Mason Welcomes New Associate Director Angela Hattery

by Diandra Linder

Mason Welcomes New Associate Director Angela Hattery

Angela (Angie) Hattery, new Associate Director of Women and Gender Studies, comes to the program with a wealth of experience and expertise. Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Angie received a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Carlton College. Angie earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin. Angie worked at Ball State University’s sociology department for two years before joining the faculty at Wake Forest University. There she taught courses in sociology and women’s and gender studies.

Why did you decide to come to Mason?

Because everyone is so fabulous! [laughs] I was looking to make a change. I spent a year at Colgate University and for the first time saw a women’s and gender studies program that had its own physical space. They had a good program and I was very impressed. Having a program and a space is the optimal situation I find. It was hard for me to go back to Wake Forest after Colgate without having a center for the program.

Why did you want to work specifically with the Women and Gender Studies program?

It was clear to me it was an integrated program- vibrant, growing, and was already doing lots of stuff. I liked the diversity and the way the program integrates not just gender issues but race and ethnicity as well. People were fascinating- I knew it would be great to work with people here.

How has your past work shaped your work with this program?

All of my research and all of the classes I teach are about gender from an intersectional approach. It seems everything I do connects to this. I’ve done research, service learning, and off-campus learning so I can take that and help with co-curricular programming. I also taught a class at Wake Forest University on the Deep South that was comprised of a three-week trip though Mississippi and Alabama to learn about race and inequality. I incorporate a feminist pedagogy in that people with lived experiences, like people who participated in the civil rights movement, are the qualified teachers of the class. I can’t bring them to class but I can take the students to them. It’s a more democratic approach to both teaching and learning. My way of thinking about the world informs my work in the center.

What have you enjoyed doing at the center this summer?

I have enjoyed everything from moving furniture and redecorating to working on programming to working with people in the office. On any given day there’s a range of things I get to do and I get to use a wide range of skills. I’ve really enjoyed working with the staff at the center and collaborating with other offices [on campus].

What are you looking forward to this semester?

I’m looking forward to my class, WMST 100 Representations of Women; the many great events such as Take Back the Night, Fall for the Book, and the Scholar’s Lecture; opportunities to work with all of these faculty and affiliates who I haven’t met; and meeting students. It’s quiet during the summer so I am looking forward to the school year!

What short-term goals do you have for the program/center?

I’d like to see us develop a few new partnerships with other offices on campus like Disability Services, Athletics, and the Office of Housing and Residence Life. One focus on the grad program is how to initiate and implement meeting graduate students’ needs. Another important goal for us is focusing on making purposeful, deliberate connections between academic and co-curricular programs through films, lectures, etc.

What long-term goals do you have for the program/center?

Developing a major; continuing to reach out to partners that we haven’t historically worked with; one on and off campus is developing a global focus by looking for international students and partners and forming a relationship with a “sister center” across the globe to enhance research and teaching. Making a place where everyone wants to be and a program that is doing great things. Essentially, I want to help make the Women and Gender Studies Center central to campus- as essential as the library, the food court, or even the Patriot Center.

What are your research interests?

My research interests involve the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. Family violence is another topic I have researched. I have a textbook I’m working on that is coming out in the spring. I’ve also been examining the impact of the first African American president on the African American community and state of the community in the context of a supposed “post-racial society.”

Final Comments?

I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be here and am impressed with what’s happening. I’m excited about the opportunity to make the program and the center better. Some people like to save a sinking ship but I like to figure out how to take something great and make it even better. We’re poised to really explode- it’s an exciting time to join the center.