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February 2024 - stef shuster presents: Trans Reproduction: Controlling Transgender People in Mid-20th Century US Medicine

Upcoming on Friday, February 16, 2024 as a part of the GenCen Colloquia Series at Michigan State University.



Trans Reproduction: Controlling Transgender People in Mid-20th Century US Medicine

In the mid-20th century, US medical professionals working with transgender people were confounded by increasing requests by patients for hormonal and surgical interventions. How to sort through who was a “worthy” patient for gender-affirming care thus became a central concern among medical providers. In response, providers began to create criteria about the “ideal” trans patient, which was code for white, affluent, “respectable,” heterosexual, childless trans people. Where these criteria came from is an overlooked aspect of trans medical histories. Drawing on archival records, this talk advances the claim that the history of trans medicine must be understood as framed by the legacy of eugenics and scientific and medical communities social and reproductive control over trans people in the name of ensuring a “healthy” society.


stef shuster is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the department of Sociology at Michigan State University. Their current research in gender, medicine, and feminist science and technology studies considers how evidence is constructed, mobilized, and weaponized, which is the subject of their book, Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender (NYU Press, 2021).


November 2023 - Shayan Rajani presents: Loving Men, Loving God

Upcoming on Friday, November 17, 2023 as a part of the GenCen Colloquia Series at Michigan State University.



Loving Men, Loving God: The Limits of Periodizing Sexuality in South Asia

Shah Hussain, a Muslim saint, and Madho, a Brahmin, fell in love with each other in sixteenth-century South Asia. They not only spent their lives together, but are also buried side by side in a mausoleum in contemporary Lahore, where they are daily visited by many devotees. Hussain and Madho's was one among a number of publicly-recognized same-sex relationships. However, in retelling their story, I do not find signs of a more permissive past. Instead, I recover the reproach Shah Hussain courted by refusing to conform to the social and gender norms of his day. I also show the respect Hussain and Madho received, and continue to receive, beyond their own times. Altogether, this retelling underscores the limits of periodizing a homophilic past cut off from a homophobic present, and discloses the past's desire to make its own future.


Shayan Rajani is an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University. His research and teaching interests include Mughal history, the history of South Asia, and the study of gender and sexuality. His talk is based on a chapter that is part of an edited volume titled, Pakistan Desires: Queer Futures Elsewhere (Duke University Press, 2023).


October 2023 - Jennifer M. Gómez, Ph.D presents Cultural Betrayal Trauma Theory

This Colloquia occurred in person on October 30, 2023 in MSU's International Center 303/305

Cultural Betrayal Trauma Theory

Author of The Cultural Betrayal of Black Women & Girls: A Black Feminist Approach to Healing from Sexual Abuse presents on cultural betrayal trauma theory.

"In cultural betrayal trauma theory, I propose that societal trauma (e.g., discrimination) creates the context for interpersonal trauma within marginalized communities to be uniquely harmful."


Jennifer M. Gómez, former Ford Fellow, is a Black feminist trauma researcher and critical race scholar who developed cultural betrayal trauma theory to examine the impact of oppression on outcomes of violence on individuals and communities who are marginalized. Her book "The Cultural Betrayal of Black Women & Girls: A Black Feminist Approach to Healing from Sexual Abuse" is relevant for diverse professional and student audiences: race scholars, trauma researchers, trauma clinicians, Black feminists/womanists, changemakers/advocates/activists, Black women survivors, and anyone who wants to better understand and support Black women and girl survivors.

Gómez joined BUSSW in 2022 as an assistant professor and faculty affiliate at the School's Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health. She is also a 2023-24 research affiliate with the BU's Center for Antiracist Research. She is a Board Member, Chair of the Research Advisory Committee, and research grant reviewer at the Center for Institutional Courage; faculty affiliate at University of Michigan's RacismLab; research scientist at the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research, funded by the National Institute on Aging; and member of the Scientific Committee of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation.

Gómez is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical & Child Adolescent Psychology and the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. Her research has been published in over 100 peer-reviewed journals, books, newsletters, regional and national media outlets, and the Open Science Framework.

March 2023 - Professor Ellen McCallum: The Lure of the Nonhuman: Syliva Wynter, New Materialism, and Film Theory

Recorded on Friday, March 17, 2023 as a part of the GenCen Colloquia Series at Michigan State University. 

The Lure of the Nonhuman: Sylvia Wynter, New Materialism, and Film Theory

This paper draws on Sylvia Wynter's film theory, putting her critique of the human in conversation with queer new materialism and its exploration of nonhuman life forms. These concerns converge vividly in Agnieszka Smoczynska's 2016 Polish mermaid horror musical, The Lure. This feminist rendition of The Little Mermaid gives fishy realness to the hum/animals around whom the plot pivots, while its genre mishmash raises compelling questions about the limits of representation and the challenges for decentering the human in our imagination and cultural processes.


Ellen McCallum, Professor of English and Film Studies at Michigan State University, wrote Object Lessons: How to Do Things with Fetishism and Unmaking The Making of Americans: Toward an Aesthetic Ontology, and also coedited After Queer Studies: Literature, Theory, and Sexuality in the 21st Century. Recent essays have appeared in Quarterly Review of Film and Video, postmodern culture, Narrative, and camera obscura. This talk comes from a current project that reexamines familiar concepts in classical film theory in light of recent insights from feminist new materialism, with particular attention to the queer aspects of these theories.

January 2023 - Dr. Sarah Prior and Dr. Brooke de Heer: Reframing Campus Sexual Violence

Recorded on Friday, January 27 , 2023 as a part of the GenCen Colloquia Series at Michigan State University. 

Reframing Campus Sexual Violence

Drs. Sarah Prior and Brooke de Heer will discuss their recent book Campus Sexual Violence: A State of Institutionalized Sexual Terrorism (2022) and the ways university campuses have struggled to respond to and prevent campus sexual violence.


Sarah Prior (she/they) is an Assistant Professor and the Undergraduate Program Director in the Sociology Department and the Directory of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program at Michigan State University. She teaches courses on sex, gender and sexuality; social inequality; youth and society; as well as introductory classes in sociology, social science and women’s and gender studies. Her research focuses on gendered violence, specifically looking at issues surrounding campus sexual violence and the push toward neoliberalism on campuses. She also researches issues of rape culture and consent. Dr. Prior’s work has appeared in academic journals, textbooks, and popular outlets. She is the co-author of the book Campus Sexual Violence: A State of Institutionalized Sexual Terrorism (2022). Her work has appeared in Sociology Compass; Violence Against Women; The Journal of Interpersonal Violence as well as edited volumes including The Moral Panics of Sexuality; Investigating Difference: Human and Cultural Relations in Criminal Justice.

Brooke de Heer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. Her research agenda focuses on issues of gender and power in sexual violence, with an emphasis on health disparities and inequitable treatment of marginalized victims involved in the criminal justice (CJ) system. Her work seeks to investigate and validate marginalized peoples’ experiences with sexual violence and work to dismantle systems of oppression that create disparate health outcomes for minoritized populations. Her co-authored book entitled "Campus Sexual Violence: A State of Institutionalized Sexual Terrorism" dissects institutional harm created by negligent responses to sexual violence on college campuses. She has been published in Feminist Criminology, Violence Against Women, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Violence and Victims, and American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research. She has received funding from the National Congress of American Indians, the Center for Victim Research, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) via the Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative. She teaches courses on gendered violence, contemporary issues and the criminal justice system, American courts, and crime and justice.

November 2022 - Dr. Camelia Suleiman: To be Maqdisi in Jerusalem: Palestinian Women Education

Recorded on Friday, November 18, 2022 as a part of the GenCen Colloquia Series at Michigan State University.

To be Maqdisi in Jerusalem: Palestinian Women Education

Founded in 1925 on Mt. Scopus in today’s East Jerusalem, the Hebrew University only recently opened its gates to the Palestinian youth from East Jerusalem. In response, they came. The overwhelming majority of these students are women. What does it mean to these young women to study at the Hebrew University, Israel’s most esteemed university, and in the Hebrew language? How do they make sense of their lives in a space which deprives them of many of their other human rights? Through ethnographic research conducted at the Hebrew University since Fall 2019, I try to answer these questions. Aiding me in my analysis is a belief in interdisciplinarity and its underlying humanistic premise as the most viable research approach in complex situation such as Jerusalem.


Camelia Suleiman has a Ph.D. in (Socio)linguistics from Georgetown University.

Suleiman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures at Michigan State University, where she led the Arabic program from 2012-2020. She teaches courses in Global Studies and Women's Studies, and many of her students have received nationally recognized scholarships. She also has spent time as a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

A true believer in the superficiality of disciplinary boundaries, she draws in her research and teaching from cultural studies, post-structuralism, anthropology and history. Her research emphasizes the importance of seeing the world through the eyes of the communities she studies. Her interests and publications are in Sociolinguistics, Communications, and Middle East Studies. A Palestinian herself, a steady stream in her writing is the fate of Palestinians in the aftermath of the Nakba, and the encounter of the Palestinian narrative with Zionism, Orientalism and in today’s world, American xenophobia.

Suleiman is on the editorial boards of the following journals: Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, and the Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness. She is also on the advisory board for the journal of Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism.

October 2022 - Dr. Carla A. Pfeffer: (Re)producing Normative Bodies and Social Citizens

Recorded on Friday, October 21, 2022 as a part of the GenCen Colloquia Series at Michigan State University.

(Re)producing Normative Bodies and Social Citizens: Medical Decision-Making around Withholding Testosterone in Transgender and Nonbinary Pregnancy

Medical expertise and authority often serve as foundations upon which patients’ uptake of medical advice is built and possibilities for health-focused behavioral changes in the patient’s life are motivated and compelled. This expertise and authority, however, do not emerge in a social vacuum and are often constructed and operationalized through processes of medical social control, surveillance, and technologies. In the case of pregnancy, healthcare providers dispense advice and protocols around nutrition, exercise, pharmaceutical and substance use, mental health, and the need for regular medical monitoring to protect the health and wellbeing of, essentially, two patients—the pregnant person and the fetus. But what happens when medical science doesn’t yet have all the answers about how particular patient behaviors may impact health outcomes for both the pregnant person and the fetus—particularly when the potential impacts of some behaviors may create potentially-divergent health outcomes for the pregnant person and fetus? How do patients and providers understand and weigh relative health risks and benefits as they formulate, dispense, or work to interpret and enact medical advice at this complicated intersection? How might assessment of health risks, and concomitant medical advice for behavioral change, reflect historical and ongoing social practices for creating “ideal” and normative social citizens?

Pfeffer and colleagues draw upon in-depth interview and focus group data from a three-year international study of 70 transgender men (residing across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Germany, and Bulgaria) about their intentions and experiences around pregnancy, as well as 22 healthcare providers (practicing across the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Italy) who focus on transgender health and working with transgender patients along a diverse cross-section of specialty areas (e.g., psychotherapists, general practitioners, endocrinologists, midwives, lactation consultants, OBGYNs, fertility specialists).


Carla A. Pfeffer is Director of the Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health, Associate Professor in the School of Social work, Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Sociology, and Core Associated Faculty in the Center for Gender in Global Context at Michigan State University. She completed her PhD and MA in Sociology, Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, and MSW in Social Policy and Evaluation at the University of Michigan, where she received interdisciplinary, multi-method training in the social sciences and humanities. Her research is at the intersection of critical inquiry into contemporary families, genders, health, sexualities, and bodies considered marginal, as well as social actors’ management of stigma and discrimination processes. Her research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and American Council of Learned Societies. Her book, Queering Families: The Postmodern Partnerships of Cisgender Women and Transgender Men was published by Oxford University Press (2017). Her scholarship has received awards from the National Council on Family Relations and the American Sociological Association sections on Sex and Gender and Sexualities. In her previous faculty position at the University of South Carolina, she was Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies and served as Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. In the American Sociological Association, she has served as elected Chair of the section on Sexualities and Secretary-Treasurer of the section on Body and Embodiment. 

September 2022 - Dr. Christy Zhou Koval: The Natural Hair Bias in Job Recruitment

Recorded on Friday, September 30, 2022 as a part of the GenCen Colloquia Series at Michigan State University.  

The Natural Hair Bias in Job Recruitment

"Across four studies, we demonstrate a bias against Black women with natural hairstyles in job recruitment. In Study 1, participants evaluated profiles of Black and White female job applicants across a variety of hairstyles. We found that Black women with natural hairstyles were perceived to be less professional, less competent, and less likely to be recommended for a job interview than Black women with straightened hairstyles and White women with either curly or straight hairstyles. We replicated these findings in a controlled experiment in Study 2. In Study 3A and 3B, we found Black women with natural hairstyles received more negative evaluations when they applied for a job in an industry with strong dress norms. Taken together, this paper advances research on biases in the labor market in the age of social media use and highlights the importance of taking an intersectional approach when studying inequity in the workplace."


Christy Zhou Koval is an assistant professor at the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University and a Core Affiliated Faculty/Staff member of the Center for Gender in Global Context.  She received her Ph.D. in Management and Organizations from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and her H.B.A. in Business Administration and M.Sc. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, stereotyping and bias, and intergroup relations. Her work has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Research in Organizational Behavior, Psychological Science, Social Psychological and Personality Science, and Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. She has won the Dorothy Harlow Best Paper Award and was a runner-up for the Saroj Parasuraman Outstanding Publication Award at the Academy of Management GDO division. Prior to MSU, she was a faculty member of the Management department at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School.


March 2022 - Dr. LeConte Dill: "#BlackGirlBe"

#BlackGirlBe: Cultivating Wellness Beyond Resilience

 For Blackgirls, resilience is not a goal; it is a given. Drawing on years of multi-sited ethnographic, autoethnographnic, and poetic research, this colloquium talk book centers Blackgirls as knowledge producers and into knowledge production around their strategies of wellness.


A scholar, educator, and poet, Dr. LeConté J. Dill is an Associate Professor of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. Guided by Black Feminist epistemologies and using qualitative and arts-based research methods, Dr. Dill has a commitment toward transdisciplinary, community-accountable scholarship. Her work focuses on the safety, resilience, and wellness strategies of urban Black girls and other youth of color.

Born and raised in South Central L.A., Dr. Dill earned her B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College, her Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Sciences from the University of California Los Angeles, her Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of California Berkeley, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Health Policy in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. Her scholarship is critically informed by years of working in partnership with youth and community organizers, health educators, and policy advocates at community-based organizations and public health departments on issues related to chronic disease prevention, violence intervention, and juvenile justice. A Research Associate at the African Centre for Migration & Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Dill also previously served on the faculty at several schools and programs of public health across the U.S.

Dr. Dill has been writing creatively from a young age. She was a Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop Fellow in 2016, a Small Orange Press Emerging Woman Poet Honorable Mention in 2019, and an Honorable Mention for the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize in 2021. Dr. Dill also integrates poetry into her ethnographic research with participants in what she has coined as “participatory narrative analysis.” Dr. Dill’s scholarly and creative works have been published in a diverse array of spaces, such as the Du Bois ReviewAmerican Journal of Public HealthJournal of Adolescent ResearchJournal of Poetry TherapyPoetry MagazineThe Feminist Wire, and Mom Egg Review.

Dr. Dill is deeply committed to teaching and mentoring. She actively works to amplify students as co-learners and co-scholars. Recently certified as a mindfulness instructor, Dr. Dill’s emerging work around “centering wellness” integrates meditation, poetry, and somatics for students, other researchers, and community partners.

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