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Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Faculty

From physiology to cinema and photography, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies is comprised of a wide variety of core faculty and staff. We want your education to cover all bases that effect every topic that you're passionate about!

Lisa Brooten, Associate Professor

Radio, Television, and Digital Media

Lisa Brooten, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the College of Arts and Media at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA. Her research and publications focus on authoritarianism and media, human rights and media, media reform and democratization, social movement media, community and indigenous media, and the interplay of journalism, media reform advocacy and affect and trauma. Her regional expertise is in Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand, where she has travelled and conducted fieldwork for many years, including a Fulbright Research Fellowship in 2007-2008, and an ASEAN Fulbright Research Fellowship in 2021-2022. She has consulted for Freedom House, Radio Free Asia Burmese Service and PEN American Center. She is an associate editor of Media Asia and lead editor of Myanmar Media in Transition: Legacies, Challenges and Change (ISEAS, 2019).

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Lisa Brooten

Office: COMM 1050G

Jane Elizabeth Dougherty, Associate Professor

Dr. Dougherty is a scholar of Irish women’s literature of the eighteenth-, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. She teaches courses on Irish literature and culture, cultural studies, and composition. 

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Jane Elizabeth Dougherty

Office: Faner, Room 2262
Curriculum Vitae

Laurel Jean Fredrickson, Associate Professor

Art History

Laurel Jean Fredrickson (Ph.D., Duke, 2007) is a historian of contemporary and modern art with a global emphasis. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on cross-cultural and transnational intersections of experimental art and political dissent from the 1960s to the present.

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Laurel Jean Fredrickson

Allyn Building 6D
Curriculum Vitae

Jaime Leigh Gray, Assistant Professor, History and Culture

Jaime Leigh Gray earned a PhD in Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara and an MFA in Dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her teaching and areas of expertise include feminism and gender in performance; digital theater and media in performance; social activism and protest cultures; ethnography; and theater historiography.

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Allison Hammer, Assistant Professor and WGSS Coordinator

K. Allison Hammer is an interdisciplinary scholar and critic of American culture, gender, and sexuality in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Their work brings together a diverse archive of historical and contemporary literature, performance, film, and media. As a professor, they are interested in helping students understand and theorize the complexities of gender and sexuality in transnational contexts and the relationship to race, colonialism, and permanent war.

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Allison Hammer

Office: Faner 4034
Phone: 618-453-7147
Curriculum Vitae

José Najar, Associate Professor

José D. Najar is an Assistant Professor of History at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He received his B.A.s in Sociology and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Ph. D. from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a historian of nineteenth and twentieth-century Brazil and Latin America. His work focuses on whiteness and non-European diasporas in the Americas, gender inequality, imperialism, anti-colonial resistance, and transnationalism and transimperialism as historical methods. 

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Jose Najar

Faner Hall 3374

Heather M. O'Brien-Takahashi, Assistant Professor


Heather M. O’Brien-Takahashi is an artist, filmmaker, and writer. She works in film/video, photography, and installation to build encounters with familial archives, constructs of nationhood, and the illusion of accurate memory.

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Heather M. O'Brien-Takahashi

Office: COMM 1050B

Sandy Pensoneau-Conway, Director, Associate Professor

Communication Studies

Sandy Pensoneau-Conway is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She received a B.S. (cum laude) in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (1999), an M.S. in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2001), and a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2006). 

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Sandra Pensoneau-Conway

Office: Comm Building 2008B
Phone: 618-453-2215

Rachel Whaley, Associate Professor

Dr. Whaley's research and teaching interests are in the sociology of gender and criminology and the intersection of the two subfields. Past research has examined the macro-level correlates of rape and female homicide victimization using data on US cities and micro-level correlates of adolescent substance use. Of particular focus is the role of gender as a social structure on both macro-level and micro-level phenomenon. Dr. Whaley is trained in quantitative research methods and statistical analyses. Current works in progress relate to men’s coping with obesity and how it relates to ideas about masculinity, subjective feelings about gender identity and belief in cultural gender stereotypes, criminal victimization and fear among people opting for life on the road, college students’ views about social inequalities, and explaining trends in traditional gendered expectations. Dr. Whaley also has experience working in applied research centers and is working on developing related courses.

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Rachel Whaley

Office: Faner 3434
Phone: 618-453-7631
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Chris Wienke, Associate Professor

Dr. Wienke joined Sociology in Fall 2008. His work is primarily in the areas of mental health, family, gender, and sexuality.

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Chris Wienke

Office: Faner 3432
Phone: 618-453-7629
Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Hale Yilmaz, Associate Professor

Dr. Hale Yılmaz received her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 2006. Her research and teaching interests center on Middle Eastern history, including Turkish history and the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Dr. Yılmaz previously taught at the University of Montana.

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Hale Yilmaz Faner Hall 3181
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

List of all graduate instructors

Graduate Instructors
Name Title Email Bio
Bailey Saldana Graduate Instructor Bailey Saldana is a doctoral student in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She has also completed her graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from SIU-C. Her teaching and research interests include violent and sexual victimization, offender and victim rehabilitation, criminological theory, and qualitative research methods.