Welcome to My Web Page!
If you'd like to learn more about women's studies, the courses I teach, or my research,
please contact me by email or come to see me during my office hours.
In 2011, I started my work at Cal State San Marcos as Program Director and the first
tenure-track faculty member in Women's Studies. With a focus on women's experiences
and feminist theory, my research and teaching focus on peace and justice activism,
feminist pedagogy, folklore studies, and the politics of culture.
This website developed by Kristine Wise.
I am a first-generation college graduate, and I understand how difficult and simultaneously
exhilarating that experience can be. My educational approach centers on giving students
the desire and tools to take charge of their own learning, reclaiming their educational
experience so that it becomes a meaningful and empowering force in their lives and
the world around them. For me, education is about developing a deeper understanding
of life and human experience, so that we can use this knowledge to combat injustice
My teaching philosophy involves facilitating rather than dictating, encouraging students
to take responsibility for their educational processes rather than passively memorizing
course material. I work with students to challenge the complacency that contemporary
U.S. culture fosters in many ways, unlearning what the dominant culture assumes to
be true. For me, education is a way to challenge injustice and improve the quality
of life for all people, particularly those who are disadvantaged, marginalized, and
Teaching is my passion, and I have always loved the excitement and exhilaration of
learning. I believe that education is our brightest hope for the future. The sparking
of ideas in a classroom–empowering and enabling students to think critically, ask
tough questions, analyze data and examine assumptions, learn to see-hear-feel-think
in new ways, and developing students' leadership potential so they feel motivated
to take action–these are what fuel my love of teaching and research.
Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin
Anthropology (Specializations in Folklore Studies, Women's Studies, 1990)
Dissertation Title: "The Ribbon around the Pentagon: Women's Fabric Arts as a Vehicle
for Social Critique"
Professor and Associate Professor,
Department of Women's Studies
California State University San Marcos
San Diego Regional Programs,
University of Redlands, San Diego, CA
Associate Professor and Assistant Professor,
Department of Women's Studies,
State University of New York at Albany
Current Areas of Research
Analysis of the Annual Ramona Pageant; Women and Gender Issues in Peace and Justice
Movements; U.S. Military Violence Against Women; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
Students' Participation in High School Proms; Transformative Feminist Pedagogy; Critical
Gender Analysis of Disney Culture, Mermaids Folklore
One of my recent interests is the politics of culture and, specifically, representations
of gender and sexual identity, race, and nationality in Disney animated films. Here's
a link to a book that includes my analysis of "Disney's Enchanted, Patriarchal Backlash and Nostalgia in a Fairy Tale Film."The essay was published in Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity , 2010 (click on "Open full view of book sample" for the table of contents).
I've been studying and documenting the peace activism of Cindy Sheehan since 2005.
Her son, Casey Sheehan, was killed in the Iraq War in April 2004. Cindy became a leader
in the movement to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq when she traveled to George W.
Bush's ranch in Crawford, TX, asking to meet with him so he could explain the "noble
cause" (Bush's words to describe the deaths of U.S. Soldiers in Iraq) for which her
son was killed. Here's a photo essay I wrote about Cindy Sheehan's 2007 "Mother of
a March" in Washington, DC:
"Ramping Up the Call to Action: Mothers Tell Congress to End the War Now,"
Code Pink, May 17, 2007.
Critics suggested that Boyle's popularity was just a fad, but the naysayers were wrong.
She has continued to thrill audiences even after she was voted second place in the
May 2009 final competition of "Britain's Got Talent." Her television special, "I Dreamed
a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story," featuring a duet with English musical theater star
Elaine Paige, aired on December 13, 2009, attracting ten million viewers in the United
Kingdom and ranking as the high estrated U.S. television special in the TV Guide Network's
history. It is a testimony to her popularity that, in May 2010, a Time magazine poll
named her the seventh most influential person in the world, 14 places above Barack
Obama,who received one fifth of her votes, and 57 places above French
President Nicolas Sarkozy. Despite her popular acclaim, many pundits continued to
portray Boyle as a helpless female whose unexpected success would ultimately lead
to her downfall. Here is a photo essay I wrote about her: "Taking Another Look at Susan Boyle,
One Year Later," http://archive.truthout.org/taking-another-look-susan-boyle-
Courses Taught at Cal State San Marcos
Women's Studies 101: Introduction to Women's Studies
Women's Studies 300: Beauty and Body Image
Women's Studies 300: Collaborative Research Practices
Women's Studies 300: Disney Films: Gender and Sexuality in Animated Movies
Women's Studies 301: Gender and Race in Contemporary Society
Women's Studies 303: Education, Gender and Race
Women's Studies 321: Feminist Pedagogy in Practice
Women's Studies 325: Folktales of Strong Girls & Women in the Middle East,
Africa & Asia
Women's Studies 398: Independent Study
Women's Studies 401: Women in Peace and Justice Movements
Women's Studies 401: 20th Century Feminist Thought: Popular & Folk Culture
Women's Studies 450: Cinema and Gender
Women's Studies 490: Feminist Perspectives: Theories & Research
Women's Studies 495: Internship in Women's Studies
Women's Studies 499: Independent Research in Women's Studies
University of Texas, Austin
Anthropology (Specializations in Folklore Studies, Women's Studies)
Dissertation Title: "The Ribbon around the Pentagon: Women's Traditional
Fabric Arts as a Vehicle for Social Critique," M. Jane Young and Kathleen
Stewart, Dissertation Committee Co-chairs.
Areas of Teaching Expertise
Women's Studies Core Curricula; Feminist and Alternative Pedagogies; Peace
and Justice Movements; Folklore Studies; Popular Culture; Feminist Folklore
Theory; Feminist Film Criticism
Recent Research and Scholarship
"From Sorrow to Activism: A Father's Memorial to His Son Alexander Arredondo,
Killed in the U.S. Occupation of Iraq," with Nishelle Bellinger. 2010. Journal of
American Folklore 123(488):179-217. Analysis of the ways in which gender,
ethnicity, and class shape the public expression and peace activism of a first-
generation immigrant father, whose son was killed in the Iraq War.
"Disney's Enchanted: Patriarchal Backlash and Nostagia in a Fairy Tale Film,"
with Lisa Gablehouse. 2010. In Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity, eds.
Pauline Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix, pp. 137-156. Logan: Utah State
University Press. Critical analysis of sexism, racism, heterosexism, and
classism in Disney's recent fairy tale film.
"Cindy Sheehan: A Call to Maternal Activism in the Contemporary Peace
Full Curriculum Vitae
Movement." 2009. In Sara Ruddick's Maternal Thinking: Philosophy, Politics,
Practice, ed. Andrea O'Reilly, pp. 144-159. Toronto: Demeter Press. Analysis of
Sheehan's activism and correlations to Ruddick's theory of maternal thinking.
My Research Involves Peace & Justice Activism
Dec. 2010, peace action in Washington, D.C., organized by Veterans for Peace.
Cal State San Marcos student Kristine Wise and I traveled to Washington to
document over 120 activists gathering in front of the White House and
handcuffing themselves to the fence. The called on President Obama to meet
with them and to end U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and
Pakistan. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers that helped bring
an end to the Vietnam War, was among them.
My essay about this event: http://archive.truthout.org/winter-soldiers-confront
Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial to Life, Oct. 2010: a campus wide display I
organized with four undergraduate student activists, Stacy Ambriz, Nishelle
Bellinger, Rachel James, and Jasmine Perez. Douglas Mackey designed the
memorial to mourn the enormous loss of life resulting in the wars -an
estimated 847,000+ Iraqi and 19,800+ Afghan civilians were killed between
2003-2010. We also commemorated the over 5,000 U.S. soldiers who have
died in the wars.
A marker to an anonymous Iraqi woman, identified only by her husband's name,
who was killed in the Iraq War.
Brochure from an evening program during the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial
November 2010, I accompanied a group of students on a trip to the annual
vigil at the School of the Americas (now known as WHINSEC), at Fort Benning,
GA. The event draws thousands of activists from across the U.S. and Latin
America. A large peace vigil takes place outside of the gates of the fort, where
Latin American soldiers travel to learn "enhanced interrogation" and terror
techniques, that have, in turn, been used against the people in their own
countries. The 2009 military coup in Honduras was orchestrated by men who
were trained at the School of the Americas, which is funded by U.S. tax dollars.
Students at the School of the Americas vigil, standing in front of the gates at
Fort Benning, November 2010.
Cal State San Marcos students at the School of the Americas vigil, November 2010.
November 2010, march to the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, GA, a
prison for people awaiting trials for immigration violations. People have been
detained for months or years without due process. Together a group of Cal
State San Marcos students and I participated in this event.
April 2010, I invited internationally renown Scholar Cynthia Enloe to campus to
talk about the interconnections between militarism, war, and women's lives.
Constance McMillen and her partner at the San Diego LGBTQ Pride Parade
in July 2009. Constance was honored because she worked with the ACLU
to file a lawsuit against the Itawamba County School District in Mississippi
because they tried to prevent her from bringing a female date to the prom.
Cal State San Marcos student Jennifer Meneray and I are writing an essay
for publication about LGBTQ students and high school proms, particularly
the recent development of same-sex couples running for, and being
selected as, prom queens and kings.
Cal State San Marcos students joined me for a 2009 field trip to Manzanar
Internment Camp, now a national historic site. Here Japanese Americans
were imprisoned in the California desert during WWII in respone to racism
and xenophobia that flourished during the war. Hank Yamamoto, who was
interned in the camp as a boy, is in the front row and served as our guide
for the visit.
This is a 2007 photo I took of Carlos Arredondo, whose son Alexander was
killed in the Iraq War. As a result of his experience with the death of his son,
Carlos became a peace activist who has traveled across the country calling for
an end to U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is shown with
a portable memorial he created to honor Alex - here he leads a massive 2007
peace march in Washington, D.C., against the wars. Cal State San Marcos
student Nishelle Bellinger helped with the research for our essay, "From Sorrow
to Activism: A Father's Memorial to His Son Alexander Arredondo, Killed in the
U.S. Occupation of Iraq," (Journal of American Folklore, 2010, Volume 123,
Issue 488, pages 179-217). The article offers an analysis of the ways in which
race, gender, class, and national identity shape the public expression and peace
activism of a first-generation immigrant father, whose son was killed in the war.
Empowering Students to Change the World
I see my work in education as opening doors, enabling and empowering
students to work hard and effectively, recognize and develop their
talents, and put their learning to work to make a difference in the world.
I encourage women's studies students to become activists on campus and
in the community. Here Jenn Meneray (right) and Arianna Rivera (left) raise
their voices in an April 2011 campus rally calling for funding for the
California State University system.
Women's Studies major Kristine Wise joins the April 2011 rally to convey
the need to fund state university education.
I encourage students to study and travel in other countries so they can
broaden and deepen their understandings of the world. Kirsten Quinn
took my suggestion to heart and spent her final semester studying at
the University of Stockholm, Sweden. I went to visit her during spring
break in March 2011. Here she sits atop an enormous version of the
wooden toy horses that Swedes traditionally use to commemorate
In October 2010 students worked with me and a group of community activists
to install a weeklong display of the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial to Life, with
thousands of markers to represent Iraqis, Afghans, and U.S. military personnel
who have been killed in the wars. Here Kristine Wise (right) speaks during a
noontime program while Nishelle Bellinger (left) holds a photo.
One of my ongoing research projects focuses on the annual Ramona Pageant in
Hemet, CA. Here two students, Patricia Mendoza (left) and Krystal Pliego
(right), pose next to a statue of Ramona. We worked on this project together
in the Spring 2010.
Nancy Martinez-Molano and I worked together to conduct research on the
raped, murdered, and "disappeared" girls and women of Ciudad Juárez,
Mexico. Nancy took the lead to create a large campus event on this topic
and invited as a guest speaker one of the mothers of a young woman who
was killed in Juárez. Here's Nancy standing next to an altar of remembrance
students created as part of that March 2005 event.
Working closely with 2004 Women's Studies graduates
Top left to right: Monica Strang, Joanne Henry, Becky Lagger
Middle left to right: Amy Brooker, Julie Sullivan Laube
Lower: Christine Fowler