Kansas State University


Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Author: Erin Pennington

Celebrating Our Faculty and Students

by T. Dickinson

In May 2016, we celebrated the success of the 2015-2016 graduating students. Graduate Certificates were earned by Chrischelle Borhani, Patricia Butler, Lyla P. Brooks, Kynsey Creel, Allen Mallory, Maria Ruiz, and Adena Weiser. A number of students completed majors in Women’s Studies, including Claire Tolentino, Emily Bond, Lisette Corbeille, Meaghan Kuzmich, Amanda Mosteller, Lexi Scoville, Allison Sowle and Hannah Atchison (fall 2016). Students with minors in Women’s Studies included Brady Armstrong, Roela Boci, Jasmine Davis, Jennifer Fox, Kathleen Lococo, McKenna Kelly, Paige Porter, Jennifer Smithies, Brianna S. Carrillo, Marcus Dominguez, Shaun A. Dowdell, Natasha Freeman, Lindsey N. Ford, Jacquelyn Forester (along with a minor in Queer Studies), Hannah Gray, Michelle Gralow, Richard Habeeb, America Martinez-Serrano, Mekahla Z. Peterson, LaTasha H. Pittmon, Lauren Pino, Mercedes T. Santiago, Toni A. Stock, Loren Taylor, Tyrone A.L. Tatum, Darrah Tinkler, Maya Tilmon, Sophia Tolentino, Carmen Tucker, Denisse Bernie Zambrini, Jacquelyn Zenger, and Haley Williams (fall 2016).

We also celebrated writing award winners and scholarship awardees. Riley Katz received the undergraduate writing award with the paper “Educational Outreach, Social Reform and Political Activism: Building a Transgender Movement.” Maria Ruiz received the graduate writing award with “Bargaining with Kyriarchy: Women in Religion Negotiate Feminism and Catholicism.” The Clarina Howard Nichols Scholarship winner was Laura Gunderson, and the Founders’ Scholarship in Academic Excellence in Women’s Studies was Lucia Duarte. We also showed our appreciation for the Undergraduate Ambassadors, the Advisory Council, and the faculty, including retiring faculty member, Torry Dickinson. Continue reading “Celebrating Our Faculty and Students”

Women’s Studies Changed its Department Name to GENDER, WOMEN and SEXUALITY STUDIES (GWSS)

by T. Dickinson

In spring 2016 the Department of Women’s Studies changed its name to the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies to better represent the the scope of our department. Throughout our history at K-State, Women’s Studies has taught classes that address gender, women, and sexuality, even though the department has focused on women. Since the first Women’s Studies classes were taught at K-State in the mid-1970s, students have learned about how the world works and how people can bring about positive changes in gender and sexuality relations, and women’s lives. Continue reading “Women’s Studies Changed its Department Name to GENDER, WOMEN and SEXUALITY STUDIES (GWSS)”

What Happens When Students Become Teachers?


By Laura Thacker, Women’s Studies Major and Graduate Certificate Earner

As of this writing, I am 28 years old and teaching a class in the K-State Women’s Studies Department that I love more than anything – Women and Disability. Teaching in this department is surreal; it was in this department that I learned what women’s studies was and the depth and breadth of possibilities available to me through this course of study. I earned a dual bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies and English in 2012, a graduate certificate in women’s studies in 2014, and here it is, 2016 and I’m writing my own curriculum, teaching the class that I so badly wanted to take, and working with the best students in the world (okay, I might be a bit biased).

During the 2008-2009 school year, I was returning to Kansas State University after a car accident that left me permanently disabled. A once-familiar campus suddenly felt almost malevolent, a body I had always struggled with loving was now scarred and even more outside of the norm, and my trajectory was unclear. I felt embarrassed about my disability and its visibility and unsure of myself. Everywhere, that is, except for the women’s studies classroom. Continue reading “What Happens When Students Become Teachers?”

Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker Speaks to Women’s Studies in March 2016

by T. Dickinson

At a dinner organized by the Women’s Studies Advisory Council, Senator Kassebaum spoke to an enthusiastic room of over 100 Women’s Studies supporters at the Manhattan Country Club on Thursday, March 31. Attending the talk were members of the Women’s Studies Advisory Council, community supporters of Women’s Studies, students, faculty, staff, administrators, community leaders, and families of students.

Senator Kassebaum delivered a passionate speech about contemporary politics and the importance of women who take responsibility for community and political life. Women at all levels of politics have demonstrated their ability to be good negotiators who help converge diverse views, Senator Kassebaum said. Women have the skills to get past the divisiveness of today’s politics and to be leaders who move change forward. Senator Kassebaum argued that women are the key component in changing the paradigm of dishonesty that has dominated recent politics. “I think that women have always been the backbone of our republic,” Kassebaum Baker stated. Continue reading “Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker Speaks to Women’s Studies in March 2016”

What it Means to Me: Joining K-State’s Faculty

by Harlan Weaver

As the newest faculty member in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, I am delighted to introduce myself to the GWSS community! I come to K-State after working as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Davidson College. Prior to that, I held an appointment as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, where I did ethnographic fieldwork in an animal shelter. And I completed my PhD in 2012 at the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz, for which I wrote a dissertation focused on the ways that feeling, or “affect,” shapes trans*—trans, transgender, and transsexual—experiences of embodiment. My current book project, Bad Dog, focuses on what I term the “interspecies intersectionalities” that characterize relationships between humans and pit bull-type dogs (so-called “dangerous dogs”), or how these relationships not only reflect but also shape experiences of race, gender, sexuality, class, species, and breed. Through the book I articulate an understanding of “multi-species justice” that interrupts the norms of whiteness, class status, and heterosexuality that figure into popular understandings of good pet ownership, pushing instead for ways to think with and better understand marginalized humans and animals together. Continue reading “What it Means to Me: Joining K-State’s Faculty”

Good Reads: Little Red Readings by Professor Angela Hubler

By T. Dickinson

The next time you go to the library or search online for a good read, look for Little Red Readings: Historical Materialist Perspectives on Children’s Literature, edited by Angela E. Hubler (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2014). Angela Hubler started teaching Women’s Studies and English at K-State over 25 years ago. She now serves as the Interim Head of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. You may think that her new book sounds too heavy to both satisfy your intellectual curiosity and your need to be entertained and surprised. But this book does both. Continue reading “Good Reads: Little Red Readings by Professor Angela Hubler”

Educating the Next Generation of Change Agents in GWSS Classes

By Tom Sarmiento

Students in my Advanced Fundamentals of Women’s Studies (WOMST 305) are excited about the Women’s Studies Department’s name change to Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS). Comprised of majors, minors, and students generally interested in Women’s Studies, my WOMST 305 students this semester (Spring 2016) have taken at least one Women’s Studies course prior to enrolling in my class. Their ability to critically analyze the intersections of gender and sexuality with race, class, and nation, for example, illustrates the expansive work our faculty are already doing in other courses and reveals why my students see the department’s transformation from WOMST to GWSS as a logical progression. Continue reading “Educating the Next Generation of Change Agents in GWSS Classes”

Our Department Is Ahead of the Curve: Tracking Cultural Change

Last year the Department of Women’s Studies and the Nonviolence Studies Program with Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work brought a governing member of the Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project (OTHRP) to Kansas State. While he was here, Richard Chilton spoke to two Women’s Studies classes and led an evening discussion about the Omaha Nation. When he came into our classes, he arranged the chairs in a circle and placed a couple of chairs in the center. Richard Chilton transformed the chairs in the center into a drum and beat out Omaha rhythms, telling the class about what holds the Omaha people together, and what they have faced. Chilton informed students that the Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project (OTHRP), the tribal-endorsed cultural arm of the Omaha Nation, was taking a major land claim to the U.S. Supreme Court. When they were doctoral students a number of years ago, OTHRP leaders Dennis Hasting and Margery Coffey documented the theft of a large piece of the Omaha Nation’s land and the U.S. government’s denial of a treaty. Their research on Omaha land and historical artifacts formed part of Hastings and Coffey’s dissertation for the Western Institute for Social Research in Berkeley, CA, where T. Dickinson has taught over a 30-year period. This archival dissertation research served as the basis of their court case, which led to an appeal that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading “Our Department Is Ahead of the Curve: Tracking Cultural Change”