Women's and Gender Studies Faculty Profiles
Dr. Sarah Allred is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. Dr. Allred completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology at Drury University and continued her education with her Masters studies at the College of William and Mary. She received her PhD in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Allred currently teaches the Social Inequality course in women’s studies.
What issues gender issues interest you most?
“I am interested in how notions of good mothering are socially constructed and how illness experiences/behaviors are filtered through our constructions of gender.”
How has women's Studies impacted your education?
“It has enhanced my student's understanding of an important identity characteristic that shapes social experience and social chances. It has provided me with a unique and valuable prism for viewing the social landscape.”
Dr. Christina Bucher is an Associate Professor of English, Rhetoric and Writing and the Faculty Advisor for LISTEN, the LGBT student group. Dr. Bucher received a BA in Journalism from Belmont College and an MA and PhD in English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is most interested in women’s writing, feminist literary theory, lesbian literature and history, GLBTQ issues, as well as race issues.
What is your favorite novel that you would recommend?
“A book I read over and over and teach over and over is Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day; I am also partial to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.”
What has been your most memorable activism experience outside of academia?
"I attended Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in January 1993. It was the first time in my voting life that my presidential candidate won, and there was such a feeling of optimism in the air. The huge crowd–over a million by some estimates–was wonderfully diverse.”
Dr. Susan Conradsen is an Associate Professor of Psychology and also the Director of the Women’s Studies Program at Berry. Dr. Conradsen completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Georgia. She received her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Louisville. She is most interested in gender and media, eating disorders and gendered violence. She also conducts research on issues of mothering such as: childbirth, work/family issues and mother activism.
How and when did you encounter Women's Studies?
“I first became involved in women's issues when I volunteered at a domestic violence shelter in college, but really started learning more through my clinical work with eating disorders in graduate school and during my residency at Medical College of Georgia. While on my fellowship with Emory I started to learn more about feminist psychology and the importance of race, gender, and class through my work with AIDS patients. When I came to Berry I asked to teach the course Psychology of Women, which is a cross listed course. This was when I became fully immersed in Women's Studies and fell in love with the discipline.”
What is something interesting about you that your students would not know?
"I do Yoshukai Karate with my daughter, love Zumba and spin classes, and enjoy drawing."
Dr. John Countryman, Associate Professor of Fine Arts-Theater, has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and a PhD from Bowling Green State University. Dr. Countryman teaches Women and Drama and takes great interest in women’s studies as well as feminist issues.
What Women's Studies issues interest you most?
“I’m interested in the fact that gender is a social construct and that biology is not destiny. I’m very concerned about trafficking, about reproductive rights and about the way the legal system treats rape victims. I’m concerned about young women who become anorexic to try to conform to a media-inspired image of the “perfect” woman, and I’m disturbed by pageants that require that pre-pubescent girls be made up and dressed to look like (provocative) adults.”
Who is your favorite feminist playwright?
“My favorite feminist playwright is Christina Reid. She is from Northern Ireland and has shown the relationship between sectarian paramilitary violence during the “Troubles" (1968—to the 90s) to battered spouses of the “terrorists,” both Catholic and Protestant.”
Dr. Ellen Johnson, Associate Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing teaches the course Gender and Language. Dr. Johnson received her BA in Foreign Languages from Rhodes College and her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Georgia. She is interested in issues related to gender and language as well as equality and fairness.
What is your favorite feminist novel?
“In 1986 I was invited to join a women's reading group by one of my former high school teachers, Dr. Marilyn Harris. They were reading When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone.”
What are your hobbies outside of Berry?
“I have a strong interest in comparative religions and am still interested in female representations of the divine such as the Buddhist Tara, the ancient Middle Eastern Great Mother, and Hindu figures like Kali. I lead an interfaith movement and singing activity called Dances of Universal Peace in Atlanta and Roswell, and occasionally in the IFC at Berry.”
Dr. Anne Lewinson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, graduated from Williams College, and got her MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches Gender in Global Perspective with an emphasis on gender in social science research.
What women's/gender issues interest you most?
“I am particularly interested in how gender ideologies and practices influence contemporary cultural practices and social structures, such as how life event celebrations construct and reinforce existing notions of masculinity and femininity, gender roles, etc.”
What are your hobbies outside of Berry?
“I recently started doing yoga again after a long (25 year) hiatus, and I swim regularly. I’m also enjoying reading books to our two kids—I get to hear new stories and revisit my old favorites.”
Dr. Jeffrey Lidke, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy, teaches Women in World Religions and Goddess Traditions in Asia. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and went on to receive his MA and PhD from The University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Lidke is interested in issues of equality despite differences of gender or sexual orientation.
What is one experience outside of academia that has impacted your education?
“My travels to India, Nepal, Bali and Bhutan.”
Why do you think it is important for students to be aware of gender issues in Religion?
“Gender issues shape religious ethics and world views in fundamental ways. Since religion is linked to power and dynamics of control, we must be cognizant of the ideological construction of gender in religious traditions.”
Dr. David McKenzie obtained a theological seminary degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.A. in Philosophy from Louisiana State University and his doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Texas. Dr. McKenzie teaches Christian Faith and Feminist Critique with a focus on the treatment of women from the biblical period to the present day. He has a bi-vocational career as a Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Berry as well as a Pastor at Rehoboth Baptist Church near Cave Springs, GA.
What are your hobbies outside of Berry?
“I am an avid tennis player, playing singles matches primarily with colleagues from the Berry faculty and staff. I play on average three matches a week.”
Describe an experience outside of academia that has impacted your education.
“I believe that going to Indonesia for ten weeks as a Baptist Student Union Summer Missionary when I was in college most impacted my career. I had the privilege of working with a Muslim population, and it served as the beginning of my career interest in interfaith dialogue."
Dr. Kathy Richardson received her Bachelor’s in Communication and Philosophy and Religion from Shorter College. She went on to complete her M.A. in Journalism and PhD. in Mass Communications at The University of Georgia. Dr. Richardson is a professor in the Communication department most noted for her Public Relations classes. She is joining the Women’s Studies faculty for the Gender and Media course she will teach in Fall 2011.
How did you become interested in Women's Studies and gender issues?
“My early jobs in communication gave me the opportunity to observe the different ways in which men and women were treated in the workplace. Then, my master’s thesis involved research into the hiring and socializing of new journalists. Investigating the history of hiring patterns and practices in the news industry—and how difficult it has been for women to enter into and to advance in that area was a major stimulus for me. One of the streams of research I’ve carried forward from that has been into how women and children have been portrayed in advertising and broadcast programming."
What is your favorite women's studies/feminist blog or website?
The Geena Davis Institute which sponsors important research on girls and media.
Dr. Christy Snider is the Associate Professor of History at Berry College and teaches the U.S. Women's History course.
Dr. Jim Watkins, Associate Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing, teaches the popular Southern Women’s Literature course for the Women’s Studies Program. Dr. Watkins got his BA from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and his MA and PhD from the University of Florida.
What issues interest you most in Women's Studies?
“Women’s Autobiography, History of Social Reform Movements in the U.S. and U.S. Southern Women Writers”
Who is your favorite feminist author and why?
“Bell Hooks, because her vision of social justice is so expansive yet she makes it seem so reasonable and achievable.”
What is something about you that your students would never guess?
“I used to be a land surveyor.”
Dr. Lara Whelan, Associate Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing, received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, an MA in British Literature and Culture from King’s College, at the University of London, and her PhD in English from the University of Delaware. Dr. Whelan teaches Women’s Literature at Berry. She is most interested in the social construction of gender, the way it impacts our opportunities and experiences, and also takes a scholarly interest in the intersection of class within the women’s movement.
What is your favorite feminist novel and why would you recommend it?
“The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is my favorite feminist novel, in part because I really enjoy dystopian fiction. The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel that asks “What if the culture war in America became an actual civil war, and the theocrats (those who want a government based on Biblical laws) won? What impact would that have on women?” The novel also imagines a world where an environmental crisis has affected human fertility to the extent that women who can carry a baby to term have become very rare. The first-person narrator of the novel is one of these women and she is essentially enslaved by one of the ruling-class families in the new order. In short, the novel is like a feminist 1984, and well worth a read.”
What is something interesting about you that your students would never guess?
“I also teach belly dancing (and perform as well).”