Inspired Reflections: An Introduction


  • Melissa Autumn White Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Jennifer Musial New Jersey City University


Feminist Pedagogy, Teaching, Introductory Course in Gender, Women's, Sexuality and Feminist Studies


This introduction to Belaboured Introductions: Inspired Reflections on the Introductory Course in Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies explores the major themes of our co-edited collection, which was motivated by our shared interests in the interplay of affective ecologies; storytelling; epistemologies and archives; seduction; austerity; labour and embodiment in the GWS classroom. Ultimately, our cluster contributes to what we see as a significant gap in the academic literature on the feminist scholarship of teaching and learning while provoking new questions about the role of the Introductory course in relation to field development and (re)constitution.


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Author Biographies

Melissa Autumn White, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Melissa Autumn White is Assistant Professor of LGBT and Queer Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, and Vice Chair of the Sexuality Studies Association/Association d'études de la sexualité. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, her research on mobility justice and intimate transnationalisms has been published in Radical History Review; Sexualities; Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies; and WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly. Her first book, Mobile Desires: The Politics and Erotics of Mobility Justice, was published by Palgrave Pivot in the fall of 2015. Cofounder and current Co-Chair of the Gender, Women’s and Feminist Studies PhD Interest Group at the National Women’s Studies Association, her PhD in Women’s Studies was awarded by York University in 2011. Prior to joining HWS, she taught the Introductory course at McGill University and the University of British Columbia, Okanagan

Jennifer Musial, New Jersey City University

Jennifer Musial is Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her research centers on reproductive justice and racialization; her monograph-in-progress, Pregnant Pause: Reproduction, Death, and Media Culture, looks at racialized grievability in cases of fatal violence against pregnant women.  Previous work has been published in Sexualities, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation, and Culture, and Journal for the Association for Research on Mothering. In addition to her research on reproductive justice, Jennifer contributes to the growing scholarship in critical yoga studies with publications in Feminist Teacher and Yoga and the Body: An Intersectional Analysis of Contemporary Body Politics, Mindfulness, and Embodied Social Change (2016). Additionally, she co-organizes the annual Race and Yoga conference at University of California-Berkeley and acts as managing editor for Race and Yoga, a new peer-reviewed journal that looks at the intersections of yoga, racialization, colonialism, capitalism, gender, sexuality, and disability studies. Since earning her PhD in Women’s Studies from York University in 2010, Jennifer has taught the Introductory course at five institutions.  


Butler, Judith. 1994. “Against Proper Objects.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 6. 2-3: 1-26.

Hemmings, Claire. 2011. Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Hobbs, Margaret and Carla Rice. 2012. “Rethinking Women’s Studies: Curriculum, Pedagogy, and the Introductory Course.” Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture, and Social Justice 35.2

Ferguson, Roderick. 2012. The Reorder of Things: The University and its Pedagogies of

Minority Difference. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.

Orr, Catherine M., Braithwaite, Ann, and Diane Lichtenstein, eds. 2012. Rethinking Women’s

and Gender Studies. New York: Routledge.

Stockton, Kathryn Bond. “New Majorities, Shifting Priorities.” Filmed April 2011. YouTube


White, Melissa Autumn and GWFS Ph.D. Interest Group. “Precarious Value? Critical Reflections on the Ph.D. in Gender, Women’s and Feminist Studies.” Panel presented at the National Women’s Studies Association, Milwaukee, WI. Saturday November 14, 2015.

Wiegman, Robyn. 2012. Object Lessons. Durham: Duke University Press.






37.2 - Belaboured Introductions