Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts


Congratulations to Erin Heidt-Forsythe, associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute and associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and political science, on the publication of her co-authored article, “Legacies of Mistrust? Race, Ethnicity, and Public Opinion Toward Reproductive Technologies,” in Public Opinion Quarterly.

Here is a Twitter thread Erin wrote about the article:


Susanne Klausen, Brill Professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, was recently interviewed on the CBC about the implications of rolling back Roe v. Wade and “what History tells us” about criminalizing abortion.

Check out the video here:

and the article here:

Congratulations, Susanne, on this excellent recognition of your expertise!

In Response to Alito ’72, a Defense of Women’s Rights, was organized by Susan Squier, professor emeritx of English and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State. Dr. Squier knew Mr. Alito from their eating club and recalls him as “earnest.”

Now, Ms. Squier can’t conceal her anger over the societal earthquake that appears imminent.

“We ask our classmates, and the community of Princeton, to protest the logic that ties us to a constitutional originalism which resists any movement toward justice but, rather, moves us backwards,” the letter states.


Many congratulations to Susanne Klausen, Brill Professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, on the publication of her article “‘Do You Call Yourself a White Man?’: Nationalism, Criminalization of Interracial Sex, and the Policing of White Male (Hetero)sexuality in South Africa during Apartheid” in the American Historical Review (Volume 127, Issue 1, March 2022, Pages 159–193). This is the flagship journal of the American Historical Association and very prestigious. Susanne said that it took 4.5 years from submission to publication. Well done, Susanne!

Congratulations to WGSS student Nina Thomas, who has been selected for a prestigious summer internship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Nina is from Chicago, Illinois and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She is a rising third year and her areas of interest include women’s empowerment in United States foreign policy, sexual and gender based violence, and queer thought. Over the summer, Nina will work as an intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF)  in Washington, D.C., where she hopes to be involved in legislation protecting the reproductive rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community. After graduating from Penn State, Nina wants to pursue a graduate degree concentrating on the involvement of women in foreign affairs.

Please join us in congratulating two of our WGSS faculty members on winning two of our College’s most significant teaching awards! C Libby was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award for Teaching Faculty and Jes Matsick won the Outstanding Teaching Award for Tenure-Line Faculty. We are very fortunate to have such excellent instructors in our department! To have WGSS faculty win both awards in the same year is outstanding!! Yay!!!!

Please join us in congratulating FIVE of our dual-title PhD students who did incredibly well in this year’s Graduate Exhibition. What a showing they had!

Katie Ellis (FFS/WGSS) and Brooke Tybush (FFS/WGSS) both won FIRST PLACE.

Eric Disbro (FFS/WGSS), Kelly Kaelin (HIST/WGSS), and Ryan Pilcher (FSS/WGSS) all won THIRD PLACE.

This means that our students won 1/3 of all awards given for the entire University in the Arts and Humanities Category. Very well done!!

2022 Graduate Exhibition Award winners announced | Penn State University (

Please join us in congratulating Hil Malatino on the upcoming release of his new book, Side Affects: On Being Trans and Feeling Bad (Minnesota, 2022). This is a wonderful accomplishment that we should all celebrate!

Book Synopsis:

How the “bad feelings” of trans experience inform trans survival and flourishing

Some days–or weeks, or months, or even years–being trans feels bad. Yet as Hil Malatino points out, there is little space for trans people to think through, let alone speak of, these bad feelings. Negative emotions are suspect because they unsettle narratives of acceptance or reinforce virulently phobic framings of trans as inauthentic and threatening.

In Side Affects, Malatino opens a new conversation about trans experience that acknowledges the reality of feeling fatigue, envy, burnout, numbness, and rage amid the ongoing onslaught of casual and structural transphobia in order to map the intricate emotional terrain of trans survival. Trans structures of feeling are frequently coded as negative on both sides of transition. Before transition, narratives are framed in terms of childhood trauma and being in the “wrong body.” Posttransition, trans individuals–especially trans people of color–are subject to unrelenting transantagonism. Yet trans individuals are discouraged from displaying or admitting to despondency or despair.

By moving these unloved feelings to the center of trans experience, Side Affects proposes an affective trans commons that exists outside political debates about inclusion. Acknowledging such powerful and elided feelings as anger and exhaustion, Malatino contends, is critical to motivating justice-oriented advocacy and organizing–and recalibrating new possibilities for survival and well-being.

Gabeba Baderoon’s recent co-edited collection (with Desiree Lewis), Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa (2021), just received the Best Edited Collection award from South Africa’s National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Many congratulations on this wonderful honor!

Aparna Parikh, assistant teaching professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies, was interviewed about her work on women’s leisure activities in Mumbai at night, how these activities disrupt social norms, and how they navigate questions of safety and respectability for the Indian newspaper, The Hindu.

Check out “An Instagram page sparks a conversation around women and the alien language of leisure”.