Intersectionality Talks

Co-sponsored by PSU English and the CoLab, Intersectionality Talks is a digital speaker series at Plymouth State University that features intersectional work on literature and culture. The program seeks to provide an interdisciplinary audience and platform for engaged, public-facing work from early career scholars and an opportunity to foster conversations at PSU about new research on social justice and equity.

All events are free and open to the public via Zoom. Please register at the links below for access.
Talks will be structured around questions collected from PSU students as well as our broader academic community. Check out the linked work of our invited speakers, and when you register feel free to contribute questions for them to address during their talks.

Life is like an RPG: Incorporating Video Games and Fun into Academia

Dr. Anne Ladyem McDivitt

Academic Technology Specialist, Department of History, Stanford University

7pm, Tuesday, February 27th

Dr. Anne Ladyem McDivitt


In my academic professional life, I’m a historian, digital public humanities practitioner, and technology specialist. Additionally, video games have been a part of my life and identity for as long as I remember. It has become an important part of the professional aspect of my life to incorporate video games or thinking about things in the perspective of gaming because I think it adds not only fun but also encourages experimentation and creativity. In this talk, I’ll discuss some of my research, teaching, and content creation, as well as talking about incorporating your passions and interests into your professional careers where you can. 


Dr. Anne Ladyem McDivitt is the Academic Technology Specialist for the Department of History at Stanford University, as well as a member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research. She has a background in digital public history and specializes in digital storytelling. She published her monograph Hot Tubs and Pac-Man: Gender and the Early Video Game Industry in the United States in 2020, as well as articles on video game studies, podcasting in education, and a forthcoming article on gendered advertising in the 1970s and 1980s. 
Outside of academia, she co-hosts two weekly podcasts—one on video games, anime, and manga and another focusing episode-by-episode on multiple anime series. She also streams weekly on Twitch, where she exclusively plays unrealistic fishing games and fishing mini-games in video games while wearing goofy fishing themed shirts. 

This event is co-sponsored by the CoLab and Intersectionality Talks


Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth​

It's Not Free Speech

Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University and
Associate Dean in the College of the Arts and professor in the School of Film at Portland State University

6pm, Wednesday, November 16th

Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth

In preparation for this webinar, we invite you to use Hypothesis to annotate an excerpt from It’s Not Free Speech by Michael Bérubé And Jennifer Ruth:

  1. If you don’t have a account signup for one now. If you do have an account, make sure you know your username and password and login
  2. Once you’re logged in, join the CoLab’s annotation group. (You only need to do this once.)
  3. Visit the article online. (Make sure you’re still logged into Hypothesis.)
  4. Begin annotating! Your contributions will be visible to members of the Hypothesis group. 

In 2022, Johns Hopkins University Press published It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom, a provocative book that asks whether academic freedom–as distinct from free speech–should extend to white supremacists, or whether we should treat advocates of racist pseudoscience the way we treat believers in phlogiston or the efficacy of human sacrifice.


Michael Bérubé is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of eleven books to date, including Public Access: Literary Theory and American Cultural Politics (Verso, 1994); Life As We Know It: A Father, A Family, and an Exceptional Child (Pantheon, 1996; paper, Vintage, 1998); and What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Classroom Politics and “Bias” in Higher Education (W. W. Norton, 2006). He has also published two edited collections, Higher Education Under Fire: Politics, Economics, and the Crisis of the Humanities (Routledge, 1995; with Cary Nelson) and The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies (Blackwell, 2005). 

 Life as We Know It was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 1996 and was chosen as one of the best books of the year (on a list of seven) by Maureen Corrigan of National Public Radio. 

 He served three terms on the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure from 2009 to 2018, two terms on the AAUP National Council from 2005 to 2011, and two terms on the International Advisory Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes from 2011 to 2017. In 2012 he was president of the Modern Language Association. From 2010 to 2017, he served as the Director of Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities. From 2012 to 2020, he served on the University Faculty Senate, and was elected Chair for the 2018-19 academic year. 

Jennifer Ruth is an Associate Dean in the College of the Arts and professor in the School of Film at Portland State University. She writes extensively about academic freedom and higher education in outlets such as The New RepublicTruthout, AcademeChronicle of Higher EducationInside Higher Ed, and Ms. She also writes on literature and cinema for publications such as Senses of Cinema and Philosophy and Literature. She serves on the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Committee A (for academic freedom), served two years as the faculty editor of The Journal of Academic Freedom and three years as Portland State-AAUP’s Vice President of Academic Freedom and Grievances. She is a contributing editor to the Academe blog.

Ruth is the author of Novel Professions: Interested Disinterest and the Making of the Professional in the Victorian Novel (The Ohio State, 2006) and, with Michael Bérubé, The Humanities, Higher Education and Academic Freedom: Three Necessary Arguments(Palgrave, 2015) and It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom (Johns Hopkins, 2022).

She holds a Ph.D. from Brown University.

This event is co-sponsored by PSU’s Center for Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice.

Dr. Cori Bazemore-James​

Acknowledging the Land

Dr. Cori Bazemore-James

Assistant Vice Provost, Graduate School Diversity Office; Affiliate Faculty, Higher Education | University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

7pm, Thursday, November 3rd

Dr. Cori Bazemore-James
Selected Publications
  • Bazemore-James, C. & Boyd, B. (2021). Decolonizing Campus Spaces to Include Mixed-Race Indigenous Students. In V. Brown, L. Combs, and M. Guerrero (Eds.). Beyond the Box: Connecting Multiracial Identities, Oppressions, and Environments. New Directions for Student Services, 2021(174), 9–13.
  • Bazemore-James. C. & Dunn, M. (2019). The Modern Era of Native College Student Support in Primarily White Institutions: Institutional Understanding and Support of Indigenous Student Affairs. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/19496591.2019.1654813.
  • Waterman, S. & Bazemore-James, C. (2019). It’s More Than Us: Knowledge and Knowing. In E. S. Abes, S. R. Jones, and D. L. Stewart (Eds.). Rethinking College Student Development Theory Using Critical Frameworks. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.
  • Bazemore-James, C. M. (2018). Walking on sacred ground: Centering Indigenous knowledge to define Indigenous Student Affairs [Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia]. UGA Electronic Theses and Dissertations Database

Dr. Cori Bazemore-James will discuss when, how, why, and why not to use land acknowledgement statements. She will share her perspectives, research, excellent examples, and the practices she personally uses. Attendees will learn the following about land acknowledgements: their meaning, what they should entail, who should do them, where to do them, the argument for not doing them, and the responsibilities that go along with them.

This event is co-sponsored by PSU’s Center for Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice.


Dr. Bazemore-James, Seneca Nation, is the Assistant Vice Provost of the Graduate School Diversity Office and Affiliate Faculty in the Higher Education program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  In her role, she supports a team that specializes in recruitment and retention of domestic BIPOC graduate students and faculty diversity consulting.  Her research is focused on centering Indigenous Knowledge to develop the functional area of Indigenous Student Affairs and supporting Indigenous educators in predominantly white institutions.  She is the founder of the ACPA Indigenous Student Affairs Network, the first national/international professional network of Indigenous Student Affairs educators, and currently serves on the ACPA Governing Board, NCORE National Advisory Council, and the MIGIZI Minneapolis Board of Directors.  Based on her award-winning research, Dr. Bazemore-James has led the development of the first Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Standards for the Indigenous Student Affairs functional area (released Jan 2021).

2021-2022 Talks

Candice D. Roberts

Candice D. Roberts

Director of Communication Arts, St John's University

7pm, Wednesday, April 20th

Candice Roberts
Resources & Links

Candice D. Roberts is Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Director of the LGBTQ+ Center at St. John’s University. They hold a PhD in Communication, Culture & Media from Drexel University. Broadly their work examines cultural narrative and identity in popular media and consumer culture, and they often use critical queer theory to interrogate archetypes, sociality, and themes of class, sexuality, and space/place. Recent publications include articles in the Journal for Cultural Research and in Film, Fashion and Consumption and an edited volume entitled Consumer Identities: Agency, Media and Digital Culture.

Michael Winward

Michael Winward

Independent Dance Artist

7pm, Monday, February 28th

In-Person in Smith Recital Hall; Virtual in Zoom ​

Michael Winward, a dark-haired, bearded individual, in a v-neck gray tshirt looking off to the right and down
Michael Winward (he/him) is an interdisciplinary artist: dancer, storyteller, and organizer. His solo performances blend movement, memoir and (quite often) video projection of his family’s home movies. Through Steps in Time, Michael brings ballroom dance programming to assisted living and memory care communities in and around so-called Greater Boston. He is the co-founder and co-producer of Dancing Queerly: a platform that hosts performances, discussions, and workshops by and for LGBTQ2SIA+ community, friends, and allies.
Bellee Jones-Pierce

Bellee Jones-Pierce

Assistant Professor of English, Centenary College

7pm, Wednesday, November 10th

Virtual in Zoom

headshot of Bellee Jones-Pierce wearing glasses and a green blazer
Bellee Jones-Pierce (say it like believe without the v), is an Assistant Professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana, where she teaches courses in literature and writing. Her primary research areas are early modern literature, disability, and poetics. Her work as a creative writer is also concerned with the intersections of formalism and ability. Her book project, Able Verse, suggests the English lyric is shaped by conceptions of disability as they come to metaphor in social and poetic discourse as well as the physical facts of disability itself. Bodily metaphors pervade language used to discuss complex structures, including poetics. Disability studies, therefore, offers a historical and especially useful approach to early modern lyric. Rather than policing metaphor or advocating for the removal of disability metaphors from poetic discourse, she argues metaphors of disability have indelibly marked poetic practice and lyric itself. Her work inflects a historical formalist approach with tools and perspectives from disability studies and builds its arguments upon the vibrant early modern discourses of framing, measurement, quantification, medicine, anatomy, optics, and poetics. She is the managing coordinator of Premodern Disability, a resource aggregator for those who study disability in the medieval and early modern periods. She is also a mom and a wife. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.
YouTube player
Travis Chi Wing Lau

Travis Chi Wing Lau

Assistant Professor of English, Kenyon College

7pm, Thursday, September 23rd, Poetry Reading followed by Crafttalk and Q&A

In-Person in Frost House; Virtual in Zoom

black and white photo of Travis Chi Wing Lao
Resources & Links

Dr. Travis Chi Wing Lau is Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College. He received his B.A. in English with a minor in Classical Civilization from the University of California, Los Angeles (2012). He received both his M.A. (2013) and Ph.D. (2018) in English at the University of Pennsylvania. His work is primarily focused on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture with research and teaching interests in literature and science, the history of medicine, and disability studies.

Travis has contributed to numerous publications dedicated to accessible public scholarship like Synapsis, Public Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Lapham’s Quarterly. He also regularly reviews collections of poetry for literary and arts journals like Up the Staircase Quarterly and Tupelo Quarterly.

Travis has over a decade of teaching experience. He previously taught at BrainChild Education, a K-12 tutoring center in Oakland, CA. From 2010-2012, he also worked as a peer learning facilitator at UCLA’s Academics in the Commons/Athletics Peer Learning Labs, where he regularly held tutorials on composition and literature. He also served as an Adjunct Instructor in English for the Community College of Philadelphia and graduate student instructor for University of Pennsylvania’s Department of English and The College of Liberal and Professional Studies Program. Most recently, he was Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in English at The University of Texas at Austin.

Beyond teaching, Travis has worked as a Student Educator for the Armand Hammer Museum, where he developed and gave public tours of art exhibitions. In 2010, Travis worked internationally as an intern and guest English instructor at Ryugaku Journal, a Japanese publication catering to Japanese students interested in studying abroad in the US, UK, and Australia.

Alongside his academic and public writing, he is also a poet who writes often about embodiment at the intersections of queerness and disability. His most recent chapbook, Paring, is available through Finishing Line Press.

Travis currently resides in Columbus, Ohio with his partner and regularly flies to Atlanta to see his family. He has a rescued grey tabby cat named (Freddie) Mercury. He has been practicing taiko drumming since 2008 and has played with San Francisco Taiko Dojo, Atlanta Taiko Project, and Philadelphia’s Kyo Daiko.


2020-2021 Talks

Kishonna Gray

Kishonna Gray

Assistant Professor of Communication, Gender, and Women's Studies
University of Illinois at Chicago

7-8pm, Wednesday, April 28th

black and white headshot of kishonna gray

Kishonna Gray is currently an Assistant Professor in Communication, Gender and Women’s Studies, and affiliate in Black Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She previously served as an MLK Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor at MIT in Comparative Media Studies and the Women & Gender Studies Program.  She has also served as a Faculty Visitor at the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research (Cambridge).  

She is currently affiliated with the following research centers: 
The Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society
The Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies
The Center on Digital Culture and Society

Her scholarship is influenced by her interdisciplinary training and grounded in critical race theory and feminist approaches to knowledge production. She interrogates the impact that technology has on culture and how Black users, in particular, influence the creation of technological products and the dissemination of digital artifacts. While her extensive publication record explores how technology disparately impacts women and people of color, her current research interrogates the possibilities and potentials of what that technology can afford Black communities who are traditionally excluded from public spaces, including digital ones.

During this talk we will be discussing Dr. Gray‘s book Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming, in which she interrogates blackness in gaming at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and (dis)ability. Situating her argument within the context of the concurrent, seemingly unrelated events of Gamergate and the Black Lives Matter movement, Gray highlights the inescapable chains that bind marginalized populations to stereotypical frames and limited narratives in video games. Intersectional Tech explores the ways that the multiple identities of black gamers—some obvious within the context of games, some more easily concealed—affect their experiences of gaming.

Justin P. Shaw

Justin P. Shaw, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of English
Clark University

5:00-6:00, Tuesday, October 20th

Justin P. Shaw is a literary and cultural critic who specializes in early modern (16th and 17th Century) English literature. He teaches about and researches the intersections of race, emotions, disability, and medicine in early modern literature. His book project, tentatively titled, “White Tears: Race and Melancholy on the Early Modern English Stage,” examines how melancholic attribution influences the emergence of racial categories in the early modern period. Committed to both public and traditional scholarship, his work appears in the peer-reviewed journal Early Theatre, in the forthcoming critical volume, White People in Shakespeare, and has been discussed on NPR and podcasts. He has consulted on exhibits for the Michael C. Carlos Museum such as, Desire & Consumption: The New World in the Age of Shakespeare and First Folio: The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, and has re-developed the massive digital humanities project, Shakespeare and the Players ( Shaw recently earned his PhD in English from Emory University, an MA from the University of Houston, and a BA from Morehouse College. He regularly gives lectures about his work, his pedagogy, and about how to better understand the complexity of race in both Shakespeare and our own world. Professor Shaw’s upcoming courses include “Working My Nerves: Emotions in the Renaissance,” “Seeing Race and Disability in Medieval Literature,” and a rotating variety of quirky Shakespeare courses.

Helen Rottier, MS

Helen Rottier, MS

Doctoral Candidate, Disability Studies
University of Illinois at Chicago

5:00-6:00, Tuesday, September 22nd

photo of Helen, a young white woman with short brown hair and glasses wearing silver earrings, a white collared shirt, a black suit jacket, and a button of the neurodiversity symbol.
Recommended Resources

Helen Rottier, MS is a third-year doctoral student in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a graduate research assistant with the Institute on Disability and Human Development and a collaborating researcher with the Gernsbacher Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research spans academic access and ableism, the experiences of autistic and neurodivergent academics, autistic knowledge production, the intersection of autism and gender, and the rhetoric of online disability and autistic communities. Helen has a BS in Psychology and Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MS in Disability and Human Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her thesis explored facilitators and barriers to autistic students’ experiences in higher education, and her dissertation proposes to evaluate group co-mentorship and peer support for autistic college students in the Chicago area. Helen is the oldest of five children, an avid Twitter user (@helenrottier), and a fan of Diet Coke and General Hospital.

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