WGSS Faculty

Pink & Yellow WGSS Text Logo



Prof Alejandra Marchevsky Casual Portrait Photo

E & T A413

Dr. Alejandra Marchevsky currently serves as Director of the WGSS program. An immigrant Latina scholar-activist, she is Professor of WGSS and Liberal Studies, and affiliate faculty of Latin American Studies at Cal State LA. She holds a PhD in American Culture with an emphasis in Latina/o Studies from the University of Michigan.  She teaches courses on gender, sexuality and migration, poverty and U.S. welfare policy, women of color feminisms, reproductive justice, and gender and sexuality in Latin America.

Dr. Marchevsky’s work is primarily concerned with gendered racism and state violence against Latinx immigrants, and other people of color. Her 2006 co-authored book, Not Working: Latina Immigrants, Low-Wage Jobs, and the Failure of Welfare Reform, is the first in-depth study of Mexican immigrant women and U.S. welfare politics, and has been excerpted in several anthologies. She is the co-principal investigator on a qualitative study of the gendered impacts of deportation on immigrant families in Southern California. Her writing appears in American Studies, the Journal of Sociology and Social Work, Contemporary Sociology, Dialogo, Boston Review, The Nation, The Root, and The Los Angeles Times.  Dr. Marchevsky has served on the boards of many grassroots and educational organizations, including Californians for Justice, the Dolores Huerta Labor Studies Center, and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA).


Candid photo of Dionne sitting at desk

E & T A415

Dionne Espinoza, Ph.D. is Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies & Liberal Studies. Her research and teaching interests include Chicana/Latina and women of color feminist history and social movement activism; oral herstory and archival methods; and intersectional feminist theories and methodology. She is currently revising her book manuscript Bronze Womanhood: Chicana Activism and the Chicano Movement Narrative and has co-edited (with Maylei Blackwell and Maria Cotera) Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Women’s Activism and Feminism in the Movimiento Era (forthcoming).  She also co-edited (with Lorena Oropeza) the award-winning Enriqueta Vasquez and the Chicano Movement: Writings from El Grito del Norte (Houston: Arte Publico Press.) 

Espinoza was raised in the San Gabriel Valley cities of Alhambra and El Monte. She received her B.A. at UC Berkeley and her M.A./Ph.D .at Cornell University in English. In these programs her studies focused on comparative race/ethnicity studies, postcolonial theory, and women of color feminisms. She  joined Cal State LA  as a faculty member in Chicano Studies  (2002-2007) and then held a joint appointment in Chicana (o) and Latina (o) Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2007-2017). She was the founding Director of the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2014-2017) and past Director of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities (2004-2008 and 2018-2019).  As Director of CSGS she co-founded the Annual Student Research Conference, “Gender, Sexuality, and Power" in 2005.


Kim Robertson posed infront of art piece

E & T A415

Dr. Kimberly Robertson (Mvskoke) is an artivist, scholar, teacher, and mother who works diligently to employ Native feminist theories, practices, and methodologies in her hustle to fulfill the dreams of her ancestors and to build a world in which her daughters can thrive.  She was born in Bakersfield, CA and currently lives on unceded Tongva lands.  She earned an MA in American Indian Studies and a PhD in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2012.  She is an Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, where she teaches courses in Indigenous feminisms; women of color feminisms; and decolonial, feminist, and anti-oppressive research methods and methodologies.

Her most recent publications include "Las Aunties." Deer Woman: An Anthology. Eds. Elizabeth LaPensée and Weshoyot Alvitre. Native Realities (2018); “The ‘Law and Order’ of Violence Against Native Women: A Native Feminist Analysis of the Tribal Law and Order Act.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, no. 1 (2016): 1-23; and “Leading with Our Hearts: Anti-Violence Work, Community Action, and Beading as Colonial Resistance.” Keetsahnak: Our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Sisters. Eds. Kim Anderson, Maria Campbell, and Christi Belcourt. University of Alberta Press (Forthcoming, April 2018).  Creative works produced by Dr. Robertson have been included in exhibitions such as Honor the Earth's The Art of Indigenous Resistance Traveling Art Show (USA: May 2017 - Current) SLAY (Fine Art Serigraph); Self Help Graphics & Art 2017 Annual Print Fair & Exhibition (Los Angeles, CA: June 24, 2017) SLAY (Fine art Serigraph); and The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at UC, Santa Cruz’s Spoken/Unspoken: Forms of Resistance Exhibition (Santa Cruz, CA: Forthcoming Feb 8 – Mar 17, 2018) SLAY (Fine art Serigraph).  Dr. Robertson is also a founding member of the Green Corn Collective – a constellation of Indigenous feminist bosses. 



Gino Conti casual portrait photo

E & T A416

Dr. Gino Conti teaches queer theory, critical masculinities, theories of WGSS, and the introductory level WGSS course. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature with a gender studies certificate from the University of Southern California, where he wrote a dissertation about religious enthusiasm that connected cross-gendering to Protestant understandings of grace and American settler colonialism. He is also an occasional local drag performer and the mother of three.


Professional Photo of Renee Lemus Elisaldez

Music 139

Renee Lemus Elisaldez has a PhD in Ethnic Studies and works as a college professor at Cal State Los Angeles and in the Los Angeles Community College District. She is also a certified yoga instructor specializing in prenatal yoga, and yoga for bodies of all shapes and sizes. Both her academic work as well as her yoga practice is grounded in a feminist perspective that considers how women navigate a patriarchal society that devalues and disempowers them. She is an advocate for reproductive justice which calls for an intersectional approach to reproductive rights that particularly centers the experience of women of color and other marginalized identities. To that end, Renee seeks to share the knowledge she has gained in her own reproductive journey as well as her academic education in order to empower women to make fully informed decisions in regards to their bodies and their reproductive choices. At Cal State LA, she teaches WGSS courses on gender and sex in college, and race and gender in the United States.


Professional Portrait of Jalondra Davis

E & T A416

Dr. Jalondra A. Davis is a Black feminist artist-intellectual, writing, researching and educating in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from University of California, Riverside and a Masters of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on Black political discourse in Black/Africana popular literatures and culture, with a focus on women, gender, and sexuality. Her current project “On Queens and Monsters: Science Fiction and the Black Political Imagination” looks at how Black women’s speculative fiction engages both science fiction tropes and disciplinary narrative discourses surrounding black femininity. She is also the author of a coming-of-age novel entitled Butterfly Jar, about a Black girl growing and acting up during the 1992 Los Angeles uprisings. Jalondra currently teaches at California State University, Los Angeles.


Candid Photo of Grace Kim

E & T A421

Grace Kim is a doctoral candidate and holds an MA in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. She also earned an MA in East Asian Studies and BA in History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of specialty include: women of color, post- and decolonial, and transnational feminisms; gender and sexuality in Asian/AAPI communities; critical immigration and globalization studies; feminist ethnography; gender, race, and law; and medical anthropology. She concurrently lectures at CSU Fullerton, and has previously taught gender and ethnic studies at UC San Diego and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea.


Portrait of Reyes in front of foliage

FA 232

Verónica Reyes is a Chicana feminist dyke poet from East Los Angeles, California. She is proud to have graduated from Hammel Street School (1981), Belvedere Jr. High (1984), and Garfield High School (1987). She is the author of Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press 2013), which won Best Poetry from International Latino Book Awards 2014, Golden Crown Literary Society Awards 2014, and Lambda Literary Finalist 2014. Reyes also won AWP’s Intro-Journal Project and Astraea Lesbian Foundation Emerging Artist award. She has received grants and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale Foundation, and Montalvo Arts Center. Reyes’ work has appeared in journals, such as Feminist Studies, and The Minnesota Review. 


Casual selfie of Rodriguez

E & T A416

Dr. Reina Rodríguez was born and raised in Boyle Heights and her family later moved to Baldwin Park. After graduating from Baldwin Park high school, she attended Rio Hondo Community College and then transferred to Cal State LA to pursue a BA in Chicana/o Studies. After that, Reina decided to stay on to earn a Master’s degree from Chicana/o Studies where she wrote a master’s thesis titled, “Anti- Mexican Nativism Within the National Immigration Debate: Confronting, Contesting, And Rejecting The ‘Threat’ Of the ‘Illegal Alien Invasion.’” Following that, Reina started doctoral work at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies department and received a PhD in Feminist Studies with a minor in Development Studies and Social Change. Her dissertation is titled, “Chicanas/os in Contested Spaces: Communal Forms of Resistance and the Creation of Underground Calmecacs.” Her work explores the effects of familial migration stories and how they shape Chicana/o experiences in higher education while also documenting resistance strategies. Reina teaches WGSS 1010, WGSS 2000, WGSS 2200 and WGSS 3720.


Portrait of Melissa in front of book case

E & T A421

Professor Melissa Saywell's research interests include Feminism, Queer and Trans Theories, Minority Discourse, Performance Studies, and 20thC American Literature and Cinema.

She is currently completing her dissertation on queer millennial masculinity, at the University of California, Riverside. The project intertwines psychoanalytic and historicist methods to analyze the intersections between race, ethnicity, and masculinity, as performed by both male and female bodies, at the turn of the millennium.


Portrait Photo of Carl Schottmiller

Music 139

Dr. Schottmiller earned his PhD in Culture and Performance Studies from UCLA, completing his dissertation on the reality-television show RuPaul's Drag Race and its impacts on Camp and U.S. drag cultures. He holds an MA in Folklore from UC Berkeley. His academic interests include Politics and Aesthetics of Camp Performance, Drag Cultures and Gender Performance, Queer/Gender/Transgender Studies, LGBTQ Identification/History/Politics, Queer Memory and Affect, Forms of Feminism, Folklore, Disability Studies and saneism, Arts Activism, Oral History and Ethnography. He teaches Disability Studies at Cal State LA.