Executive Committee | WGSS | SIU

Southern Illinois University




Executive Committee


Michele Leigh

Michele Leigh is Assistant Professor of Film and Media History in Cinema and Photography, in the college of Mass Communication and Media Arts. Leigh is co-chair for Women in Screen History, a scholarly interest group within the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, where she also is a faculty mentor for the Women's Caucus. She is Co-Executive Secretary for the organization, Women in Film History International. She has published work in Researching Women in Silent Cinema and Screen Culture:  History and Textuality and has publications  forthcoming  in Doing Women's Film History, Women Film Pioneers Project and the Encyclopedia of Women Screenwriters.

Research Statement

My academic career has centered around issues of women, gender and sexuality in film and television. In my dissertation I explored the representation of women in the pre-Revolutionary cinema of Russian director Evgenii Bauer, arguing that Bauer's films function in a proto-feminist context. I am currently researching material for a book on female industrial practice in Russian cinema prior to the Revolution, this project will expand current histories of Russian cinema to acknowledge the contributions of female filmmakers. In addition to this work, I am also developing research on constructions of gender and sexuality in contemporary television. My work on Doctor Who, explores the significance of the female companions in relation to concepts of post-feminism  and  female  fans. I am also working on the construction of race, masculinity, and sexuality in animated television intended for adults, using the show Archer as a case study.  I use my study of gender and sexuality to inform and connect all of my research, which in turn shapes my teaching.

Jacob Juntunen 

Jacob Juntunen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater and in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at SIU. His scholarship concentrating on the politics of performance has appeared in Theatre Journal, Puppetry International, Polish-AngloSaxon Studies, the LMDA Review and several anthologies. His research has been supported by Fulbright Fellowship, Thesaurus Poloniae Senior Scholar Fellowship, and a SEED Grant. Dr. Juntunen has extensive experience in the Chicago theatre scene as a playwright and dramaturg, and as a recipient of several grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. He studied at the Interdisciplinary Program in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University (PhD), the Professional Playwriting Program at Ohio University (MA), Reed College (BA), and Clackamas Community College (AA).

Research Statement

Dr. Juntunen’s work focuses on people who struggle against society’s boundaries. His first book, Mainstream AIDS Theatre, the Media, and Gay Civil Rights: Making the Radical Palatable, examines the interactions between mainstream AIDS theatre and the media in the late 20th century. His second project expands his geographic scope to examine artistic resistance to the genocidal discourses of the Nazi and Soviet regimes. His playwriting stems from a mix of scholarship and social responsibility. Both focus on understanding the political function of theatre, and this focus is demonstrated in his plays, which, overall, are meant for those “who want to leave the theatre changed and moved,” as one Chicago critic described. He recently wrote See Him? to participate in the Belarusian Dream Theater, a consortium of 18 theaters in 13 countries simultaneously producing plays to raise awareness about human rights violations in Belarus. His play In the Shadow of his Language has enjoyed two staged readings in Chicago, another at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, and a workshop off-Broadway. His play Saddam’s Lions—published in Plays for Two (Vintage)—examines the disquieting memories of an African-American female Iraq War veteran and her struggles to come to terms with war-time trauma. Dr. Juntunen based this play on interviews with a veteran. This process combined his desire for politically relevant work, his dedication to diverse casting opportunities, and his scholarship about the politics of performance. He hopes to inspire in students a similar yearning for intellectual curiosity, social activism, and collaboration.

Bobbi Knapp

Originally from Michigan I earned my B.S. (major: geography; minor: anthropology) and M.A. (sport administration) from Central Michigan University before attending the University of Iowa for my doctoral degree (Cultural Studies of Sport).  While finishing my Ph.D., I worked as an instructor for Northern Illinois University and an online instructor for California State University EastBay.  I came to SIU as an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology in the fall of 2009.  I currently have cross appointments with WGSS and the Department of Sociology.

Research Statement: 

I am a critical scholar in the discipline of sport sociology.  My main research line focuses on the ways in which ideal femininity and hegemonic masculinity are reinforced and challenged within sporting and physical activity environments.  Sport has been identified by scholars, both within and outside of sport sociology, as a key social sphere in which our cultural gender norms are rooted.  To better understand the symbiotic relationship of gender in sport and society, I examined the issue in various settings including women’s professional football and CrossFit. Furthermore, I have purposely chosen to develop research that not only traverses different settings but also approaches the content from different theoretical perspectives in an attempt to provide a more thorough understanding of gender in sport.  The different theoretical perspectives employed in my research include critical feminist theory, critical interactionist feminist theory, critical feminist geography, and critical exploration of collective memory.



Elom Amuzu

Elom Amuzu is a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. She is also working toward a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies at SIU in 2012.  Following her undergraduate studies, she received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at SIU in 2014. When she is not juggling her responsibilities of being a graduate student, you would probably find her doing one of three things: 1) wrapped in many blankets watching TV, 2) at a local restaurant loudly chatting away friends, or 3) executing her many rituals that make up “bath time”.

Research/Work Statement: 

Elom’s research and clinical interests are broadly in issues of social justice and diversity in Counseling Psychology. Her area of study is primarily the psychological impact of oppression for Black women and meaning-making out of such experiences. She is particularly interested in developing research that uses a critical feminist analysis of the systems of power, privilege, and oppression. For example, her thesis topic explored the relationships between Black women’s awareness of discrimination, personal sense of control over their lives, and just world beliefs. Beyond her research endeavors, as an instructor of Psychology of Women at SIUC, Elom is passionate about the teaching of multicultural feminist psychology. Finally, she is also the 2014 -2015 Campus Representative for Division 35 (Society for Psychology of Women) of the American Psychological Association. Her task as Campus Representative for SIUC is to promote the philosophies and mission of Division 35 which include promoting feminist research, theories, practice and education of girls and women.