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

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

WGSS 200 Feminist Pract, Writing & Rsrc
Building upon the key concepts and modes of inquire introduced in the WGSS Introductory course, WGSS 200 deepens students’ understanding of how feminist perspectives on power, experience, and inequality uniquely shape how scholars approach research questions, writing practices, methods and knowledge production. Approaches may include feminist approaches to memoir, oral histories, grassroots and online activism, blogging, visual culture, ethnography, archival research, space, art, literary analysis, and policy studies.Prerequisite: 100, which can be taken concurrently.

WGSS 202 Reproductive Justice
How can the “choice” in “prochoice” become real for women with a range of abilities, ethnicities, economic backgrounds or gender and sexual identifications? What does it look like to not only provide affordable access to birth control and abortion, but to also create the political conditions that enable people to choose to have children in an environment where both will thrive, rather than just survive? Creating these political conditions requires reproductive justice: a global social movement strategy and human rights platform that places reproductive power in the context of the larger social, racial and economic well-being of women, communities and families (Ross 2011). This course explores the origins and applications of reproductive justice. It investigates how the reproductive lives of many people, particularly women of color, are embedded in embattled legal, social, economic, racial and national frameworks that shape their capacity to control their intimate and procreative lives. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course first maps reproductive justice’s origins, exploring: political philosophies of sexual and reproductive liberty; racialized and disability-based histories of eugenics, population control, and adoption; the black women’s health movement; birth control and abortion law; social welfare and healthcare politics; the reproductive politics of incarceration and state violence; disability and prenatal testing; and the transnational and LGBTQ applications of assisted reproductive technologies. The course will subsequently explore how reproductive justice platforms can enable diverse people to thrive: making the decision to prevent, terminate or have a pregnancy a real choice. It will assess the conditions that enable access to quality health care, economic security, racial justice, women’s equality, transgender and queer rights, environmental sustainability, disability justice, sexual autonomy, and community vitality.

WGSS 301 Immigration Politics
Why do global controversies over immigration so often center on migrant women’s fertility and their children’s access to government benefits? Why do some countries accept LGBT migrants but deny them the right to adopt, use assisted reproductive technologies, or extend citizenship to their children? How are efforts to limit marriage-and-family based migration racialized and classed? What are the gendered implications when nurses are a country’s central export? Could building a border wall or sending refugees back stop unwanted immigration? This course examines how intersecting gender, sexual and ethnic hierarchies shape and are shaped by immigration. Applying insights from feminist and queer theories of migration, students will explore how the gendered processes surrounding immigration craft concepts of nation, borders and citizenship. Readings and films examine how sexual and racial norms are renegotiated through the selection and regulation of immigrants. Central to our investigation is how transnational and economic forces compel migration, reshaping understandings of national belonging, workplaces, and family in the process. We will particularly consider how migrants negotiate multiple marginalizations, and in turn refashion understandings of community, identities, culture, and politics. An interdisciplinary framework combines media, law, activist, film, literary and historical accounts.

WGSS 550 WGSS Independent Research

Spring 2019

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.

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.