Faculty Profile

Katie Oliviero

Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies (2014)

Contact Information


Denny Hall Room 4


Dr. Oliviero's teaching and research specializations include transnational feminisms, immigration, QLGBT studies, critical race theory, law, social movements and cultural analysis. Her book, "Vulnerability Politics: The Uses and Abuses of Precarity in Political Debate" (Forthcoming July 2018, NYU University Press) explores how social movements leverage nationalist, gendered, racialized and sexualized narratives of risk to influence the law in controversies over immigration, gay rights, reproductive justice and state-sponsored violence. Additional publications appear in Debating Same-Sex Marriage in the Lesbian and Gay Movement(Minnesota UP 2013), Feminist Formations (2013, 2016); Signs (2011); and Women's Studies International Forum (2009). A new project explores if concepts of precarity and resilience can rework existing feminism global justice frameworks, with an emphasis on sexual asylum policies, migration, women's peace movements and disability. Katie holds a PhD and MA in Gender Studies from UCLA, and a BA in Women’s Studies from Dartmouth College. As a recipient of a 2010-2012 postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University School of Law, she taught classes in both the Gender Studies doctoral program and the law school under the auspices of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project as well as the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative. Between 2012-2014, Dr. Oliviero was an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Women and Gender Studies program and law school.


  • B.A., Dartmouth College, 2002
  • M.A., University of California-Los Angeles, 2007
  • Ph.D., 2010

2017-2018 Academic Year

Fall 2017

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

WGSS 100 Intro to WGSS
This course offers an introduction to central concepts, questions and debates in gender and sexuality studies from US, Women of Color, queer and transnational perspectives. Throughout the semester we will explore the construction and maintenance of norms governing sex, gender, and sexuality, with an emphasis on how opportunity and inequality operate through categories of race, ethnicity, class, ability and nationality. After an introduction to some of the main concepts guiding scholarship in the field of feminist studies (the centrality of difference; social and political constructions of gender and sex; representation; privilege and power; intersectionality; globalization; transnationalism), we will consider how power inequalities attached to interlocking categories of difference shape key feminist areas of inquiry, including questions of: work, resource allocation, sexuality, queerness, reproduction, marriage, gendered violence, militarization, consumerism, resistance and community sustainability.

Spring 2018

WGSS 301 Queer Politics & Fem Thought
Drawing from queer, women of color, transgender and transnational perspectives, this course explores key concepts and tensions between queer politics and feminist thought. How does queerness complicate feminist understandings of gendered bodies and sexual behavior, particularly as they are shaped by race, nation, ability, and culture? In what ways does approaching queerness not only as an identity but as a politics contribute to feminist understandings of the relationship between people’s lives and institutional forces like government, medicine and family? Part I surveys the evolution of queer theory’s key concepts and debates with an emphasis on their relationship to feminist understandings of experience, intersectionality, and gender flexibility. Part II explores the visions queer politics offer up for living in a world that is otherwise than it is – what I term queer dreams. Central to Part II’s investigation is how queerness - as a lived experience and a politics - engages with contemporary feminist discussions around racial justice, ability, coalition-building, structural inequality, identity, sexual freedom, globalization, and violence. Through their final research projects, students will explore how queer and feminist theories’ evolving debates apply to a given cultural or political phenomenon of their choice. Creative projects such as podcasts, Op-documentaries, zines and graphic stories are invited. Prerequisites as indicated or another course with permission of the instructor.

WGSS 400 Senior Seminar
All topics will draw upon the knowledge of the history and theories of feminism and will be interdisciplinary in nature. Prerequisite or co-requisite: 100, 200 and 300 or permission of the instructor.