Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Women and Gender Studies


Welcome to the Women and Gender Studies minor!  In our interdisciplinary coursework, you'll take courses offered in departments across the university as you explore the complexities of sex, gender, and sexualities in biological, social, historical, and philosophical discourses.  How do these identities shape who we have been, who we are, and who we may become?  Faculty members in Women and Gender Studies are committed to investigating the way in which theories of gender and sexuality influence modern thought and social practice.  As you chart your own path through curriculum that complements your major, we will offer you new ways of thinking across disciplines.

The Women and Gender Studies minor supports many outreach programs on the A-State campus.  We serve as guest teachers in First Year Experience courses, where we teach about sexual assault prevention on campus.  We organize the Safe Zone program, which trains faculty and staff to respond sensitively to LGBTQIA issues and to make the campus a safer and more welcoming place for all students.  We host speakers for Women's History Month and program events for World AIDS Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and Pay Equity Day.  Throughout the year, we lead panels that invite students and faculty to talk about the way we think about sexuality, sexual violence, reproduction, and a wealth of other issues that shape our experience of the world.  We work to promote student research on issues related to women, gender, and sexuality.

Fall 2016 Events

  • October 13-15, "Southern Feminism" -a conference exploring the way feminisim shapes and is shaped by the south.  Plenary Speaker:  Susan Bordo (University of Kentucky). 

  • Susan Bordo is Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and holds the Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities at the University of Kentucky.  She is the author of The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture (SUNY Press, 1987), Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body (U. of California Press, 1997) and The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999) and The Creation of Anne Boleyn: a New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.) She is also editor of Feminist Interpretations of Descartes (Penn State Press, 1999) and co-editor (with Alison Jaggar) of Gender/Body/Knowledge: Feminist Reconstructions of Being and Knowing (Rutgers University Press, 1989.) Forthcoming is Breaking the Surface: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought, coedited with Ellen Rosenman and Cristina Alcalde, to be published by University of California Press in 2015.  Bordo's most recent book, The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A new Look at England's Most Notorious Queen, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April 2013 to critical acclaim.  In it, Bordo draws on historical scholarship and cultural studies to probe the complexities and challenge the mythology surrounding Anne Boleyn's life and afterlife, exploring how generations of polemicists, biographers, novelists, and filmmakers re-imagined and  Anne: whore, martyr, cautionary tale, proto "mean girl," feminist icon, and everything in between.  The UK edition was published in January 2014.
    The Conference will take place in the Reng Student Union. it is free and open to the public.  For more in formation, contact Dr. Michele Merritt.


"Southern Feminisms" - An Interdisciplinary Conference hosted by Women and Gender Studies at Arkansas State University



Thursday, October 13 – Humanities and Social Sciences Bldg First Floor Auditorium

 7:00 pm – Keynote Speaker: Susan Bordo, University of Kentucky

Chair: Michele Merritt, Arkansas State University

 Hillary, Feminism, and Me: Why "Baby-Boomers" and "Millennials" Need to Start Talking To Each Other


**Reception to follow, in HSS Atrium**



Friday, October 14


9:00am Registration, Coffee and Breakfast, Student Union Hallway outside Meeting Rooms (Arkansas River Room and Black River Room)

 Panels 10:00am-12:00pm

 Panel 1A (Arkansas River): On Being ‘Feminine’ in the South

 Chair and Commentator: Kristi Costello, Arkansas State University

 “Ida B. Wells, Respectability Politics, and the Transatlantic Anti-Lynching Crusade”

Kate Krueger, Arkansas State University


“Pin-Up Feminism: Marguerite Bennett and DC Comics Bombshells”

Heather Anne Tolliver, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


Being Ugly: A Southern Reading of the Feminist Stereotype Monica C. Miller (via Skype), Georgia Institute of Technology

 Panel 2A (Black River): Micro & Macro History:  Exploring Southern Feminisms through The Black Press, the YWCA, The Communist Party, and [Auto]biography

 Chair and Commentator, Joan C. Browning, Freedom Rider, writer and lecturer about the southern civil rights movement.

 “Do We Have Any Men To Follow In Her Footsteps?

The Black Southern Press and the Fight for Teacher Salary Equalization”

Tom Aiello, Valdosta State University

 “Tracking Intersectionality in the 1930s:  The Southern Student YWCA, The Communist Party of the USA and Pan-Africanism”

Sandra Godwin, Georgia College and State University

 “The Paradox of Second Wave Feminism and the Role of Intersectionality in Shaping Women’s Attitudes:  Life Stories of Six Georgia Women”

Catherine Oglesby, Valdosta State University


 Lunch 12:00 – 1:30 (Boxed Lunches for Conference Presenters, Chairs, Organizers, in the hallway between meeting rooms)


Panels 1:30-2:40


Panel 2A (Arkansas River): Southern Women and Sports


Chair and Commentator: Hillary Anderson, Texas A&M University


“Southern Belles with Barbells”

Jasmine Williams University of Arkansas Little Rock

“You Don’t Cut What You Can Untie: Feminism and Sport in the South”

Pam R. Sailors, Missouri State University


Panel 2B (Black River): Biases, Affect, and Stereotypes Shaping Southern Femininity


Chair and Commentator: Marcy Tucker, Texas A&M Kingsville


“Gender-biases in healthcare: History and current trends”

Kristin J. Addison-Brown, Owner, NEA Neuropsychology

 “Adaptive Preferences, Respect for Agency, and Opposing Sexist Oppression”

Steve Weimer, Arkansas State University


Coffee Break: 2:40 - 3:00, hallway between meeting rooms


Panels 3:00-5:00


Panel 3A (Arkansas River): Working Women in the South



Chair and Commentator: Deborah Chappel-Traylor, Arkansas State University


“Never So Much Work for Women as Now; Those Working for Wedding Rings Barred”

Elizabeth Hill, University of Arkansas Little Rock

“Bless Her Heart! : Surviving the Wrath of Women Scorned in the Academic Workplace”

Marcy Tucker, Texas A&M Kingsville


“Radioactive! Symposium Leads To New and Sustained Programs Designed to Draw Women into Science”

Amy R. Pearce & Anne A. Grippo, Arkansas State University


 Panel 3B (Black River): Southern Women and Their Bodies: Image and Experience


Chair and Commentator: Michele Merritt, Arkansas State University


“Wherever You Go, There You Are: Exploring the Experience of Fatness Across the US”

MaryAnn Kozlowski, University of Kentucky

 ““Flirting is part of my heritage”: The Hypersexualization of the Southern Belle, 1980-Present.”

Shawna Felkins, University of Kentucky

 “‘The day all the different parts of me can come along[,] we would have…a revolution’: Intersecting Identities and the Growth of Second Wave Feminisms in the 1970s South”

Hillary Anderson, Texas A&M University



Dinner Downtown on your own/carpool with others


Event at Arts at 311 (311 Church Street Downtown), 7:00pm: Jonesboro Homebrewers Present “Pints and Pairings: Women Brewers and the History of Beer in the South”


Saturday, October 15


Coffee, Breakfast, 9:00am, hallway between meeting rooms


Panels: 10:00am-12:00pm

 Panel 4A (Arkansas River): Feminism and Healthcare Activism in the South

 Chair and Commentator: Janet Allured, McNeese State University

 “About the "Southernness" of Southern Women's Health Activism”

Hanne Blank, Emory University

 “Post-Traumatically Stressed Feminist: Survivors Reclaiming Their Truths"

Darci McFarland, Planned Parenthood & Strategic Partnerships & Development

 “The A Word: Abortion Rhetoric and Humanistic Teaching”

Loren Sky Roberson, University of Memphis


 Panel 4B (Black River): Mapping Intersectionality in the South


Chair and Commentator: Cherisse Jones-Branch, Arkansas State University


“Portrait of a (Invented) Lady: Daisy Gatson Bates and the Challenge of Respectability”

Misti Nicole Harper, University of Arkansas

 “Dark Daughters of the South (Or the Proper Care and Feeding of Warrior Women)”

Carmen Lanos Williams, Arkansas State University

“The friendly Negro” and “the savage foe”: Gender, Race, and Captivity in the Antebellum American South

Ryan Smith, Arkansas State University

 Conference Concludes


This conference is sponsored by:


The Greenfield Lecture Endowment

Arkansas State University Lecture Concert Series

Arkansas State University Multicultural Center

Arkansas State University College of Nursing

Arkansas State University College of Liberal Arts

Arkansas State University, Department of History

Arkansas State University, Department of English, Philosophy, and World Languages

Arkansas Court Appointed Special Advocates

  • Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Training for FYE Students
    August 29th- September 22nd
    (Kerry Tew, Kate Krueger, and Sarah Kendig, organizers)

  • Candlelight Vigil in Honor of Victims of Domestic Violence
    Early September Date TBD
  • Pride Parade and Celebration, Memphis
    September 24th
  • GLBT History Month: October
  • National Coming Out Day: 
    October 11th
  • Conference: "Southern Feminisms", Plenary Speaker, Susan Bordo
    October 13-15th
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance - November 20th
  • World Aids Day December 1st

Spring 2017

  • National Eating Disorders Awareness Week - February 5-11.
  • Black History Month - February
  • Women's History Month - March
  • Transgender Day of Visibility - March 31
  • Equal Pay Day - April 4th

To be part of a growing consortium of students and faculty across the A-State campus dedicated to Women and Gender Studies, contact minor advisor and WGS coordinator Dr. Michele Merritt at mmerritt@astate.edu