Five College Consortium

Five College Women's Studies Research Center

Research Associates 2015-2016



Framing Sport as Art: The Spectacle of Female Athleticism in Classic Hollywood, 1935-1955

Kara Fagan is a PhD candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research interests include film reception studies and U.S. cultural history, but her most recent work is situated at the intersection of Film and Sport Studies. Her dissertation, entitled “Framing Sport as Art: The Spectacle of Female Athleticism in Classic Hollywood, 1935-1955," takes as its focus the female athletic performances of the period that due to their troublesome categorization have largely been ignored. She received her B.A. in English and American Studies from Colby College and her M.A. in American Studies from Iowa.

KIA HALL                                                                                                   INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER

Launching a Transnational Black Feminist Research Agenda

Kia Hall is a transdisciplinary Black feminist scholar-activist. Having formally studied and earned degrees in mathematics, computer science, international communication and international relations, she works across and through disciplinary boundaries. Her dissertation research explores grassroots development in the Afro-indigenous Garifuna villages of Iriona, Honduras. More specifically, she examines the relationship between community development and Garifuna women's making ofereba, or cassava bread. More information about the Ereba Iriona project, which will include an academic manuscript and photography book, can be found here:     

Kia's current work in the United States both promotes and researches the study of engineering, robotics and computing by populations historically underrepresented in those disciplines. Through both direct engagement with students in hands-on activities and research that privileges student voices, she aims to understand the relationship between classroom teaching and learning and students' lived experiences at the intersection of race, gender, class, and ability. Understanding her domestic and international research and development works as interconnected and interdependent, she seeks to identify (in her role as a scholar) and undo (in her role as an activist) social, political and economic institutions and regimes that oppress and marginalize within and across state boundaries.


Bridging Contradictions: Socialist Actresses and Star Culture in the GDR

Victoria Rizo Lenshyn is a PhD candidate in German and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also received graduate certificates in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and in Film Studies. Her dissertation, Bridging Contradictions: Socialist Actresses and Star Culture in the GDR, examines the political and cultural meaning of celebrity in former East Germany as a contested concept under socialism, and she focuses in particular on the gendered aspects of socialist cinema through a study of female stars. Her publications examine the national and international dimensions of East German Cinema (DEFA), including a forthcoming co-edited volume on the international connections between GDR cinema and other national film industries during the global Cold War.

Professor EmeritA, Eastern Illinois University

Letters, Photographs, and Artifacts from Uncommon Women in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Janet Marquardt received her doctorate in art history (European medieval art and music, Islamic and modern arts) from UCLA in 1986 and holds the rank of Distinguished Professor Emerita at Eastern Illinois University. Besides Art History, she also taught Feminist Theory for the Women’s Studies minor, directed a study abroad program in France from 1996-2013, and team-taught the first interdisciplinary course in the Center for the Humanities, of which she was the founding director. Marquardt began publishing as a way to rethink the traditional survey course in art history, co-authoring a thematic textbook Frames of Reference: Art, History, and the World (McGraw-Hill 2004).

For her specialized research, Marquardt studies the epistemological meanings of cultural heritage and the ideological function of patrimony, i.e, how we construct the past through the conservation, renovation, exhibition, and narrative about historical monuments and objects. She is most concerned with eleventh- and twelfth-century French examples and her monograph on the afterlife of the ruined Abbey of Cluny, From Martyr to Monument: The Abbey of Cluny as Cultural Patrimony, came out in 2007 (pb2009) while she was co-editing the anthology Medieval Art after the Middle Ages with Alyce Jordan (2009/pb2011). Her annotated translation, Françoise Henry: The Inishkea Journals, was launched by former Irish president and UN High commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, in 2012. Just out this year from Penn State Press, Zodiaque: Making Medieval Modern 1951-2001 is a study of the famous and influential Zodiaque books, continuing her historiographic research by considering how photographs function to both document and (re)shape our appreciation for early cultures. Marquardt was awarded an NEH senior fellowship 2002-2003, was a Visiting Professor at the CESCM in Poitiers (2006) and a Humanities Fellow at Trinity College Dublin (2011). 


"Whatever Concerns Them, as a Race, Concerns Me": The Life and Activism of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Johanna Ortner is a Doctoral Candidate in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Originally from Scheibbs, Austria, she began her undergraduate studies at the University of Vienna, majoring in African Studies and English and American Studies. She transferred to Rutgers University in New Jersey in 2006 to complete her bachelor's degree in African-American Studies. In the fall of 2009 she began her graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, earning her MA in Afro-American Studies in 2012. In 2013 she received her Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts. She is currently researching and writing her dissertation "Whatever concerns them, as a race, concerns me": The Life and Activism of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, which chronicles Frances Harper's political activism through her participation and leadership in the major social reform movements of the nineteenth century.      

LORETTA ROSS                                                                                        INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER

Black Abortion: Research Serving Activism

Loretta Ross has a 40-year history in the feminist movement, working at NOW (the National Organization for Women), SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, and the National Black Women’s Health Project. She lectures on reproductive justice issues, human rights, racism, appropriate whiteness, diversity issues, and violence against women. She is the former director of the first rape crisis center in the U.S. in the 1970s, and is presently writing a book on African American women in the abortion rights movement entitled Black Abortion. She is the co-author of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, a 30-year history of women of color in the movement to protect women’s bodily autonomy and freedom. She was the Co-Director of the historic 2004 March for Women’s Lives, the biggest protest in U.S. history, with 1.15 million participants. She has worked with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College for the past 13 years helping to collect oral histories of feminists of color and has received honorary doctorate degrees from Smith College and Arcadia University. She holds a B.A. from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. 

NINETTE ROTHMÜLLER                                                                              PHD CANDIDATE/ARTIST RESEARCHER                                                    DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL STUDIES                                                      UNIVERSITY OF OSNABRUCK, GERMANY

Art and Science: Embodied Processes and Theoretical Considerations on a Relationship in Tension 

European artist and academic Ninette Rothmüller also works under the name of Aimée Xenou. She teaches, researches, collaborates, theorizes and practices in a site-sensitive manner, in various languages, through various media and at various socio-geographical sites.

Working interdisciplinarily, Ninette’s writing-based research employs a non-exclusive focus on the wider field of the Life Sciences and Biomedicine in order to allow for a thematically-focused investigation of the multilayered relationalities between art practice (and its materializations), participatory and embodied forms of knowledge production, and the development and application of theoretical considerations. In her work she engages in critical inquiry through creative practice as well as theoretical investigations and is interested in how culture acts as both substance and catalyst for the innovative and interdisciplinary future development of social realities that foster equality.

Her art work is process-oriented and engages diverse communities and populations, as much as social landscapes. She is interested in co-creating spaces that by design allow for various voices and experiences to co-exist and facilitating the establishment and negotiation of relationalities and tensions between these voices and experiences. Ninette is interested in the historicity, as well as the social and cultural make-up of sites, and how these can be perceived in a performative manner. For Ninette, practicing art is a political activity.

JEANINE RUHSAM                                                                                      PHD CANDIDATE, DEPARTMENT OF AMERICAN STUDIES                         PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, HARRISBURG

The Great Maine Bathroom Case: Gender Identity and the Policing of Sex-Segregated Spaces

Jeanine Ruhsam comes to the Five Colleges Women’s Studies Research Center from the Pennsylvania State University to work on her American Studies doctoral dissertation. Her research explores the intersection of gender, culture and public policy in America through a feminist lens. She leaves her position as lecturer in English and Women’s Studies but will continue to chair a committee on Penn State’s President’s Commission for LGBT Equity during her stay. The Penn State Harrisburg Commission for Women recently presented the Kathryn Towns Award to Jeanine for her commitment to heightening the awareness of issues and concerns having an impact on women at the University. 

Anna Ward                                                                                      INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER

The Queer Life of Orgasm

Anna Ward received her doctorate in Women's Studies from UCLA in 2010. She has taught in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College and in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Swarthmore College. She also served as Program Coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Swarthmore in 2012-2013. She teaches courses in sexuality studies, queer studies, science and technology studies, and visual culture, and her work has appeared in Camera Obscura, Social Psychology Quarterly, The Scholar & Feminist, and American Quarterly.    

FALL 2015

SASHA MULLALLY                                                                                    ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY                               UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK

Homespun Medicine: The Life and Practice of Mary Phylinda Dole, 1896-1941

Sasha Mullally holds a doctorate in history from the University of Toronto, where she studied Canadian and American history with a specialization in the social history of medicine and health.  Prior to joining the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick in 2009, she was Co-Director of the History of Medicine Program at the University of Alberta (2008-2009). She held a Visiting Professorship at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy while on sabbatical leave during Spring and Summer 2015.

Sasha teaches a variety of courses and supervises graduate students in the following fields: the history of medicine and health care, Canadian social history, women’s history and the history of the Atlantic region. She has also developed a joint honors/graduate course on digital history.  She is President of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and co-edits, with John Reid, the journal Acadiensis: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region. She also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Canadian Historical Review.

Sasha's first book examines the social transformation of rural health care in early 20th century Canada and the United States.  Entitled Unpacking the Black Bag: Country Doctor Stories from the North American Northeast, 1900-1950, it is under contract with the University of Toronto Press. She is also part of two collaborative research projects.  She is Principal Investigator on a project investigating the early history of occupational therapy in North America (development grant from SSHRC 2012-14) is a co-Investigator on a history of international medical graduates in Canada during the early years of Medicare (funded by SSHRC and previous support from AMS/Hannah Foundation).


The Rise of Precarity: Neo-Liberalism's Impact on Post-Socialism Chinese Women's Lives

Kaiqiong Wei obtained her Master's and PhD degrees from the Department of Philosophy at Renmin University of China. She worked for the Social Sciences Information Center at Renmin University as an academic editor, focusing on Women and Gender Studies for more than ten years. In 2008, Kaiqiong transferred to China Women's University as a professor and teaches in the Women's Studies Department. She was principal investigator of the project "Gender and Knowledge: Feminism Epistemology" which was sponsored by the National Social Sciences Foundation of China (2008-2012). Since September 2012, she has been the principal investigator on the project "Gender Equality Since 1949 in China" sponsored by the Beijing Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science. Kaiqiong co-authored the book Feminist Epistemology with Dr. Cao Jianbo in 2013. 



Traffic in Women, Slavery, Sex Work: The Transnational Politics of Sexual Labor in the Second Half of the 20th Century 

Sonja Dolinsek is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Erfurt. She is currently working on the history of transnational debates on sexual labor  after 1945. The goal of her project is to historicize contemporary debates on sexual labor, in particular debates on "prostitution", "sex work" and "sex trafficking" with a particular focus the governance of sexual labor at the international level and on competing positions and conceptualizations within women's and feminist movements. She is interested in the conceptualization of sexual labor at the intersection of discourses on sexuality, labor and human rights. Her research interests include theoretical and methodological debates on agency, the history of social sciences, the history of sexuality, and contemporary debates and research on sex work and human trafficking. She holds an MA in History and Philosophy from Humboldt-University in Berlin.