Care Team

Leadership Team

Jill Casid

Jill H. Casid is a Full Professor of Visual Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she founded and served as the first director of the Center for Visual Cultures. A historian, theorist, and practicing artist, her contributions to the transdisciplinary field of visual studies include her monographs Sowing Empire: Landscape and Colonization (Minnesota, 2006) and Scenes of Projection: Recasting the Enlightenment Subject (Minnesota, 2015) and the edited collection Art History in the Wake of the Global Turn (Yale, 2014) co-edited with Aruna D’Souza. She is currently completing the two-book project Form at the Edges of Life. She serves on the governing board of the International Association of Visual Culture and on the editorial board of the Journal of Visual Culture.

Christine Garlough

Position title: Professor

Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, Garlough’s research constellates around issues of rhetoric, philosophy, feminist theory and performance. Her work on ethics of care and acknowledgment has been published in journals like Women Studies in Communication and her monograph, Desi Divas: Activism and Acknowledgment in Diasporic Performances and she teaches a course for GWS titled, “Feminist Politics of Care.” She works primarily with grassroots feminist activists in India and the U.S. who re-envision vernacular culture for political purposes and create caring contexts for social change.

Ruth Goldstein

Credentials: Assistant Professor

I am broadly interested in the gendered aspects of human and nonhuman health, a quickly heating planet and environmental racism. My current book project Life in Traffic: Women, Plants, and Gold Along the Interoceanic Highway examines the socio-environmental consequences of transnational infrastructure projects and climate change along Latin America’s recently constructed thoroughfare, La Interoceánica, with a particular focus on intersections of race and indigeneity, cis and trans women’s health and “earth” rights in Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. My subsequent research on mercury as a global pollutant, analyzes the racialized weight of toxic body burdens and impacts on maternal/fetal health.

Annie Menzel

Position title: Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and former midwife, Menzel’s research focuses on race, gender, and reproductive politics in North America. A political theorist with emphases on reproductive justice, Black political thought, Black feminisms, feminist political theory,  queer theory, and biopolitics, her work brings these literatures to bear on the histories and current shape of health and medicine. Her first book, The Political Life of Black Infant Mortality, is under contract with the University of California Press.

Michael Peterson

Position title: Professor

Professor of Art and Director of the graduate program in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, Peterson is co-founder of the arts collaborative Spatula&Barcode, which is centrally concerned with themes of hospitality and conviviality, and co-edited a recent issue of the journal Performance Research on the theme “On Generosity.” He teaches a First-year Interest Group course titled “How to Live: Art, Ethics, and the Everyday.”

Aurora Santiago-Ortiz

Dr. Santiago-Ortiz is an Assistant Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on antiracist feminisms, decolonial perspectives, and participatory action research. Her work has been published in the Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning, Curriculum Inquiry and Chicana/Latina Studies Journal, among others. She has also contributed to Society and Space, NACLA, The Abusable Past blog of the Radical History ReviewElectric Marronage, Open Democracy, and Zora magazine. Her current book manuscript entitled Circuits of Self-Determination: Mapping Solidarities and Radical Pedagogies in Puerto Rico focuses on the rhizomatic nature of the political cultures that embody decolonial futures through antiracist, decolonial feminist, and mutual aid projects in the present. It also examines how these protest repertoires and political cultures are part of the afterlives of the student movement in Puerto Rico.

Sami Schalk

Dr. Sami Schalk is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies at UW-Madison. Her research focuses on disability, race, and gender in contemporary American literature and culture, especially African American and women’s texts. Dr. Schalk’s first book, Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction, was published by Duke University Press in 2018. Dr. Schalk’s work has also appeared in a variety of journals such as Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Journal of Modern Literature, Journal of Popular Culture, Girlhood Studies, and African American Review. Dr. Schalk teaches courses on disability studies, black feminism, intersectionality, and literature such as “Gender & Social Justice Literature,” “Gender, Disability & Sexuality,” and “Adaptations of Black Women’s Literature.”

Jess Waggoner

Dr. Waggoner is an Assistant Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies. Her research and teaching interests span U.S. literature and culture, feminist disability studies, queer and trans studies, health activisms, and African American studies. Their first book project explores the relationship between Black American cultural production and early disability social movements. This project proposes that current scholarship overlooks early disability activism and culture, especially by and about disabled Black Americans. In tracking this emergent politicization, this project demonstrates that disability became a form of solidarity through collective defiance of medical, legal, and social pathologizing discourses. Spanning protests of eugenics and medical segregation, Black women’s anti-psychiatric and anti-carceral literatures, and Ebony magazine’s coverage of access technologies, this project disrupts the historical centering of white disabled male narratives.

Affiliates of Care Initiative

Beatriz L. Botero

Position title: Professor

Professor of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, Botero is a specialist in contemporary Latin American literature and cultural studies. Her research is oriented primarily towards topics in poetics, trauma, and psychoanalysis with special emphasis on identity, body and social conflict.  That is present in her book Women in Contemporary Latin American Novels. Psychoanalysis and Gendered Violence.

Jimmy Camacho

Taitano Camacho is a Chamoru from Guåhan (Guam) and PhD Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work examines how Indigenous peoples across Oceania are enacting distinct property institutions to regenerate political and cultural foundations, as a means to obtain political sovereignty and survive.

Ayeshah Émon

Dr Ayeshah Émon is a medical anthropologist with a background in global health, social policy, and gender and 2SLGBTQI+ studies. She received her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Her doctoral work focused on reproductive technologies in the context of gamete donation, and the management of donor anonymity in cryobanks. Dr Émon has worked both within and outside academia in the development and health sector, with international non-government organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNAIDS, ActionAid, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in projects pertaining to transdisciplinarity in health, health and human rights, and racial justice. Her research interests involve reproductive health, mental health and health policy. Her current research focuses on the how how play supports care and well-being in people experiencing health and lifestyle changes related to perimenopause and menopause. Dr Émon also has a background in film and the performance arts, and is trained in Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.

Emi Frerichs

Position title: PhD Candidate, Latin American Literature & Gender and Women's Studies

Emi Frerichs is a PhD Candidate in Latin American Literature with a minor specialization in Gender and Women’s Studies. Their research focuses on trans*/travesti studies and representation in Latin American literature, history, and culture with an emphasis on Southern Cone travesti identity and political history. Their work has been published in journals such as Chasqui: Revista de Literatura Latinoamericana. After years of focusing on travesti representation in literature and culture, their work is now currently moving towards transmasculine activism and cultural production in the Global South.

Lili Johnson

Position title: Assistant Professor

LiLi Johnson is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies. Her research focuses on Asian American family and kinship, multiculturalism, and cultural studies of science. Her work has been published in journals including Photography & Culture and Adoption & Culture. She is currently working on a book project titled Family Conceptions: Technologies of Asian American Family Formation, which theorizes different technological systems and non-biological forms of kinship to examine Asian American family formation from the twentieth century to the present.

James McMaster

James McMaster is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies. He is currently working on a book project that puts the discourse of care theory into conversation with queer, feminist, and Asian Americanist critique and cultural production. His writing has appeared, or will soon, in the Journal of Asian American Studies, American Quarterly, TDR/The Drama Review, Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory where he is also the co-editor of a special issue titled The Between: Couple Forms, Performing Together with Olivia Michiko Gagnon. He completed his PhD in the department of Performance Studies at NYU.

Tia Murray

PhD student in Human Ecology, doula, and longtime community organizer, Murray’s research explores the root causes of residual impacts of racial inequities in maternal and child health, and black infant mortality in particular, using a reproductive justice framework and community-based participatory research. She is also interested in furthering research on the benefits of doulas on perinatal health outcomes in communities of color. She feels it imperative to reframe our language and research in respect to racial health disparities.

Stepha Velednitsky

Position title: PhD student in the Department of Geography

Stepha Velednitsky is a PhD student in the Department of Geography. In her fieldwork, she has been collaborating with a workers’ rights organization supporting migrant caregivers in Israel/Palestine. This research allows Stepha to explore how economies of social reproduction reproduce the differential embodiment of migrant workers, structuring citizen and non-citizen disabilities.

Graduate Student Team Leaders

Orion Risk

Orion Lee Risk (they/them/he) is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, specializing in performance studies and feminist care theory. Most generally, their work explores discourses of care in gender, communication, and performance. Orion’s practice-engaged scholarship through the UW–Madison Center for the Humanities explores virtual theatre and care between transgender people during the Covid-19 pandemic. A co-authored article for Performance Research (with Dr. Christine Garlough), investigates this research for insights into care, vulnerability, and performance. Research presentations include Performance Studies International, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the National Communication Association.


Flint Devine

My name is Flint Devine and I am an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe in North Dakota. I am a Masters student in the department of Gender and Women Studies. Care work is important to me because it connects us to our communities and creates an atmosphere that allows people to grow and heal.

Esaí Ortiz-Rivera

Position title: Masters Student

Esaí Ortiz-Rivera is a Masters student in the department of Gender and Women Studies. Their research analyzes queer anticolonial performances in the 2019 summer protests in Puerto Rico through the lens of performance studies in conversation with queer theory, affect theory, critical race theory, and decolonial political theory. They focus on the ways music and dance enable the subject to embody an affective agency to collectively create coalitional movements and politics. They are interested in the ways care provides a space for sociopolitical transformation in conversation with everyday performances, activism, embodiments, and cultural productions.

Agnes Phoebe Muyanga

Gender & Women’s Studies graduate student, Muyanga is interested in exploring the perceptions and evolution of feminisms within Uganda’s cultures, as well as women’s positionality as influenced by education, policy and media in Uganda. Understanding the concept of “care” is central to my current and future research projects, as well as my personal experiences as an educator.