News & Events Archive

Past Departmental Events and News Items:

ALONE/TOGETHER: Pregnancy and Loss
Saturday August 22nd at 1PM MST, on Zoom
Register for the panel on zoom by clicking here. 
A live panel discussion about experiences in the face of miscarriage, stillbirth, and vulnerabilities in pregnancy and childbirth, with artists Las Hermanas Iglesias, authors Kao Kalia Yang and Shannon Gibney, and educator, activist and author j wallace skelton. This panel will be moderated by Kimberly York, Interim Director of NMSU’s Black Programs.

On Saturday August 22nd, 2020, the UAM will host a live panel discussion about creative resources and experiences in the face of miscarriage, stillbirth, and vulnerabilities in pregnancy and childbirth. This important discussion will take place on Zoom, between writers Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang, co-editors of What God Is Honored Here: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color, Las Hermanas Iglesias, artists whose work is featured in our current exhibition Labor: Motherhood & Art in 2020 and educator, activist and author j wallace skelton. Through this panel, the discussion will aim to amplify information about pregnancy loss, miscarriage, and stillbirth within an intersectional and reproductive justice framework. This discussion will provide an important development of community between parents who have experienced loss, and will provide a meaningful conversation for anyone who has felt disconnected and overwhelmed through their experiences. This discussion of loss will focus on representing writers’ and artists’ response to miscarriage/stillbirth, as well as the important discussion of full spectrum reproductive justice for Black, Indigenous, People of Color and LGBTQ+ communities. There will be time at the end for Q+A from those attending the event, and all members of the event are invited to participate in a group discussion. This event is co-sponsored by the NMSU Departments of Art, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and English.

Learn more about the panel here.
Register for the panel here. 

Check out FBAFF for information on the Call for Entries!

Fifth Annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival


NMSU to host activist stars of podcast, “Bitter Brown Femmes” at public event Mar. 10

March is ‘Women’s History Month,’ a time to honor the many contributions women have made in history and society. As a way to celebrate the month and raise awareness of the current climate across the nation facing women, New Mexico State University will host a talk/live recording by the stars of the podcast, “Bitter Brown Femmes,” Ruben and Cassandra, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at O’Donnell Hall, Room 111. The event is free and open to the public.

Read more about the podcast and the event here

Truth Valuesplay about women in STEM, 3/19 @ 7pmASNMSU Center for the Arts

Join us for a special one-night presentation of the award-winning national hit play,Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze. Called “hilarious” by WIRED, the play is also a serious exploration of the challenges women face in the STEM environment.Truth Valueshas been presented at more than 50 theaters and performing arts centers throughout the U.S., including the La Jolla Playhouse, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, and USC’s celebrated Visions and Voices Arts and Humanities Series. 
This presentation will feature an immediate post-performance discussion moderated by Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Professor of Gender & Sexuality Studies and Dean’s Fellow of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. For more information, visit
When: Thursday, March 19 at 7 PM
Where: ASNMSU Center for the Arts
Free and open to the community

Save the Date: 6th Annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium

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As co-chairs of this year’s 16th Annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium, Martha Estrada (NMSU College Assistance Migrant Program Director) and I are delighted to share the JPTS Save the Date for the day-long symposium events at the NM Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum on Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm.  The symposium is part of Farmworker Awareness Week sponsored by the NMSU CAMP Student Council.
The Honorable J. Paul Taylor will celebrate his 100th birthday this year, and we are beyond thrilled that this year’s social justice theme is “Justice for Farmworkers.”   As a former educator who championed bilingual education and migrant education in New Mexico, we cannot think of a better way to honor Mr. Taylor’s legacy of social justice work.
Members of the Tortugas Pueblo will open our events with a blessing ceremony.  We have assembled four panels that include several experts in the field of farmworker advocacy to discuss the following: the history of Braceros and the Farmworker Movement, Legal Issues Affecting Farmworkers, Education Issues Affecting Farmworkers K-20, and hearing directly from farmworking families on health disparities and food and financial insecurities.  We are pleased to announce that Attorney General Hector Balderas will be our luncheon keynote speaker.   
Our College Assistance Migrant Program Student Council, along with teachers and students from the J. Paul Taylor Academy, will showcase their collective art exhibit that will be displayed at the symposium. We will also take this opportunity to showcase our NMSU CAMP students’ research with a poster exhibit.
We will end the day with a film by Eduardo Chávez, grandson of César Chávez titled Hailing Cesar and a Q&A with the filmmaker.
Our CAMP Student Council will also hold a clothing drive for farmworkers.  CAMP students are respectfully requesting donations of long sleeve shirts, socks, gloves and hats that we will deliver to farmworkers in the region.

Please help us to circulate the Save the Date attached here. The Save the Date has an active link to our website that will have additional information about this year’s symposium events. The event is free and open to the public. Simultaneous English/Spanish translation will also be available. 

We very much appreciate your support of all of our farmworker advocacy efforts.
Warmest Regards,
Cynthia Bejarano, Ph.D.
Regents Professor
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
College of Arts and Sciences Stan Fulton Endowed Chair
College Assistance Migrant Program Principal Investigator
Martha A. Estrada
Director, CAMP

Gender Studies Grad Minor Tiffany Elliott Doing a Reading with Award Winning Poet

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Past Events

Dr. Stacey Waite to Visit NMSU

 Events co-sponsored by the NMSUY Writing Program and LGBT+ Programs are happening this week. Dr. Stacey Waite ( will be visiting us from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The visit will include:
  • A poetry reading and craft conversation: Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 in Corbett Room 312 (the Dona Ana room). If you’re teaching, please consider inviting your students!
  • A writing program professional development workshop: “How to Queer Your Pedagogy.” Friday, February 21, 2:30-3:30 in Guthrie 201 (the upstairs auditorium)
  • Graduate student Q&A with Stacey and lunch from Matteo’s. Friday, February 21, 11:30-1:00 in CBWH 138 (we’ll move to a bigger room, if necessary; please RSVP to Kerry if you know that you’re coming, so we make sure to get enough food).
Dr. White is the current director of grad programs at UN-L. A poet and interdisciplinary scholar who interrogates the languages of gender and experience, Stacey’s a phenomenal performer and a generous teacher. Stacey’s got four books of poetry out and is a top-notch composition/writing studies scholar with an academic book Teaching Queer: Radical Possibilities for Writing and Knowing (Pitt 2017) that has been widely reviewed and adopted. 

Dr. Sherine Hamdy’s Presentation “Research-Based Art and Graphic Novels” Coming to NMSU

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Learn more here

Keynote Luncheon featuring Dr. Nancy Reichert (Corbett Ballroom)


Date(s) – Wednesday
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

NMSU’s Molecular Biology Program celebrates 30th-anniversary milestone

Nancy Reichert received a Bachelor of Science in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nancy worked at the University of Wisconsin where she learned plant tissue culture techniques and then took a research role at a biotech company named Agrigenetics. While at Agrigenetics Nancy was part of a team that proved that genes from any source (other plants, bacteria, etc.) could be transferred into plants using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and this discovery began the application of genetic engineering plants. In regards to this study Nancy has said, Before this, people had only introduced genes from bacteria into plants. Our research showed that we could, potentially, take any gene from a plant or other organism and put it into another plant, and it could be expressed like in the original organism. It was very cool to be part of the first team that proved this potential.” (  After three years Nancy then moved to New Mexico State University where she worked in the Plant Genetic Engineering Lab as. Ph.D. student under the guidance of Dr. John Kemp. Nancy was the first student to earn a degree from the Molecular Biology Program in 1989. After completing her Ph.D. Nancy began her career at Mississippi State University and has remained. She is currently a professor in MSU’s Department of Biological Sciences, and she previously served as the department head for eight years. Nancy will give a seminar on Wednesday November 13th from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm where she will highlight the developments and advances in plant science in the last 30 years.

Registration is required for this Luncheon event.  Go here to register!  The deadline for registration is November 6, 2019.

The Devil’s Mistress Film Screening Rio Grande Theatre featuring Dr. Julia Smith


Contact: Julia Smith, (575) 680-0578,
First film shot entirely in Las Cruces to return to the Rio Grande Theatre
fifty-four years after its national premiere.
The Las Cruces International Film Festival and Film Las Cruces present, “The Devil’s Mistress” by director Orville “Buddy” Wanzer on Thursday, December 5th, 7pm at the Rio Grande Theatre. Wanzer’s 1965 cult classic was the first feature film created and produced in the Las Cruces area and premiered nationally at the Rio Grande Theater. The screening will draw friends, family, and former students of Wanzer’s to celebrate his legacy as an NMSU professor, and his artistic achievements as an artist and filmmaker in the Southwest.  Wanzer passed away in February this year, and was instrumental in growing an independent film scene in southern New Mexico through various foreign film series, special screenings, and student mentoring.
“The Devil’s Mistress” sought to transform the western into what Wanzer described as a “Modern Western, without the Cavalry and without the Indians.” The movie tells the story of four robbers on the lam, escaping toward the Organ Mountains when they happen upon the devil and his mistress, and meet their doom.  This special screening is a fundraiser with proceeds  going toward the completion of NMSU instructor Julia Smith’s documentary about Wanzer and his relevance to southern New Mexico film culture, with his contribution to the “acid western” subgenre.  Attendees will be invited to a reception after the screening.
Smith’s documentary titled, “The Birth of the Acid Western,” explores this variant of the revisionist western genre where there are no heroes and no enemies. Through the “The Devil’s Mistress” and Wanzer’s life and work, the documentary will consider the production of the film as an “acid western” subgenre, and in relation to New Mexico’s burgeoning film industry.
At the screening, Smith will present a promotional trailer for her film, including footage of Wanzer in his last days, interviews with his closest friends and relatives, and archival materials sourced from the Wanzer collections the Rio Grande Historical Collections at NMSU and the Institute of Historical Survey in Las Cruces.  The screening is set for Thursday, December 5th at 7:00 pm at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 Main Street, in Downtown Las Cruces followed by a reception.
Tickets are $12.50 for general admission and $5.00 for students with ID, and can be purchased at the door or online at
RSVP on Facebook via the film webpage at

The Call for Films for the Fifth Annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival Is Now Live

The 2020 season will be the fifth anniversary of the festival. To celebrate this, the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival is partnering with the newly-constructed University Art Museum (UAM) located in Devasthali Hall on the campus of New Mexico State University. It is doing so to participate in the inaugural exhibition to be mounted in the new premises: “Labor: Motherhood and Art in 2020,” co-curated by Marisa Sage (Director, UAM) and Laurel Nakadate (NY based photographer and filmmaker). “Labor: Motherhood and Art in 2020” addresses and challenges the documented human experiences of motherhood and the ways the mother and childrearing have been perceived and portrayed in art, both historically and in current popular culture. Building upon the multitudes of conversations happening in the contemporary art world “Labor” looks at motherhood through the lenses of empathy, intimacy, feminism, failure, dedication, and routine.

For its part, the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival will feature a two-day event of public screenings of selected films that encompass and/or expand on artistic/critical explorations of mothering, mothers, the maternal, the divine feminine, queer family, queer or/and trans parenting, race and mothering/parenting, dis/ability and mothering/parenting, refugee and transnational mothering/parenting and more. In short, the festival seeks films that deal with notions of the mother, mothering, kinship bonds, parenting, or the family that intersect with topics of gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, indigeneity, class, dis/ability, transnationality and diaspora, migration, refugees and displaced persons, activisms, the environment, food/water/housing insecurity, and other social justice perspectives and experiences. Our selected films will be screened alongside video works by artists like Mickalene Thomas, Tierney Gearon, Ann Fessler, who are showcased in the “Labor” exhibition. See more here:

Dr. Julia Smith: Upcoming screening of The Devil’s Mistress at The Rio Grande Theatre

From Dr. Smith

I have exciting news about the documentary production and the upcoming screening of The Devil’s Mistress. The screening will now take place at the historical Rio Grande Theatre in downtown Las Cruces on December 5th at 7pm. This will be the first time The Devil’s Mistress has been to this theater in almost 55 years since it’s national premiere there in 1965! I’ve attached a picture of the original cast the night of the premiere that featured a red carpet, spotlights in front of the theater, and a police motorcade to escort the cast and crew in a limousine. The photos have been provided courtesy of Teddy Gregory who plays Frank, the *innocent* young cowboy in the film, who you can see circa 1962-3 in the attached photos, and will be in attendance at the screening.  

The fundraiser has now become sponsored by the Las Cruces International Film Festival and Film Las Cruces thanks to the advocacy and support of Mark Ross (thanks Ross!), and Jon Foley of Film Las Cruces. In the coming weeks, I’ll update you on press releases, interviews, news, and media around this exciting event. At the screening, where I’ll introduce The Devil’s Mistress and my research and contributions to the Wanzer archives at The Rio Grande Historical Collection at NMSU and the Institute of Historical Survey in Las Cruces, followed by a screening of a promo trailer for my work-in-progress documentary about Buddy and his contribution to film, art, and culture here in the southwest.

I have recently opened an LLC for the film that has taken longer to process that I’d like, but I’ll have updates on ticket sales as soon as it’s 100% secure if it is not already.  You can follow this link to get more info, where you will be able to purchase advanced tickets for this event, which we anticipate to sell out. If you have any trouble with the purchase or the link, please let me know, as you will be the first to have access to this information.  Please share this event with interested parties on by behalf. I’m so grateful for your support, and I look forward to seeing you at the screening, if not before. 

Save the date: December 5th, 7pm, @ The Rio Grande Theatre 

Dr. Hamzeh Named Dean’s Fellow of Diversity & Inclusion for College of A&S

A Dean’s Fellow position to work on issues of diversity and inclusion was created and advertised in early Spring 2019 for all interested faculty in the College.  

The College is fortunate to have several faculty members who exemplify the values of diversity and inclusion through their scholarship and social justice service and outreach. Our office was tasked with the difficult decision of selecting a Dean’s fellow out of an outstanding pool of applicants – and in fact we ended up selecting two fellows, both bringing a diverse set of skills and experiences to this position.

The Dean’s office selected Dr. Manal Hamzeh of Gender & Sexuality Studies and Dr. Spencer Herrera of Languages & Linguistics as this year’s Dean’s Fellows, whose letters of interest clearly showed an invested and continual commitment to various issues surrounding diversity and inclusion.  

The work that needs to be done to make our College a more diverse and inclusive place cannot be done overnight, nor should it be done in silos. As such, I have tasked Dr. Hamzeh and Dr. Herrera to help the College begin to understand what and how we need to work together toward creating a more diverse and inclusive College of Arts & Sciences. Their work will also provide important insights on shaping the LEADS 2025 plan for the College.

This process will take some time, collaboration, transparency, and a lot of listening and communicating. We are committed for the long haul to do the complex work of diversity and inclusion. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Hamzeh ( and Dr. Herrera ( to share your ideas, data, and vision as related to this endeavor. They would be more than happy to meet with you, and I encourage every department to get to know them.  

Check out images from our past events on Flickr.

Dr. Jonet’s Short Film “A Word to Young Ladies (Redux)” in an Official Selection

Dr. Jonet’s shot film, “A Word to Young Ladies (Redux)” has been named an Official Selection for the 2019 season of Experiments in Cinema film festival. The festival, as it describes itself, “brings the international community [. . .] to Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA for a film festival that is designed to inspire a new generation of homegrown media activists to participate in shaping future trends of cultural representation.” Join EIC on April 16–20 2019 and view the list of official selections now.

Dr. Hamzeh on MALCS Radio!


4th Annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival, March 8th-9th

Past Events


Where: CMI Theatre, 2915 McFie Circle, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM 88003
When: November 30, 11am-1pm
Who: public screening of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS with introduction by Marisa Sage (University Art Gallery), Dr. Laura Anh Williams (Gender and Sexuality Studies), and Dr. M. Catherine Jonet (Gender and Sexuality Studies), in collaboration with Amy Lanasa and Evan Curtis (Creative Media Institute), and the students of CMI 303 Cinema Review.
What: ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS highlights the impact of art in AIDS activism and advocacy today by commissioning compelling short videos from six inspiring community organizations and collectives—ACT UP NY, Positive Women’s Network, Sero Project, The SPOT, Tacoma Action Collective, and VOCAL NY. The program represents a wide range of organizational strategies, from direct action to grassroots service providers to nation-wide movement building, while considering the role of creative practices in activist responses to the ongoing AIDS crisis. 

This event is a co-presentation between the University Art Gallery, Department of Art, Creative Media Institute, and Gender and Sexuality Studies at New Mexico State University. Free and Open to the Public.

Read more information

See the press release

Remembering Visualizing Palestine at New Mexico State University

In March 2018, Dr. Manal Hamzeh organized an exhibition of Visualizing Palestine at New Mexico State University for an annual social justice symposium titled “Indivisible Justice: Beyond Walls & Borders.” This video is an excerpt of the conversation.

Special thanks to Dr. Manal Hamzeh. 
Video credit: Jordan Kapreski
View the full video: J. Paul Taylor Symposium 2018


Congratulations to Dr. Cynthia Bejarano

Congratulations to Dr. Cynthia Bejarano from the Interdisciplinary Studies Department! She was honored as the Justice Studies Outstanding Alumni PhD at Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation’s Awards Ceremony in September. In addition, Dr. Bejarano was the invited Alumni Lecturer at the ceremony. The School of Social Transformation inspires students to generate creative approaches to persistent social challenges through teaching, research, and community collaboration.


Women in Leadership Salon with Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama
The United State of Women Organization, in partnership with the USOW Galvanize New Mexico Host Committee and New Mexico State University’s Interdisciplinary Studies Department and the Gender Studies Program will host a Women’s Leadership Salon, with local New Mexico leaders and former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett on October 1, 2018 from 6:00-8:00 pm at the NMSU College of Health and Social Services (H&SS) Auditorium. 
Valerie Jarrett served as the senior advisor to President of the United States Barack Obama and assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs from 2009 to 2017.
The United State of Women, a nonprofit located in Washington, DC takes the lead on hosting this Galvanize Program in cities across the country as a way to connect women to each other in their communities to learn from one another and tackle important issues in their surrounding areas.
Patti Wojahn, Interdisciplinary Studies Department Head of Gender & Sexuality Studies at NMSU notes, “We in the Las Cruces region are fortunate to be selected as a host site to hear from an internationally known leader, Valerie Jarrett, a woman who has served as a role model and leader for women’s equality across decades at a time when women continue to encounter barriers, personally and professionally in our nation.” 

Girls Tech Camp

This summer, local girls from Grades 6 through 8 participated in NMSU’s Gender & Sexuality Studies’ “Girls Tech Camp: Girlhood Remixed,” a camp designed to encourage engagement with technology and exploration of identity at a time when girls have been found to turn away from interests in technology. Gender & Sexuality Studies is part of the Interdisciplinary Studies Department in the College of Arts and Sciences.


In this camp, girls used new technologies, including Photoshop, InDesign, iMovie, to explore aspects of stereotypes, identity and being a girl in 2018. After analyzing how girls are represented in media and in other venues, the girls used various software programs to create alternative perspectives through  public service announcement commercials, made websites based on their interests, learned about blogging and vlogging, among other activities designed to prompt analysis of the way “gender” is represented today. and to consider constraints of gendered stereotyping. One camper mentioned, “The most important thing I learned at this camp was about how to be more brave and believe just because we are female, it doesn’t define what we can and cannot do…we females can do anything we want, we just need the confidence to do so.” Another mentioned she enjoyed “learning about how to encourage and incorporate girls in STEM + STEAM.”

Camp Directors included Natalie Taylor, PhD candidate from Rhetoric and Professional Communication, and Diana Lopez, recent NMSU graduate who as part of her triple major earned a degree in Gender & Sexuality Studies. [#] student volunteers from across campus [could name specific departments] also supported the girls in learning about identity and technology. Read more about the camp here:


The camp was funded primarily through El Paso Electric, the Interdisciplinary Studies Department, and anonymous donors.


A Note from Chancellor Carruthers on DACA

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Check Out This Support Group


G&SS major Diana López to be awarded the Spring 2018 Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Excellence! Congrats Diana!


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Please support our colleagues at FFFS!


Dr. Williams Set to Exhibit Her Zine Work at the Santa Fe Zine Fest

Third Annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival


14th Annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium: Indivisible Justice Beyond Walls & Borders


buttons for symposium

Image by Laura Anh Williams

Event 1: Community Workshop on March 14th

Event 2: A Full Day of Speakers and Films on March 15


Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre at ASNMSU Center for the Arts

1000 E. University Avenue

The theme of the 14th annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium (2018) is Indivisible Justice Beyond Walls & Borders. This year’s JPT Symposium will address the following questions:

1- how do we expose the physical and subtle borders and walls of racism, colonialism/settler colonialism, patriarchy/heteronormativity, transphobia, ableism etc. within NMSU and the communities we serve on this Borderland and

2- how do we open the space for imagining the possibilities of a world without walls and borders.

View the press release.

JPT Symposium (2018) will be held on Thursday March 15 at the Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre at ASNMSU Center for the Arts. It will be organized in solidarity with a few representatives of the growing local and global social movements/scholars engaged in issues of racial and gender justice, abolition, devolution and decolonizing in relation to borders and walls.  

See schedule here:

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Video Art Exhibit: FBAFF is Growing!
See press release for this event


Dr. Laura Anh leads a zine workshop in collaboration with the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice for Sex Week 2018

See more about learning events for Sex Week by the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice here 

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We would like to congratulate fall 2017 IDS/Gender & Sexuality Studies graduate, Alexa Johnston who has been named our departmental star.

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Social Justice Award

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Defending Truth and Memory

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Film Event in Honor of World AIDS Day with Drs. Jonet & Williams & Marisa Sage

ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS is the 28th annual iteration of Visual AIDS’ longstanding Day With(out) Art project. Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell.

In spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black communities, these stories and experiences are constantly excluded from larger artistic and historical narratives. In 2016 African Americans represented 44% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Given this context, it is increasingly urgent to feature a myriad of stories that consider and represent the lives of those housed within this statistic. ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS seeks to highlight the voices of those that are marginalized within broader Black communities nationwide, including queer and trans people.

The commissioned projects include intimate meditations of young HIV positive protagonists; a consideration of community-based HIV/AIDS activism in the South; explorations of the legacies and contemporary resonances within AIDS archives; a poetic journey through New York exploring historical traces of queer and trans life, and more. Together, the videos provide a platform centering voices deeply impacted by the ongoing epidemic.

See more information about this event here.

#Giving Tuesday

See more videos here (including one on Donating that features Elisa Montoya, Administrative Assistant for IDS/Gender & Sexuality Studies!


Dr. Williams Participates in Project Postcard

Hundreds of pieces of postcard-sized artwork will be showcased at the New Mexico State University Art Gallery from Nov. 27–30 during a fundraiser to support the replacement of D.W. Williams Hall, the new art building which will provide an innovative and new space to support the needs of both the NMSU Department of Art in the College of Arts and Sciences and the University Art Gallery (see source). Dr. Williams, who has participated in the event over the last eight years, has donated two of her postcard-sized artworks for the fundraiser. Whether you plan on participating in the fundraiser or only checking out the different works, make sure that Project Postcard is on your “To Do” list.

Alejandra Lerma Named A & S Outstanding Senior

Multiple major (Animal Science, Biology, Gender & Sexuality Studies) Alejandra Lerma has been named Outstanding Senior by the College of Arts and Sciences. As the College’s Outstanding Senior, she will be recognized by the Alumni Association’s “Outstanding Graduate Award” luncheon. She will also be recognized at Commencement and carry the College of Arts and Sciences’ banner as she leads the college into the graduation ceremony. Congratulations, Alejandra! We are all proud of you and happy for your success!

Winners of the 2017 Paper Award

Best Undergraduate Paper Award Winners

Undergraduate Recipient: “Factors Affecting LGBT and Feminist Issues in Korea” by Jane Kim

Honorable Mention: “Women, Gender, and Gaming in HBO’s Westworld” by Julia Vulcan


Best Graduate Paper Award Winners

Graduate Recipient: “Sexual Assault, Infertility, and the Mechanics of Embodied Masculinity” by Holly Gregg

Honorable Mention: Jessica Jones: Narrative for Survivors of Rape, Trauma, and Abuse” by Abby Current


NMSU Faculty Memorial in Support of Students at Risk


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A Brief History of Gender & Sexuality Studies at NMSU

Before it was Gender & Sexuality Studies, Women’s Studies at NMSU emerged through conversations among women scholars on campus in the late 1980s. Many of these scholars had begun their academic careers during among the women’s liberation movements in the 1970s. Their lived experience in the academy and their identification with movements for change during the 60’s and 70’s informed these early conversations. After attending a national Women’s Studies conference in 1988, Dr. Joan Jensen returned to NMSU determined to work with others to form a Women’s Studies Program here. She organized an ad hoc committee to create the proposal to form the Women’s Studies Program. On February 3, 1989 the committee presented their proposal to then Dean Thomas Gale. The proposal was accepted and approved later that month and Dr. Jensen became the first Women’s Studies Program Director. The Women’s Studies Program was home first to a minor and eventually an interdisciplinary supplementary major. A committee of faculty from across several disciplines created the proposal for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies in 2004. The first majors in Women’s Studies were welcomed in 2005. Under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Bond-Maupin, Director of the Women’s Studies Program until fall 2010, Mary Benanti became the first regular faculty member in Women’s Studies at NMSU in 2007. She was joined in 2009 by the first tenure track faculty members in Women’s Studies, Dr. Manal Hamzeh and Dr. M. Catherine Jonet. In 2010, Dr. James Maupin took the reins of leadership with Prof. Mary Benanti serving as Women’s Studies Liaison. In 2012, Dr. Laura Anh Williams was hired in January and became the next Director in August of the same year. She became a tenure track faculty member in Spring 2014 and continues as Director. Women’s Studies is the founding program within the Interdisciplinary Studies Department at New Mexico State University. Dr. James Maupin served as the department’s first chair and Dr. Cynthia Bejarano joined in Fall 2014. Dr. Patricia Wojahn serves as the department interim chair. In 2016, the program moved to change its name to Gender & Sexuality Studies to reflect the broad range of research and topics that faculty and students engage with in this field of study.

*This history is based primarily on the paper, “Gaining a Voice: The Formation of the Women’s Studies Program at New Mexico State University” by Maria Woodard (2008) with additions as our story changes.*

Dr. Williams Will Present Her Artistic Work in Zines at the Santa Fe Zine Fest

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Student Appreciation Celebration & Potluck

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Gender & Sexuality Students Participating in URCAS

Session 2:  10:15am-11:15am
2.A: Revolutionary Women – Otero Room (126)
Moderator:  Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Women Studies
Morgan Beasley 
“Revolutionary Women: Virginia Johnson’s Contribution to STEM Research”
Major: Psychology
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Makenna Caballer 
“Women Revolutionizing the Sport of Roller Derby”
Major: Gender and Sexuality Studies
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Marlene Chairez 
“Emma Goldman an Anarchist Revolutionary Women”
Major: Engineering Physics- Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Caitlin Gear 
“The Revolutionary Life of Congress Woman Shirley Chisholm”
Major: Gender & Sexuality Studies
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Session 3:  11:30am-12:30pm
3.A:  Revolutionary Women – Otero Room (126)
Moderator:  Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Women Studies
Alejandra Lerma 
“Today’s Revolutionary Women: The Black Lives Matter Movement”
Major: Animal Science, Biology, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Diana Lopez 
“The Revolution of the Borderlands through the Work of Gloria Anzaldúa”
Major: Psychology, Spanish, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Casey McKim 
“Themis: Performance Poetry on the Female SCOTUS Justices”
Major: English
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Lydia Quintana 
“Dolores Huerta “La Pasionaria””
Major: Independent Studies
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Manal Hamzeh, Gender & Sexuality Studies


See full program here




NMSU to host second Feminist Border Arts Film Festival

Live-action narratives, animation and documentaries exploring a range of social issues by filmmakers from the United States and all over the world will be presented at New Mexico State University’s second annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival.

This year’s festival, hosted by the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies in collaboration with the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be from 6-8p.m. Monday, April 24 in the Digital Media Theater in NMSU’s Milton Hall, room 171.

“My hopes are that people will leave having gained an appreciation for short film and for the promise of cinema in prompting viewers to reflect on their own understanding about groups of people, themselves and national and world events,” said Jonet. “Roger Ebert once wrote that film is the most powerful empathy machine in all the arts. I think this festival upholds that claim. Film can be a window that allows us to see out and it also permits us to see in.”

Read the full press release here


Dr. Wojahn Speaks to the AAUW

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Images from the event:

Congrats to Dr. Hamzeh: Winner of This Year’s Globalization Award for International Engagement


Manal Hamzeh was announced as the winner of this year’s Globalization Award for International Engagement, sponsored through International & Border Programs!  See more infor here:


Drs. Jonet & Williams Speak Abt Film at the New Mexico Press Women Conference

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A Night With Women Event:


NMSU Theatre Department Debuts a New Play

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Congrats to Dr. Hamzeh: New Animated Short

Take from: “Unmediated Inquiry: Animated Short ‘The Four Hijabs’ Offers Insightful Perspectives” by R.A. Sheth

We live in a world where we are constantly being told what to think. In an age of readily accessible information, passive consumption of media-perpetuated stereotypes trump active quests for knowledge. For instance, the hijab, commonly associated with the headscarf worn by Muslim women, has become a source of irrational fear for many. With a sharp rise in Islamophobia and xenophobia in America and abroad, we have gone from telling Muslim women in hijab that they’re being oppressed to yanking off their headscarves. Much of this fear stems from false information and a lack of inquiry. So what do non-Muslims actually know about the hijab or the Qur’an? Demystifying the hijab with an eye toward justice is exactly what New Mexico State University Interdisciplinary Studies/Women’s Studies Associate Professor Dr. Manal Hamzeh and Mount Prospect native and Silk Road Rising Founding Artistic Director Jamil Khoury set out to do with the new animated short film “The Four Hijabs,” premiering at Silk Road Rising on July 30, 2016.

“The Four Hijabs” was purposefully developed as an entertaining and accessible animated short film that engages with the complex ideas surrounding the hijab. The animated short explores the multiple meanings of four hijabs mentioned in 16 Qur’anic verses. In engaging these verses through Arab-Muslim feminist lenses, four identifiable hijabs emerge: the visual hijab (the modest dress of both Muslim men and women), the spatial hijab (the separator between private and public spaces), the ethical hijab (ethical values/practices required of all Muslims), and the spiritual hijab (the barrier that inhibits deep spiritual growth and new knowledge.

“[The Four Hijabs] reflects our deep commitment to make important cutting-edge academic thought accessible to a general public by interpreting and rendering it as art,” said Hamzeh. The project stemmed from several conversations between co-writers Hamzeh and Khoury about the effects that Islamophobia and hijabophobia are having on young Muslims.

Hamzeh and Khoury are no strangers to challenging perspectives. “The Four Hijabs” is inspired by ideas in Hamzeh’s book, “Pedagogies of DeVeiling: Muslim Girls and the Hijab Discourse” (2012). “[The film] engages broader audiences in work and thought that may cut against the grain of what they have previously taken for granted,” said Hamzeh. She sees “The Four Hijabs” as one of the extensions of her own struggles as an Arab-Muslim feminist wrestling with patriarchal logic. It also supplements her approach to teaching, guided by a commitment to equity and social justice.



2016 Film Festival Winners

Audience Choice Awards for the 2016 Feminist Border Arts Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize Winners

“NO MÁS BÉBÉS” Movie Screening @ The Fountain Theatre Hosted by Young Women United

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How Was Your 2015-2016 School Year?

Here is how ours was and we are very proud!

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Transnational Solidarity Day

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Dr. Bejarano Gives Lecture at ASU: “The Barrio, The Book and The Border: Violence and the Pedagogies of Resistance in Borderlands Studies”

School of Transborder Studies 2016 Wells Fargo Transborder Distinguished Lecture Series 
A public lecture by Cynthia Bejarano

Bejarano is Regents’ Professor in the Interdisciplinary and Women’s Studies Department at New Mexico State University, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She received her doctorate in justice studies from Arizona State University. Her research focuses on border violence, youth cultures, immigration and migration issues, and gender-based violence at the U.S.-Mexico border. She has published several articles and books including “Que Onda?”, “Urban Youth Cultures and Border Identity” and the co-edited volume “Terrorizing Women: A Cartography of Feminicide in the Américas.” She is a dedicated community activist and teacher. Bejarano has served as judge for the Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos in México and was co-founder of Amigos de las Mujeres de Juárez. For her dedication in and outside of the classroom she received the Donald C. Roush Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008. For her collective efforts in teaching, research, and service, she received the 2010 Annual Governors Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women, the Stan Fulton College of Arts and Sciences Endowed Chair in 2010, and the Critical Educators in Social Justice (CESJ) Special Interest Group’s Community Advocacy Award in 2011 from the American Educational Research Association (source).

Here is an interview with Dr. Bejarano preceding the lecture.


Women’s Studies major Tamika Jackson Publishes Article on Importance of Addressing Health Care Disparities for Black Women

Women’s Studies major Tamika Jackson recently had an article published in Jet Magazine’s online site that is call to arms for the important of addressing Black women’s health. Check it out!

Dr. Williams Gives Talk on Campus “Food Trucks, Race & Masculinity”

Carol Walker and Elbert Walker Room, SH 107, at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 11.

Williams’ presentation brings critical perspective from food studies to bear on the 2014 film “Chef” to explore the ways in which the film portrays culinary mastery of ethnic cuisine to construct the central character’s sense of self, and by extension, his sense of manhood. The film’s protagonist, washed-up culinary celebrity Carl Caspar (played by Jon Favreau) resurrects his career and self-esteem not only via his culinary creativity but primarily through his fluency with and mastery of Cuban cuisine, even as he demonstrates a marked ignorance of Cuban culture, Spanish language and immigrant experiences. What remains unaddressed by the film’s heroic arc, and what this lecture focuses upon, is the way Caspar’s whiteness enables him to draw upon ethnic cuisine in order to elevate his own standing.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jeffrey Brown at

Aggies for Feminism Hosts a Poetry Slam

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Date: Thursday, April 14     Time: 6-8pm

Location: Aggie Lounge in Corbett Center

Open Mic!

Winners of the 2016 WS Paper Award


Recipient: Chiann­Ling (Cindy) Yeh for “On Globalizing Perceptions of Hysteria”

Honorable Mention: Julia Vulcan for “Aggression Towards Gender-Nonconformity”


Recipient: Zooey Sophia Pook for “7 Miles a Second: The Bildungsroman and the Mechanics of Othering Queer Bodies”

Honorable Mention: Holly J Gregg for “’I Stand With Black Lives’: Theory and Application of Collective Foregrounding Within Modern Social Justice Movements”

J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium: LGBTQ* Lives in the Borderlands

International Day of the Woman Celebration


2016 Coffee With the Deans

IDS/WS Co-Sponsors Artist Cassils’s Visit

Department of Art Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series
Artist: Cassils
Date: Thursday, February 11
Time: 6-7pm
Location: Health and Social Science Auditorium Room 101
Cost: Free
Sponsor: Department of Art, IDS/Women’s Studies Program, Lilian Steinman Fund


Images from Trials of Spring Events with Hend Nafea

Hend Nafea


Class Collaborates with Ma. Eugenia Hernandez Sanchez and Leticia Lopez Manzano

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Pictured: Andres Solis, Leslie Montañez-Hernandez, Cari Englehart, Erika Patriarchias, Ma Eugenia Hernandez Sanchez, Paulina Sanchez, Cynthia Bejarano,(front row) Xenia Lopez, Ashley Salazar

by Erika Patriarchias

This semester, as a part of our Women’s Studies/Criminal Justice class titled “Women Crossing Borders,” we collaborated with Ma. Eugenia Hernandez Sanchez, Ph.D. student in the Curriculum and Instruction department at NMSU and professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez, and Leticia Lopez Manzano, Director of the Casa YMCA in Juarez to help children who utilize the services of the YMCA. We have realized through this project, that many things that people here in the United States have, we tend to take for granted. Many states and cities, such as our own Las Cruces, New Mexico, are within 50 miles of the border where lives are so different. In order to better understand transnational solidarity work and reaching across the border to our neighbors, we decided to help the YMCA patrons by seeking donations locally and gathering up equipment (simple items such as sports accessories, school supplies, art supplies, etc.) to benefit the children who will most benefit from it.

Ma Eugenia Hernandez Sanchez, Ph.D. student in the Curriculum and Instruction department at NMSU and professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez, is one of the main coordinators who worked to help these children on her own free time. She does not receive any type of income or reward for her services other than the feeling of knowing that she makes a difference in the lives of these children who are just like us. When asked how she is so successful and what it takes to help and her answer is amazingly simple; she says all it takes is one or two people to make a difference. These people don’t even have to be rich. Raising awareness in and of itself is a big help because we are able to show people that we shouldn’t take for granted the things we have, and something that we are used to having, such as a basketball and a place to play with it could mean the world to someone else who lives on the edge of the border. The problem is bigger than we may realize, so by spreading the word we could really help thousands of lives. It’s that easy!!


Student Profile: Shaneel Pratap

Shaneel Pratap is a graduate student majoring in Sociology and minoring in Women’s Studies. He will be graduating in Fall 2015.

“Why isn’t there a Masters or Ph.D. or J.D. degree in Women’s Studies at NMSU? If there would be one in the coming future, then I would be one of the first to apply!!”

What idea/theory/concept first caught your attention in a Women’s Studies class?

My informal observations of the inequalities and injustices experienced by women led me to the philosophical writings of Judith Butler and Gloria Jean Watkins (aka: “bell hooks”). I was fascinated by Judith Butler’s writings about “gender” as a social construct as it especially impacts the disabled Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) communities – as expressed in her video Examine Life. Her humanity was shared by bell hooks who addressed the special features of being a Woman of Color, the hypocrisy of equating sexuality with arbitrary moral choices/demands and championed the cause to bring equality to all women. These writings and videos helped me to come to grips with the ways in which an egalitarian society can be developed, something that is still a work in progress but may eventually overcome the second class citizenship expressed in Simone DeBeauvoir’s, “The Second Sex”.

Why did you become a Women’s Studies Major/Minor?

I already knew a lot about Women’s Studies from my undergraduate work and believe that I can bring a unique perspective to the area because I am a man. Men tell men different things about women than they tell women, so I can apply this knowledge to help formulate a bridge between Feminist writings and men’s reaction to this perspective. My goal is to bring knowledge of Women’s Studies to the Community College level to have the widest impact on the thinking of both women and men to shape a new future based on this bourgeoning area of study.

“People I know who had mixed emotions about taking courses in Women’s Study, but did wind up taking one and discovered that they really like it and it gave them a whole different way of looking at life.”

How have courses you have taken in Women’s Studies affected you/your life or your point of view?

It’s given me a new outlook on women, a more informed perspective about the obstacles women have (and continue to face) and their courage and tenacity to change their circumstances, no matter what socioeconomic strata or background they came from. I think about Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan who won the Nobel Peace Prize for making the world more attuned to the fact that women deserve education, something that almost cost her life.

In your opinion, what is the importance or viability of having a Women’s Studies degree on the job market?

It is an up and coming area of study in the Community College level which is a starting point for attaining more advanced degrees. My experience at a Community College was that this information was unavailable, but I finally became acquainted with Women’s Studies in my Graduate Studies degree program where I learned about things like the gender wage gap. Gender-based societal problems like this still need to be solved and will become increasingly important topics in law school. If the civil rights movement is any example, it takes legislation to make lasting societal change.


Film Presentation: The Trials of Spring


IDS/Women’s Studies will host a film screening for International Human Rights Day on December 10th from 6-8pm in Domenici Hall, Rm 109. The film will conclude with a discussion by Hend Nafea, the subject of the film, Gini Reticker, the film’s director, and Dr. Hamzeh.

The Trials of Spring is a documentary that features a young Egyptian woman, Hend Nafea, who travels from her village to Cairo to participate in the January 25th Revolution, demanding with millions of Egyptian the end to 60 years of a repressive military neocolonial rule. As the Revolution was unfolding and the military was still in charge, Hend was arrested and brutally tortured by the military and security forces at the end of 2011. Consequently, she faced her family’s fury for getting involved in politics. They punished her and tried to silence her for almost a year. But, nothing stopped Hend. She moved to Cairo and began working with a local organization fighting for human rights. In March of 2015, she was sentenced in absentia to life in prison. Though Hend was able to fight back at every stage of this journey, at this point, she had to flee Egypt and seek asylum in the US. Hend’s story mirrors the story of many men and women activists in Egypt struggling for a new Egypt and for a life with dignity, freedom, and social justice. Hend’s story teaches the power of women in Egypt’s Revolution and their resilience in front of the nexus of militarism, neocolonialism, Islamism, securitization, nationalism and patriarchy. Hend’s unyielding spirit is a testament to a universal fight for human rights and freedom.

Particularly, Women’s Studies Program is screening The Trials of Spring to celebrate the 15th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which recognizes women’s critical role in peace-building.

This is an event that speaks to many on NMSU campus. It is an event that aims to open the discussion around the themes of peace-building, social change, gender justice, rebellion, revolution, resistance, militarism, securitization, religious extremisms, heteronormativity, colonial history and contemporary neocolonialims, sources and tools of decolonial knowledge production, research based film production, feminisms, collective consciousness, exile/displacement/migration and more.

THE TRIALS OF SPRING is a major cross media event that tells the stories of nine women on the front lines of change in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. It includes a feature-length documentary and six short films about women and their quest for social justice and freedom. See the project at


Save the Date and Call for Proposals: J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium 2016


Submission deadline/Plazo: December 14, 2015 / 14 diciembre 2015

Same-sex sexualities, transgender, and gender non-conforming identities are often rendered invisible and issues affecting life experiences, vulnerabilities and social inequalities often go unexplored. LGBTQ connections to the borderlands reveals the urgent and multifaceted themes to be addressed at the 12th annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium (March 22-23, 2016) and during the NMSU Pride Week (March 21-15, 2016) at the campus of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Las identidades y (homo)sexualidades alternativas, transgénero y no conformistas son frecuentemente invisibilizadas y los temas relacionados con estas identidades y sus experiencias de vida y las vulnerabilidades y inequidades que las afectan muchas veces son marginados. Los vínculos entre las identidades LGBTQ y la region fronteriza le dan realce a los temas urgentes y multi-dimensionalesque serán abordados en el 12o Simposio J. Paul Taylor sobre la Justicia Social (22 y 23 de marzo, 2016) que se realizará conjuntamente con la Semana del Orgullo Gay (21 al 25 de marzo, 2016) en el plantel de Las Cruces de la New Mexico State University (Universidad Estatal de Nuevo México).

We invite proposals for panels, individual papers, round table discussions, interactive workshops, poster sessions, art, dance, poetry, music, and film to be presented at this symposium and during NMSU Pride Week. Successful proposals will clearly indicate the relationship of the presentation to the core symposium themes.

Les pedimos someter propuestas para páneles, ponencias, mesas redondas, talleres y sesiones interactivas, exposiciones y presentaciones de arte, danza, poesía, música, y cine que se incluirán en la programación del Simposio durante la semana de actividades relacionadas. Las propuestas exitosas demostrarán claramente la relación entre su temática y los marcos de referencia del Simposio.

Check out the rest of the Call for Proposals here: 


Women’s Studies Professor to Speak at Fall 2015 Colloquium

Dr. Manal Hamzeh will present “An Egyptian Revolutionary Woman: From Life Imprisonment to Forced Exile” on Monday, November 16, 2015 as part of the Arts and Sciences Fall Colloquium Series.

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Images from IDS/WS/CLABS/CAMP Open House


IDS/Women’s House Hosts an Open House

Majors, Minors, interested students, and friends of Women’s Studies are invited to meet the faculty and to learn about our exciting academic program and classes! Interested in majoring, minoring, or double majoring? Come learn more! Meet all the professors and enjoy refreshments, entertainment, and prizes!

Students with a Women’s Studies major have gone on to careers in administration, law, advocacy, anthropology, arts, counseling, education, history, humanities, international studies, ethnic studies, philosophy, psychology, public health, public policy, social work, and sociology.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Department, home to Women’s Studies, is delighted to welcome you and to allow you to informally meet with one another, WS and other IDS faculty, Center for Latin American and Border Studies faculty, CAMP leaders, and more. We are all “living,” working, and learning within the same department, yet we don’t know one another and how we might support one another, and enjoy all facets of IDS.

Please save the date! 

Monday, October 26

4:00-6:00 pm

Nason House (on campus, across from FedEx-Kinkos on University Avenue)


Dr. Margo Tamez Comes to NMSU

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Dr. Margo Tamez, Assistant Professor in the Indigenous Studies Program, Community, Culture, and Global Studies Department at the University of British Columbia Okanagan will be presenting her talk “History, Memory, and Poetics of Being and Belonging in Konitsaaiigokiyaa, (Big Water Peoples’ Country): What Nde’ women and mother-daughter, rivering epistemologies teach us” on Thursday, October 22nd at 5:30-7:30pm in Hardman and Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center Rm.210. A reception will follow the lecture.


Student Spotlight: Poem by Hope Alicia Rodriguez

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The following is a poem written by Women’s Studies student Hope Alicia Rodriguez on the topic.


quien te enseño.
who taught you
that your lengua
is best cut up
into cubes and
stuffed into tacos
and served by
the dozens to
your father and
your father’s father.
quien te enseño.
who taught you
that your cuerpo
is a yucca to be
pulled apart by
arm and hand
and fist and tooth
to be used as
lather for the
grease stained
dirt dusted soul
of your father.
quien te enseño.
who taught you
to be desert saguaro
to retain the liquid
of their words
drenched in mescal
and venom from the
serpiente and the
ambered cerveza.
quien te enseño.
who taught you
that your lips are
chile de arbol
and your breasts
tortillas de maíz
and your thighs
enchiladas verdes
and your hips
arroz con pollo
and who told
your father
and your tios
and your primos
and your lovers
that is is always
santa cena.
i beg you.
forget it all.
but remember
the sangre in
your veins the
cheekbones your
abuela gave you
the turquoise and
the feathers that
lay against your chest
remember the voices
of the women before
and how you can
now speak for them
remember your womb
and the vida in your
body & bones
remember the strength
of your neck and the
holy of your feet
remember the desert
blooms in your mouth
the thunder in your eyes
and fuego on your
you are always
bendicion y alabanza
you are always
you are always
sol y luna
you are always
every top of
every mountain.
You are always
nunca olvides eso.


Current Music Mixes

Click image to go to mix

Sketches - Page 3

Feminists for Halloween Music Mix

Sketches - Page 5

Latinx Heritage Month Music Mix



CAMP Named One of the “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education” by White House

New Mexico State University’s College Migrant Assistance Program (CAMP) was named one of the country’s “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education.”

“Our students are proving how successful we are by landing jobs in their fields of expertise,” said Cynthia Bejarano, principal investigator of the program she founded in 2002. “We have accountants, CPAs, engineers and teachers who are working in New Mexico and elsewhere – Texas, Indiana, California, Ohio – so they’re really becoming the ambassadors of the NMSU CAMP program and talking about our good work.”

Read more here



The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Women’s Studies Program Welcome Dr. Patti Wojahn

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Women’s Studies Program welcome Dr. Patti Wojahn as Interim Department Head. Dr. Wojahn, a professor of English in Rhetoric and Professional Communication, is also the Director of the Borderlands Writing Project. She earned her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University and her M.A. in English from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She is a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award in Outreach from the College of Arts and Sciences.



Call for Submissions: SJZ

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The Women’s Studies Program is putting together a cut-and-paste style zine with a focus on social justice issues, personal reflections, and lived experience. Works focusing on gender, race, gender identity, disability, migration, LGBTQIA*, borders, the Borderlands, and transnational positionality are most welcome. Send personal narratives, fiction, poetry, original song lyrics, and short essays (all under 500 words, doc or docx only) as well as images and original artwork (jpegs only) to Handwritten entries are also accepted (please send hardcopies, jpegs, or editable PDFs). Deadline is 01/31/2016.

*This zine will be distributed on campus and published online in March 2016


Job Notice

La Pinon is seeking a qualified individual to serve as prevention educator for La Pinon Sexual Assault Recovery Services of SNM.  This position will deliver our 8-week anti-bullying curriculum to middle and high school students, attend tabling events and coordinate community awareness of sexual assault issues.  The ideal candidate will work within La Pinon’s delivery of service area, under policy and procedure set forth through grant funding.  The position is minimum 20 hours per week, possible 40 hours per week, dependent on grant funding.  Please send your resume and letter of interest to or drop them off at La Pinon administrative offices. 



Historical marker at NMSU to honor Maria Gutierrez Spencer

Of the 536 historical markers in New Mexico, only five represent women.

This year, a historical sign will be placed honoring the legacy of Maria Gutierrez Spencer, a pioneer of bilingual and bicultural education and advocate of the indo-hispanic experience.

Located on Espina Street (NM Highway 38) between E. University Avenue and Stewart Street, a sign will be placed marking the life of one of the state’s boldest natives.

See story by for more information.

News on Local Events and Causes

LA FRONTERA, a fair trade store at Nopalito’s Galería at 326 S. Mesquite in Las Cruces, is open just one more weekend this summer, August 28-30th (Fri. 4-7; Sat. & Sun. 12-5).  If you’re in our area, please stop by and support the five border women’s artisan groups selling at the store. Their products are made by hand and with a lot of heart.  We can’t thank Ernestina and Patricia Gallegos enough for making it possible to use La Galería for our store. We’ll keep you posted on plans to continue the store next summer. 

INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL OF CONSCIENCE OF PEOPLES in MOVEMENT – We also want to remind you that donations are still very much needed and appreciated to cover the expenses of several individuals traveling from Mexico to attend the International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement in New York City on September 25th and 26th.  Donations to date have made it possible to purchase the ticket for Rosalinda Santis Diaz, a weaver and women’s rights activist from Chiapas, but funds are still needed to purchase tickets for two representatives of Las Abejas, the Catholic social justice organization in Chiapas; and two parents of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, a teachers college in Guerrero who were disappeared last September 26th

In addition to attending the tribunal, plans are underway for the parents of the disappeared students to meet with the Pope whose visit to the U.S. coincides with the Tribunal.  

To donate please go to the following site:    

For further information, please contact Camilo Pérez Bustillo:


Welcome Back Aggies-2015 Edition

Here is a mix-Liberation Jams-to motivate, bolster egos, and empower for the new school year.

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FYI: CALL No Longer in Operation

Effective immediately the Crisis Assistance Listening Line (CALL) will no longer be in operation due to funding constraints. There are several other warm lines and hotlines available including:New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 1-855-662-7474
Agora 1-505-277-3013
Santa Fe Crisis Response Hotline 1- 505-820-6333
1-800 Suicide (1-800-784-2433)
1-800-273-Talk (1-800 273-8255)




Graphic Novel Presentation: La Lucha-The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico

La Lucha Presentation


IDS/Women’s Studies Receives 2015 Arts and Sciences Diversity Award


The College of Arts and Sciences Department Diversity Award asks that academic units demonstrate dedication to diversity and enrichment to the campus and local community. The Women’s Studies Program, whose home is in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies makes its vision of diversity an intersectional one, where categories of identity and difference are brought together. In our curriculum, diversity is not approached as a requirement to be fulfilled. It is a sustained lens of focus. Major requirements reflect our curriculum’s engagement with intersectionality with courses like Representing Women Across Cultures, Women Crossing Borders, and Women and Immigration as well as additional courses we’ve developed and regularized such as Transnational Feminisms, Gender, Race and Food, and Alternative Genders and Sexualities. Interdisciplinary Studies is also home to the College Assistance Migrant Program, a federally-funded program committed to helping migrant and seasonal farm worker students earn bachelor’s degrees. IDS also houses the Bachelor of Individualized Studies and Applied Studies degrees. The Interdisciplinary Studies Department provides a stable academic home for programs that address both student and academic needs, to give these the opportunity to grow, build, and flourish.




W. S. Graduate Myra Llerenas Featured For Her Work


NMSU Women Studies alumna works to promote equality within New Mexico

A passion for social justice issues inspired Myra Llerenas to enroll in the Women Studies Program at New Mexico State University. Now, the College of Arts and Sciences alumna has a promising career at Equality New Mexico, a statewide nonprofit organization that works on behalf of the LGBTQ community toward a “fair and inclusive New Mexico.”

Llerenas, who graduated in December 2014, is the organization’s Southern New Mexico field coordinator. While Equality New Mexico is based in Albuquerque, she works from her home in Las Cruces.

“That’s what I love about my job – the adventure of what the day is going to be like; debriefing on phone calls I’ve been in on, planning for the next events, a lot of interactions with the community,” said Llerenas, who minored in government. “It varies from day to day, and that’s what I really like about it.”

See full write-up here: NMSU Women Studies alumna works to promote equality within New Mexico


Dr. Manal Hamzeh Wins a NMSU Teaching Award


Women’s Studies professor, Dr. Manal Hamzeh is one of the recipients of the 2015 Donald C. Roush Award for Teaching Excellence. The annual Roush awards, named for a former New Mexico State University executive vice president in recognition of his 35 years of teaching improvement in New Mexico, are based on information from students, department heads, deans and community campus directors.


Feminist Studies Makes “Teaching About Ferguson” Forum Available During April 2015

During the month of April 2015, readers can access for free the entire forum Teaching about Ferguson from the current issue (41.1) Feminist Studies.


J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium 2015


Carvana 43 Comes to Las Cruces on March 19

The families, guardians, and friends of the 43 disappeared students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in Mexico at NMSU and in Las Cruces, NM March 19, 2015


Read here for information about the students and here for information about how Caravana 43 tour is honoring the disappeared and building support.

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Images from Women’s History Month 2015

Dr. Zulma Méndez “Courage, Resistance, and Women in Ciudad Juárez”

sponsored by Dr. Bejarano’s Women Crossing Borders, Women’s Studies Program and Interdisciplinary Studies Department, MHAR, and Arts and Sciences Fulton Endowed Chair

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WS/IDS hosts Coffee with the Deans



J. Paul Taylor Symposium celebrates 11th year at NMSU with films, guest speakers

Justice for Migrant Children and Youth is the focus of the 11th annual J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium beginning Saturday, March 14, followed by events on March 17-18.

The three-day symposium, hosted by New Mexico State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, will include films, poets, panel discussions, and question-and-answer sessions with human rights advocates. The symposium is held each year to honor J. Paul Taylor for his lifelong commitment to the people of New Mexico as an educator, legislator and community leader.

The events are made possible in part by a grant from the New Mexico Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The symposium will be presented in both English and Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation provided throughout.

The events are free and open to the public. For more information visit the J. Paul Taylor Symposium website at

See entire article here.


Dr. Zulma Mendez Presents Book

Dr. Zulma Mendez from the Colegio de Chihuahua will present her book with Dr. Kathleen Staudt titled, Courage, Resistance, and Women in Ciudad Juarez: Challenges to Militarization on Friday, March 6th at 5:30pm at the Pete V. Domenici Hall Auditorium. A reception will follow the talk. Book sales through NMSU Barnes and Noble will also follow. The event is free to the public.

Courage, Resistance, and Women in Ciudad Juarez: Challenges to Militarization is an in-depth examination of la Resistencia Juarense that draws on ethnographic research to analyze the resistance’s focus on stemming violence against women, as well as its clash with the war against drugs. Through grounded insights, the authors trace the transformation of hidden discourses into public discourses that openly challenge the militarized border regimes. Bringing to light on-the-ground strategies as well as current theories from the fields of sociology, political anthropology, and human rights, this study is significant because of its emphasis on the role of women in local and transnational attempts to extinguish a hot zone.

The event will kick off Women’s History Month and the International Day of the Women on March 8th.

The event is sponsored by the NMSU Women Crossing Borders Class (WS 454/CJ32), NMSU Women’s Studies Program, NMSU Interdisciplinary Studies Department, Mujeres y Hombres Activ@s Revolucionari@s and the Arts and Sciences Fulton Endowed Chair.



The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Women’s Studies Program Welcome Dr. Cynthia Bejarano

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Women’s Studies Program are excited to be joined by Professor Cynthia Bejarano in Fall 2014. Dr. Bejarano earned her Ph.D. from the School of Justice Studies at Arizona State University in 2001 and her Master of Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University in 1997. She is the Principal Investigator for CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) at NMSU and is a Donald C. Roush Excellence in Teaching Award recipient (2008) as well as the Stan Fulton Endowed Chair in Arts and Sciences (2010).  Her work focuses on border violence, immigration issues, and gender violence at the U.S.-Mexico border. She is the author of the book “Qué Onda?” Urban Youth Cultures and Border Identity, published by the University of Arizona Press in 2005 and the co-editor of an interdisciplinary anthology with Rosa-Linda Fregoso entitled “Terrorizing Women: A Cartography of Feminicide in the Américas” (Duke University Press, June 2010). She is originally from Southern New Mexico and the El-Paso/Juárez border region.



International Day of the Girl Summit IDG2014

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child.

The International Day of the Girl Summit 2014 @IDG2014 #IDG2014 will bring thousands of girls and girl-serving organizations together to celebrate Girls’ Human Rights in new and exciting ways. Add your voice to ours to support the hopes and dreams of girls around the world.

Join us this October 2014 for three incredible initiatives!

1). 11 Days of Action: October 1st – October 11th on Join us and take 11 Days of Action in support of girls’ human rights!

2). Girls Speak Out at the United Nations: October 10th at UN Headquarters 3PM EST. Add your voice to over 500 girls at the United Nations and be heard! The Girls Speak Out will tell the story of ‘what it means to be a girl’ with poems, artwork, and music (written, created and performed by girls). Don’t miss this powerful event!

3). Day of the Girl Webcast: October 11th on Watch the Girls Speak Out, chat with girls around the world, and share your story of ‘what it means to be a girl.’ Girls from the UN event will host a live Twitter chat and you can learn how to get even more involved in the girls’ rights movement.

See: for more information


Youtuber  on Emma Watson’s  Speech and Sam Pepper



From The Mary Sue: “But Why, Though? DC’s New Licensed T-Shirts Suggest Some Terrible Things About Women”


It’s Monday and we can only spend so many brain cells being frustrated with DC’s marketing and licensing department on a regular basis, so let’s try to ease you slowly into the annoyance you’re about to feel. Here is the good news: they made a shirt designed for young female wearers, and another shirt for men that has Wonder Woman on it! Let’s just bask in that vague knowledge for a second before actually looking at the shirts and aaaaaargh.

So let’s break it down, for people who aren’t able to view the images (or who perhaps temporarily lost their ability to decode visual stimuli due to anger). On the left, we’ve got a men’s shirt that depicts a scene inspired by Superman/Wonder Woman, which, you’ll remember, was a romance themed title developed last year to appeal to women since why would we ever want to read a comic book that’s not about kissing? (edit: it’s actually from a cover of Justice League 12, however, because DC does sure love their crossovers) The text reads “Score! Superman does it again!,” because as we all know, mackin’ on Amazon warriors is one of America’s national past times and we are required to assign the practice a points system just like we do in baseball.

Also, Wonder Woman’s a lasso-less “it” now, we guess. Yeah, that’s why her arm’s all weird at the bottom of the shirt; she’s supposed to be lassoing Superman in the picture. But why present a powerful female superhero using one of her trademark symbols as a marker of sexual agency when you can instead present her as a stiff, rigid board to be scored upon?

On the right is a shirt from the juniors department of Walmart, which says “Training to be Batman’s,” and then “wife” in a different more stereotypically feminine font. It’s a little known fact, but you are not allowed to spell the word “wife” in any font other than cursive. We are breaking laws for you right now, dear readers. Anyway, this is despite the fact that being married to the caped crusader sounds like the worst idea ever, regardless of what Jill Pantozzi glibly thinks (and by the way, you are going to have to fight her for him, so maybethat’s where the training kicks in). You would probably have a much deeper emotional connection to the man if you were actually training to become his sidekick instead, but if we’re going to cling to traditional gender roles that define women in their relation to wifely duties, at least the shirt should say “Training to be the mother of Earth-Two‘s Huntress.” Then you get to be Catwoman. Isn’t that nice?

Now on their own, devoid of context, these are not completely the worst. The “training to be ___” is a popular fad in non-licensed fandom-based athletic gear—although most shirts of this ilk usually want you to train to be Batgirl or someone similar, not to marry someone with terrible commitment issues. But together, these are licensed shirts. Somebody at DC decided that it was a really great idea to indirectly depict women as love-obsessed prizes, and then somebody else got the licensing rights squared away, and then they made these and are now selling them for real cash money.

You know what would be really cool instead, DC? Let’s have a bunch of t-shirts for little girls that depict Supergirl or Batgirl being a badass, or maybe a Justice League shirt for boys that doesn’t ignore the fact that Wonder Woman is a member. Given the number of messages we get from parents on a weekly basis, we’re gonna go out on a limb and say those would sell much better.



Welcome Back Aggies!

The NMSU Women’s Studies Program joins Interdisciplinary Studies, the program’s new home department, in welcoming new and returning students to NMSU for the 2014 – 2015 academic year. Women’s Studies is busy planning new course offerings, events, and the return of our Student Paper Award. In the meantime, the Program is proud to share some recent activities with you. We look forward to seeing you in our classes, in the hallways of Breland, and as our majors and minors. Here is to a wonderful school year!


Professor Mary Benanti Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Women’s Studies Professor, Mary Benanti did the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of ALS research. She encourages her colleagues and the NMSU community to donate to ALS research. In order to conserve water, Prof. Benanti made sure she took the challenge in her backyard tree’s water well.


Food and Ecology Issue of Feminist Studies

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The special Food and Ecology issue of Feminist Studies that features an opening article by Women’s Studies faculty member and Program Director, Dr. Laura Anh Williams is now available. Read the Preface to the issue here. Dr. Williams describes it as an “exploration of Ruth Ozeki’s novel My Year of Meats through the lens of feminist ecocriticism. The novel challenges readers to reconsider ideas about masculinity, femininity, nationalism, especially as they relate to eating choices. My essay explores how powerful institutions benefit from making violence invisible, and the ways the novel works to make those violences visible.”


Film Short by Dr. Jonet Selected for Screening at Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival, Awarded Honorable Mention in Documentary Film Category

Dr. Jonet’s film short A Word to Young Ladies has been selected for screening at another film festival. In this instance, the film is to be screened at the Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival. It has also been awarded an honorable mention in the documentary category by the festival. The Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival is a Women’s History Month event that selects a small number of films to be screened on one day  (this year, March 19, 2014). These films are the festival’s selected winners. A Word to Young Ladies is a short experimental piece that uses film ephemera to construct a narrative about normativity, sexuality, and gender identity. Dr. Robin Murray, the coordinator of the festival, states that the film “effectively intertwined multiple film styles and genres to both entertain and persuade.” Dr. Jonet will continue to enter the film in select film festivals that focus on gender and sexuality for the next year.


Film Screening: Inequality for All

Friday, April 4, 4:30–6:30 p.m., Corbett Center Auditorium

In conjunction with the J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium, Black Programs, American Indian Program, Women’s Studies, and the Teaching Academy are sponsoring a screening of the 90-minute film, “Inequality for All,” featuring former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explaining the extent of the income and wealth divide in America as well as the economic trends that allowed the divide to become as extreme as it has. Mónica Torres, Interim VP for Academic Affairs at DACC, will facilitate a half-hour discussion following the film. Admission is free and open to all—we encourage faculty to invite their students.


Arte Sin Fronteras to Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8

Arte Sin Fronteras Flyer

Dr. Christine Eber is helping to organize an event in celebration of International Women’s Day and the work of women in the area. Eber explains: “I’m part of a coalition of community groups that work with women in various projects in Mexico who are organizing an international women’s day event in Las Cruces at the West End Art Depot that will  enable folks in our region to learn about the collective work of  women in our border region to confront violence and oppression, with  a focus on using art and handicraft.  The March 8th event we are  planning is part of a month long exhibit at the West End Art Depot,  ‘Arte Sin Fronteras.'”

International Women’s Day Events


NMSU Professor, Carmen Gimenez Smith Nominated for National Book Critics Circle Award

Gimenez Smith, an associate professor of English, states“The book is deeply inspired by the feminist artists of the 1970s. I imagine my book as a revisitation of second wave feminism, as well as an homage to the vision of those essential feminist artists and poets, people like Ana Mendieta and Adrienne Rich, who helped to shape and radicalize my own feminism.” Read more here.

Dr. Jonet’s Film Short Selected for LGBT Film Festival

Image from Dr. Jonet's film short "A Word to Young Ladies"

Image from Dr. Jonet’s film short “A Word to Young Ladies”

A film short by Dr. Jonet called A Word To Young Ladies has been selected to appear in the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival. It will be the film’s debut. The description of the film states:

“Mixing ephemeral films with a 1942 Superman cartoon, A Word to Young Ladies light-heartedly disrupts that “special moment” directed at young women ubiquitous to the “puberty film” genre by letting loose (so to speak) the “irrepressible” presence of same-sex desire and resistance to gender norms. With an original score and an eye for subtext, the film playfully employs a technique reminiscent of legendary lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer by manipulating archival footage to make queer women’s presence in society more visible. This splicing and cobbling together is done to create alternative narratives about gender and sexuality from primary sources.”

Dr. Jonet will submit the film to additional LGBTQ and feminist film festivals over the new couple of years as well.


Former NMSU Graduate Minor in Women’s Studies Publishes Scholarly Article

Allison Layfield, former NMSU graduate minor in Women’s Studies, who is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies in the Department of English at Purdue University, has published her first scholarly article in The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children’s Literature, Vol 17, No 1 (2013). The title of the article is “Identity Construction and the Gaze in The Hunger Games.” Be sure to check it out!


NMSU WS Alumni Survey

Morning Cup is currently collecting information from NMSU alumni that were Women’s Studies major, minors, double majors, double minors, graduate majors, or students with an undeclared area of interest in Women’s Studies. To participate in this project, please click here for the 10 question survey or follow the link below. ~Thanks.

Click here to take survey

Dr. Williams to be Published in Leading Women’s Studies Journal Feminist Studies and Is Also Awarded NMSU Travel Grant

Image of Dr. Williams

Dr. Williams

Women’s Studies professor and Director, Dr. Laura Anh Williams is going to be published in an upcoming issue of Feminist Studies, the leading journal in Women’s/Gender Studies. The website for the journal states the following about itself: “Feminist Studies is the oldest feminist scholarly journal in the United States. It is a flagship publication in interdisciplinary women’s studies and also a premier venue for discipline-specific feminist analysis. Each issue of the journal offers a distinctive mix of theory, commentary, creative writing, art, and critique. The journal is well known for publishing groundbreaking classics that have opened up new areas of research, creative expression, and speculation. With the highly selective acceptance rate of 7 percent, it is one of the few remaining autonomous nonprofit journals run by a collective of scholars located in multiple disciplines and institutions. Whether drawing on the complex past or the shifting present, the articles, art, and essays that appear in Feminist Studies reach readers across a range of fields and institutions around the world.”

Dr. Williams’s essay is entitled “Gender, Race, and an Epistemology of the Abattoir in My Year of Meats.” It explores representations of food in conjunction with identity in Ruth L. Ozeki’s 1999 ecofeminist novel My Year of Meats. In particular, Dr. Williams conceptualizes what she has named “an epistemology of the abattoir” to describe the productive field of unknowing that privileges those who benefit or derive pleasure from systemic violence, such as eaters who refuse knowledge about slaughterhouses and other forms of food production. Focusing on Ozeki’s novel, she explores manifestations of this form of unknowing, especially as it also affects women and racialized others in the United States. Dr. Williams argues the novel’s juxtaposition of the experiences of non-human animals, and experiences of women, Japanese, Japanese American, and characters of color disrupt the cultural institutions that normalize practices that are based in domination and violence.

Dr. Williams is also the recent recipient of an NMSU Travel Award. She will use the award to travel to Ohio to present her research at the National Women’s Studies Association conference in Fall 2013.


Thinking Outside the Box: NMSU Student Lauren Prue’s Blog

  Image of NMSU Student Lauren Prue
                                                                                                                                                      NMSU Student Lauren Prue

Lauren Prue is a NSMU senior who will graduating in May 2013 with a B.A. in Government. She is currently taking a course with Women’s Studies Program faculty member, Dr. Manal Hamzeh. Lauren writes a blog called to “discover the world around her and to help others really think about the pursuit of happiness in their own lives.” She states: “I find that writing has given me the tools that I need to make myself a better person; my ideas help me synthesize my decisions for the future.”

In speaking of the future, Lauren’s “plans are to attend graduate school and study human rights development. ” She notes:  “I hope to utilize the knowledge from the Women Studies classes that I have taken to prepare myself to make a difference in the area of public policy and to inspire others to change the world around them.”

NMSU WSP encourages everyone to check out Lauren’s blog. In fact, she points out that “the purpose of this blog is to provide women with insight to the daily challenges faced. Feminism has become an important part in women’s lives as we strive for equality in the world of politics, careers, healthcare, human rights, and many other issues. I choose to bring to the light the most important issues that women face in their daily lives, as well as ways to overcome these problems. When reading this blog, please keep in mind that the experiences that are mentioned are through the eyes of a young woman striving for change in the world in terms of: equality, justice, peace, stability in relationships, and many other aspects of all walks of life.”

Speak Up, Speak Out! with Erin Easley and michael alarid


Erin Easley, a graduate student in English/WS who also graduated with a double major in Women’s Studies/English in Spring 2012, has created the blog “Speak Up, Speak Out!” with fellow English graduate student, michael alarid. Easley states that the “blog is connected to NMSU in general in that we are gathering a spectrum of voices, some of which have come from NMSU students, specifically graduates.” She further points out: “In relation to WS, we share similar tenets towards social justice in raising awareness, creating safe spaces for open and critical conversation, and, strive to feature as many voices from as many positionalities and locations as possible.”


About the blog itself, Easley notes that the focus “is to open a space for having ‘tough conversations-‘ to get people talking, and service/explore different definitions and conceptualizations of what rape is, what it means, who it can impact and how. Contributors can post criticisms, offer theory, narrative, or “stuff” in general; it’s about creating and sustaining generative discourse.”


In terms of contributors, there are already “over 20 authors on our blog site, some have published, some are working on drafts, and others are waiting to pitch in as soon as they have time. We feature voices both within and outside of the academy, and we want to encourage and emphasize our blog site as a place where all voices can be heard.”


To learn more or to participate, contact Erin Easley at or michael alarid at Their “only policy is that if you contribute you are writing ethically and compassionately. Meaning, we won’t accept hate speech or malicious tones. This is definitely a longitudinal study, so future collaborations and contribution are highly and enthusiastically welcomed!”



In the News: Iraqi Civilians Join U.S. Veterans in New Effort to Recover from War’s Devastation

From Democracy Now:

On the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, we look at how U.S. military veterans and Iraqi civilians have come together to launch the “Right to Heal” campaign for those who continue to struggle with the war’s aftermath. We’re joined by U.S. Army Sergeant Maggie Martin, who was part of the invading force in March 2003 and is now director of organizing for Iraq Veterans Against the War. We are also joined by Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, who describes how the condition of women has deteriorated in Iraq, with many young women and orphans pushed into sex trafficking. Mohammed’s organization has also documented the toxic legacy of the U.S. military’s munitions in Iraq by interviewing Iraqi mothers who face an epidemic of birth defects.

See Video and Read Transcript on Our Tumblr Page

Join Dr. Jonet for #TooFEW: Feminist People of Color Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on Friday, March 15 (2013) from 11am-3pm EST

Have you ever wondered why there are few instances of detailed entries on women and gender studies, disability studies queers (GLBTQI), people of color, and transnational feminists and scholars on Wikipedia? Wikipedia itself has noted its own systemic bias-Wikipedians are by and large privileged, educated Anglophone males who might not consider these fields worthy subjects to annotate. According to the Wikimedia Foundation’s study in 2011, only 13 per cent of countributors to the site were female. Claire Potter has pondered about this in a recent article titled “Prikipedia? Or, Looking for the Women on Wikipedia.” If this concerns you, now’s your chance to rectify this!

In celebration of Women’s History Month and WikiWomen’s History Month, groups across the United States are organizing both virtual and in-person meet-ups to edit Wikipedia to include more perspectives on women and people of color on Friday: #tooFEW – a feminist Wikipedia edit-a-thon! Originally conceived of as part of a virtual way to connect the upcoming THATCamp unconferences on feminism, there are now widespread events everywhere. If you can’t find a way to physically get to one of the edit-a-thon parties, please consider just jumping in, editing entries and following on the Twitter conversations using the hashtag: #tooFEW

Dr. Jonet states that “This is a powerful action by feminist digital media to use its voice to make presences that often go undocumented in contemporary social media felt. It also adds to rethinking how we understand activism as a culture and demonstrates the importance of rethinking a number of boundaries that create these kinds of systematic absences, as well as denies the importance and presence of digital feminisms/gender studies.”

Here are Some More Ways to Help!

  • Help generate ideas for new entries or entries to be improved – you can add your ideas to our working list here
  • Participate in Wikipedia community


    • Sign up for a Wikipedia account (consider using a pseudonym at the outset, you can always change it once you’re comfortable)
    • Watch this video to learn just how to edit Wikipedia. Be sure to set aside some time for this video, it’s an hour long, and we recommend clicking on FLASH – it tends to play better that way. (Although, we will provide editing help at the edit-a-thon, if you don’t have time to do this.)
  • Join us virtually by doing your work during our edit-a-thon. If you’re on Twitter, send out a Tweet that includes the hashtag #tooFEW to let us know you’re out there. We’ll be live editing from 11am-3pm EST, Friday March 15.
  • Tell Somebody
    • Students – Do they need extra credit? Can this be a class project? Are you learning about some really cool people in POC/Trans*/Queer/Women’s History that don’t have wiki pages or have pages with bad information? You can fix it!
    • Friends – Do you know other folks who should know about this? Please spread this information to activists you know, faculty, etc. Everyone is welcome!
    • Organizations – These edit-a-thons work best with lots of folks working on specific things. Do you know orgs like INCITE or SONG that know specific types of folks who should be added to Wikipedia or projects folks should know about?


Too swamped and don’t want to login to Wikipedia but would like to contribute? Add your idea to this Google doc. We look forward to seeing you on Wikipedia and the hashtag #tooFEW!

Dr. Jonet encourages students, faculty, and others interested in doing the everyday activism of expanding what Wikipedia offers to do this kind of work well beyond March 15th or Women’s History Month. Use this as an opportunity to begin this process, and help everyone by bringing scholars, activists, and individuals to the attention of the world by creating or suggesting a Wikidepdia page.

Read more on our Women’s History Month 2013 Page

See the original post by Adeline Koh at The Chronicle of Higher Education Blog for more info!

Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth

Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth is a feature documentary film which tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman’s journey from her birth in a paper-thin shack in cotton fields of Putnam County, Georgia to her recognition as a key writer of the 20th Century.

Alice Walker made history as the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her groundbreaking novel, The Color Purple, which has been transformed from a novel, to a Hollywood movie and latterly to a successful Broadway musical. This universal story of triumph against all odds is not that different from Walker’s own story.

Born in 1944, eighth child of sharecroppers, her early life unfolded in the midst of violent racism and poverty during some of the most turbulent years of profound social and political changes in North American history. Alice Walker’s inspiring journey is also a story of a country and a people at the fault line of historical changes.

Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth offers audiences a penetrating look at the life and art of an artist, a self-confessed renegade and human rights activist. In 2010, Yoko Ono honored Walker with the LennonOno Peace Award, for her ongoing humanitarian work.

Read more about film here

Check It Out: International Museum of Women Muslima

An online exhibition featuring the art, voices, and stories of Muslima women around the globe. Explore the exhibition, and add your voice today! Even join the “SPEAK UP! LISTEN UP!” campaign by taking the pledge and receiving special notifications about ways to take action. The pledge states: “I pledge to support the efforts of Muslim women and others worldwide who are leading the movement for a more just, equitable, and inclusive world. I will speak out against negative stereotypes about Muslim women and encourage others to truly listen to their voices.”

As the site states: “All too often our media, leaders, and communities project an image of Muslim women that is distorted, negative, and one-dimensional. When we deny the diversity and potential of Muslim women, we deny our world of ideas, imagination, and solutions.

By signing the pledge, you join women and men around the world in a movement to hear and amplify the voices of Muslim women who are creating, achieving and leading. You also pledge to take action in your daily life to foster the dialogues that will create a more just and inclusive world. Join the movement. Be part of the change.”

Anita Sarkeesian at TEDxWomen 2012

Anita Sarkeesian talks about online misogyny in the video game community, and her experience with harassment because of her work. She is a media critic and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives.

The Stream : Beyond the ‘angry black woman’

The mammy, Jezebel and “angry black woman” – All are stereotypes of African American females used by whites to justify slavery and racial inferiority. But even today, why do these black female tropes continue to resurface in popular US media, and what is the societal impact of these stereotypes for African American women?

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Franchesca Ramsey @chescaleigh
Comedian and video blogger

Imani Perry @imaniperry
Professor, Center for African American Studies, Princeton University

Moya Bailey @moyazb
Member, Crunk Feminist Collective

Darron Smith @DrDarronSmith
Professor, University of Tennessee

 Dr. Hamzeh and Aggies Rising for One Billion Rising

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Dr. Hamzeh and Aggies Rising for One Billion Rising

Students in Dr. Manal Hamzeh’s WS202-M01 (Representing Women Across Cultures) class with other students from NMSU’s Public Health Student Organization are organizing for theONE BILLION RISING event on Feb 14 from 10-2 @ the base of Tortugas “A” Mountain. NMSU students have organized the event through a group called “Aggies Rise.” As Dr. Hamzeh describes it, “ONE BILLION RISING is part of an on-going feminist V-Day campaign that is committed to bringing global attention to gender-based violence. It is also committed to rising until all kinds of gender-based violence is eradicated. Particularly, this is an event that will bring at least a billion people all over the globe at one time, in order to dance and join arms demanding the end of violence against women, girls and gender nonconforming people.” She further notes: “It is important for NMSU students to participate in the One Billion Rising event on February 14th because this is an event that will take them out of the “sanitized” learning spaces on campus to the outside real world. Thus, by participating in this event, the student will be able to feel and learn how gender-violence is real and how it is closer to their lives and more prevalent than they were made to think. They will learn that they can not stay passive after they learn about its epidemic magnitude and horrible consequences. It is particularly important for the students in the Women’s Studies program to participate in this event because they need to not only learn about the details of this gender-based epidemic, they also need to be engaged in action to contribute to its eradication. Inviting and encouraging students to engage in resistance against injustices and join social movements on the local, national and global levels is a major objective all students commit to achieve as soon they attend the first meeting in the WS202 course, “Representing Women across Cultures (Borders & Contexts).”

Please register to help put Las Cruces and NMSU on the map of ONE BILLION RISING.

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It Was Rape: New Film by Jennifer Baumgardner

From film’s website:

Rape is wrong, illegal, reprehensible—and yet still tragically common. In this film, eight women tell their diverse personal stories of sexual assault, from a Midwestern teenager trying alcohol for the first time to a Native American woman gradually coming to terms with her abusive childhood. Gripping and emotional, this film is an opportunity to empathize with people—not just absorb faceless statistics—and to puncture the silence and denial that allow sexual assault to thrive. Ultimately, these stories shed light on how this epidemic affects us all.

It Was Rape began screening in December of 2012. This spring it will be part of film festivals, Take Back the Night events and anti-violence programming in Alabama, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Louisiana, Ohio, New York, and Arizona. To schedule a screening in your community or to purchase the film for institutional or advocacy use, please contact

It Was Rape boldly explores sexual violence through the experiences of survivors. This film both challenges the audience to think about sexual violence in a deeper, more nuanced way, and inspires genuine empathy for individuals impacted by violence.” —Sarah Dodd, Assistant Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention Programs at North Dakota State University

It Was Rape is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen on this issue. A must-see for any classroom discussing the issue of rape.”—Kelly Finley, Lecturer, Women’s and Gender Studies at University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“If [It Was Rape] starts a conversation, it won’t be a quiet one, which is just what Ms. Baumgardner wants.”—Susan Dominus, New York Times


 Dr. Luna and her WS 202G Bring the Idle No More Movement to NMSU

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Dr. Luna and her WS 202G Bring the Idle No More Movement to NMSU


On January 28th, Women’s Studies faculty member Dr. Jennie Luna led a teach-in with her students from WS 202G in support of the Idle No More movement. Students and faculty from across campus participated in the teach-in, round dancing, and spoke of the original of the movement in Canada, as well as its larger implications for First Nations peoples and treatment of land worldwide. The event was covered by the Las Cruces Sun News.

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Dr. Williams Participates in SIROW

 Dr. Williams Participates in SIROW

On 25 January, Women’s Studies Director, Dr. Laura Williams participated in SIROW, the Southwest Institute for Research on Women that is located at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Arizona. The Women’s Studies Program at NMSU is a Regional Partner along with other WS and Gender Studies Programs and Departments in the Southwest. The meeting is set up as a networking space for the different programs to come together to discuss issues, successes, and other matters specifically faced by Women’s and Gender Studies Programs and Departments. This year, the meeting was located in Tucson, Arizona at The University of Arizona where SIROW is located.


Hip Hop Hijabis: A Movie in the Making

From the Website:A feature documentary about ‘Poetic Pilgrimage’.

Two Muslim converts promoting women’s rights through music. And finding their own voices on the way…WHO ARE THESE HIP HOP HIJABIS?

Sukina and Muneera met at a local teen talent show in their hometown of Bristol where Muneera was DJing and Sukina was singing. They bonded over their love of music, passion for social justice, spiritual curiosity and shared Jamaican heritage.

A close friendship developed and eventually manifested itself as Poetic Pilgrimage – a spoken word and Hip Hop duo on fire!

After exploring different belief systems they eventually converted to Islam in 2005 inspired by the autobiography of Malcolm X despite initial concerns about the position of Muslim women. When research reassures them that the original spirit of Islam holds women in high regard, they decide to challenge certain attitudes via catchy tunes and hard-hitting rhymes.

And as the feisty and fun-loving young ladies they are, the fact that some consider music to be haram, or forbidden, is not going to deter them on their quest for justice…

The Hypersexuality of Race: Professor Celine Parrenas-Shimizu Discusses Her Work

Professor Celine Parrenas-Shimizu, Asian American Studies, UC Santa Barbara is the author of the recently published book, The Hypersexuality of Race: Performing Asian/American Women on Screen and Scene. This book analyzes the production of sexuality for Asian women in western modern moving image visual cultures such as early cinema, stag films, contemporary pornography, Hollywood blockbusters, musicals and independent sexually explicit media by Asian American women.

When Did Men Stop Wearing High Heels? The BBC Tells Us…

Listen here for a podcast by the BBC about high heels and when men wore them. Find additional information on this topic here.

Free Online Course on Global Poverty Starting Feb. 12 by EdX

Interested in studying global poverty? Here’s a free on-line course taught by 2 MIT giants, Banerjee & Duflo. The course begins Feb. 12 and ends May 24th. Learn more about free online courses to help us all learn more about many different topics through EdX, a not-for-profit enterprise set up by it founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Sexy Lie: Caroline Heldman at TEDxYouth@SanDiego

From the TEDx site:

A leading advocate for spotlighting how the mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America, Caroline Heldman offers straight talk and an often-startling look at the objectification of women in our society. She illustrates how it has escalated, how we have become inured to its damaging effects and what we can do individually and collectively to demolish the paradigms that keep us from a better world.

Chair of the politics department of Occidential College in Los Angeles, Dr. Heldman appeared in the acclaimed documentary, Miss Representation and is co-editor of “Madame President: Are We Ready for a Woman in the White House?” She is a frequent commentator on radio and television and a regular contributor to Ms. Magazine.

United Nations Declares Malala Day on November 10, 2012

Malala Day from Education Envoy on Vimeo.

2012:Two New Faculty Members

Dr. Luna, Our New Faculty Member!

Some Bio Detail: Dr. Jennie Luna was born and raised in East San José, California. Granddaughter/Daughter of migrant farm workers and cannery workers, she is first in her family to attend and graduate from a four-year university. She has been active in Danza Mexica/Azteca tradition for twenty years. Her research focuses on the history of Danza Mexica in California and Xicana Indígena identity formation.

Dr. Luna’s research incorporates Nahuatl language study, representations of indigeneity, and the role of women in the Intercontinental and global Indigenous movements. Her other research interests include Indigenous women’s reproductive rights, traditional birthing methods, ceremonial practices honoring moon time, Indigenous transnational migration, urban Indigenous experiences and re-location, Xicana/o identity politics, spirituality, grassroots community studies, movement eras, creative writing, activism, social justice inquiry and educational reform.

Her dissertation is titled: “La Danza Mexica: Indigenous Identity, Spirituality, Activism and Performance.” She has worked as both scholar and community organizer in California and New York City as co-founder of Calpulli Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl Danza circle and La Red Xicana Indígena international network

Dissertation Link

Dr. Laura Williams Officially Joins NMSU WSP and Becomes New Director

After years of working and teaching for NMSU WSP, Dr. Laura Anh Williams has officially joined WSP faculty and has become the new Program Director. Dr. Williams, whose work focuses on gender and sexuality in Asian American literature, and their intersections with animal studies, food studies, and feminist ecocriticism, accepted the position in January 2012. She was later nominated by her colleagues to serve as the Program Director and began this appointment in July 2012. She is excited to continue working with WS faculty to develop the program curriculum and generate even wider student interest in the program.

Not Quite…

From the Documentary’s Website

Silk Road Rising’s Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness (24 min., 8 sec.), directed by Jamil Khoury and Stephen Combs, is a documentary film dedicated to a vision of whiteness that is anti-racist and rooted in economic justice.

Not Quite White explores the complicated relationship of Arab and Slavic immigrants to American notions of whiteness. It expands the American conversation on race by zeroing in on whiteness as a constructed social and political category, a slippery slope that historically played favorites, advantaging Northern and Western European immigrants over immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East. Inspired by Jamil Khoury’s short play WASP: White Arab Slovak Pole, Not Quite White integrates scenes from WASP alongside interviews with Arab American and Polish American academics who reflect upon contested and probationary categories of whiteness and the use of anti-Black racism as a “whitening” dye.

In Not Quite White, Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury draws upon his own Arab (Syrian) and Slavic (Polish and Slovak) heritage as the lens through which to investigate the broader issue of immigrants achieving whiteness and hence qualifying as “fully American.” The film advances society’s on-going conversations about the meaning of whiteness and efforts at redefining whiteness.

A World Gone Meme or Feminist Theory Hits the Internet…Finally

For those of us who know and love Feminist, Queer and other purportedly “dense” and “unfun” forms of critical theory, the recent appearance of Feminist Theory memes on Tumblr has been a much appreciated turn in public academia online. First we were all taken with Danielle Henderson’s channeling of Feminist Theory in “Feminist Ryan Gosling” (see below), and now we have Kristie L. Yandoi’s “Feminist Harry Potter” (see below) a blog that brings attention to Feminist Theory “one Harry Potter reference at a time” and Hola Lind@’s Gael García-Bernal Feminista (below) a bilingual blog that states, “If you like feminism, social justice, and Gael García-Bernal, then this is for you.” NMSU WSP Feminist Theory prof, Dr. M. Catherine Jonet notes that these memes offer great teaching tools, if not “cultural flash cards” for learning and circulating Feminist Theory. She points out that the memes’ combination of critical theory and popular culture respond to a kind of “wish fulfillment’ where fans demonstrate a desire for the concepts circulated in Feminist Theory to be expressed as idealized and sexy with pop icons becoming all the more desirable for doing so. Jonet comments that “Feminist Harry Potter” in particular offers a recuperation of the Hermione character as heroine and a questioning of the much beloved series’s compliance to dominant ideologies of gender, race, and class. Well, what are we waiting for? How about “Feminist Gaga” or “Feminist Downton Abbey?” Let’s not leave out the ladies as part of this meme and let’s certainly not leave out public academia’s guilty pleasure. Sybil loves social justice and isn’t Mary kinda sorta the New Woman?


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Wonder Woman has traveled a tough road of late, but the Amazonian princess is getting a historical retrospective in the form of a new documentary slated to show at South by Southwest, “WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.”

WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES (formerly THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE AS TOLD BY WONDER WOMAN) traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.

WONDER WOMEN! goes behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists, and real life superheroines such as Gloria Steinem, Shelby Knox and others who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male dominated superhero genre.

Tracing the evolution of Wonder Woman’s narrative as it reflects the state of American politics and culture is fascinating. But it’s kinda weird hearing Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and founder of Riot Grrl cite the Lynda Carter “Wonder Woman” and “Charlie’s Angels” as inspirations. Those two shows were the very essence of “Jiggle TV.”

The disconnect is heightened by the outrage that was sparked last summer by the first looks at Adrianne Palicki as NBC’s new “Wonder Woman,” practically spilling out of her bustier. “How is she supposed to fight crime dressed like that?!?!?!” was a common cry. We have no idea about the physics behind such mysteries, but Wonder Woman has been fighting crime dressed like that for more than 70 years. But the show went to an early grave, before even making it to air, taking the issue with it.

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Lisa Mendez is “Tentatively Titled”

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Lisa Mendez graduated in May 2011 with a B.F.A. in art with a focus on photography and a minor in WS.  During her time at NMSU, Mendez has been the unoffical artist in residence for the WSP.  Here is the artist’s statement and images from “Tentatively Titled.”

Artist Statement

It started with a physical change- my body shedding inches and losing weight. As a result, I gained confidence in the  “new person” I have become, both physically and emotionally. Yet, the psychological fusion of my new body with my  old thoughts has proven to be an arduous process. While I have made great efforts to engage in an active lifestyle and challenge my comfort level of my own nudity, I continue to experience a conundrum. The development of my “new”  outward appearance has not necessarily reconciled with the thought process I’ve engaged in prior to this evolution,  which often included wavering thoughts concerning my body image and womanhood.

“Tentatively Titled” offers me the opportunity to engage viewers in the documentation of a continuing life-changing  process. This body of work includes excerpts from diary entries I have written within the last year in which I discuss my  changing appearance, and the self-imposed responsibility that comes with it, while the images offer you the opportunity to experience my journey in a visually intimate manner.

Women’s Studies Professor Mary Benanti Shines On

Women’s Studies Professor, Mary Benanti was a featured monologist in “Shine On: Shining Stars of the Past, Present and Future” on April 8th 2011.  The program, which was produced by NMSU Creative Media Institute’s Mark Medoff, who is a Tony Award-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter, focused on the personal journeys of faculty representatives from each of the 24 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.  In a statement to University Communications, Christa Slaton, Dean of the College of Arts and Science, stated:  “Shine On was a celebration of the extraordinary talent and dedication of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program featured the personal journeys of faculty throughout the college – how they were inspired by their own professors and mentors in life and how they chose to dedicate themselves to helping New Mexico State University students reach for the stars and achieve their dreams. It was inspiring.”

To learn more about the evening:

To see Mary Benanti’s  monologue, visit her faculty page.

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PCA/ACA Spring 2011 with Dr. Jonet

 PCA/ACA Spring 2011 with Dr. Jonet

Dr. Jonet and WS/English students presented on the panel, “Disturbing Femininities: Gender in Contemporary French Film” at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference in San Antonio, April 2011.  Pictured: Dr. Jonet, Alheli Harvey, Erin Easely, and Julia Smith.  Rotated Image: Julia Smith presents her paper, “Subversion through Masochism in Despentes’s Baise-Moi


Student Profile: Fareyd Bonnett

Fareyd Bonnett Answers Our Questions

Major: Creative Writing (English), Minor: Women’s Studies
Year of Study: Junior

Why did you become a Women’s Studies Major/Minor?

I started out at as a Philosophy major. I was interested in Philosophy because I wanted an environment that would let you, “think outside of the box.” Instead, I found philosophy a stifling major that interested itself in the regurgitation of
thousand-year-old ideas. While searching for something different, I took a WS class from a professor that was highly regarded (I believe she now teaches at UC Berkley).  What I found astounded me.

In WS, I found a field of study that actually did revere free thinking and original ideas. WS was taught as an interdisciplinary field of study that “distrusts” many other social and biological sciences, and exposes their innate political biases. In WS, I found truly new ideas that challenged my own beliefs, and I found avenues to explore these ideas. Once into WS, I found myself most interested in Gender Studies (thanks primarily to Judith Butler) and Feminist Philosophy.

Who’s your feminist/gender studies s/hero and why? 

My personal hero was the professor at the University of Iowa that introduced me to WS, Marjorie Joules (I hope I spelled her name correctly). As for authors, Judith Butler was the single most influential, but bell hooks, and Susan Faludi also influenced me greatly. I also came to find myself so much at odds with people like Andrea Dworkin that I must admit that her work influenced me, although I despise her conclusions. I also enjoyed The 2nd Sex (albeit a tad old and containing many outdated ideas) and the humorous writings of Kate Bornstein.

I also admire the activist works of Emma Goldman, and I had the distinct privilege of defending the Clinic in Iowa City that bears her name from Fred Phelps and his gang of gay-hating cronies.

If you had a feminist/gender equality superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it?

It is a dark and stormy Friday night in Texas. “Queer-bashing night,” the locals call it. A group of drunken good-ol-boys descend upon a known homosexual, on his way home. The attackers corner the boy. The ring leader speaks.
“You’re gunna get what’s comin’ to ya, fag!”
But before any violence begins, a voice rings out from the darkness, “Stop!”
Frightened, the mob disperses, as a dark figure emerges from the shadows. The boy
nods to the Dark Knight, defender of all bullied people.

Another night passes, and people are safe thanks to the man, similar to, but legally different from Batman, who watches and protects.

What feminist/gender equality-oriented musicians do you listen to or suggest to others? Why do you enjoy these performers?

I adore k.d. lang, in fact, I have a major crush on her that goes beyond my love of her music. Part of what draws me to her music, is that she exists in a strain of very “macho” music that would normally be very resistant to an androgynous lesbian, but her undeniable talent has allowed people in places like Nashville, to revere her.

What books, films, or websites do you suggest for those interested in Women’s/Gender Studies?

Books: Gender Trouble, Ain”t I a Woman?, Backlash, Sexing the Body, and for better or for worse I think everyone should read Intercourse.

Films: The Piano (imagery and ideals of the Victorian woman), The Hours (a good cross section of what modern womanhood/manhood entails), Farewell my Concubine (Complex issues of transgendered identities), Boys Don’t Cry (True story about the violence facing transgendered people here in America)

What words of wisdom do you have to share with Women’s/Gender Studies majors and minors about pursuing this area of study and how this knowledge will be useful in the future?

In the popular film, “The Matrix” when Neo visits the Oracle, she points to a Latin inscription above her door. Translated, it means, “Know Thyself.” In America, we have all been gendered since our birth. This programming has implications in every aspect of our lives. To understand this social conditioning is to understand ourselves, and knowing oneself is the first step to true freedom.

We’ll wrap up with possibly the most important question: Green Sauce, Red Sauce, or Twilight? 

Well, I think Twilight is trite, Pop-culture crap. And that is me being nice.  Wizards are cooler than vampires, so I take Harry Potter. After all, Dumbledore is the wise-old-gay mentor we all need.

A Question for Professor Benanti…

What do you like about teaching Intro to Women’s Studies? Why do you think it is an important class?

Women’s Studies is an eye-opening, exciting adventure into a world that has long been hidden from traditional scholarship. The introductory course provides a lens into that wondrous world that instinctively we knew existed somewhere, because we as women felt it in our psyche: “Surely I am not alone in my feelings. Somewhere in the universe this must reverberate with others like me.” Once we open the magic door to that special place, it will never close back on us again. We will understand why we sometimes feel as we feel, think as we think, understand what we have been questioning and then we will question even more. Even though the introductory courses are a broad-brush of interdisciplinary research in many fields, they provide students -men as well as women – a grounding and a jumping off place for further investigation of the world around them as they learned it, know it, feel it. As a teacher, I never fail to feel the adrenal rush of being part of this new journey with every class of students whether they are online or in a traditional setting. Students challenge us in their comments and reflective writings and we teachers challenge them to see this world. When I read comments from my students -men and women -that say, “I learned so much,” OR “I now understand myself better and am stronger for it,” I am humbled and grateful to have been a part of that journey.

Dr. Jonet is the coordinator of this website, the NMSU Women’s Studies Twitter feed, Facebook group, and Tumblr page.