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Malia Lee Womack, PhD Faculty Profile
Below you can find Malia Lee Womack's academic training:
- Saddleback College, Gender and Sexuality Studies (AA)
- UC Berkeley, Gender and Women’s Studies with a minor in Global Poverty (BA)
- Columbia University, Human Rights Studies with an emphasis in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (MA)
- The Ohio State University, Latin American Studies (MA); Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (PhD)
In August 2021, Malia Lee Womack completed her dissertation “Puerto Rico in Crisis: Intersectionality, Activism, and Transforming Globalized Human Rights from the Grassroots.” The dissertation applies an intersectional methodology to question how the international human rights system can transform to be more inclusive of and empowering to Puerto Ricans and intersectional identities in order to make the system’s global reach stronger and more robust. For the dissertation, she conducted an ethnographic qualitative study and 2 years of fieldwork primarily in Puerto Rico, a contemporary US colony. Participants in the study included 27 Puerto Rican nonprofit organizations, political figures, scholars, journalists, and/or influential activists focused on Puerto Ricans’ needs related to feminism and women’s rights, indigenous rights, LGBTQIA+ issues, colonialism, education, sustainable development, and poverty relief.
Womack has earned a wide span of honors and applied for and received 43 grants, scholarships, and awards. To fund her doctoral research, she applied for 9 grants and was awarded 8 of them. Next, she has perpetually promoted her research and presented it at 26 conferences throughout 4 countries.
As a college instructor Malia Lee Womack has rigorously worked to develop feminist pedagogy in online spaces. She is ambitious to implement feminist pedagogy into online learning due to the profound way such classes make pursuing and earning a degree more accessible to students who may not have the ability to access quality academia otherwise.
In all of her courses she engages with “intersectionality” as a core class concept. Intersectionality refers to how a person experiences their multiple identity traits simultaneously in identity based power hierarchies. In her course content and in her engagement with students she acknowledges that a person does not experience 1 form of discrimination at a time (such as in relation to their gender) rather they experience multiple forms of discrimination simultaneously (such as in relation to their gender, gender expression, sex, sexuality, race, skin color, ethnicity, social class, dis/abilities, education level, age, history with trauma, religion, geographic location, immigration status, language/s, family structure and/or other defining traits). Moreover, in relation to such intersecting identities someone can experience discrimination and privilege simultaneously as well as multiple forms of privilege simultaneously.
Using intersectionality as a main frame of analysis Malia Lee Womack teaches about various subjugated collective identities which include but are not limited to women, people who are LGBTQIA+, people of color, immigrants, people who are low income, people with disabilities, people who are indigenous, people in or from developing/non-Western nations, and other subjugated collective identities. Likewise, her classrooms explore how these collective identities are internally diverse, contain people who at times have conflicting interests with each other, and experience power hierarchies within their subjugated collective identities as well as within society as a whole.
In order to strive for a more inclusive and compassionate world, in her teaching Womack contextualizes issues as they relate to systematic, structural, and institutional power systems that exist locally, domestically, transnationally, and globally. Her classrooms explore how power systems shape individuals’ lived experiences, needs, and understandings of the world and their positionality within it. In this approach her classes:
- Explore how collective identities are historically, politically, and socially constructed and situated
- Identify the ways in which diverse collective identities ally together around common causes and/or in support of each other’s causes
- Examine why and how people mobilize around collective identities to resist systems of power that oppress them in ways that intersect with other people’s experiences
- Consider why and how activists strategically essentialize their collective identities in order to mobilize against oppression
- Consider how while strategically essentializing collective identities for activist reasons is empowering, the approach often prioritizes the needs of the most privileged beings in the collective identity in question. Thus, her courses explore how over-generalization of individual collective identities to advocate for empowerment in many cases masks oppositions, competitions, and differences within the group in question. For this reason, her classes investigate how people within collective identities are diverse and have complex and unique intersectional identities
Malia Lee Womack also remains unrelentingly conscious of and responds to how her students come from diverse backgrounds and have varying levels of experience with compounded and interrelated discrimination and/or privilege. She is continuously aware of her students’ varying intersectional identities when she designs her lesson plans and engages with her students. Malia Lee Womack is a compassionate and passionately purposeful instructor who remains committed to addressing students’ differing intellectual experiences and diverse aspirations for intellectual, professional, and personal development. She rejoices in students’ differences and aims to motivate and inspire students to pursue their curiosities, make the most of their strengths, and to fully apply themselves to their academic training.
Womack's course design and classrooms are creative, imaginative, and reflective feminist spaces. Her classrooms are informative but also transformative. Womack fosters a participatory environment based on diminishing hierarchies, inspiring creative thinking, and valuing each students’ unique insight and quest for learning.
- Transnational feminisms
- Intersectionality, collective identities, and identity
- Feminist theory and critical race theory
- Global human rights, law, and universalism
- LGBTQIA+ issues
- Feminist economic justice, climate change, and sustainable development
- Global poverty, neoliberalism, and globalization
- US imperialism and exceptionalism
- Colonialism, post-colonialism, and neocolonialism
- Latin American studies and Puerto Rican studies
- Feminist methods and methodologies
- • The Ohio State University: PhD (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) • Columbia University: MA (Human Rights Studies; Emphasis: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) • UC Berkeley: BA (Gender and Women’s Studies) • Saddleback College: AA (Gender and Sexuality Studies)
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2022). An Intersectional Approach to Interrogating Rights: How the United States Does Not Comply with the Racial Equality Treaty. Meridians: Feminism, Race, and Transnationalism, 21(1), pp. 236-264.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2021). Militarizing Hate, Perpetuating Violence and Rape, and Allowing Human Rights Abuses to Go Unpunished. Politeja, 2(71), pp. 203-224.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2021). Puerto Rico in Crisis: Intersectionality, Activism, and Transforming Globalized Human Rights from the Grassroots (Publication No. osu1626923805989296) [Doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University]. OhioLink.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2020). US Colonialism in Puerto Rico: Why Intersectionality Must be Addressed in Reproductive Rights. Oxford’s St. Anthony’s International Review (STAIR), 16(1), 74-85.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2017). The Tentacles of Neoliberalism: How the Master’s Tools Became a Vehicle for Activism. Journal of Research on Women and Gender, 8(1), 36-48.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2017). Puerto Rican Nationhood and the Diverse Nature of Collective Identity Construction. Journal of Politics and Democratization, 2(2), 37-41.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2017). The United States’ International Valuing of Anti-Racism Norms Over Gender Equality Norms. In Vasilikie Demos and Marcia Segal (Eds.), Advances in Gender Research: Gender Panic, Gender Policy (Vol 24, pp. 273-307). Emerald Group Publishing.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2017). The Politics of Freedom: When State Interest Takes Precedence Over Women’s Human Rights. In Josefa Ros Velasco (Ed.), Feminism: Past, Present and Future Perspectives (pp. 131-148). Nova Science Publishers.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2017). Troubling Universalized Human Rights: The Complexities of Identity and Intersectionality. Journal of Politics and Democratization, 1(1), 56-61.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2015). The Intricacies of Adopting International “Norms” From the Bottom Up. Wagadu—A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies, 13(1), 211-33.
- Womack, Malia Lee. (2014). The United States’ Engagement with International Law: An Analysis of the Social Complexities that Crystallized its Stance on Racial and Gender Rights. La Camera Blu—Rivista di Studi di Genere, 10(11), 78-84.
- College of Charleston’s Teaching and Learning Team’s Annual Conference
- Southeastern Women’s Studies Association’s Annual Conference “Love, Sex, and Justice”
- International Studies Association’s Annual Conference “A Wider Discipline for a Smaller World”
- Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies “[Re]Emergence: [Re]imagination, [Re]vision, and Revolution”
- National Women’s Studies Association’s Annual Conference “We Are Family: Feminist Community Formations Across Borders and Experience
- International Studies Association’s Annual Conference “Globalization, Regionalism, and Nationalism: Contending Forces in World Politics
- Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies “Disruptions and Eruptions: An Interdisciplinary Feminist Conference”
- National Women’s Studies Association’s Annual Conference “Protest, Justice, and Transnational Organizing”
- The Ohio State University, Sinister Myth Podcast:“Malia Lee Womack: Analyzing US Colonial Human Rights Abuses Against Puerto Ricans”
- Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Institute for Latin American Studies
- 22nd Annual Literatures and Cultures Symposium “And Justice for All? Silenced Voices of the Luso-Hispanic World” The Ohio State University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese
- “Hayes Graduate Research Forum” The Ohio State University’s
- The Ohio State University (OSU) “TEDx Talk" Do Universities Revictimize Survivors?
- Power Reconfigurations: Regional and Global Responses in an Age of Uncertainty” International Studies Association (ISA) and Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)
- National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference
- “Problematizing Humanitarian Interventions in Latin America” OSU, Human Rights in Transit Project Podcast
- “16th Annual Ohio Latin Americanist Conference” The Ohio State University’s Center for Latin American Studies
- “The Social Practice of Human Rights: Charting the Frontiers of Research and Advocacy” University of Dayton Human Rights Center
- “Transgression and Transformation: Bodies, Language, Place” Wayne State University’s Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
- International Studies Association Annual Convention “Understating Change in World Politics”
- UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women “Thinking Gender, Imagining Reparations”
- University of Chile’s Human Rights Center and School of Law “International Human Rights Education”
- University of Central Oklahoma’s Women’s Research Center and BGLTQ Center “International Gender and Sexuality Studies Conference”
- Rutgers University’s Department of Geography and Supporting Women in Geography “The Care and Politics of Boundaries”
- “The Posthuman: Differences, Embodiments, Performativity” University of Roma Three’s Department of Philosophy
- "Race, Resistance, and Reason Conference” State University of New York,
- Cortland’s Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies