WGS Chair and other WGS faculty sign Feminist Scholars’ Post-Election Statement

“Over 10, 000 feminist scholars, artists and activists, issue this historic statement to signal our alarm over the election of Donald J. Trump as president. We are heartened that millions of women, and male supporters, flooded the streets on January 21, 2017 in cities across the globe to add their voices to this growing resistance. This statement builds upon a long history of feminist organizing and leadership. We pledge to stand firm in our convictions and invite others to join us as we continue to build a movement that reflects our values and aspirations.

The scholars among us teach critical thinking skills to students and promote respect for diverse views in the classroom. Still, as citizens and residents of the United States, with our colleagues around the world, we firmly embrace the right to take public positions on the vital civic and political issues of our time.”

Congratulations to WGS Professor Shannon Gilreath, recipient of the 2017 Joseph Branch Award for Excellence in Teaching

Please join us in congratulating WGS Professor Shannon Gilreath, recipient of the 2017 Joseph Branch Award for Excellence in Teaching.  The award recognizes high standards for teaching and also for service related to the student experience.
The President and Provost will recognize Shannon at the Founders’ Day Convocation on February 16 at 4:00 p.m. in Wait Chapel.

Statement from WGS in Response to Trump’s Executive Order

Following the actions taken by the Trump administration, the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies wishes to re-affirm the values of inclusivity and diversity at the core of its mission, and will stand against those actions that are a denial of these values. In line with the principles of our institution, WGS “seeks to encourage habits of mind that ask ‘why,’ that evaluate evidence, that are open to new ideas, that attempt to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others, that accept complexity and grapple with it, that admit error, and that pursue truth.” (WFU Bulletin 2016/17, p. 14). In re-affirming our strong support for all our students at Wake Forest, we stand by the university’s non-discriminatory statement:

Non-Discrimination Statement

Wake Forest University is committed to diversity, inclusion and the spirit of Pro Humanitate. In adherence with applicable laws and as provided by University policies, the University prohibits discrimination in its employment practices and its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and veteran status. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the University’s nondiscrimination policies:

Tanya Jachimiak
Title IX Coordinator
Reynolda Hall – Suite 2
Winston-Salem, NC 27106

Angela Culler
Assistant Vice President, HR Services
Section 504/ADA Coordinator
2958 Reynolda Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27106

Deputy Title IX Coordinators have also been designated and represent various University schools/divisions. Contact information for each Deputy Coordinator can be obtained from the University’s Title IX Coordinator.

(WFU Bulletin 2016/17, p. 13)

Recent WGS Faculty Publications

WGS core faculty member Catherine Harnois has published a co-authored article titled “When Does Differential Treatment Become Perceived Discrimination? An Intersectional Analysis in a Southern Brazilian Population.”

Abstract: Despite ideals of equality and “racial democracy,” high levels of social inequality persist in contemporary Brazil. In addition, while the majority of the Brazilian population acknowledges the persistence of racism, high proportions of socially disadvantaged groups do not regard themselves as victims of discrimination. This study seeks to shed light on this issue by investigating the processes through which individuals come to interpret their experiences of mistreatment as discrimination. We ask: (1) How frequently do respondents perceive being treated differently due to a variety of social statuses alone and in combination? and (2) What factors are associated with respondents interpreting this differential treatment as “discrimination”? Data come from an ongoing cohort investigation, which included a representative sample of adults living in the urban area of Florianópolis. Results show that 45 percent of respondents experienced mistreatment and attributed it to two or more factors, such as social class, age, gender, and race. Perceptions of mistreatment based on social class were positively correlated with perceived mistreatment due to gender, place of residence, weight, race, and the way one dresses. Regression analyses revealed that interpreting differential treatment as stemming from multiple social statuses was the strongest predictor of respondents classifying their mistreatment as discrimination. Our findings highlight the importance of disentangling perceptions of mistreatment from perceptions of discrimination and show that the relationship between the two is structured in large part by the ways in which individuals interpret their experiences at the intersection of multiple inequalities.

Full citation: Bastos, J. L., Harnois, C. E., Bernardo, C. O., Peres, M. A., & Paradies, Y. C. (2016). When Does Differential Treatment Become Perceived Discrimination? An Intersectional Analysis in a Southern Brazilian Population. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.

WGS faculty member Kristina Gupta has published an article titled “What Does Asexuality Teach Us About Sexual Disinterest? Recommendations for Health Professionals Based on a Qualitative Study With Asexually Identified People.”

Abstract: This article draws on qualitative in-depth interviews with 30 asexually identified individuals living in the United States in order to contribute to our understanding of when low sexual desire should be treated as a medical or mental health issue and when it should be treated as a benign sexual variation. The article discusses five findings of relevance to health professionals: (1) the line between a desire disorder and asexuality is not clear-cut; (2) asexually identified individuals may experience distress, so distress alone does not separate a desire disorder from asexuality; (3) asexually identified individuals may face sexual pressure from a partner or may have difficulty negotiating sexual activity with a partner; (4) asexuality does not need to be distressing, rather it can be experienced as a fulfilling form of sexuality; and (5) many asexually identified individuals believe in the usefulness of low sexual desire as a diagnostic category and support medical and mental health professionals in their efforts to develop treatments for sexual desire disorders. Based on these five findings, this article offers four concrete suggestions for health professionals working with clients with low sexual desire, whether or not those clients identify as asexual.

Full citation: Gupta, K. (2017). What does asexuality teach us about sexual disinterest? Recommendations for health professionals based on a qualitative study with asexually identified people. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 43(1): 1-14.

WGS co-hosts successful event: “The State of Eugenics”

On Jan. 12th, Wake Forest University hosted a screening of the film, “The State of Eugenics.” The film documents North Carolina’s eugenics program and the successful campaign to obtain compensation for the survivors of this program.

For much of the 20th century, eugenics was a widely-accepted practice in the United States, endorsed by the Supreme Court in the 1927 Buck v. Bell decision. North Carolina ran one of the most aggressive eugenics programs, sterilizing more than 7,600 men, women, and children between 1933 and 1974. The state targeted people of color, the poor and disabled and stole their right to reproduce right up until the 1970s. After a long campaign by survivors, legislators, and journalists working together, in 2013, the state passed a law to compensate survivors of these injustices. For more:

After the screening, Melissa Harris-Perry hosted a panel featuring the film’s Director/Producer Dawn Sinclair Shapiro, former state legislator Larry Womble, former chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Sterilization Compensation Dr. Laura Gerald, Winston-Salem Journal editorial-page editor John Railey and journalist Tommy Tomlinson. Larry Womble received a framed copy of the 2013 NC compensation bill from Senator Thom Tillis.

This event was co-sponsored by the Journalism Program, the Anna Julia Cooper Center, the graduate Documentary Film Program, the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Wake Forest School of Law, the Women’s Center, the Humanities Institute, the Department of History, the Department of Politics and International Affairs, the American Ethnic Studies Program, and the Center for Bioethics, Health and Society.

Please see pictures from this wonderful event below:

The State of Eugenics Event The State of Eugenics panel discussion Larry Womble receives recognition