Feminist Research Alliance

Founded in 2010, the Feminist Research Alliance Workshop advances and energizes interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration among feminist scholars locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. At our convivial meetings, faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars present and discuss research-in-progress.  A fertile space for idea-incubation, the workshop also is community-building, enabling students and faculty to network with potential committee members, mentors, and colleagues beyond the boundaries of their home departments. All events are free and open to the public.

Fall 2021

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Jim Holstun

Department of English

Simone de Beauvoir, Nawal el Saadawi, and Social Reproduction

Thursday, September 23, 2021


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Jean Wactawski-Wende

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health

Women’s Health Initiative (WHI): Updates 1993-2027

Thursday, October 14, 2021


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Cody Mejeur

Assistant Professor
Department of Media Study

Storytelling in Queer and Trans Video Games

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


Spring 2021

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Melinda Lemke

Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Education

Melinda Lemke is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.  An interdisciplinary, qualitative educational policy researcher, she examines the politics of education, normative culture, and how policy and policy actors address youth marginality, gender violence, and displacement.  Prior to her position at UB, Melinda held a post-doctoral research position Swansea University, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Observatory on Human Rights of Children.  Her research and teaching also is shaped by a previous career in U.S. urban public education.

Researching the Margins: Feminist Critical Policy Analysis as a Framework of the Center

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

12:00 - 1:30pm
Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 

Decades of social science research documents the harmful effects of violence, and in particular gender-based and sexual violence, on adolescent female mental, physical, and socioemotional health.  These effects not only can impair development, but prompt negative short- and long-term problems in adulthood.  Despite the existence of long-standing multi-level prevention and intervention legislation and programming, gaps in educational policy research and educator practice remain.  In this talk, Lemke presents feminist critical policy analysis (FCPA) as an integral framing device in the examination of educational policy-making and those normative, but often hidden arrangements of power, which can have intended, unintended, and enacted discriminatory consequences for women and girls.  Lemke also invites critical discussion and reflection on nuanced ethical, methodological, and political considerations, both within and outside of field research.

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Hilary Vandenbark

PhD Candidate
Global Gender and Sexuality Studies

Hilary Vandenbark currently serves as the Graduate Assistant to the Gender Institute. In 2019, she was a Women and Public Policy Fellow at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, SUNY Albany. Vandenbark worked as a housing and economic security policy consultant at the New York Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence as part of the fellowship. Vandenbark hopes to continue working in government policy on sexual and gender-based violence upon completing her dissertation, which examines the legislative process and implementation of New York's Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Act of 2018. 

“Ally or Adversary? Rethinking Feminist Relationships with the State Post-MeToo”


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

12:00 - 1:30pm - Zoom Platform 

To register to receive a link, please go to: 

In this talk, Vandenbark discusses how feminist relationships with the state are evolving through a complex interaction of shifting political landscapes, social movements (such as MeToo, Black Lives Matter, RISE, etc.), and bureaucratic reforms. These changes create strategic opportunities for anti-violence advocates which Vandenbark analyzes utilizing Kimberly Morgan and Ann Shola Orloff's conceptualizion of the "many hands of the state" (2018) as well as Indigenous feminist frameworks on state violence. She critically examines the role of the state in addressing sexual violence, as well as the lack of feminist attention to “small S” states, where most sexual assault cases are addressed and adjudicated. Drawing on her dissertation case study of New York’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights (2018), Vandenbark explicates the roles of insiders and outsiders in shaping state responses to sexual violence and the social context in which these changes take place.

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Katharina Azim

Clinical Assistant Professor

Professor Azim's research centers around women’s reproductive health, agency, and rights in the United States, and specifically on experiences of genito-pelvic pain and psychosocial factors of painful sexual intercourse in young women. Her second line of research encompasses MENA/Arab/Muslim+ women’s perceptions of ethnic identity at the intersection of geopolitical, sociocultural, religious, and gendered factors.

"Preaching Guilt: Religion and Experiences of Painful Sex in College Women"

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 

12:00 - 1:30pm  -  Zoom Platform

To register to receive a link, please go to: 

This research project investigated the relationship between women college students’ pelvic health, sexuality, and religiosity. Currently 20-26% of young women report chronic pain during sexual activity, which is generally a highly preventable and treatable condition. Considering that young girls and women grow up with strong messages about permissible and taboo sexual conduct, gendered expectations of what constitutes “normal” pain-free sex, and the privileging of vaginal-penile intercourse over other forms of non-penetrative sexual activity, we tested if religiosity and religious teachings were contributing factors to women’s experiences of painful sex. Specifically, we examined the relationship between the prevalence of genito-pelvic pain with sex among sexually active female college students based on their sexual conceptualizations and practices, religious self-identification, belief and exposure to religious teachings, and the experiences of sexual shaming and guilt.