FMST Newsletter, Fall 2019

October 09, 2019



Happy fall! Hope you all have been enjoying the unusually warm weather before it’s gone.

I am thrilled to introduce you to our three new FMST graduate students: Breanna Byrd, Anne Fosburg, and Emily Padilla. Please see below for more about each of them.

We also send congratulations to two soon-to-be graduates of our PhD program: Evelien Geerts and Cecelia Lie-Spahn. Read about their theses, what they’ve been doing lately, and what they have planned for the future as proud holders of a UCSC FMST doctorate degree.   

We are planning many events this quarter and all year long, but I especially want to make sure you know that Margaret Atwood (author of TheHandmaid’s Tale, and more recently, The Testaments) will be visiting UCSC on April 5th during Alumni Weekend. There will be many campus events before and after her visit, so stay tuned. 

Also, we are lucky to have the annual National Women Studies Association (NWSA) conference happening in San Francisco this year! Many of our faculty and students will be presenting at the conference, November 14-17. We encourage you to look at the program on-line and carpool over the hill to attend some of the panels and sessions.

And finally, I would like to introduce the new director of the UCSC Women’s Center, Colleen Rice. The Center offers undergraduate and graduate students opportunities for internships and even some paid positions, and they are planning a series of events that we will post throughout the year.

Look forward to seeing you at the many Feminist Studies events this quarter!

Felicity Amaya Schaeffer, Associate Professor and Chair, Feminist Studies Department, UCSC 



We are very pleased to welcome three new grad students to the FMST PhD program this Fall:

Breanna ByrdBreanna (Bre) Byrd is originally from Durham, North Carolina. She obtained her BA from New York University in Social and Cultural Analysis, where her focuses included African American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her work thus far has explored the impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on our understandings of topics such as historical production, responses to hurricane, and the intimate relationships black folx have with ourselves, each other, and to cultural production. Captivated by the contemporary rise in visible/imagined characters of color, particularly black women, in apocalyptic or scientific exploratory narratives, Breanna is currently reading black feminist literature alongside queer theory, science and technology studies, black geographies, and a bit of pop culture and media studies. Breanna has also been involved with various facilitation trainings and curriculum developments for diversity, equity, and inclusion, allowing her more critical engagement when mentoring black and brown students through education, poetry and tutoring.

Anne FosburgAnne Fosburg is originally from Utah and has a Bachelor’s degree in Critical Pedagogy from Brown University. Their research is focused on structural relationships of the university to the state, capital, and the production of history through an anarchist lens, engaging histories of radical educational projects to illuminate ways in which the university upholds the state and capital. Anne has organized along the intersections of housing access and climate justice as a founding member of a housing cooperative in Providence, RI, oriented around building transformative and resilient community in the face of climate disaster. They have participated in the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking for the past two years, an anarchist popular education gathering in Worcester, MA. They have also done land defense at action camps in North Dakota and Massachusetts, as well as climate-focused direct action in the Northeast.   

Emily PadillaEmily Padilla was born and raised in Los Angeles. They finished their Bachelor’s degree at UCLA with a major in Gender Studies and minor in LGBTQ studies. While an undergraduate, Emily served as the lead organizer of Q Scholars, a queer undergraduate research symposium, and is passionate about creating spaces for queer research and scholarship. As a graduate student, Emily’s research interests include queer and trans studies, public and military policy, militarism and necropolitics.


The Feminist Studies department is proud to announce that two new PhD scholars will be graduating this Fall. We send hearty congratulations to Evelien Geerts and Cecelia Lie-Spahn. 

Evelien GeertsEvelien Geerts’ dissertation, “Materialist philosophies grounded in the here and now: Critical new materialist constellations & interventions in times of terror(ism),” presents a novel critical (and digital) cartographical mapping of historical materialist, feminist poststructuralist, and critical new materialist philosophies. Constructing arguments for a new materialist ethico-political intervention in times of global crisis, the project builds on and critically extends the post-9/11 Habermas-Derrida dialogues on terror(ism), the Enlightenment’s self-contradictory nature, and the limitations of the ideals of justice and democracy.  

In addition to her PhD in Feminist Studies, Evelien holds a DE in History of Consciousness, is on the editorial board of the Dutch Journal for Gender Studies, and has been an affiliated visiting researcher at Utrecht University’s Institute for Cultural Inquiry since September 2017. She was also an independent visiting researcher at the University of Helsinki’s Gender Studies department. 

Currently, Evelien is a Lecturer in Gender & Sexuality Studies and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. Her forthcoming publications include an essay on revitalizing identity politics in an edited volume on new materialisms and intersectional thought, a co-written chapter in an anthology on Deleuze Studies & Fascisms, and an essay and roundtable contribution in a book on new materialist cartographies. She is also preparing a post-doc application on neurodivergence, new materialisms, and feminist science studies.

Cecelia Lie-SpahnCecelia Lie-Spahn is currently Director of the First-Year Writing Workshop Program at Barnard College and Term Associate in the English Department. Her dissertation, tentatively titled "The Pharmocratics of Misoprostol: Race, Science, and Reproductive Neoliberalism," is about underground markets for misoprostol, also called Cytotec or "miso.” Initially approved in the United States in 1988 to treat NSAID-induced stomach ulcers, the drug also can be used for a number of obstetric purposes, including to treat and prevent postpartum hemorrhage, as well as induce both labor and abortion. Working against racialized dichotomies of primitivism and technological progress characteristic of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry post-World War II, Cecelia’s work looks across the geopolitical, disciplinary, and bodily borders depicted in recent mainstream liberal media and family planning literature, with a special focus on the United States and Latin America.

Cecelia was nominated for the Emily Gregory Teaching Award at Barnard College in 2018 and is the recipient of several inclusive pedagogy grants from Columbia University's Vice Provost's Office; Barnard College's Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and the Mellon Foundation. As for her plans for the future, she says, “I love teaching and hope to continue doing that!” 


Lani Hanna was awarded a Year-Long Public Fellowship from The Humanities Institute (THI), extending her Summer 2018 Public Fellowship to continue work on the Freedom Archives project.

Noya Kansky received a 2019 Summer Public Fellowship from The Humanities Institute (THI) for the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center project. 

Halima Kazem received a 2019 Summer Research Fellowship from The Humanities Institute (THI) to pursue her research on Feminism in Afghanistan.

Krizia Puig is the new Program Coordinator of the Disability Resource Center. During the 2019-2020 academic year, they will focus on organizing the series “Crip Future(s): Disability Justice and Techno-Scientific Ableism(s)” and launching the Disability Justice Research Lab. (Faculty, grad students, and upper-division undergrads interested in collaborating on these projects can contact Krizia at  

During the Summer – in addition to traveling to the Kennedy Space Center thanks to a research fellowship from THI – Krizia started working as a researcher/artist for the Critical Realities Studio lead by UCSC Professor micha cárdenas (Art & Design: Games + Playable Media). Krizia participated in several conferences during Spring quarter: 

“The Trans/Alien Manifesto: Future Love(s), Sex Tech, and My Efforts to Re-Member Your Embrace” (Presentation)Gender, Bodies & Technology Conference: TechnoLogics of Power and Resistance, Virginia Tech, Roanoke, VA, April 25-27, 2019. 

“Re-examining the Borders Between Us: Regeneration, Symbiosis, and The Future(s) of Self-Care” (Workshop) and “Painful Knowledge/Knowledge in Pain— An Elegy” (Performance) – Society for Disability Studies Conference, Ohio State University. Columbus, OH, April 6-9, 2019. 

“Are Love, Healing, & Justice Accessible to Us?  Intimacy Beyond Sex and Care Beyond Survival”(Workshop) – Take Back the Week, San Diego State University, April 11, 2019. 

Claire Urbanski contributed a chapter titled "The Afterlife of Settler-Colonial Occupation: Archaeological Excavation as Militarization in the United States-Mexico Borderlands," to Firsting in the Early-Modern Atlantic World,an anthology edited by Lauren Beck (Routledge Press, 2019).   

In July, Claire participated in the 2019 CHCI-Mellon Global Humanities Institutes “Crises of Democracy” conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. In August, she did a residency in Philadelphia at the American Philosophical Society as a Short-Term Research Fellow.



Sam CabreraSamantha Cabrera has joined the FMST department as our Undergrad Peer Advisor for 2019-20. Sam also will be the FMST Undergrad Rep, attending regular faculty and staff meetings to represent undergrads and acting as liaison between faculty and students. 

A senior Feminist Studies and Politics double major, Sam is also a Career Center Peer Coach, advising students on resumes, cover letters, job/internship search, etc. As the FMST Undergrad Peer Advisor, she aims to provide resources to students interested in pursuing a career in the Feminist Studies field. Sam can help navigate Academic Planning Sheets, assist in selecting classes for the major, and help research internship opportunities. She is very excited to meet fellow FMST undergrads and students who want to learn more about the department, and to represent the voice of FMST majors in faculty meetings. Email Sam at  


2019 FMST graduate Natalie Gonzales received a Dean’s award and was one of three Dean’s Award honorees to receive a Chancellor’s Award for her senior project, “Imagining the Future Human through Design Fiction & Speculative Fiction.” Natalie presented her work, along with three other FMST seniors, at the FMST Year-End Celebration, held June 14 before Commencement Weekend.

The Humanities Institute (THI) awarded Natalie and fellow graduating senior Summer Al-Saleh with 2018-19 Undergraduate Research Fellowships. Summer’s senior project was entitled “Gaza’s Great March of Return: Mapping Convergences Between the Politics of Human Rights Organizations & the Logic of the Settler-Colonial State.” Summer also received the David A. Kadish Humanities Scholarship Award. 


The 21st Century Feminist Scholars endowment supports the pursuits of new and rising scholars in the field of feminist studies. Each Spring, the department awards two to four undergraduate scholarships ranging from $300 to $1,000 to support independent research, research-related travel, or experiential learning.

In 2019, the FMST department awarded scholarships to Erin Walter, Taylor Bartosh, Kayl Bourgault, and Lizi Markovitz, who formed the Prison Abolition Collective to work with Professor Felicity Schaeffer on an independent study project exploring "Transformative Justice and Sexual Violence.” Together, they collected core readings in transformative justice and presented a workshop on Abolition and Accountability in May that addressed ways to disrupt cycles of violence through community healing processes. The group also produced a zine, Abolish Prison, which can be seen in the FMST library.



Nick MitchellAs of July 1, Nick Mitchell is now an Associate Professor with tenure. This is a significant milestone, and we are honored to have Nick as a FMST colleague. This promotion recognizes Nick’s excellent scholarship and dedication to students, as well as his many contributions to the department, the Humanities Division, and the campus as a whole. 

Nick trained in critical theory, black radical thought, and feminist theory at UCSC and holds a Ph.D. in History of Consciousness with an emphasis in Feminist Studies. His research and teaching explore the social arrangements of knowledge and the ways that knowledge and its institutional practices arrange social worlds. He is currently working on a book, Disciplinary Matters: Black Studies, Women’s Studies, and the Neoliberal University (forthcoming, Duke University Press), that places the institutional projects of black studies and women’s studies not at the margins but the heart of the consolidation of the post-Civil Rights U.S. university.  By examining the historical emergence of black studies and women’s studies as knowledge formations in their own right, consequent to the mass admission of black (and) women students in the late 1960s, Disciplinary Matters aims to rethink what it means—and where we turn—to approach the university itself as an object of knowledge.


Gina Dent with scholarship students
Gina Dent with Issabella Nguyen and Summer Al-Saleh

The Feminist Studies department congratulates Gina Dent, recipient of the 2019 Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award in the Humanities. Named in honor of Professor Emeritus John Dizikes, the award recognizes the pedagogical expertise and exceptional mentorship of faculty and supports students’ commitment to academic excellence and serious inquiry.

Associate Professor Gina Dent came to UCSC and the Feminist Studies department in 2002 and has taught essential graduate and undergraduate courses across the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions. Students and fellow faculty offered high praise for her ability to inspire and engage students, and for creating inclusive learning environments that both challenge and encourage all students. Gina’s teaching is characterized as rigorous and “life changing.” 

The faculty winner of the Dizikes award is also entitled to select an undergraduate student to receive a $3,000 scholarship. Gina chose to split the prize between two graduating FMST seniors – Summer Al-Saleh and Issabella Nguyen. 

“Being a professor is a great privilege,” says Gina. “For me, the classroom is a space to redress what I perceive as a primary political problem: the anti-intellectualism that pervades our social world. I seek to re-spark the form of curiosity … a curiosity that is necessarily dangerous to the status quo.” 


In June, two FMST faculty received Chancellor’s Achievement Awards for their work in furthering diversity, inclusion, and excellence at UC Santa Cruz. 

Associate Professor Nick Mitchell was recognized for his research and teaching, which stem from a simple premise: people need a more complex vocabulary for talking about the relationship between knowledge, power, and institutions. In addition to his position in FMST, Nick is also a core faculty member in the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies program, one of the fastest growing majors on campus. He has served as a founding coordinator of the Black Cultural Studies Research Cluster and the CRES Graduate Collective. 

Distinguished Professor Emerita Bettina Aptheker received the Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Diversity in honor of her work as an educator and activist in movements for peace, social and racial justice, LGBT rights, and against violence against women in its myriad forms. For more than 30 years, Bettina taught her classes from an antiracist perspective, looking at the ways in which gender, race, class, and sexuality are interrelated as systems of domination. In the early 2000s, she served on the Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity and later served as CAAD Chair.


Having served as associate provost at Oakes College in 2018-19, FMST Associate Professor Marcia Ochoa is now Interim Provost, filling the post left by outgoing Oakes Provost Regina Langhout after five years of service.

In assuming the Interim Provost role, Marcia continues a long-term commitment to Oakes College as a place that welcomes and supports students from many backgrounds to achieve their educational goals, including underrepresented and first-generation college students. “My goal in accepting this great honor and responsibility is to keep the Oakes love flowing by supporting our many community engagement and student support programs, and to welcome the next provost of the college,” Marcia says.  


Vera Kallenberg spent the summer on campus as a Visiting Scholar working with Bettina Aptheker. Vera will be here through mid-October. She received her PhD at TU Darmstadt/EHESS Paris in Modern European Jewish History. Vera works at the crossroads of Feminist Studies, Jewish Studies, European and North American history.Currently researching women’s studies pioneer Gerda Lerner, she will give a Feminist Studies Colloquium talk on October 15. See info in Upcoming Events section.


Bettina Aptheker contributed a chapter entitled “W.E.B. Du Bois & Shirley Graham Du Bois: Personal Memories, Political Reflections” toCitizen of the World: The Late Career of W.E.B. Du Bois,edited by Phillip Sinitiere (Northwestern University Press, August 2019). 

In her capacity as Presidential Chair for Feminist Studies for the Peggy & Jack Baskin Foundation, Bettina organized and moderated a panel discussion at Bookshop Santa Cruz in May: “My Own Words: The Law and Legacy of RBG.” The panel was presented in advance of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’spremiere of a major new work inspired by the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – When There Are Nine by composer Kristin Kuster. 

Bettina also wrote the Program Notes for Opera Parallèle’s Today It Rains, based on the life of Georgia O’Keeffe. Composed by Laura Kaminsky with a libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, the opera had its world premiere in San Francisco in March 2019. 

Neda Atanasoski and Christine Hong have received seed money to found the Center for Racial Justice at UCSC, with programming to start this year. The Center responds to shifting ideologies, discourses, policies, and practices around race and racial injustice. In addition to bringing key scholars to campus, the Center will work to formalize ties with social justice and community organizations within the South Bay and Central Coast and facilitateservice-learning and public humanities collaborations for undergrad and grad students.    

Jenny Kelly completed follow-up research this summer for her book, Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism Across Occupied Palestine, as a 2019-2020 Palestinian American Research Center Fellow. In addition to researching tours and delegations and conducting interviews in Palestine, she also gave a lecture on her research to solidarity tourists in Palestine. Jenny also received the University of California President’s Faculty Research Fellowship from the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). She will spend the 2019-2020 academic year on fellowship finishing revisions on her book manuscript.

With Co-Principal Investigator Camilla Hawthorne in Sociology and CRES, Jenny was also awarded a Short Term Collaborative Research Residency grant from UCHRI. In Summer 2020, Jenny and Camilla will host a two-week residency workshop at UC Irvine to work with contributors to their co-edited special issue of the Critical Ethnic Studies journal: Border Regimes and Resistance in Global Perspective.  

Nick Mitchell recently has had two pieces published: "Abolitionist University Studies: An Invitation" (with Abigail Boggs, Eli Meyerhoff, and Zach Schwartz-Weinstein) in Abolition (August 2019) and "Summertime Selves (On Professionalization)" in The New Inquiry (October 2019).


October 15 – Blacklisted Jews Like Us: Gerda and Carl Lerner: Intersectionality Experience as Deviants and the film “Black Like Me,” Vera Kallenberg – 11:30am-1:30pm – HUM 1 room 210

FMST Visiting Scholar Vera Kallenberg will discuss the life and work of Gerda Lerner (1920-2013), a pioneer of women's history. Gerda Lerner co-wrote the 1964 film Black Like Mewith husband Carl Lerner who also directed the film, based on John Howard Griffin's highly controversial book. In 1959, the white writer darkened his skin and travelled through the Jim Crow deep south to expose the everyday realities of racism. The Lerners’ film reflects their experience as participants in the civil rights movement and their own experiences of repression as communists in Cold War America and Gerda's persecution as a Jew in Nazi Europe. 

October 15 – Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the social and psychic lives of Asian Americans, David Eng – 4-6pm – HUM 1 room 202

David Eng, Richard L. Fisher Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, reads from his book, co-authored with psychotherapist Shinhee Han. Drawing on case histories from the mid-1990s to the present, the book explores the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American adults from Generation X to Generation Y, combining critical race theory with several strands of psychoanalytic thought to investigate processes of loss associated with immigration, displacement, diaspora, and assimilation. Presented by the Center for Cultural Studies and the Literature Department, co-sponsored by Feminist Studies.

October 19 – 17thAnnual Practical Activism Conference – 10:30am-5:00pm – College Nine & John R. Lewis College Multipurpose Room

Coordinated and led by students from College Nine, College Ten, and Oakes College, this annual day-long conference aims to further local and global change in our community by representing diverse perspectives on a variety of social justice issues and providing hands-on tools to make practical change. The focus of this year’s conference is Indigenous Human Rights Violations. More information at

November 14-17 – National Women’s Studies Association Conference, San Francisco 

Many of our Feminist Studies faculty and graduate students will be attending and presenting their work at the 2019 NWSA Conference, being held in San Francisco this year. The theme of this year’s conference is “Protest, Justice, and Transnational Organizing.” More info at    


Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Women’s Studies – Deadline: October 15, 2019

Applications encouraged for research about women and gender that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries. Recent Fellows have explored such topics as reproduction in the context of chronic disease, algorithmic detection of child abuse images, and changing feminist visions at the UN from 1975 to 1995. Info at 

UCSC Symposium for Undergraduate Research – Deadline: October 18, 2019

If you are working on or have recently completed a research project (independently, in a lab, in collaboration with a faculty member, or for a class) you can apply to present your work at the Symposium for Undergraduate Research on November 24. More info at 

Thinking Gender 2020 – Deadline: October 27, 2019

The UCLA Center for the Study of Women invites proposals for the 30th Annual Thinking Gender Student Research Conference. The 2020 conference theme, “Sexual Violence as Structural Violence: Feminist Visions of Transformative Justice,” will feature keynote panelist Mariame Kaba, Founding Director of Project NIA and Researcher in Residence at Barnard Center for Research on Women. Graduate students may submit proposals for panel, poster, and roundtable presentations; Undergraduate students may submit poster presentations. More info at 

AERA Undergraduate Student Education Research Training Workshop – Deadline: November 8, 2019

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) invites applications for a workshop to be held April 17-19 during the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. This workshop is designed to build the talent pool of undergraduate students who plan to pursue doctorate degrees in education research or in disciplines and fields that examine education and learning from early childhood to workforce participation. The award includes annual meeting registration and two nights of lodging. More info at

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships – Deadline: November 15, 2019

Designed to encourage original and significant study of religious and ethical values in fields across the humanities and social sciences, the 2020 Newcombe Fellowships are available to Ph.D. and Th.D. candidates who expect to complete their dissertation between April and August 2021. Info and apply at

Global Religion Research Initiative Fellowships – Deadline: November 18, 2019

The Center for the Study of Religion and Society at University of Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology offers three competitive research and writing grants and fellowships programs available to scholars at all levels, intended to advance the social scientific study of religions around the world. Learn more and apply online at

Gender Studies Symposium – Deadline: November 8, 2019

Lewis & Clark College’s 39thAnnual Symposium, around the theme “Possibility,” will take place March 11-13, 2020, in Portland, OR. Proposals are welcome for panel discussions, individual papers, workshops and artistic productions. Info at

UCDC Internships for Spring 2020 – Deadline: November 8, 2019

UCDC is a program of internship and study in Washington, D.C. Participants will spend the Spring quarter attending classes and interning in the nation’s capital while registered as UCSC students and earning academic credit. Internship placements are geared toward student interests, including but not limited to: government and public policy; science and the environment; human rights; education; health; electoral politics; the arts; law; business and finance; media and communications. To apply, go to