WGSS Faculty and Advisory Board


Anika Simpson Director, WGSS and Visiting Associate Professor

Anika Simpson, PhD, is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University. She also serves as the Director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studie


  (202) 885-2583


Robert Connelly Adjunct Professorial Lecturer

Bob Connelly is an adjunct senior professorial lecturer of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Bob received his M.F.A. in Film and Electronic Media at American University, and began teaching LGBTQ


Mahri Irvine Adjunct Professorial Lecturer

Dr. Irvine is an anthropologist who studies gender-based violence and cultural inequalities in the United States. She wrote a 3-year federal grant for the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault (ICES


Charneka Lane Professorial Lecturer CAS - Anthropology

Cara Okopny Sr Adjunct Professorial Lecturer CAS - Critical RGC Studies

Cara Okopny is interested in the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality in popular media. Her work on women and environment contributes to the field of feminist eco-criticism. Her work ha


Sarah Smith Postdoctoral Fellow

Sarah Stefana Smith is a visual artist and scholar. Their photo-based practice is a recursive exploration of race, gender, and history. Smith creates photographs, sculptures, and installations that ar


Affiliate Faculty and Advisory Board

Juliet Bellow Associate Professor CAS - Art

Juliet Bellow’s research centers on visual artists' experimentations with intermediality in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her book Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the P


  (202) 885-6477

Mary Ellen Curtin Associate Professor CAS - American Studies

Mary Ellen Curtin has a Ph.d from Duke University and is a historian of modern African American and women's social and political history. Her first book Black Prisoners and Their World documented the


  (202) 885-6168

Chase de Saint-Felix Adjunct Instructor CAS - Philosophy and Religion

Chase de Saint-Félix is a southerner at heart, having spent most of his life in Arkansas and Tennessee. While in Memphis, he received his BA in Religion and Philosophy from Christian Brothers Universi


  (202) 885-2925

Ellen Feder Professor and Department Chair, Philosophy and Religion CAS - Philosophy and Religion

Ellen K. Feder is the William Fraser McDowell Professor of Philosophy and Social Policy. She works at the intersection of contemporary continental philosophy and feminist and critical race theory, par


  (202) 885-2931

Eileen Findlay Professor CAS - History

Eileen Findlay graduated from Oberlin College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she held a Jacob Javits fellowship. Both her books, 'We Are Left Without a Father Here': Masculinity, Dome


  (202) 885-6264

Mary Gray Professor CAS - Math and Statistics

A statistician and lawyer, Professor Gray’s areas of research include applications of statistics to human rights, economic equity, legal issues, and education. She is the founder of the Association fo


  (202) 885-3171

Leena Jayaswal Professor SOC - School of Communication

Leena Jayaswal is a documentary filmmaker, award-winning photographer and Professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington DC, where she is the director of the Photography


  (202) 885-2662

Helen Langa Associate Professor CAS - Art

Professor Helen Langa teaches a sequence of courses on American Art from the colonial era to the late 20th century with an emphasis on issues related to national identity, politics, race, gender, and


  (202) 885-1682

Brigid Maher Associate Professor SOC - School of Communication

Brigid Maher is the Director of the Film and Media Arts Division and a tenured, associate professor in the School of Communication. She is the Director of the Community Voice Project and Senior Fellow


  (202) 885-2664

Juliana Martinez Assistant Professor CAS - World Languages and Cultures

Professor Martínez focuses on the intersection of violence and body politics in the Latin-American and US Latino context. Her two main areas of research are: representation of historical violence rece


  (202) 885-2586

Shaeeda Mensah Instructor CAS - Philosophy and Religion

Shaeeda Mensah earned a BA in Sociology from Spelman College. She has a master’s in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University and is currently working towards the completion of her Ph.D in the sam


  (202) 885-2926

Vidyamali Samarasinghe Professor SIS-School of Intl Service

Vidyamali Samarasinghe is a Professor in the International Development Program of the School of International Service, American University, Washington D.C. Currently she is the Director of the Interna


  (202) 885-1487

Diane Singerman Associate Professor SPA - Government

Dr. Singerman is an Associate Professor and comparativist whose research interests focus on political change from below, particularly in the Middle East, and more specifically Egypt. Her work examines


  (202) 885-2362

Sybil Williams Director of African American and African Diaspora Studies CAS - Performing Arts

Sybil R. Williams has spent the past twelve years cultivating her craft as a playwright and dramaturg. Her work has been professionally produced by Chicago’s ETA Creative Arts Theatre; New York’s Nati


  (202) 885-3482

Gay Young Department Chair, Sociology CAS - Sociology

(Gloria A.) Gay Young has a longstanding focus on gender and development (GAD) which has led her to study a range of issues, including the nature and consequences of women’s labor force participation


  (202) 885-2254