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.
In the past, I have taught courses in Transgender Studies, Queer Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Writing and Composition, and Human-Animal Studies. I am currently teaching two sections of Introduction to Women’s Studies, where I have been excited to see a new generation of students energized by the ways that GWSS classes link critical understandings of gender and sexuality to race, class, and nation. I am also teaching an upper-level class in Feminist Science Studies, in which we analyze science as a cultural practice—it’s been a real pleasure to facilitate conversations in which we think critically about the relationships among sciences, gender, race, sexuality, ability, and indigeneity. And I am super excited about my Fall classes, which include Advanced Fundamentals of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, where I’ll get to work with our new majors and minors (!), and Interspecies Intersections, where we’ll be talking in-depth about “interspecies intersectionalities” through examples like Hurricane Katrina and Michael Vick’s conviction. I have also been fortunate to get to work with our student ambassadors this Spring, where, in addition to our regular work on behalf of the department, we mobilized against the anti-trans* bills proposed in the legislature (SB 513 and HB 2737). All in all, it has been a wonderful experience to join in and, really, be welcomed into the GWSS community here!