Podcast Icon.

Podcast Archive

Gender Matters offers feminist approaches discussions on intersectional, transnational, and community issues. Guests include UB students, faculty, and staff, as well as greater Buffalo community members, whose perspectives enrich our collective feminist engagement with education, research, and lived realities.

Archived Episodes:

Dignity for the Dying: A Conversation with Drs. Christopher Kerr and Carine Mardorossian

Episode 4
February 26, 2020 (Recorded February 12, 2020)
Produced by Hilary Vandenbark
Special Production Assistance from Omar Brown and Chris Cheung, 
Office of Media Services, University at Buffalo Libraries

On this episode, host Hilary Vandenbark speaks with Drs. Christopher Kerr (MD, PhD) and Carine Mardorossian (PhD) about their new collaborative book, Death is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life's End (New York: Penguin Random House, 2020). This book brings together medicine and the humanities to discover the meaning and role of visions and dreams at the end of life. These experiences are common for people in Kerr's hospice care who often resolve their life stories and bring their narrative arc to a peaceful close before death.

The book follows several people who describe various dreams or visions. Kerr and Mardorossian artfully weave their stories together in order to advance their central argument: people in the midst of the dying process deserve dignity that that current medical care approaches may not offer. Our conversation covers the genesis of Kerr's research, what brought Mardorossian and Kerr together, and restoring death to its place as an integral part of life. 

We also discuss the early success of the book and future directions for the research and medical humanities. Kerr's research has been widely acclaimed and featured in The New York TimesThe Huffington PostWIVB Local News, and the Grief Dreams PodcastDeath is but a Dream was recently featured in The Washington Post and Publisher's Weekly. Kerr also delivered a TEDx Buffalo talk on the subject and a documentary about Kerr's research, also entitled Death is but a Dream, is in post-production. 

Black and white photo of a man with his arms folded.

Dr. Christopher Kerr of Hospice Buffalo

Guest Biographies

Dr. Christopher Kerr joined Hospice Buffalo in 1999 as the Medical Director for Hospice Buffalo’s 22-bed Inpatient Unit and served in that capacity until 2011, when he was appointed Center for Hospice and Palliative Care’s Chief Medical Officer.  Kerr was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and comes from a long line of physicians, of which he is now the fifth generation. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology, a Doctorate of Medicine, a PhD in Neurobiology and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Rochester. 

Kerr’s background in research has evolved from bench science towards the human experience of illness as witnessed from the bedside, specifically patient’s dreams and visions at the end of life. Kerr has overseen the integration and expansion of palliative care into local hospitals and developed one of the nation’s largest home-based palliative care programs, Home Connections, and Essential Care for Children. He has lectured and published on innovative program models that are designed to better align patient/family services to the complexity of needs inherent to advanced illness.

Image of a woman with short red and blonde hair wearing a blue scarf.

Carine Mardorossian is a professor of English at University at Buffalo

Dr. Carine Mardorossian is professor of English at the University at Buffalo, SUNY where she specializes in postcolonial, Caribbean studies, feminist studies and more recently, the medical humanities. Her previous books are Framing the Rape Victim: Gender and Agency Reconsidered (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2014) and Reclaiming Difference: Caribbean women writers Rewrite Postcolonialism (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005). Death is but a Dream is her first co-authored and collaborative book but not her last. She is currently completing a manuscript on Caribbean literature and the environment with one of her former graduate students turned colleague, Professor Veronica Wong.

Bringing Intersectionality to Public Policy: A Conversation with Karen King and Karolina Kulicka

Episode 3
January 29, 2020
Produced by Hilary Vandenbark
Special production assistance from Omar Brown and Chris Cheung,
Office of Media Services, University at Buffalo Libraries.

On this episode, host Hilary Vandenbark speaks with Dr. Karen King, Erie County Commissioner of Public Advocacy, and Karolina Kulicka, doctoral candidate in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. 

King and Kulicka discuss their collaboration on a Women's Studies Internship between the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women and the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. The internship provides students the opportunity to develop public policy briefs related to women and gender in Erie County. We talk about the challenges of bringing theory to public policy, transitioning between public service and academia, and making positive change through policy. Our conversation also covers the skills and character traits interns develop through the internship. 

The internship is available for advanced undergraduate and Master's students through GGS 496/GGS 560 and is open to non-GGSS majors who are interested in gender and public policy. Interns will present their policy briefs to community members and local policy makers. To learn more, click here.

Image of Karen King, a blonde woman wearing a pink shirt.

Guest Biographies

Karen King is the Commissioner of Public Advocacy for Erie County and the Executive Director of the Erie County Commission the Status of Women. The Commission works to provide resources to the women and girls of Erie County, to ensure that they participate fully in matters that have an impact on their lives, and toward the elimination of all gender based discrimination as well as the promotion of women’s economic, societal and political empowerment.

Dr. King has served as an adjunct graduate faculty member in the Higher Education Student Affairs Administration Program at Buffalo State College and in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. Additionally, she has developed and taught courses and conducted numerous workshops on popular media culture, social justice advocacy, multicultural competency, privilege, gender, race and class. Dr. King’s research interests include examining the role gender, race, class, and popular culture play in informing women’s and girl’s identity development and access to opportunity.

She serves on the New York State Council for Women and Girls, the Board of the Family Justice Center, the Executive Committee of the University at Buffalo Gender Institute, The Minority, Women Business Enterprise Utilization Advisory Board Members, and the County of Erie and City of Buffalo Joint Certification Committee.

Image of Karolina Kulicka.

Karolina Kulicka is an instructor in Women's Studies Internship Course, a recipient of the International Peace Scholarship, and a doctoral candidate in Global Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her research focuses on gendered organizations, institutional mechanisms of sustaining inequality as well as public service institutions. Building on her joint experience in academia and public policy-making, she engages in projects that bring together feminist theory, government organizations, and civil society.

Leading a Feminist Life from a Conservative Christian Background: A Conversation with Mackenzie Junjulas

Episode 2
November 6, 2019
Produced by Hilary Vandenbark
Special Production Assistance from Chris Cheung,
Office of Media Services, University at Buffalo Libraries.

This week, host Hilary Vandenbark speaks with Mackenzie Junjulas, a 21-year-old Senior, studying English and Psychology with a concentration in Legal Studies here at UB. After she graduates, Junjulas hopes to pursue a career in Law and will be applying to law schools soon. 

In this episode, we discuss our similar upbringings in conservative non-denominational Christian households and our journeys to become feminists. We tackle some of the difficulties of managing these ostensibly contradictory identities and discuss how our understanding of religion, politics, feminism, and family have evolved. 

The Unpredictability of Memory: A Conversation with Artist Tricia Butski

Episode 1
October 8, 2019
Produced by Hilary Vandenbark
Special Production Assistance from Chris Cheung and Omar Brown,
Office of Media Services, University at Buffalo Libraries.

This week, on the inaugural Gender Matters podcast, Graduate Assistant Hilary Vandenbark speaks with local artist and UB alumnus Tricia Butski (MFA, 2015). Butski's charcoal on paper works, "Errant" and "Tenuous," are on display at the Gender Institute. 

Butski is a fine artist and educator living and working in Buffalo, NY. Butski studied traditional drawing and oil painting, receiving her BFA from SUNY at Fredonia in 2013 and her MFA from the University at Buffalo in 2015. She is currently an Artist in Residence at the Buffalo Arts Studio. She also works as an adjunct professor at Erie Community College and SUNY Fredonia, where she teaches drawing, painting and digital design courses.

Butski’s work has been included in several group exhibitions, most recently in shows at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo (‘19), Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, NY (‘18), the Trimain Center in Buffalo (‘18) and the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in Niagara Falls (‘17). Some of her most recent solo exhibitions include shows at the Nichols School Gallery in Buffalo (‘19), Revolution Gallery in Buffalo (‘18), the Roz Steiner Art Gallery in Batavia (‘17) and the Buffalo Arts Studio (‘16). Butski has also participated in public arts collaborations, working on murals on Niagara Street, Clinton Street, and Ash Street in Buffalo, NY, and on 3rd Street in Niagara Falls, NY.

Butski’s recent works have primarily been portraiture, and her exploration into the blurred lines between realistic representation of her subjects and abstractionism. To learn more about Butski and her work, please visit her website, www.triciabutskiart.com