Eastern Michigan University
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Elizabeth (Beth) Currans

Associate Professor and Department Head (I) of Women's and Gender Studies

Beth Currans 714A Pray Harrold




PhD, Religious Studies and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2007

MA, Folklore and Women's Studies, University of Oregon, 1999

BA, English & Women's Studies, Colorado State University, 1994

Interests and Expertise

Elizabeth (Beth) Currans was hired in 2010 and received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Her book, Marching Dykes, Liberated Sluts, and Concerned Mothers: Women Transforming Public Space was published in 2017 by University of Illinois Press.  The text explores how participants in public protests in the contemporary U.S. coordinated and attended primarily by women claim and remake public spaces, and the ways that gender, sexuality, and race influence our understanding of public space.  Her research and teaching interests include public protest; grassroots activism; cultural geography and explorations of public space; performance studies; feminist, queer, and critical race theory; disability studies; and the intersections of gender, sexuality, and race in cultural life. Her new book project, provisionally called Edge Spaces explores performances (bicycle rides, protests, music festivals, performance art, sculpture parks) in sites where the urban and natural encounter each other.

Click here for Dr. Currans' personal webpage. 

Curriculum Vitae

Publications and Presentations


Marching Dykes, Liberated Sluts, and Concerned Mothers: Women Transforming Public Space. Urban-Champagne: University of Illinois Press, 2017.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Encountering Detroit: The Post-Industrial City as Stage,” Liminalities 14, no. 4. Fall 2018.

“Utopic Mappings: Performing Joy.” Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. 41, no 1 & 2 (2016) 90-102.

“Arts-based Research Sharing and Disability Culture Methods: Different Ways of Knowing,” with Stephanie Heit and Petra Kuppers. RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theater and Performance 20, v 3 (2015) 1-8.

“Demonstrating Peace Countertopographically: Women in Black’s Solidarity at a Distance.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 42, no. 3-4 (Fall/Winter 2014), 103-118.

“Negotiating Treacherous Terrain: Disciplinary Power, Security Cultures, and Affective Ties in a Local Anti-War Movement,” with Mark Schuller and Tiffany Willoughby-Herard Social Justice 38, no. 3 (2012) 60-84.

“Claiming Deviance and Honoring Community: Creating Resistant Spaces in U.S. Dyke Marches.” Feminist Formations 24, no. 1, (May 2012) 73-101.

“Instituting Heteronormative Belief in the Law: The Case of California’s Proposition 22.”  Culture and Religion, 5, no. 2, (Spring 2004) 161-178.

Invited Articles and Chapters

“Introduction: Lesbian Organizing: Documenting Vital Work.” Journal of Lesbian Studies, 20, no. 2 (2016), 175-179.

“Introduction.”  Culture and Religion, 5, no. 2, (Spring 2004) 139-144, with Melissa M. Wilcox.

“Gender, Sexuality, and the Balance of Power: Continuity and Divergence in Native American Worldviews.” In David Machacek and Melissa M. Wilcox, eds. Sexuality and the World Religions, 31-64. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2003, with Julianne Cordero.

Edited Volumes

“Lesbian Organizations and Organizing.” Special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies 20, no. 2 (Spring 2016).

“Queer Culture and Religion.”  Special issue of Culture and Religion, 5, no. 2 (Spring 2004), with Melissa M. Wilcox.

Other Scholarly and Public Intellectual Work

“Feminist Progress is Not Linear,” Counterpunch, January 29, 2018, with Sylvanna Falcón 

Interview on Voces Criticas/Critical Voices, KZSC-FM, December 14, 2017, https://tinyurl.com/ybcwubnw

Contributor to Maggie M. Williams and Karen Eileen Overbey, ed. Walk on the Beach: Things from the Sea, Volume 1, Punctum Books, 2016.

“Feminist Currents” and “Feminist Reflections,” interactive, co-curated columns for Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies: Vol 38, no 2 (2017), Vol 36, no 1 (2015), Vol 34, no 2 (2013), with Eileen Boris.

“Same-Sex Marriage Debate: Gay/Lesbian Rights vs. Queer Critiques of Marriage.” In Elizabeth Ribarsky and Michael J. Murphy, ed. Activities for Teaching Gender and Sexuality in the University Classroom. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013.

“Shedding New Light on Reproductive Rights: Loretta Ross Speaks at an Engagement Observing Roe v. Wade Anniversary.” Voices for Just Communities Central Coast: Bi-Annual Newsletter (Spring/Summer 2008), 6.

Courses Taught:

  • WGST 202: Introduction to Gender and Sexuality
  • WGST 300W: Feminist Inquiry
  • WGST 305: Queer Studies
  • WGST 400W: Capstone
  • WGST 410/510: Gender, Sexuality, and Disability
  • WGST 550: Feminist Thought
  • WGST 575: Queer Theories
  • WGST 580: Feminist Acts and Activism

Listen to an interview with Professor Currans about her book on Voces Criticas/Critical Voices!