The Gender and Women’s Studies program is happy to announce the return of the 32nd Student Research Conference on Friday, March 25th, 2022! This conference will again highlight and celebrate research examining gender and sexuality produced by students from across the university over the previous year. Villanova undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to present their work on panels or through performance. The day will culminate with a keynote address by nationally recognized scholar, Erin Murphy.  

The conference is an exciting opportunity to showcase your work, discuss your interests with students and faculty from Villanova and other area universities, and see the broad range of intellectual disciplines encompassed by Gender and Women’s Studies. Essays and creative work must engage gender, sexuality, or feminist theories. All papers must have been written during Spring or Fall 2020, 2021 or written specifically for the conference.  

Villanova undergrads and graduate students are now invited to submit papers or alternative forms of expression (scripts, poetry, films) in one of the following three categories:

First year undergraduates (4-10 pages)
Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors (5-20 pages)
Graduate students (12-30 pages)

Essays and creative work must engage gender, sexuality, or feminist theories; a biographical or historical account of women or a woman is not sufficient. All papers must have been written during Spring or Fall 2020, 2021 or written specifically for the conference. If creative work does not have overt gender analysis, it can be accompanied by an essay that explains the theory's application.

Submissions are due Friday, February 11th, 2022

We are now accepting non-local submissions for virtual panels.
Please indicate on your cover sheet if you are remote and want to join a virtual session.

The GWS conference will take place on March 25th, 2022

Email to submit your work or with any questions 

2019: Uma Narayan, PhD, "Sisterhood and Doing Good"

2018: Duchess Harris, "Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA"

2017: Valerie Steele, "Chanel and Her Rivals"

2016: Lauren Berlant, “On Being in Life Without Wanting the World: Rankine, Isherwood, and Dissociative Life”

2015: Katina Sawyer, "What’s Gender Got to Do with it? The Impact of Gender on your Life at Villanova"

2014: CJ Pascoe, "Bullied: Youth Gender, and Homophobia."

2013: Stephanie McCurry, "The Tale of the Solder's Wife: War, Gender, and Emancipation"

2012: Cynthia Enloe, "The Risks of Not Learning from Iraqi Women's War Experiences"

2011: Noel Sturgeon, "Avatar and Activism: Ecological Indians, Climate Justice and Disabling Militaris."

2010: Lori Ginzberg, "A Very Radical Proposition: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Meanings of the vote"

2009: Linda Greenhouse, "What Judges Know (or Don't Know) About Sex Discrimination (or Anything Else)"

2008: Susan Aberth, "Frida Kahlo: Mexican Hydra"

2007: Afsaneh Najmabadi, "Feminism, Secularism, and the Challenges of Women's Rights Activism in a Islamic Republic"

2006: Bonnie Dow, "Screening the second Wave: Images and Activism in 1970s Feminism"

2005: Elizabeth L. Hillman, "Guarding Women: Abu Ghraib and Military Sexual Culture"

2004: Yopie Prins, "Ladies' Greek"

2003: Maria DiBattista, "Fast-talking Dames"

2002: Alan Sinfield, "Using Two Noble Kinsmen to read Midsummer Night's Dream against the Grain"

2000: Marion Roydhouse, "A New Zealander Abroad: Unexpected Journeys and Women's History in Unexpected Places"

1999: Janice Madden, "Gender Discrimination in Labor Market: Constructing Evidence in the Classroom and in the Court Room"

1998: Mary Crawford, "Feminist Research: Generations of Change"

1997: Madelyn Gutwirth, "My Life in Women's Studies, and Why We Still Need Them"

1996: Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, and Ryan McDonough

1995: Rachel Hare-Mustin, PhD, and Kelly Biessel                 

1994: Marie McAllister and Sherry Masters, "The Value of Women's Studies Education"

1993: Barbara E. Wall, OP, "Women and Mass Communication"

1991: Farrah Griffith, "Black Feminist Contributions to Women's Studies"

32nd Annual Gender & Women’s Studies Conference

March 25th, 2022, Connelly Center


8:45 AM: Coffee, Bagels & Welcome

9:30-11:45 AM: Panels

12-1:30 PM: Complementary Keynote luncheon pre-registration here.

1:30-2:15 PM: Panels

2:30-3:30 PM: Performance Showcase

3:30-4:00 PM: Cookies & Closing Remarks

Amazons and Zombies: Margaret Cavendish’s Soldiers, Gender, and the Paradoxes of War

As demonstrated by ongoing debates about who can be a “combatant” or a member of the U.S. military, concepts of gender are still often used to mark the boundaries of war, and war is used to mark the boundaries of gender.  Even some feminist histories depict women as automatically outside or in opposition to war.  Far from being outsiders, seventeenth-century women writers were active participants in England’s civil wars.  This talk analyzes the plays and proto-science fiction writing of Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) to consider how she drew on the new militarism of her moment as she challenged the hierarchies of gender. 

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Erin Murphy, Boston University

Erin Murphy is Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Boston University. She is the author Familial Forms: Politics and Genealogy in Seventeenth-Century English Literature.  She co-edited Milton Now: Alternative Approaches and Contexts (Palgrave, 2014) with Catharine Gray, as well as a special issue of Criticism on the work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick with James Keith Vincent.  She is currently working on two book projects, Wartimes: Seventeenth-Century Women’s Writing and its Afterlives and Rude Reading: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and the work of John Milton. With Sarah Wall-Randall, she co-leads the interdisciplinary seminar on Women and Culture in the Early Modern World at Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center.



Every semester, the Gender and Women's Studies program hosts about 8 – 10 events. These events include lectures, live performances, and films from a variety of fields and disciplines.

Several of these events are recorded and may available on the University's YouTube channel, making them available to the larger community.

Travis Foster, PhD
Director of Academics

Melissa Hodges, PhD
Director of Programming

Em Friedman
Graduate Assistant