banner image

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies News

We were very happy to host feminist theologian, Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, who met with students and gave a lecture entitled, "Thinking Out Loud: Race, Gender, and Han."

Grace Kim and company
Kryn Freehling-Burton, Robert Thompson, Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Pattti Duncan and Susan Shaw

Congratulations to Dr. Susan Shaw, who was awarded the University Mentoring and Professional Development Award on September 18, 2013!

Catherine Draper, Susan Shaw
Patti Duncan, Susan Shaw
Patti Duncan, Susan Shaw

Adelyn, Laura, Emily

Adelyn Vigran, WGSS minor; Laura Tanner, WGSS Major; Emily Barton (Gender and Science student);not shown: Chloe Tull, WGSS minor

Norma, Laura, Pres. Ray

Dr. Norma Cardenas, Laura Tanner and President Ray

Laura, Karinda
Laura Tanner, Drucilla Shepard Smith Scholastic Award & Waldo-Cummings Senior Student Award;
Karinda Woodward,
Drucilla Shepard Smith Scholastic Award

A lovely time was had by all - Dr. Nirmala, Dr. Mala,and Dr. Sheela of PSGR Krishnammal College for Women in Kerala, India visited the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies faculty for two weeks at the end of May 2013.  The sharing of academic and professional development opportunities for students between these two colleges was the primary focus of the visit, however - introducing the three faculty from India to new cuisines, the sights of Oregon and meeting the students was also on the agenda!

Faculty from India and OSU
Dr. Nirmala, Dr. Susan Shaw, Dr. Mala, Dr. Mehra Shirazi, Dr. Sheela and Dr. Patti Duncan


The 2013 recipients of the Dr. Judy Mann DeStifano award is Aisha Khalil Nasser and Stephanie McClure.  This year's recipient of the new Jeanne Dost, Margaret Lumpkin, and Jo Anne Trow Founders Scholarship is Leah Houtman.  Congratulations, everyone!

Award recipients
From left to right: Aisha Khalil Nasser, Leah Houtman and Stephanie McClure


Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill, WGSS's newest faculty member, is developing a new Queer Studies program, performing original material on campus and "tweeting" all about it!

Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill

On May 8th, 2013, Qwo-Li Driskill will be performing "Shaking Our Shells: Cherokeee Two-Spirit Lives" @ 2:00 pm in the Native American Longhouse on the OSU campus.

And that's not all!  Dr. Driskill is also presenting a keynote speech at the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference on June 14, 2013 entitled "Decolonizing Gender, Building Alliances: An Asegi Manifesto."  Here is a brief description of his speech: "Two-Spirit" is an umbrella term being used in Indigenous communities for people who live outside of colonial gender categories. Two-Spirit people are currently engaged in a process of continuing our lifeways through (re)claiming Two-Spirit identities and imagining decolonial futures. One of the terms in Cherokee that falls under the term "Two-Spirit" in English is asegi udanto, or "strange heart." Within current colonial realities on this continent, calls for decolonization and reimagining gender are rendered "strange" and unimaginable. Blending poetry, performance, and manifesto, this talk argues for decolonization and alliances with Indigenous struggles as central to the liberation of Two-Spirit people, Trans people, and our allies. 

Wait, wait!  There's more!  Qwo-Li is giving another keynote address for the Rainbow Convocations at Northern Arizona University on May 10, 2013.

And if that wasn't enough, Qwo-Li was recently named in the Trans 100 list:

To keep up with Qwo-Li's busy life on campus and the development of the Queer Studies program at OSU, you can follow him on Twitter @

Three Amazing DiStefano Scholarship winners of 2012

Laura, Stephanie, Neeha

Laura Tanner, Stephanie Glick and Neha Neelwarne


The Cast and Crew of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies who attended the luncheon in honor of our three winners:

Group Shot
The women (and one guy) behind all the studies:  Laura Tanner, Janet Lee (faculty),Susan Shaw (faculty), Neha Neelwarne, Stephanie Glick, Mehra Shirazi (faculty),Patti Duncan (faculty) and Mr. Chance Oliver (future Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major?).

Dr. Janet Lee wins two prestigious awards at CLA Day, September 2011

Janet Lee won the Richard M. Bressler Faculty Teaching Award which recognizes full professors who have been at OSU a minumum of 15 years and consistently provides direct instruction to undergraduate students.  Also, Dr. Lee won the C. Warren Hovland Service Award, which recongizes outstanding recent and accumulated service to the College, University, and community.  Dr. Lee was recognized for helping to build the Women Studies program in its early years, and for her leadership as the program melded into the School of Language, Culture, and Society.  The C. Warren Hovland Service Award honors C. Warren Hovland, faculty member from 1949 to 1986, for his many contributions to the growth and vitality of the College of Liberal Arts.

The Women Studies Program at OSU now has a Women Studies Major!

In September 2009, the Oregon State Board approved a Women Studies major at OSU! Please see the Programs/Undergraduate Major heading for details.

2010 filmfestThe 2010 International Feminist Film Festival

The Women Studies Program is excited to announce that this year's International Feminist Film Festival will feature an original documentary film by Portland-area film-producer, Brooks Nelson.  This year's festival features the showing of Switch: A Community in Transition. This documentary film explores the impact of a gender transition not on the individual going through the transition, but on the surrounding community of family, friends, co-workers and others. A trailer for the film can be viewed at:

The event, free of charge, will take place in Memorial Union 206/Asian Pacific Room on Thursday, June 23rd beginning at 6:30pm with light snacks. Actual screening of the film will begin at 7pm, with a discussion to follow. Event co-sponsors include the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Office of Student Affairs. Department of Philosophy, and Women’s Center.

The 2009 International Feminist Film Festival

Patti-wall-of-chinaThe Women Studies Program is excited to announce that this year's International Feminist Film Festival will feature an original documentary film by our newest faculty member, Dr. Patti Duncan. Please see a description of the film below. The event, free of charge, will take place in Gilfillan Auditorium on Tuesday, May 26th beginning at 6:30pm with light snacks and a chance to chat with the film's producers. Actual screening of the film will begin at 7pm, with a discussion to follow. Event co-sponsors include Counseling and Psychological Services, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Psychology, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Human Development - Family Studies, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office for Women's Advancement and Gender Equity, and the President's Commission for the Status of Women. Please announce this event to your students, friends, and colleagues-- and we hope that you, yourself, can attend!

Finding Face (2009) details the controversial case of Tat Marina, who was attacked with acid in Cambodia in 1999. At 16, Marina was a rising star in Phnom Penh's karaoke music scene. She was coerced into an abusive relationship with Cambodia's Undersecretary of State, Svay Sitha, and subsequently attacked with acid. The film contextualizes acid violence as both a human rights violation and a gendered form of violence. Marina, who was granted asylum to enter the U.S., struggles to emerge from a shattered self-image and escape a constant state of fear. She breaks her long silence with the hope that she can gain some form of justice, if not in the state judicial system then at least in the court of public opinion.

The film, produced and directed by Skye Fitzgerald and Patti Duncan, had its world premiere in March 2009 at the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. It has also been screened at the International Film Festival on Human Rights in Sucre, Bolivia, and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. It has been featured and/or reviewed in The Cambodia Daily, The Phnom Penh Post, Voice of America, ABC Australia, World Radio Switzerland, Air America, and the BBC. For a recent review of the film in World Pulse Magazine, see

New Book by Dr. Shaw

God Speaks To Us TooHow can women find strength, courage, and motivation in a religious denomination that believes in the necessity of a wife's submission to her husband? In God Speaks to Us, Too, Susan M. Shaw shows that Southern Baptist women are surprisingly more complex and rebellious than outside observers might think they are. She presents the views of more than 150 women, often using their own words, and finds in them an unshakable belief that God speaks as directly to them as to any pastor or denominational leader. Although these women respect their leaders and allow them quite a bit of influence in their thoughts and lives, ultimately they recognize that their beliefs and practices are determined by their own choices, and with God's guidance.

"If anyone ever thought Southern Baptist women were meek, mild, and uniformly submissive, this book assures them that they have another thing coming. Susan Shaw found that while some of the women she interviewed believed they should submit to their husbands in theory, most believed strongly in their ability and responsibility to think and act for themselves. "--Susan Willhauck, Associate Professor of Christian Formation, Wesley Theological Seminary

New Book by Dr. Watkins

The Handbook of Self-Help Therapies

Dr. Patti Lou Watkins  is pleased to announce the publication of The Handbook of Self-Help Therapies which was released in January 2008 by the Taylor & Francis Group, a division of Routledge Publishing. Dr. Watkins, a clinical psychologist by training, co-edited this text in conjunction with her longtime colleague, Dr. George Clum, of the Psychology Department at Virginia Tech. The book contains an introduction to media-based self-help approaches, including a chapter authored by Watkins (Self-Help Therapies: Past and Present) which explores the history of this genre, emphasizing the fact that “women are much more likely than men to avail themselves of self-help resources” (p. 10). Watkins examines this phenomenon through a feminist lens, elucidating both advantages (e.g. women’s empowerment and independence from patriarchal medical institutions) and disadvantages (e.g. failure to recognize and alter the social structures that lead to women’s distress in the form of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and the like). The remaining chapters in the text examine the research evidence of various self-help treatments for these and other problems such as insomnia, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, sexual dysfunctions. Watkins and colleague, Dr. Rebecca Concepcion of OSU’s Nutrition & Exercise Science Department co-authored a chapter (Great Expectations: Self-Help Therapies for Dieting and Weight Loss) which reviews the relative lack of evidence for the efficacy of books such as Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, also exposing the hazards of such approaches. Watkins (p. 11) notes “women’s abundant use of resources on diet, fitness, and weight loss” thus self-help books on these topics are ripe for feminist critiques. For instance, the authors (p. 310) state that these books communicate the notion that “weight loss is to be pursued for aesthetic purposes, thus reinforcing unrealistic societal beauty standards and the idea that self-worth is necessarily contingent on body weight and shape.” In the closing chapter of this text (Self-Help Therapies: Retrospect and Prospect) co-authored with Clum, Watkins highlights the need to address diversity issues in the development and evaluation of self-help programs, calling on psychologists to integrate qualitative research strategies more common in the field of Women Studies to “enhance our understanding of self-helps’ great appeal and potential utility” (p. 429). Watkins hopes that the book will “achieve praxis, providing a resource that is both helpful to practitioners working directly with clients and inspiring to researching seeking to extend the data base in this area” (p. xii).

35th Anniversary of Women Studies, The Women's Center and the President's Commission on the Status of Women at OSU  

Anniversay DinnerA ceremony and luncheon was held on April 25, 2008 at Reser Stadium to celectrate the 35th anniversary of Women Studies, The Women's Center and the President's Commission on the Status of Women here at OSU.  Founders Jeanne Dost, Margaret Lumpkin and Jo Anne Trow were honored at the event.  Susan Scanlan, Executive Director of the Women's Resource and Education Institute in Washington, DC and president of the National Council of Women's Organizations was on-hand to speak at the gathering.