Liberated Threads uncovers how and why black women use beauty culture and fashion as a form of resistance and cultural-political expression. From the Civil Rights and Black Power era of the 1960s through anti-apartheid activism in the 1980s and beyond, black women have used their clothing, hair, and style not simply as a fashion statement but as a powerful tool of resistance.

Whether using stiletto heels as weapons to protect against police attacks or incorporating African-themed designs into everyday  wear, these fashion-forward women celebrated their identities and pushed for equality. In this thought-provoking book, Ford  explores how and why black women in places as far-flung as New York City, Atlanta, London, and Johannesburg incorporated style and beauty culture into their activism.

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Society; the Departments of English, Ethnic Studies, and
Women’s and Gender Studies; the College Scholars Program; the CSWS Women of Color Project; the Office of
Equity and Inclusion; and the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs.

PDF copy of flyer

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