A Message from the Chair of WGS Regarding the 2016 Election

Dear and valued friends at Wake Forest,

The time leading up to the election was a very difficult one. President-elect Trump persistently made offensive comments about women, about the disabled, about Hispanics, about Muslims, about African Americans, and about many others. During these past few days, so many members of our community came to our office or met us at the walk-out rally on Friday, to cry, to share grief and fear over the relevant fact that they feel threatened and not safe in a new climate of threats and amid displays of hegemonic power, and, above all, over the fact that other fellow human beings would uphold those values of bigotry and hate, of misogyny and sexism, of racism and intolerance, and use them in language and actions designed to offend and attack other fellow human beings. We all know how dangerous it is to embrace values of hatred. Inciting violence can only produce more violence.

The mission at the heart of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is, above all, to “reject hatred and bigotry in any form.” For this reason, we cannot maintain a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes and acts of racism, sexism, misogyny, and intolerance of any kind. This is no longer politics. It is civil discourse. We can only hope that President-elect Trump would reach out to those whom he denigrated, and begin to apologize for his vicious attacks, thus creating a counter-trend.

In Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies we will carry on with our mission. We will need to stand up for the values of tolerance and respect, for diversity and difference. More than ever before, in our teaching and scholarly research, we are compelled to fight for social justice and defend the very values of democracy that are at the basis of civil society, as well as at the basis of our institutional, pro humanitate goals.

In WGS we will continue to work hard to promote the mission of social justice through the study of gender at the intersections of issues of class, race, age, ability, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. In the coming months, and beyond, we are going to work with Institutes and Centers at Wake and devote particular attention to academic courses and programs that will encourage critical thinking around such issues. It is time to roll up our sleeves again, and re-energize the ongoing feminist struggle against bigotry and hatred. We will not be silent.

We hope you will be with us, in numbers, and in spirit.

Wanda Balzano
Chair and Associate Professor
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Wake Forest University

WGS Alumni Profile: Alexandra Hollifield

alexandra-hollifieldAlexandra Hollifield graduated from Wake Forest University in 2013 with double majors in Women’s and Gender Studies and Political Science. She received the WGS department’s Senior Leadership Award in 2013.

What has been your career path since graduating?

After graduating from Wake Forest, I went on to get my Master’s degree in Community Development and Action at Vanderbilt University.  I worked for a year during grad school as a part-time Graduate Assistant at the Vanderbilt Women’s Center, then became a full-time Program Coordinator in fall 2014.  I spent the next two years facilitating workshops, roundtable discussions, and programming around topics including body image and disordered eating, sexuality education and healthy relationships, and perfectionism and mental health.  My biggest professional accomplishment during my time at Vanderbilt was launching an initiative called the Vanderbilt [IM]Perfection Project, which aims to create a campus culture where students can celebrate their successes and their failures and seeks to bring awareness of failure and setbacks as a healthy part of every student’s college experience.  The launch of the project in Spring 2016 included bringing Dr. Brené Brown to speak at Vanderbilt and collaboratively organizing a student “speak-out” panel, where several Vanderbilt students stood in front of over 200 of their peers and told their stories of failure and imperfection.  This initiative was largely inspired by my experiences at Wake Forest, where there is also a culture of effortless perfection–particularly for young women.I recently left my role at Vanderbilt to start a new adventure as the statewide Prevention Coordinator for the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.  I believe that comprehensive primary prevention efforts–including healthy sexuality and healthy relationships, bystander intervention, and healthy masculinity programming–are the key to ending sexual violence.  I am thrilled about this new chapter and am excited to continue feminist social justice work in Kentucky!

How has your training in WGS influenced your career?

I truly would not be where I am today without Women’s and Gender Studies at Wake Forest.  Academically, all of the writing that I did in my WGS classes prepared me incredibly well for graduate-level coursework.  Having constant discussions around intersectionality with my fellow WGS classmates and professors prepared me for my role at Vanderbilt as well as my current position.  I constantly strive to be aware of my own identities and privilege and to make my work as inclusive as possible.  The theoretical framework that I learned in classes such as The Politics of Women’s Bodies helped me easily transition from theory to practice in facilitating programs on body image, eating disorders, and sexuality.  Finally, WGS provided me with several opportunities to present on papers and research at various conferences during my time at Wake Forest and these experiences helped prepare me for public speaking, presenting, and facilitating.  A huge shout-out to Dr. Mary DeShazer for being the most incredible and inspiring professor, mentor, and friend I had during my time at Wake.  I will forever be grateful.

 Profiled November 2016.

WGS Faculty Member Dr. Tanisha Ramachandran Gives Talk at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute

Dr. Tanisha Ramachandran, Associate Teaching Professor in the Department for the Study of Religions and core faculty in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, is currently in residency as a Lillian S. Robinson Scholar at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University in Montreal.

As part of her residency, Dr. Ramachandran recently gave a talk about her current project, “‘Take it off! This is America!’: The Materiality of Headscarves and Hatred in the Benev(i)olent West.” In the project, Dr. Ramachandran argues that in North America, Australia, and Europe, Muslim women disproportionately bear the brunt of anti-Muslim hate. Through an examination of hate crimes statistics, media accounts, and institutional reports, her project examines how Muslim women are racialized and gendered through hate crimes primarily triggered by material markers of religion.  The targeted  Muslim women wear some type of head covering. While these women differ in age, race, ethnicity, class, language, and the Islamic traditions they practice, the type of physical and verbal violence they experience is notably similar. Further, these attacks often occur in public spaces, often in full view of their accompanying children, and are seldom if ever interrupted by bystanders. An analysis of hate crimes exposes the tension between the troublesome visibility of Muslim women as other/threat and the perennial colonial trope that equates unveiling of Muslim women with liberation by the benev(i)olent West.

To learn more about Dr. Ramachandran’s current work, please email her at

Please find the flyer for her talk below:


Mon. Nov. 7 – Dr. Harlan: “Feminist Objects: Writing Beyond the Academy”

The Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Colloquium Series Presents

Susan Harlan
Associate Professor of English, Wake Forest University

“Feminist Objects: Writing Beyond the Academy”

Monday, Nov. 7, 2016
4:30-5:15 p.m.
DeTamble Auditorium, Tribble Hall

A reception will follow the talk. This talk is free and open to the public. Please see the attached flyer for more information about Prof. Harlan, or visit


CFP: Console-ing Passions Conference at East Carolina University


International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media, and Feminism
July 27-29 2017
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

Submision Deadline: Monday, January 16, 2017

Console-ing Passions was founded in 1989 by a group of feminist media scholars and artists looking to create a space to present work and foster scholarship on issues of television, culture, and identity, with an emphasis on gender and sexuality. The first Console-ing Passions conference was held at the University of Iowa in 1992. Since then, Console-ing Passions has expanded to become not only the most important conference for scholars studying gender in television but also among the top conferences for scholars of media generally.

The 2017 Conference Organizing Committee invites proposals for individual papers, pre-constituted panels, and pre-constituted forums that consider television, video, audio, or new media alongside gender, sexuality, race, and/or other intersected components of identity. We also welcome proposals for video, audio, or new media creative works related to gender and other modes of identity. In light of the possible persistence of House Bill 2 in North Carolina, the host committee encourages and will give special preference to panels, forums and creative works that engage with the stakes and consequences of studying, teaching and writing about LGBTQI representation and how it intersects with gender identity, racial and economic justice, class, immigration and citizenship, ability and disability, incarceration, and other categories and social concerns. In particular, we encourage encourage panels and forums specifically devoted to critically interrogating HB2 and anti-LGBTQI legislation in North Carolina and elsewhere in order to make CP@ECU a venue for engaging and analyzing the impact of this legislation as well as a space of resistance.

A note on undergraduate submissions: Console-ing Passions is also accepting undergraduate proposals. Please encourage interested undergraduates to apply.

A note on travel funding: Scholars who wish to attend CP@ECU but lack state travel funds due to boycotts of North Carolina related to HB2 will be eligible to apply for assistance from a limited pool of special travel funds. Stay tuned for more information.

A note on House Bill 2: Console-ing Passions 2017 will provide a safe, welcoming environment to all of its members. The 2017 Conference Organizing Committee does not support or enforce HB2. Both the ECU Faculty Senate and the Greenville City Council passed resolutions opposing HB2.

Submission Guidelines:

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM (US Eastern Daylight Time) on Monday, January 16, 2017.

The Submittable link will be available starting on December 1, 2016:

Proposal Guidelines:

Proposers may submit:
1. one paper or creative project, and one CP Forum.

Attendees may present:
1. one paper or creative project, and may participate in one CP Forum.

Individual Papers: Individuals submitting a paper proposals should provide an abstract of 250 words, a short bio, and contact information. Co-authored papers are acceptable.

Panels: Panel coordinators should submit a 250-word rationale for the pre-constituted panel as a whole. Coordinators should submit a 250-word abstract, a short bio, and contact information for each panel participant. Panels should include 3-4 papers. Co-authored papers are acceptable. Panels that include a diversity of panelist affiliations and experience levels are strongly encouraged.

CP Forums: Building upon the success of discussion-based roundtables at Flow and other conferences, we invite proposals for a limited number of pre-constituted roundtables that focus either on scholarly topics in the field or matters of professional interest. We are especially interested in roundtables that are likely to engage wide participation by conference attendees and which reflect our field’s diversity of cultural identities, institutions, methodologies, and professional rank or employment status. Proposals should be submitted by a convener, who will propose a question (<100 words) and solicit brief (<250 words) responses from 5-7 respondents. Proposals should also include a brief bio and contact information for the convener and each participant. If the proposal is accepted, each participant will write a response to the question of no more than 600 words, which must be submitted to the conference organizers 2 weeks prior to the conference. Those papers will be circulated to all attendees and will form the basis of a public discussion during the CP Forum sessions. Roundtable participants’ remarks at the conference should be brief in order to encourage substantive discussion with attendees.

Creative Works: We invite proposals for video, audio, or new media screenings or exhibits. Each proposal should consist of a 350-word abstract (including the length and format of the work), a short bio of the producer/director, and contact information. If the work is viewable online, please submit a URL.

Please direct any questions about the conference and/or the submission process to the conference organizers:

Follow us on Twitter: @CPECU17
Like us on FB:

Visit the conference website for updates about events, schedules, travel information, and more:

Conference Organizers:
Cheryl Dudasik-Wiggs, Teaching Instructor, Department of English (Women’s Studies)
Anna Froula, Associate Professor, Department of English (Film Studies)
Amanda Ann Klein, Associate Professor, Department of English (Film Studies)
Marianne Montgomery, Associate Professor, Department of English (Renaissance Studies)
Jennifer Valko, Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages (Hispanic Studies)
Katy Kavanagh Webb, Assistant Professor, Joyner Library
Carolyn Willis, Associate Professor, Joyner Library