Interview with Georgiann Davis, 2022 SWS Feminist Activism Awardee Talk

Kejsi Ruka, SWS Intern, conducted the interview.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m an intersex scholar-activist and associate professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico. Much of my work is related to my experience being born with a body outside of the sex binary. I have complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, CAIS, which means on the outside I’m female, but on the inside, instead of ovaries, a uterus, fallopian tubes, and XX chromosomes, I was born with internal and undescended testes and XY chromosomes. Doctors didn’t discover my CAIS until I was a tween. And when they did, they didn’t tell me the truth. They lied to me about my body—telling me I had premalignant underdeveloped ovaries—and they encouraged my parents to do the same. I only learned the truth years later after I obtained copies of my medical records. I was at first confused, then devastated and ashamed, and eventually just unapologetically angry which is where I’m at today.

I didn’t pursue my PhD in sociology to study intersex. But that changed in a feminist theory class I was taking. We were discussing intersex, and there I was with this deep dark secret—I was intersex. It was during that doctoral seminar, in the fall of 2007 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, that I slowly started opening up about being intersex. And, you know what? It was fucking freeing to let go of that secret.

I wrote a paper on intersex in that seminar, and then shortly after, for a handful of reasons, decided to study the way in which intersex is experienced and contested in contemporary U.S. society. My first book, Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis, evolved from my dissertation and in it I interweave my personal experience with my interview data.

As a feminist medical sociologist, what kinds of topics are you researching and looking into?

I like to say that I study all sides of the hospital bed, meaning I like to study patient and provider experiences and interactions.

I’m also currently working on a new book, a cultural memoir, which I’ve tentatively entitled Five Star White Trash: A Memoir of a Society in Crisis. It’s about my journey from, in 1992, when I was a 329 pound tomboy who dropped out of the seventh grade to today a still fat tenured associate professor of sociology. I used to think of my journey as a story of overcoming a lot of adversity with everything from hard work to mentorship. But I trash much of that narrative in Five Star White Trash by using my sociological tools to analyze my life experiences with everything from dropping out of school, medical abuse, childhood trauma, and more.

Given that you’ll be a presenter at the SWS Summer Meeting, can you give us a preview of what you plan to talk about?

I’m nervous as hell, so I hope I follow through with this but I want to talk about being Five Star White Trash. And the multiple Lifetime movies I’ve been through . . . mostly unscathed.

I am curious to hear a little bit about your activism and advocacy work. What drives you to be a scholar-activist?

I used to think it was the possibility for social change, but that was ten years ago when I was naive and way more optimistic about how scholars can use their research to improve lives. Back then I also took for granted that scholars were mostly in the game for altruistic reasons and not for their next promotion, publication, or award. I know much better these days about egos and gatekeepers.

My scholar-activism these days begins with a mirror. How can I be a scholar-activist if my scholar-activism doesn’t begin with me? What’s my role in the continuation of the social problems I study? What does it mean to get paid, as a scholar, to do work so many activists have been doing without pay for a lot longer?

Do you have a call to action or a departing message for us?

We have to be vigilant and honest about where we come from and where we’re located today. I think oftentimes we come into our studies and research interests with the goal of being social justice oriented, which is great, but in order to do that work, we have to work on ourselves. I mean really work on ourselves—think about our role in racial oppression, our role in gender oppression, our role in all sorts of oppression.


Georgiann Davis will be giving the 2022 SWS Feminist Activism Awardee talk during the 2023 Summer Meeting SWS Awards Reception the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on Sunday, August 20. SWS Meeting Registration Form is now open:! For more information on the 2023 Summer Meeting, please visit:

Three Waves of Gender Reform in Tunisia: Reflections on the Eve of National Women’s Day, op-ed by Maro Youssef

Tunis, Tunisia – June 10, 2022: Demonstrators gather in support of women’s rights during a protest denouncing violence against women at Avenue Habib Bourguiba.

“‘There has been backsliding on women’s rights—some related to implementation issues, and others were policy reversals.’

Tunisia is known as the birthplace of the 2010-2011 Arab Spring uprisings. It is also recognized for its progressive gender policies, particularly compared to its neighbors in the Middle East & Africa. As we near Tunisia’s National Women’s Day on August 13, I wanted to reflect on the two waves of gender reform that Tunisian sociologist Mounira M. Charrad writes about, and a third wave that has emerged since.”

To read the full article, please visit:

Regional gender regimes in the global South: An empirical approach – Published Article by Chris Bose

Regional gender regimes in the global South: An empirical approach by Chris Bose is now available online, containing full bibliographic details.

This article extends Walby’s model of gender regimes to the global South by constructing South-appropriate measures for her four institutional domains (economy, polity, civil society, and violence).

To view the full article, visit:

Two New Publications by Chandra D. L. Waring, SWS Member.

Two New Publications by Chandra D. L. Waring, SWS Member.

“We are Going to be the New White [People]:” Multiracial Americans Envision the Future.

As the multiracial population continues to rise, research on this population has expanded. Although multiracial people are often referred to as the future face of America, there are no empirical studies that centre how multiracial individuals themselves envision the future of race relations, given their unique racial vantage point. I analyse how 23 multiracial people of different racialized ancestries, although all have white ancestry, envision the future of race relations in the United States. Most participants anticipated negative race relations due to the lack of current impactful institutional initiatives that would facilitate meaningful change. Many participants predicted a nuanced perspective, yet they echoed the significance of systemic shifts for real change to unfold. Fewer participants offered positive predictions that were rooted in individualism. I consider the implications of these findings in a society that often proclaims a positive racial future, in part, due to the multiracial population.

To view the full article, visit:

“Be Confident,” “Creative,” and “Careful”: Advice from Multiracial Adults.

As the U.S. and international multiracial populations have increased, so has research in this area. Despite a multitude of studies about the unique struggles of being multiracial, little empirical data has been published about specific strategies that multiracial individuals use to navigate a monoracial (single-race)-oriented society. In this article, I offer insights and suggestions to cope with discrimination involving family, friends, and others from 28 multiracial Americans with various racial backgrounds, although all participants have white ancestry. In advising their younger self and/or the next generation of multiracial people, participants suggested cultivating confidence, resilience, and assertiveness to withstand the onslaught of marginalization that multiracial people endure. Other respondents recommended creatively engaging with media to actualize affirmation, connection, and consciousness to generate space between themselves and others’ perceptions of them. White-presenting participants proposed being careful about sharing their backgrounds, considering they are frequently questioned. This article offers strategies to navigate being multiracial in a racially tumultuous society that was designed by and for monoracial citizens.

Please click here to view the full article: Waring 2023 Advice from Multiracial Adults

Opinion: I’ve lived into my 40s without ever owning a smartphone. Hopefully I’ll never have to. By Stacy Torres

“When people discover I don’t have a smartphone, they expect me to give them a sermon on technology’s ills or they congratulate me for going off the grid. I correct their misconceptions that I avoid technology. With a computer and Wi-Fi, I use the internet for email, news and research; Zoom for remote teaching, meetings and medical appointments; YouTube for music’s balm.”

Opinion piece by Stacy Torres, SWS member, was published on

To read the full article, visit:

Bulletproof Fashion: Security, Emotions, and the Fortress Body (Routledge 2023) – New Book by Barbara Sutton

“The next time you put on your favorite hoodie, ask yourself, “Would this sweatshirt stop a bullet?” While it may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, bulletproof fashion – ordinary-looking clothing that contains a hidden layer of Kevlar or other bullet-resistant material – is available to the general public through a number of online retailers. In her new book, Bulletproof Fashion: Security, Emotions, and the Fortress Body, UAlbany Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Professor Barbara Sutton explores what this new frontier of personal security means for the individual and what it says about current U.S. society.”  To read the full interview with Barbara Sutton, please visit:

Interested in learning more about the book, and placing an order, visit: Discount code below! (Code can only be used when acquiring the book through the publisher’s website.) 

Professional Opportunities & Resources – Winter 2023

Applied Worldwide Partnering with Sociologists for Women in Society: Applied Worldwide has forged a new partnership with Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) to highlight and connect feminist applied professionals. SWS members have been invited to submit Applied Worldwide profiles that are also linked to the SWS website and feminist applied professionals are encouraged to join SWS. Applied Worldwide is a content production and media company focused on enhancing a vision of applied sociology. They provide their audience with high-quality content, services, and partnerships that center sociology on its practical knowledge and skills. By partnering with professional organizations, university departments, and individuals, we represent the work and ideas of over 100 sociologists and students from over 20 countries. To learn more about Applied Worldwide, you can visit the website at

FEMINIST RESOURCE COLLECTIONS FOR COURSE PREP AND BEYOND: Looking for feminist resources for the (re)design of a course? Check out the following: 


The (up)Roaring 2020s: Sociology’s Responsibility in Addressing Recurring Social Problems, Saturday, April 1, hosted by the Sociology, Criminology & Human Services Department in Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY). The symposium will feature scholarship from undergraduates, graduate students and early career faculty from upstate New York, with attendees and participants discussing contemporary social issues, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the impact of COVID-19 on progressive movements, the war in Ukraine, and the populist uprisings across the globe. Those interested in attending can register here. Questions? Contact Department Chair and Symposium Organizer Elena Chernyak at

International Congress: Combating Gender-Based Violence, Lille University (FRANCE), July 3-6, 2023. Dr. Elena Chernyak (Hartwick College) holds two panels during this congress. Read more about these panels HERE. Please, circulate the information about this conference, call for abstracts, and panels among your colleagues whose scholarship lies in the area of gender-based violence (e.g., violence against women, intimate partner violence, domestic violence against women) and who may be interested in attending this conference and presenting their work.


To read the latest publication of Network News, please visit:

Committee News and Reports – Winter 2023


Co-Chairs: LaTonya J. Trotter and Andrea N. Hunt

The Committee on Academic Justice’s mission is to support members in navigating structural and institutional forms of exclusion and inequality in academia. One of the key ways we live out that mission is by continuing to organize the Higher Ed Action Team (H.E.A.T.) as a space to share experiences, support, and strategies to address the increasing austerity measures on our campuses. These conversations have connected people across campuses and increased awareness of the ways in which administrative decisions are part of the corporatization of higher education.

As a direct result of these conversations, the committee organized a session at the SWS winter meeting co–sponsored with the Social Action Committee (co-chairs Heather Hlavka and Kris DeWelde) and Heather Laube and Rebecca Plante were the panelists. The panelists provided some initial thoughts for the attendees on what authority measures might look like across institutions followed by more informal conversation in small groups. The focus then shifted to strategies, and attendees discussed with each other and then with the larger group actions that they have taken at their institutions. The session was well-attended and engaging. Thank you to Heather Hlavka, Kris De Welde, Heather Laube, and Rebecca Plante for your guidance and assistance. The goal of “consciousness-raising” was met. Be on the lookout for spring H.E.A.T. meetings and find out what’s next! H.E.A.T. meets monthly during the academic year, so if you want to get involved, stay tuned to the listserve for dates and times!

At the winter meeting, we also supported a panel through co-sponsorship with the Student Caucus, “Navigating the Conflicts Around Scholar Activism.” Thank you to Alexis Grant-Panting for her leadership in co-sponsoring the panel, to our panelists Florence Castillo, Popy Begum, Pedrom Nasiri, Esther Hernández–Medina, and Rui Jie Peng, and to the moderator, Angela Vergara.

Finally, our committee is actively in conversation about how to revise and re-envision both the Lavender and Feminist Reports that informed members about how feminist friendly departments were. Both historically served as a resource for SWS members; however, there was a clear need to move both towards a more intersectional lens, as well as to create a set of shared resources that could be more flexibly updated and, therefore, more sustainable. At our winter committee meeting, many good suggestions were made by those who attended. So stay tuned for how we ultimately decide to build on these important reports.

We continue to move forward on these and other collaborations throughout the year. So if you’re looking to get involved, feel free to contact the co-chairs or attend our open committee meetings!


Co-Chairs: Sharla Alegria and Mindy Fried

Dear SWSers –

Ask Alix: We’re thrilled to announce that Rebecca Plante and Asmita Aasaavari are the new Co-Coordinators of the Ask Alix column! 

As you may know, this column – formerly called Hey Jane – was launched in 2004. The first entry started with this question: 

“Hey Jane! I’m not sure if I should put up a poster about a political rally on my office door. Should I?” Jane launched into a nearly 400-word response, including: “What is the “door culture” in your department/on your campus? Do others hang such items on their doors? If so, then you might feel free to do the same. If political views are not expressed, then don’t do it”.

Over the years, topics have included advice on service loads, negotiating and navigating a joint appointment, finding a postdoc, dealing with a difficult chair, and many more. 

Going back to 2013, editors have included Laura Kramer and Christin Munsch. And writers have included Tina Fetner, Michele Jacobs, Kristine Kilanski, Trenton Haltom, Stephanie Nawyn, Garbrielle Roesch-McNally, Wanda Rushing, Michele Scott, Stacy Williams and Kathrin Zippel. And thanks to Susan Deitch, who helped us launch Ask Alix.  

As Asmita and Rebecca take over the reins, there will be some changes. For one thing, the advice column will be more easily accessible, as it will be published both on the SWS blog and in Network News. Please welcome Rebecca and Asmita!  And think about YOUR burning questions for Alix (and answers)!

SWS Applied Sociology Website: Also, we are thrilled to announce the new SWS Applied Sociology Website! ( Thanks to Christelle Lachapelle for persisting with endless additions and edits, and creating this wonderful site!  And thanks, as always, to Barret and Natasha, for their consistent support!

We are ALWAYS looking for more resources, so PLEASE send me your resources related to applied sociology, including your applied sociology video stories and/or audio interviews, and your blog posts and podcast episodes.

Finally, thanks to all the contributors to the site, as listed below. Can’t wait to see how this site grows with your input!  

The site includes:

  • Biographies of SWS applied sociologists, done in partnership with Applied Worldwide, founded by Stephanie Wilson.
  • Video and audio interviews with applied sociologists, including: Melissa Abad, Machienvee Lammey, Andres Lopez, Colleen Schoenfeld, Chriss Sneed
  • Blog posts and podcast episodes by applied sociologists and/or about applied sociology, including: Applied Sociology group, Dani Jauk-Ajamie, Mindy Fried, Meg Krausch, Stephanie Wilson, Zuleyka Zevallos
  • Webinar speakers, including: Melissa Abad, Chloe Bird, Jenny Irons, Andres Lopez
  • Information on the Mentoring program for those interested in or currently working as applied sociologists.
  • A current list of applied sociology programs


Co-Chairs: Chaitanya Lakkimsetti and Manisha Desai

This past quarter was a very busy and exciting one for the Publications (Pubs) Committee. The co-chairs participated in the successful search for the next editors of Gender & Society, Professors Patricia Richards and Sharmila Rudrappa, the first time that the journal will have co-editors. Meet them and learn about their vision for the journal in the next edition of Network News

Thanks to Professors Josephine Beoku Betts, Victoria Reyes, Amy Stone, and LaTonya Trotter for their work on the Gender & Society Editor search committee.

The co-chairs also participated in the Sage Contract Negotiating committee made of Professors Chris Bose, Dana Britton, and Don Ferree in addition to officers Jennifer Brown, Melanie Heath, Veronica Montes, Mary Osirim, Lisnic Rodica, and Roberta Villalon. The team successfully negotiated the new contract with Sage. Thanks to all members of the Contract Negotiating committee for their work.

In addition to these two important achievements for SWS, over the past year, Pubs has produced two documents that are currently under review by Council. One is a visual map of Pubs responsibilities and a document that outlines how to handle racism and sexism in reviews. Based on the co-chairs’ experience on the search for Gender & Society editors, we also produced another document related to future Editor searches. This document is also under review by Council. Once we hear back from Council we will share these with the membership at large.

At the Winter meeting, Pubs organized a workshop with Professor Barbara Risman, Gender & Society Editor, Manisha Desai and LaTonya Trotter (members of the Editor Search Committee), on what’s involved in being a Gender & Society Editor. It was much appreciated by participants who were at various stages in their academic careers but appreciated the myriad aspects of an editor’s work and its implications for publishing in Gender & Society.

In the future we plan to organize workshops on how to review manuscripts and welcome our members’ ideas on what they might find useful.

Another important initiative that Pubs will be launching in collaboration with Sister to Sister, International Committee, and Professional Development is a group mentorship program to increase visibility for BIPOC and Global South scholars in Gender & Society.

In the coming months, we will be searching for a professional publicist and will continue important discussions related to open data and open access.

Finally, at the Winter meeting we bid an emotional adieu to our indefatigable outgoing members, Senior Chair, Victoria Reyes and member Zakiya Luna, and welcomed new, although highly experienced long time SWS members, Professors Marlese Durr and Laurel Westbrook.


Co-Chairs: Alexis Grant-Panting and Pedrom Nasiri

The student caucus has been very busy over the past few months! First, we want to congratulate and welcome Pedrom Nasiri as your Student Representative-Elect. We also want to thank all the students who participated in our student sponsored sessions and activities at the Winter Meeting. We had many great conversations about public sociology and scholar activism. We also raffled off two books to session participants, The Activist Academic: Engaged Scholarship for Resistance, Hope and Social Change by Colette Cann and Eric J. DeMeulenaere and Anti-Racist Scholar-Activism by Laura Connelly and Remi Joseph-Salisbury.

After the Winter Meeting, on February 1, 2023, the Student Caucus, in collaboration with the Association of Black Sociologists Professional Development Committee and Graduate Student Committee, hosted an information session with the Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on its Pathways Program. The Pathways Program offers students and recent graduates career opportunities in the Federal government through paid internships and leadership development programs. Our session had over 170 registrants and nearly 60 participants via Zoom. Thank you to everyone who registered and participated. Additionally, OPM has offered to host more workshops related to resumes for Federal jobs, interviewing, and so on. Please reach out to our contact at OPM, Lawrence President at if you would like to schedule workshops on your campus.

Lastly, the student caucus hosted its open committee meeting on February 15, 2023. We will be hosting a follow up meeting for students in March. Please check your email for dates. In the meantime, if you have not completed the SWS Annual Student Caucus Committee Survey 2023-2024, please take the time to do so. The survey helps to shape our student priorities and program for the year.

If you’re interested in helping with the student caucus, please reach out to your student representatives Alexis Grant-Panting and Pedrom Nasiri at


To read the latest publication of Network News, please visit:

Member Announcements Winter 2023 – Publications


Gina Marie Longo, “The Internet As A Social Institution: Rethinking Concepts for Family Scholarship” in Family Relations.

Sarah A. Robert, Min Yu, Fernanda Sauerbronn and Banu Özkazanç-Pan, “Starting a Dialogue in Difficult Times: Intersectionality and Education Workin Gender, Work, & Organizations.

Nayia Kamenou, “Feminism Contested and Co-Opted: Women, Agency and Politics of Gender in the Greek and Greek-Cypriot Far Right” in  European Journal of Women’s Studies. 

Ophra Leyser-Whalen and Adelle Dora Monteblanco, “Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) in General Education Courses” in Understanding Interventions.


To read the latest publication of Network News, please visit:

Member Announcements Winter 2023 – Feminist Impact Work

Joya Misra was a guest on the Sociology for Dark Times podcast.

Stacy Torres shares her essays “This Must Be the Place” in UCSF Magazine and “Why Doctors Don’t Want Patients Like Me, and How It Impacts All of Us” on W.W. Norton’s Everyday Sociology Blog, and an Op-Ed, “My path to academia was like a Hollywood story. But becoming a professor shouldn’t take miracles” in the San Francisco Chronicle

Celeste Graham published an Op-Ed in Forth Worth Weekly, “The Factual Retelling of History Is the Greatest Tool that Activists and Advocates Have.”

Gina Marie Longo shares a blog post for the London School of Economics U.S. Phelan Centre, “Immigrant Spouses Who Want to Come to the U.S. Are Forced to Learn to Play Along with the State’s Idealized Version of the American Family.” 

Adia Harvey Wingfield, Ethel Mickey, and Melissa Abad participated in a virtual ASA Panel, “Organizational Lenses on Intersectionality.”