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Following the publication of the essay collection, Life in Plastic: Artistic Responses to Petromodernity late in 2021, the publisher invited contributors of the volume participate in a podcast discussing their essays, and the general topic of “plastic” in modern life, and as a topic in Environmental Humanities. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor is part of this podcast, which also features editor Caren Irr (Brandeis), Daniel Worden (Rochester Institute of Technology), and Beth Swanstrom (Utah).

Check it out here:

Congratulations to Aparna Parikh on the recent publication of her co-authored research article, “Coming of age in a straight white man’s geography: reflections on positionality and relationality as feminist anti-oppressive praxis” in the journal Gender, Place & Culture.

The Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies notes, with great sadness, the passing of bell hooks. Her writings were transformative and profoundly shaped the intellectual and political trajectories of countless feminist scholars and activists. She will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Gloria.

Rest in Power, bell hooks—Iconoclastic Writer and Activist Who Reminded Us “Feminism Is for Everybody”

Please join us in congratulating Jennifer on the recent publication of her latest essay, “Plastic’s ‘Untiring Solicitation’: Geographies of Myth, Corporate Alibis, and the Plaesthetics of the Matacão,” which appeared in the new essay collection,  Life in  Plastic: Artistic Responses to Petromodernity, edited by Caren Irr (University of Minnesota Press, 2021).

Excellent work!

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Tracy Rutler on the publication of her first book, Queering the Enlightenment: Kinship and Gender in Eighteenth-Century French Literature, which is part of the prestigious Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment series. This is a major accomplishment and we are thrilled to be sharing (and celebrating) this important milestone with her.

Click here to find information on how to purchase the book:

And here is a link to a blog she wrote about it:


Aparna Parikh, assistant teaching professor of WGSS, and Clara Miller, a Penn State alum who majored in WGSS, have a new co-written publication out, “Between Bos and Babulas: Bovine Politics and Multispecies Disciplining in India”. This short piece explains that symbolism attached to cows in India has objectified them and been marshalled to discipline already marginalized groups. They suggest that a focus on shared multispecies vulnerability could help counter this Brahmanical cow protectionist approach.

Check it out here:

Congratulations to them both!


Jill M. Wood, PhD, Teaching Professor in WGSS, was invited to contribute to an edited volume on teaching and learning in higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic, titled Lessons from the Pandemic: Trauma-Informed Approaches to College, Crisis, Change. Her chapter, “Teaching Students at the Margins: A Feminist Trauma-Informed Care Pedagogy” is now available; it shares theoretical and practical approaches of feminist trauma-informed pedagogy to consider students’ lived experiences of marginalization and trauma as a specific epistemological stance and as valid ways of knowing.  Wood positions students as both teachers and learners in class to connect their experiences to systematic forms of oppression.

Check it out here:

Love was loud from the HUB-Robeson Center’s Heritage Hall on November 3rd.

Penn State’s Jeffrey A. Conrad Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity hosted “Love is Louder” in response to Uncensored America’s Milo Yiannopoulos “Pray the Gay Away” event hosted in the Thomas Building simultaneously.

Check out these articles from the Daily Collegian:

‘We are together: Love is Louder’

Penn State Students condemn message of Milo Yiannopoulos ‘Pray the Gay Away’ event



Check out the video below for a discussion of trauma-informed feminist pedagogical strategies from Jill Wood’s workshop of October 20:

Trauma-Informed Feminist Pedagogy Workshop.

Jill discusses both theoretical and practical approaches of feminist trauma-informed pedagogy that considers students’ lived experiences of marginalization and trauma as a specific epistemological stance and as valid ways of knowing.  A feminist trauma-informed teaching practice enables teachers to help students make connections between their experiences with trauma and larger systems of inequity to resist the pathologizing of their individual experiences. Given our regular interactions with students, instructors are best positioned to notice students’ distress.  To the untrained eye, these students may appear as apathetic, tired, shut down, or even as indolent. However, trauma-informed approaches to teaching and learning suggest that students’ passivity must be contextualized within an educational system that actively disempowers susceptible individuals through trauma and marginalization 

Please join us in congratulating Nancy Tuana on a new NSF grant that she will lead at Penn State – the Megapolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) project. This $19.9 million grant links more than a dozen universities (with Rutgers as the lead) to pursue a five-year study through the NSF’s Coastlines and People program. The MACH project will conduct research that supports the development of climate-resilient decision-making frameworks to equitably support coastal communities. In addition to facilitating interdisciplinary science, MACH will link researchers with coastal stakeholders and decision-makers to facilitate the co-development of dynamic adaptation policy pathways for equitably navigating a deeply uncertain future.

It is not often that we hear about feminist philosophers being funded by the NSF, so this is particularly exciting! The interdisciplinary work that we do in WGSS is clearly important on so many levels. Many congratulations, Nancy!