Elizabeth (Beth) Currans

A photo of Elizabeth (Beth) Currans

Professor and Department Head

Women's and Gender Studies

714A Pray-Harrold


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., Religious Studies and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2007
  • MA, Folklore and Women's Studies, University of Oregon, 1999
  • BA, English and Women's Studies, Colorado State University, 1994

Interests and Expertise

Elizabeth (Beth) Currans was hired in 2010 and received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her first 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
  • trans-inclusive women's festivals
  • cultural geography and explorations of public space
  • performance studies
  • feminist, queer, and critical race theory
  • disability studies
  • the intersections of gender, sexuality and race in cultural life

Her new book project explores trans-inclusive women's festivals, focusing on attempts at and failures in solidarity across gender and racial lines.


  • 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 450/592 Private Matters: Gender, Sexuality, and Public Space
  • WGST 479/592 Trans Feminisms
  • WGST 550 Feminist Thought
  • WGST 575 Queer Theory
  • WGST 580 Feminist Acts and Activism

Publications and Presentations

  • Marching Dykes, Liberated Sluts, and Concerned Mothers: Women Transforming Public Space. Urban-Champagne: University of Illinois Press, 2017.
Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Becoming Mermaid: Exploring Human and More-Than-Human Relationality,” forthcoming from Disability Studies Quarterly 43, no. 2 (2024).
  • "Forging Gender and Racial Solidarities at Trans-Inclusive Women's Festivals," “Solidarity” special issue, Journal of Lesbian Studies 28, no. 1 (2024), 175-188.
  • “‘Creating the Community I Want to Be Part Of’: Affinity-Based Organizing in a Small, Progressive Rustbelt City,” “Placing LGBTQ+ Urban Activisms” special issue, Urban Studies 59, no. 7 (2021) 1484-1499.
  • “Transgender Women Belong Here: Competing Feminist Visions at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival,” Feminist Studies 46, no. 2 (2020) 459-488.
  • Encountering Detroit: The Post-Industrial City as Stage [PDF],” Liminalities 14, no. 4. Fall 2018.
  • "Utopic Mappings: Performing Joy." Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. 41, no 1 and 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
  • “Performance in the Feminist Classroom: Creating Space, Cultivating Care, and Practicing Critical Generosity,” special section of Feminist Teacher 28, no. 2-3 (2019), with Michelle Martin-Baron and Holly Masturzo.
  • "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
  • “Performance in the Feminist Classroom.” Special section of Feminist Teacher 28, no. 2-3 (Fall 2019), with Michelle Martin-Baron and Holly Masturzo.
  • "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
  • 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 and 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.

Additional Information