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

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

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

Associate 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

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

Araceli Alonso

My teaching and research-to-practice passions include local and global work on women’s health and human rights. At UW-Madison, I am the Director of the UNESCO Chair on Gender, Wellbeing and Culture of Peace. I am also a faculty member at the School of Medicine and Public Health and a Distinguished Senior Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. The application of knowledge on women’s health and rights inspired me to create the United Nations Award Winning Initiative Health by Motorbike (HbM) that provides a cultural and geographical sensitive model of integral health promotion and disease prevention for women and girls living in remote and isolated communities of southeast Kenya. At UW, I am leading a new and more comprehensive version of HbM called Health by All Means (HbaM) that works with women’s health and rights in isolated communities all over the world. I am also the Director of Gender, Health and Clinical Practice of the 4W-UW-Madison initiative STREETS (Social Transformation to end the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children). I have worked on Human Trafficking issues—research, teaching, and advocacy—and to end the sexual exploitation of women and girls for the last twenty years in the United States, Spain, Morocco, Nigeria, Cuba, Uganda and Kenya.

Janel Anderson

Janel Anderson (she/her/her), PhD is an alumnus (’23) of the UW Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Janel’s work investigates the way care expectations impact teachers’ working conditions. Her research and leadership focus on the way the gendered socialization of teachers as well as intensifying community expectations have contributed to the reproduction of motherhood within teachers’ work.  Janel’s work is designed to improve teacher retention and student outcomes through reforms that nourish strong non-oppressive schools for both students and teachers. Before becoming a care scholar Janel was an award-winning high school teacher. In 2023 Janel’s dissertation “Care Labor and the American Teacher”, won the American Educational Research Association’s Selma Greenburg Outstanding Dissertation Award (2023). Her recent paper titled “Teach Like a Mother” was featured at the Caring Futures Conference at the American University of Paris. She has a forthcoming co-authored paper titled “‘Sometimes It’s Hard to Do the Right Thing:’ A Spectrum of How PK-12 District Administrators Understand Gender Diversity Policy Protections and Implementation”. Janel’s work, “Care Ethics in Education” will be part of the forthcoming Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Social Justice in Education. Janel is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Shelby Baker

Shelby Baker (she/her/hers) is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes and is currently an independent scholar (M.A., M.B.A.) focusing on Indigenous and feminist studies, social justice, and activism. Her previous work has focused on MMIW/MMIP/MMIR activism through the medium of film, including independent and student productions created by indigenous activists and widely viewed mainstream movies. Research presentation and panel discussion International Communication Association.

Beatriz L. Botero

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.

Carrie Danielson

Dr. Carrie Danielson (she/her) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Folklore in the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures who conducts research in the areas of children’s music and dance cultures, music and migration, Scandinavian studies, feminist care theory, intergenerational activism, community music, and applied ethnomusicology. She holds a PhD and Master of Music in Musicology (Ethnomusicology) from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Theory, History, and Composition from Brown University. Danielson’s current projects focus on music making among young Syrian and Afghan refugees in Sweden, culturally inclusive pedagogies in Swedish kulturskolor, Scandinavian-American youth cultures in the Upper Midwest, and intergenerational performance and protest in Madison, Wisconsin. Her current book project, Culture Guaranteed: Music, Migration, and Relations of Care, applies feminist care ethics to larger questions of social mobility and migration within diversity-driven, public arts education programs in Sweden. Dr. Danielson is published in the edited volumes The Oxford Handbook of Early Childhood Learning and Development in Music and the Norwegian volume Kulturskolen som inkluderende kraft: Perspektiver fra forskning til forandring.

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

Emi Frerichs, Ph.D. (they/them) is the 2023-2025 Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate in Transgender Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As a specialist of the Global South, Frerichs re-examines trans*/travesti/non-binary gender identity and non-normative sexualities by focusing on their radical revision in Latin American literature, history, and culture. While drawing on the cultural and linguistic expertise forged through their field work as a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, their research necessarily draws from as it also contributes to the transdisciplinary work of Latin American Studies, Trans*/Travesti Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.

Lili Johnson

LiLi Johnson is  an Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and English at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her research focuses on Asian American family and kinship, racial formation and discourses of multiculturalism, and visual cultures. Her work has been published in journals including Photography & Culture and Adoption & Culture. Her current book project, Technologies of Family: Asian American Racial Formation and the Making of Kinship, uses interdisciplinary methods to theorize the role of technologies like government bureaucracy and photography in Asian American family formation from the 20th century to the present.

James McMaster

James McMaster is Assistant Professor of American Studies and English at The George Washington University. His manuscript in progress, Racial Care: The Asian American Case, examines how twenty-first century Asian American artists have used aesthetic means to expose, contest, and improve their neglected position within the unjust distribution of racialized caring relations that subtends everyday life and death in the United States. His interdisciplinary research program spans a range of interests including care and social reproduction theory; Asian American theatre, performance, and visual culture; imperial, state, and interpersonal violence; queer and trans Asian American subcultures; and abolitionist social movements. His scholarly writing has appeared in American Quarterly, the Journal of Asian American Studies, the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, and a number of edited volumes including Unsafe Words: Queer Perspectives on Consent in the #MeToo Era. With Olivia Michiko Gagnon, he is the co-editor of The Between: Couple Forms, Performing Together, a special issue of Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory focusing on co-authorship and collaboration. He has also published popular writing in national and local venues including Teen VogueHowlRound, and VICE.

Graduate Student Team Leader

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.

Graduate Student Team

Shrinjita Biswas

Shrinjita Biswas (she/her/hers) is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies. Her research entails gender and performance, feminist cultural practices, and political theatre. Her research on the histories and continuities of the feminist theatre movement in postcolonial India explores the question of feminist ethics, protest, the politics of solidarity and care, and its relationship with performance. Recent presentations include the Mid-America Theatre Conference and the Emerging Visual Cultures (end-of-term symposium). Her recent publication includes a co-authored article for the Theatre Research International titled, “Reclaiming Public Spaces in Post-Pandemic India (Kolkata): Activist Theatre, Gender and a Resurgence of the Marginal.”

Danielle Burke

Danielle Burke is a PhD student in Design Studies on the history track within the School of Human Ecology. She holds a MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BFA in Fiber Art and Humanistic Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her research interests include the formation and maintenance of artist communities, the transmission of craft knowledge, and the narrative ability of material objects. Feminist care and attention are unifying threads among these interests. Her latest publication is for the international Journal of Modern Craft as a statement of practice titled “Soil and Life in the Field of Craft Studies.” Recent presentations have been for the Textile History Forum, American Folklore Society, Home/Making Symposium, Weaving History Conference, and the James Renwick Alliance for Craft. Her website is

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.

Kathleen Cawley

Kathleen Cawley (she/her) is a PhD student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies and a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies looking at contemporary Irish theatre of the real. She is interested in performance and social justice, the postdramatic, and personal narrative. She is based in Dublin, Ireland where she works in theatre producing and nonprofit communications.

Caro Cruys

Caro Cruys (they/he/she) is a PhD candidate in the Social Welfare program in the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work. Broadly, their research and clinical work focuses on queer and trans sexual and relational health and wellbeing, and they are particularly interested in the experience of care in interpersonal relationships and within state systems. Caro’s dissertation research explores the resilience, resistance, and gender identity development experiences of trans and gender expansive former foster youths. Caro has co-authored several articles that explore care across domains, including how social service providers can provide better assess and care for young people who have experienced sexual exploitation and sex trafficking (GerassiL.B., Cruys, C., Hendry, N. & Rosales, M.D.C., May 2023); the pathways to leadership and effects on wellbeing for individuals with lived experiences of sex trading, sex trafficking, and/or homelessness (Gerassi, L.B., Cruys, C. & Wages, S., final revision under review); and a manuscript (in development) exploring how queer and trans college students with experiences of sexual and relationship violence were impacted by bystander intervention, or lack thereof.

Nora Harris

Nora Harris (she/her) is a PhD student in English, in the Composition & Rhetoric program. Her current research explores the intersection of emotion and one-on-one writing pedagogy foregrounding relationality and a Feminist ethics of care. In particular, Nora is interested in the duty to care in university writing programs and advocacy for institutional changes to labor conditions to make care work in writing pedagogy sustainable. Nora has presented at the Conference on College Composition & Communication and the Midwest Writing Centers Association Conference on the role of emotional labor in writing programs and the teaching of writing.

Bri Meyer

Bri Meyer (she/her) is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology, specializing in multispecies ethnography and beyond-human care theory working with the American Saddlebred horse showing community. Her research investigates the uniquely embodied care bonds that equine athletes and their human companions collaboratively create across species. Bri is also the managing editor for Edge Effects, a digital magazine affiliated with the Center for Culture, History, and Environment at UW-Madison. 

Bidisha Mukherjee

Bidisha Mukherjee (she/her) is a PhD student in the Medical Humanities track at the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UW Madison. She is interested in exploring the nuances of health and medicine, and how they are shaped by socio-cultural and political processes produced under prolonged militarization in the war zone of Kashmir. Her work inquiries how life proceeds while negotiating with the aspirations of health and well-being, and networks of care practices, resisting modes of the necropolitical occupation. In 2023, she presented a paper at the Centre for India and South Asia (CISA) Annual Conference at UCLA, which dealt with the politics of care practices within women’s activism in Kashmir.

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.

Amber Palson

Amber Palson is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies specializing in LGBT American theater and documentary theater, as well as queer historiographical and archival practices. Their work explores theater as an expression of historiographical and archival research, and how documentary theater allows theater practitioners of marginalized identities to revive and care for the past, recontextualize the present as the future’s history, and imagine their futures. Amber has presented a variety of research concerning documentary theater, LGBT theater, and digital performance at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference, Arts of the Present Conferences, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the Women and Gender Studies Consortium.

Kai Prins

Kai Prins (they/them) is a PhD candidate studying Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture in the department of Communication Arts. Using feminist and queer theory as an orientation to criticism, Kai studies the rhetorical influence of economics and/on embodied gender performance in neoliberal consumer culture. Their research interests include the marketing and advertising of social issues, the convergence of wellness and new media, and drag performance. Kai is the Graduate Representative for the Economics, Communication, and Society Division of the National Communication Association, as well as the co-President of the UW-Madison Student Chapter of the Rhetoric Society of America. They recently co-edited a special issue of Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture on “Posthuman Drag,” and other research has appeared in journals such as Feminist Media StudiesHealth Communication, and QED: A Journal in GLBTQ WorldmakingIn their spare time, Kai is an award-winning drag and burlesque performer known as Will X. Uly (pronounced “Will Actually”).

Bex Schmitt

Bex Schmitt (she/her) is a Masters student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies, focusing on asexuality in contemporary performance. Bex is a theatre scholar who has worked in practice with theatre technology and directing. She is beginning her research into fields of resistance that asexual perspectives offer, and ways to provide caring representation for ace narratives on the stage.

Stepha Velednitsky

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.

Mian "Gloria" Wei

Mian “Gloria” Wei (She/They) is a Research MA student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison. Her research explores how power is reproduced and resisted through digital media, with a focus on gender, race, identity, and popular culture. Gloria’s Master’s thesis examines the performance and commodification of interracial romantic relationships on Chinese social media Little Red Book. A co-authored article published in theJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication investigates the representational and presentational gender bias in image-generative AI. Her research presentations include the International Communication Association, the International Conference on Social Media & Society, and the Chinese Internet Research Conference.


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.

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.

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.