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Barbara Gurr

Assistant Professor in Residence


Office: Beach 426


My dissertation, defended in July 2011, examined the organization and provision of reproductive healthcare for Native American women in the Indian Health Service.  My current work examines family identity tasks for families who are newly queered by the affirmation of a young transgender child.  In both of these projects I consider social constructions of the raced, sexed, and gendered body as it is located within and moves through matrices of oppression and privilege.  Ultimately, I am interested in how subjective experiences are shaped by social, political, and economic forces, and how these forces are navigated, modified, and resisted on the personal level, the community level, and transnationally.  My work therefore relies on feminist intersectional theory, sociological theories of the body, State theory, and critical race theory, as well as human rights and postcolonial and third world feminism. 

I’m actively involved on campus, and you’ll frequently see me at events sponsored by our Cultural Centers and the Women’s Center, although student-organized events are my favorite.  I’ve worked closely with students in Iota, Iota, Iota (the national Women’s Studies Honor Society), the Violence Against Women Prevention Program, and the Human Rights Tour as well as the Community Outreach Program and the Native American Cultural Society.  Off campus, I frequently work with the New Britain Rotary Club, True Colors, TransPact (a local support group for families with transgender adolescents), and a women’s shelter in New Haven.

I eat books for breakfast (always with coffee), and I’m not really sure what “fo shizzle” means, though I use it all the time.  I write bad poetry in my spare time (which I don’t have much of), love my two cats (one of whom hails from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and the other from the Humane Society), and sit patiently and with only a little resentment through every Red Sox game, including several repeats every year (Jacoby Ellsbury is my favorite).  Someday I’ll get to Comic-Con, see the Nile, and live in a tree-house.  Seriously.  ‘Til then, I’m thrilled to be right here.