International Studies & Programs

Faculty Directory

The Center for Gender in Global Context currently has more than 275 affiliated faculty members from throughout MSU's campus, across 17 colleges and more than 65 departments and offices.

The GenCen Faculty Directory can be sorted by Name, College, Department, and GenCen Affiliation. Affiliates can be Core, Consulting, GJEC, or GDG Faculty (some members may be both GJEC/GDG and Core or Consulting). Click here to jump to a short description of our Faculty Affiliations.

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Joan Howarth
College: Law
Department: Law
Affiliation: Core
Program:
Email: howarth(at)law.msu.edu

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Biography:

Joan served on sabbatical in 2016-17, and served as dean of the Law College from 2008-2016. Prior to her deanship, she was a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since 2001. There she was named William S. Boyd Professor of Law in 2003 and was instrumental in building the Boyd School of Law, founded just a decade ago, serving for four years as associate dean and helping to establish Boyd's early and strong national reputation. Most recently she has taught courses on foundations of law, constitutional law and on gender, and a Capital Defense Clinic. The scholarship for which she is most known focuses on gender and the death penalty. She is a leader in legal education through work with the Association of American Law Schools, the American Bar Association, and the Society of American Law Teachers.

Heather Howard
College: Social Science
Department: Anthropology
Affiliation: Core
Program: GJEC
Email: howardh(at)msu.edu

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Biography:

My research examines the processes through which authoritative forms of knowledge around identity, responsibility and choice are produced; how these structure gendered and racialized inequities; and how these are historicized, contested and reconfigured in cultural, social service, and healthcare delivery organizations. My research is conducted in the U.S. and Canada, and focuses on minority populations, especially Indigenous peoples, where understanding of these processes has significant policy and applied implications, for example increasing autonomy and improving healthcare experience. My current research projects examine chronic illness management in primary care practices, Indigenous community-based healthcare provider organizations, and in a metabolic clinic which combines treatments of diabetes with obesity. My work critically examines the biomedical constructs of chronic disease, which obscure interrogations of the causal links and associations between society, economy, polity and the distribution of outcomes of disease.

Jennifer Goett
College: James Madison College
Department: James Madison
Affiliation: Core
Program: GDG
Email: goett(at)msu.edu

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Biography:

Jennifer Goett is Associate Professor of Comparative Cultures and Politics at James Madison College, Michigan State University. She is a cultural anthropologist, specializing in political and feminist anthropology. Her research interests include race, gender and feminist theory, social movements, human rights, violence and the state, and critical security studies in Latin America. She has published work on indigenous and Afrodescendant social movements for multicultural rights in Central America, particularly Nicaragua, and on state sexual violence, racialized policing, and infrastructure megaprojects.

Heather Gasser
College: Natural Science
Department: Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE)
Affiliation: Consulting
Program:
Email: gasserhe(at)msu.edu

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Biography:

Heather Shea Gasser currently works as the Assistant Program Director of RISE and is also a full time doctoral student in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education PhD program at MSU. Heather has been appointed as Consulting Faculty with the Center for Gender in the Global Context at MSU. Heather's research interests include feminist leadership, social justice, and student engagement via student activism.

Sue Grady
College: Social Science
Department: Geography
Affiliation: Consulting
Program:
Email: gradys(at)msu.edu

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Biography:

I received my Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the City University of New York. My Ph.D. training was in health and medical geography at Hunter College where I conducted my dissertation research and I worked on various health-related projects. My research in health and medical geography focuses on women's health, specifically maternal and infant health. I am interested in understanding how local environments in which women live impact their health (i.e., increase the opportunity for infectious disease transmission and/or contribute to chronic diseases), which in turn, impair their pregnancies, leading to adverse maternal and infant outcomes. Most of my current research focuses on reducing maternal and infant mortality. I am studying perinatal regionalization in Michigan to improve our understanding of inpatient hospital referral patterns of high-risk African American mothers and infants.

Brian Holcomb
College: Arts and Letters
Department: Center for Integrated Studies in the Arts and Humanities
Affiliation: Core
Program:
Email: holcom31(at)msu.edu

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Biography:

Dr. Holcomb's research interests include gender studies, queer theory, and narrative theory. His dissertation focused on western works (a study of wit as a queer narrative mechanism in the works of Oscar Wilde, PG Wodehouse, Anita Loos, and Dorothy Parker), and he has recently become interested in Chinese Modernism. At MSU, he teaches multidisciplinary classes that incorporate fiction, drama, and the visual arts to talk about culture. He is particularly interested in online education.

Marsha MacDowell
College: MSU Museum/Arts and Letters
Department: MSU Museum/Art, Art History and Design
Affiliation: Core
Program: GDG
Email: macdowel(at)msu.edu

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Biography:

MacDowell's work is centered in the study of the production, use and meaning of traditional material culture. This inquiry is grounded in an interdisciplinary approach to material culture informed by art historical, folkloristic, and ethnographic theories and methodologies. Special interests include critical examination of the role of museums in contemporary society; development of educational resources and public arts policies related to traditional arts; and development of strategies to make collected data accessible online and then to create tools to engage individuals in using these online collections for research and education. She has been particularly interested in developing research projects in collaboration with representatives of the communities and cultural groups and in being engaged in projects that have a positive impact on identified societal needs.

Current research projects include a history of South Africa quiltmaking; traditions of patchwork covers in China; quilts and health; the history and meaning of lau hala in Hawaiian cultural history; and the intersection of ethnography and museums in a digital age.

MacDowell is also a co-founder of the MSU Museum Studies Program and serves as one of its core faculty members and as the program's ENews editor and coordinator of internships.

Christopher Maxwell
College: Social Science
Department: Criminal Justice
Affiliation: Core
Program:
Email: cmaxwell(at)msu.edu

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Biography:

Christopher Maxwell is Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University [MSU]. He is a member of MSU's Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen), a Faculty Associate at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Cardiff University, Wales, U.K. Dr. Maxwell's research, scholarship, and engagement activities largely focus on understanding and improving how governments and NGOs can prevent and control intimate partner violence and violence against women. His sponsored research projects include several that have examined the benefits and costs of sanctions and therapeutic treatments for spouse abusers, the impact of police and court services on victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence, and other projects that have measured the epidemiology and control of violence including sexual assault by intimate partners. His current program of research focuses on assessing the extent to which intimate partner violence offenders are prosecuted and convicted, and testing whether or not more prosecution and sanction leads to less violence. He currently serves as a co-investigator of the National Institute of Justice's sponsored Evaluation of the [U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women] Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative.

Jessica Miesel
College: Agriculture and Natural Resources
Department: Forestry
Affiliation:
Program: GJEC
Email: mieselje(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Dr. Miesel is interested in the role of biochar and other forms of black carbon in soil nutrient availability in natural and managed forest settings. Her research on wildfire and prescribed fire effects on soil ecosystem properties focuses on soil organic matter composition and carbon and nitrogen cycling. Her teaching experience includes coursework and community engagement activities to increase the awareness of intersections between ecology and environmental justice issues.

Edward Murphy
College: Social Science
Department: History
Affiliation: Consulting
Program: GDG
Email: murph367(at)msu.edu

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Biography: My research and teaching explore themes of mass urbanization, inequality, domesticity, state formation, and political economy, with a particular focus on the property regimes of low-income groups. While rooted in the concerns and approaches of Latin American historiography, I also draw on the perspectives of other disciplines, especially anthropology. I have primarily focused on Chilean history since the 1950s, but I have also produced scholarship on Guatemala. In 2004, I published a book of collaborative oral histories in Santiago, Chile, Historias poblacionales: hacia una memoria incluyente. I have also been the lead editor of two volumes, the first on work at the intersections of anthropology and history and the second on modern urban housing regimes in global perspective from the mid-twentieth century to the present. My single-authored book, For a Proper Home: Housing Rights in the Margins of Urban Chile, is forthcoming in late 2014.


What do our Faculty Affiliations Mean?

Core Faculty have a strong continuing professional focus on issues of women and gender in domestic, international, or global contexts, as demonstrated through research and teaching or other achievements. The Core Faculty supports the activities of GenCen and assists in developing and implementing its programs and activities, and are also eligible to serve on the GenCen Advisory Committee.

Consulting Faculty, while having a professional interest in issues of women and gender in domestic, international, or global contexts and activities of the GenCen, usually do not have these interests as the main focus of their research. 

GDG (Gender, Development and Globalization) Faculty will also be either Core or Consulting Faculty and have specific expertise and interest in gender and international development.

GJEC (Gender, Justice and Environmental Change) Faculty may also be either Core or Consulting Faculty, though that is not a requirement. GJEC Faculty are dedicated to teaching and scholarship related to intersections of gender, environmental change, and social and environmental justice; examining these issues from both local and global perspectives.

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