Director, 2012-13: Diane LeBlanc, (Interdisciplinary Studies), writing, women’s and gender studies
Faculty, 2012-13: Ibtesam Al Atiyat (Sociology/Anthropology), Islamic feminisms; David Booth (Religion), theology (on leave); Maggie A. Broner (Romance Languages), Hispanic and applied linguistics, Spanish in the U.S.; Laurel Carrington (History), medieval, Renaissance and Reformation; Karen Cherewatuk (English), Anglo Saxon, medieval literature; Devyani Chandran (Social Work and Family Studies), family studies, social policy, research; Jan C. Hill (English), writing, children’s literature, journalism; Carol Holly (English), women’s literature; Abdulai Iddrisu (History), African history, Islam, gender; Judy Kutulas (History), U.S. Women’s History, media, culture; Rebecca Richards (English), rhetoric, composition, and transnational gender studies; Sherry Saterstrom (Dance), dance/movement technique, somatic studies, improvisation ensemble; Ryan Sheppard (Sociology/Anthropology), family, gender, race/ethnicity, social movements, quantitative research; Corliss Swain (Philosophy), Hume, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, value theory; Nancy Thompson (Art and Art History), art history; Mary Titus (English), women’s literature, sexuality studies; Mary Trull (English), 16th- and 17th-century literature.
I started teaching at St. Olaf in the Fall of 2009 after teaching at the German Jordanian University, the Freie Universitaet Berlin in Germany, and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, and serving as the deputy director of the UN International Leadership Institute in Amman, Jordan. I am a native of Jordan, and I received my BA and MA degrees in Sociology from the University of Jordan. I received a PhD in Sociology from the Freie Universitaet Berlin. Between 2003 and 2005 I worked for Princess Basma Bint Talal at the Jordanian Commission for Women. There, I was in charge of drafting national reports in compliance with the CEDAW and Beijing Platform for Action. At St. Olaf I teach Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, Islam and Feminism, The Arab World, and Sociological Theory. I will also co-teach an off-campus course on Religion, Society and Politics in Egypt. This course will be offered in January, 2014.
I was born and raised in California, earning my BA at Berkeley and my PhD at UCLA. I am an historian by training, but also teach in the American Studies and Film Studies programs. I am writing a book on the culture of the 1970s, with chapters that look at feminism, romance, gay TV, and men’s fashion. I am married to another St. Olaf historian, Michael Fitzgerald, and we have two young adult sons. In my spare time I run, read, and cook; I am also a member of the Northfield Arts Guild ceramics studio.
I teach writing, women’s and gender studies, and American studies. I also direct the writing program. I discovered women’s and gender studies as an undergraduate at St. Michael’s College in Vermont during the mid-1980s. Offered few courses in these areas, I studied with professors who integrated gender studies into literature and history courses. My interests include contemporary poetry and poetics, book arts, creative nonfiction, and feminist and gender theory. Women’s Studies seminars have included Third Wave Theory and Feminist Perspectives on Work and Family.
I am a professor of English, but I also teach courses in Women’s and Gender Studies, Media Studies, and the Writing Program. My doctorate is in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English, meaning that I specialize in written communication and the negotiation of meaning between speaker/writer and audience. I went to K-12 school in Ohio, college in Indiana (Butler University), study abroad in France (Université de Nancy II), and graduate school in Arizona (University of Arizona).
I am interested in transnational feminisms, gender and queer theories, women’s political rhetoric and writing, and antiracist feminist coalitional building. I’d have to admit that my interest in women’s studies emerged when I was a child watching Madonna very transparently perform and manipulate gendered identities. Then, as a teenager, I was brought more consciously into feminism through the Riot Grrrl movement and bands like Sleater-Kinney. Because of this background, I use a lot of pop culture references and sources in the women’s studies classroom.