Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies


Loyola Feminist Lecture Series

Loyola Feminist Lecture Series

In the spirit of community consciousness-raising groups of the 1970s, the Women's Studies and Gender Studies program aims to create a space where community members facilitate dialogues and learn more about essential topics of contemporary feminism. Our inaugural lecture series provides an opportunity for the Loyola community to foster an environment in which feminist ideas thrive. Presenters are current and former students, staff, and faculty addressing topics and issues impacting both our campus and larger Chicago community.

The Fall 2018 lecture schedule will be announced in the coming months.



Domestic Violence: Experience of the South Asian Immigrant Women in the United States
Presented by Teuta Peja

Domestic Violence is a cross-cultural phenomenon that appears in different forms, and its manifestation is different depending on the cultural values, social and political norms of a place. In cases of domestic violence among immigrant communities, besides socio-cultural norms of the host country, socio-cultural factors in the home country influence how immigrants perceive and respond to domestic violence. This presentation will focus on how domestic violence is conceptualized by research studies on Asian Indian immigrant communities in the United States through different periods of time; how patterns of abuse and help-seeking behaviors of immigrant communities have changed through the years; and the role of the organizations that provide services to domestic violence survivors.

Documenting Women’s History 
A Community Conversation featuring: Jeremy Bucher, MA student, History; Elizabeth Fraterrigo, Associate Professor, History; Nancy Freeman, Director of Women and Leadership Archives; Rebecca Parker, MA student, Digital Humanities; Tanya Stabler Miller, Assistant Professor, History

A generous donation of Ms. magazines inspired us to host a conversation about documenting women’s history. Looking back at the stories featured in the magazine, we will discuss the importance of documenting women’s contributions to art, politics, activism, and everyday life. We ask: Whose stories are recorded? Who determines which stories take precedence over others? How do historians, archivists, photographers, writers, and other recorders take on the responsibility of shaping history?

Sex Work, Feminism, and the Anti-trafficking Narrative
Presented by Cassandra Damm

The anti-trafficking narrative is a popular topic in feminist circles, although the roots of the narrative, which focuses primarily on sex trafficking, provide fodder for debate. Through Cassandra’s work doing substance use and behavioral health interventions in Chicago, her work with the Sex Workers Outreach Project - Chicago, and research in this area, she questions the popular perspective viewing all participants in the sex trade as victims. Instead, she views the issue from a systems lens, focusing on sex worker rights and harm reduction. She also explores why victimization occurs, what contributes, and what work we may have to do as a culture to change our institutions to change this reality. While agency is complicated in a capitalist world, acknowledging structural and cultural stigmas and using strengths-based and trauma-informed interventions provides space to reduce revictimization by formal systems claiming to protect "trafficking victims."

I Got a Lot to be Mad About: How Hurting Black Girls Become Angry Black Women
Presented by Laquasha Logan

Laquasha Logan founded Dear Black Girl: A Collective Love Letter in Summer 2017. It is a site where black women and women of color are able to visit, share resources and discuss things that we experience as black women in America. For her presentation, she will talk about black women, mental health, and wellness. She was diagnosed with depression about 5 years ago, and she will share her story as to how she copes, how depression shows itself in her everyday life, and how black women in many instances struggle with depression and don't recognize it. Ultimately, she would like to begin the conversation around debunking the myth of the strong, angry black woman, and how they are real, and their emotions and emotional health are valid.

Food, Love, and Mom: Women’s Labor and the Myth of the Family Meal in Cold War East and West Germany
Presented by Alice Weinreb, PhD

This lecture analyzes the Cold War construction of the “family meal”, especially “mom’s cooking,” as crucial to children’s health. Analyzing both capitalist and communist economies, I argue that this ideal serves economic purposes rather than supporting public health, above all limiting women’s success in the paid workforce.

It's More than Pronouns: Facilitating Trans and Nonbinary Affirming Classrooms
Presented by Meaghan Tomasiewicz & Suzanne Cuellar

Facilitators will talk about how to affirm transgender and non-binary identities in academia while encouraging attendees to reflect on their own discomfort. Facilitators will address how to practice affirming unfamiliar identities and what to do when mistakes are made. Emphasis will be placed on the process rather than on vocabulary and theory.

Don't Miss Out on These Spring Courses

Spring 2018 Courses

Looking to swap your spring schedule? There are a few WSGS cross-listed courses still open. We've done some of the work for you; below are a handful of interesting courses that still have space. Don't wait too long before signing up—These courses are likely to fill up soon.


Global and Local Feminisms (WSGS 201-04E, WSGS 297-002)
Feminist Pedagogy and Experiential Learning (WSGS 497-002)
Betsy Jones Hemenway, PhD | Tues 4:15-6:45 p.m.

This course will focus on the lives of women transnationally – comparing experiences of women across cultures, in our local community and in other parts of the world – with the goal of building understanding and solidarity. Using four major themes to organize our course (education, health, activism, and economic empowerment), we will engage directly with the history and experiences of women around the world and in Chicago. As part of the Engaged Learning dimension of the course, students will work on one or more service-learning projects with local organizations in Rogers Park and Edgewater. One confirmed collaborator is Loom (http://www.loomchicago.com/) , a project for refugee women affiliated with Catholic Charities in Edgewater. Other possible organizations include GirlForward and the CPS Refugee Support Program. By engaging with these organizations, we will gain a deeper understanding of the variety of women’s experiences, community gender dynamics, and efforts to bring about change, which are critical parts of social justice work. Participating graduate students will take on additional assignments in global feminisms, feminist pedagogy, and experiential learning. This course fulfills Tier 2 of the Societal and Cultural Knowledge requirement and the Engaged Learning requirement in the Core Curriculum. The course is also cross-listed with Global and International Studies and Latin American/Latin-x Studies. Please note: This course previously included a study abroad trip over spring break, which is no longer part of the course. All students are welcome to enroll.


Food, Hunger, and Power in the Modern World (HIST 300C-1)
Alice Weinreb, PhD | Mon/Wed 2:45-4 p.m.

This course focuses special attention on the intersection between the modern food system and gendered experiences and expectations, ranging from family structures to body norms. We explore the ways in which women’ particular relationship to food made them relevant to war and mass violence in particularly classed and racialized ways over the course of the twentieth century. We do this by exploring changing ways of understanding famines (Ireland, India, and Ethiopia), as well as looking at the ways in which food has been a “weapon of war” and a tool of genocide. Finally, the course will analyze the ways in which race, gender, and class have shaped the United States’ food policies, focusing on school lunches and welfare programs.


Trans* Narratives (ENGL 372, WSGS 397, WSGS 497)
Pamela Caughie, PhD | Tues/Thurs 2:30-3:45 p.m.

This course is a study in narrative focused on fiction and memoirs by and about trans* subjects. Such writings disrupt narrative conventions by defying pronominal stability, temporal continuity, and natural progression, all elements of more conventional novels and memoirs that trace the course of a subject’s life. As such, trans* narratives can be read as a distinct genre, what I have called a “transgenre.” But they also require us to rethink the conventions of any life writing, raising the question, What are the consequences for living of telling a different kind of story? That is, these life writings do not just give us an account of a life lived, but also deliberately shape a narrative of a life that might be lived, and livable. Readings include various forms of life writing, fiction and nonfiction, as well as essays in transgender theory and sexological writings from the early 20th century. Primary works include Man into Woman (1933), the life narrative of Lili Elbe, and David Ebershoff’s novel based on that work, The Danish Girl (2000) along with Tom Hooper’s film version; Jan Morris’s Conundrum (1974); Jennifer Boylan’s She’s Not There (2003); Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (2015); Juliet Jacques’s Trans: A Memoir (2015), and Susan Faludi’s In the Darkroom (2016). We may also read Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography(1928) and Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (1928), if we’re especially ambitious. We will also discuss recommended films. Along with participation, requirements for undergraduates include two short essays (approximately 2500 words) and an exam; for graduate students, one class presentation and a seminar-length paper.

A Century of Irish Activism: My Grandparents and My Own Fight for Gender Equality

A Century of Irish Activism: My Grandparents and My Own Fight for Gender Equality

Join us for a lecture from Dr. Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, a scholar retracing the path of activism of her Irish grandmother in the U.S.

When: October 25, 2017 | 4-5:30 p.m.
Where: Loyola's Lake Shore Campus | Piper Hall, First Floor
Additional Details: This free event is open to the entire Loyola community.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington’s grandparents, Hanna and Francis Sheehy Skeffington, were prominent Irish feminists, nationalists, pacifists, and socialists. After Francis was shot without trial by the British during the Irish 1916 rebellion, Hanna embarked on an 18-month tour of the U.S. to tell the truth about British brutality in Ireland. 100 years later, Micheline is retracing that tour and filming a documentary to honor her grandmother’s remarkable and little-remembered achievement.

This event is sponsored by the Women's Studies and Gender Studies program and the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership.

Calling all WSGS Alums

The Women's Studies and Gender Studies program wants to highlight the successes of our undergraduate and graduate alumnae/i. During the 2017-18 academic year, we will interview six to ten WSGS alumni and publish short profiles about each person on our website. 

The profiles will serve as a resource for prospective and current students interested in our undergraduate and graduate programs. This is an opportunity for them to learn more about utilizing a degree in women's studies and gender studies. This is also a great way to show off your hard work! 

If you or someone you know would like to be featured, contact WSGS graduate assistant Keisa Reynolds at kreynolds6@luc.edu. Your e-mail should include the full name, graduation year, and brief description of the person's work since completion of the WSGS program, along with their email address. 

Nominations are due by Sunday, October 8, 2017, at 11:59 p.m.

Spring 2018 Lecture Series: Call for Presenters

Spring 2018 Lecture Series: Call for Presenters

In Spring 2018, the Women's Studies and Gender Studies (WSGS) program will launch a monthly lecture lunch series for the Loyola community and friends. In the spirit of community consciousness-raising groups of the 1970s, WSGS aims to create a space where community members facilitate dialogues and learn more from each other essential topics of contemporary feminism.

Each selected presenter will give a lecture and/or presentation for up to 30 minutes. They may choose to do a Q&A or provide questions for group conversation following their lecture.

We are seeking submissions from current and former graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni. People of all disciplines are welcome to submit, as long as there is a feminist theoretical framework or methodology. Submit an application via our Google Form by October 31 at 6 p.m. E-mail WSGS graduate assistant Keisa Reynolds at kreynolds6@LUC.edu with any questions.

The monthly series will occur every third Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the WSGS suite (Crown Center, Room 116) at the Lake Shore Campus. The dates for Spring 2018 semester are January 17, February 21, March 21, and April 18. Refreshments will be provided by the WSGS program. Please feel free to bring your own brown bag lunch.

Medieval Movie Night: the Sorceress

HERE ‌ for event flyer! 

This movie takes its inspiration from an account, by the 13th century Dominican inquisitor Stephen of Bourbon, of a rather unusual healing cult in France... Medieval witchcraft, healing practices, offical and "folk" religion, aristocratic oppression and female empowerment are just a few of the topics addressed. Dog lovers in particular will love this film!! 

FREE AND OPEN TO ALL - RSVP to accommodate for food. 

To RSVP or questions contact: Dr. Gross-Diaz, Director, Medieval Studies Center: tgross@luc.edu 

Women in Politics: Past and Present


Observed each year during March, Women’s History Month recognizes and celebrates the diverse and historic accomplishments of women. In collaboration with campus partners, the Gannon Center hosts a variety of programs and events to commemorate Women’s History Month.

MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2017
Undergraduate Women’s Leadership Award Reception
7-8:30 p.m. • McCormick Lounge • Lake Shore Campus
RSVP here.

Picturing Women in Renaissance Art

6pm • LUMA (Loyola University Museum of Art)
In this talk Loyola Art History Professor Marilyn Dunn will examine how imagery and themes in both domestic and religious art objects related to female gendered experience in the Renaissance.
RSVP to luma@luc.edu or 312.915.7630.

MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017
Women in Politics: Past and Present
7 p.m. • Klarchek Information Commons, Fourth Floor • Lake Shore Campus
A panel discussion featuring Illinois politicians.
Additional details forthcoming.

Sita and Surpanakha: Indian Womanhood in a Tholu Bommalata Ramayan
6 p.m. • LUMA (Loyola University Museum of Art)
In this talk Loyola Art History Professor Sarita Heer will be contextualizing Indian womanhood in other forms of Indian visual culture to demonstrate how the Sita and Surpanakha puppets of a Tholu Bommalata Ramayan educate women on correct conduct.
RSVP to luma@luc.edu or 312.915.7630

Lecture by Aurora Levins Morales: “Deep Sustainability: Ecology, Disability, and Justice”

Aurora Levins Morales: “Deep Sustainability: Ecology, Disability, and Justice”

"We live in a world in great peril of destruction because our economies have been built on foundations of greed.  In the face of great odds, people have always found ways to resist being dehumanized, exploited and dominated. But now we are at a tipping point.  In order to change human society enough to sustain us, we need to draw many different nuclei of that resistance together, and tap everything we have learned through generations of separate efforts to build peaceful, just and life-sustaining societies.

We need electrons, storytellers who can trace the lines of connection between disability and ecology, peace in the Middle East and the preservation of the Great Lakes, how closing public schools in Black neighborhoods is driven by the same forces deforesting West Africa, how women’s ownership of land can prevent famine, protect soil, and slow climate change. 

I am that kind of  storyteller. 

I use the tools of history and ecology, radical trauma theory and feminist testimonio, poetry and research, documentary and ritual, invention and analysis, healing and confrontation.  My work reaches into many places, and touches many people.  I write, speak at events, make art, collaborate with organizations, teach, mentor and consult, broadcast my ideas, and talk with people. 

You can learn more my public speaking, consulting, teaching, and mentoring by going to WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER

I believe storytelling has the power to restore connection and change how people think.  That transformation begins with imagination and hope, and this is the work of poets.   I believe in the power of conversation, within and between communities, of people listening to each other.  That imagination, hope and connection can bind us together into something new.  Into molecules of change." (direct from Aurora Levins Morales homepage) 


MORE INFORMATION ON AURORA L. MORALES AT http://www.auroralevinsmorales.com/