Publications & Presentations


“The Role of Masculinity and Femininity in Buffy the Vampire Slayerin Sexual Rhetoric in the Works of Joss Whedon edited by Erin B. Waggoner – ISBN-10: 0786447508– March 2010


Link to the Google Books preview of my chapter of “Sexual Rhetoric in the Works of Joss Whedon”


“Queering the Classroom One Campus at a Time – Teaching LGBT Content in Higher Ed” at the inaugural Academic Lab – ClexaCon: Media & Entertainment Convention for LGBTQ Women and Allies – April 2019

  • In this panel, college professors and instructors across various disciplines will be discussing how they incorporate LGBT content into their courses. Heidi Mau will be discussing how she integrates her research into her communication courses. Erika Abad will talk about her fandom class and how she brought students, via service-learning, to ClexaCon. Patricia Vázquez, senior professor at College of Southern Nevada, will be talking about her LGBT lit course. Jessica Price will be discussing her experiences teaching courses in the LGBT minor at Nevada State College, connecting it with her own investment in fandom studies.

“Utilizing Popular Culture in the Classroom” at the 2nd Annual Intermountain Teaching for Learning Conference – Nevada State College – March 2018

  • Within this presentation I will illustrate ways in which instructors in higher education can integrate popular culture into their curriculum no matter the subject or course modality. Showing advertisements, music videos, current event articles, and other media influences in the classroom can not only break up the rhythm of the classroom, but also re-energize students by engaging them in media they love. Some instructors may not be comfortable showing videos in class as that is often viewed as lazy or unproductive, but with media literate professors, the videos and in-class activities can be one of the most powerful tools.

“So, We Marched, Now What? Navigating the Intersections of Feminism, Racism, & Classism in the 21st Century” at the CSN Status of Women Symposium – CSN North Las Vegas Campus – March 2018

  • Served on a panel of six for the Status of Women Symposium held at the College of Southern Nevada. The Symposium hosted a series of panels that looked at the stereotypes, participation methods, and activisms through an intergenerational lens. Discussions led panelists and participants through discourse about inclusion, equity, intersectionality, and diversity and how we navigate the spaces between these concepts. The panel on which I served focused on the importance of intersectionality in our daily lives as well as how we can integrate intersectional thinking in our activist and classroom spaces.

“The Importance of Intersectionality” at the Progressive Summit – CSN North Las Vegas Campus – January 2018

  • Served on a panel of five for the Progressive Summit held at the College of Southern Nevada. The panel session focused on the concept of intersectionality and its continued importance in both personal and professional lives. Panelists spent time talking about active ways to being more intersectional focusing on the business world, popular culture, and community organizing. Audience members were invited to ask questions and engage with the panelists.

“‘There’s Nothing Wrong with You, but You Are Different’: Sadomasochism and Trauma in Season Six’s Buffy the Vampire Slayerat the Slayage Conference of the Whedonverses 6 – June 2014

  • The BDSM undertones of BtVS Season 6 between Buffy and Spike serves as a therapeutic process for Buffy dealing with the trauma of being pulled out of Heaven and how she navigates through (and moves past) the self-imposed shame and guilt that appears from her sexual relationship.Psychologist and Psychoanalyst Michael J. Bader suggests, through his experiences with clinical patients, “that some forms of sadomasochistic fantasy and enactment can represent a developmental and therapeutic advance,” an idea of which I aim to build my paper around (279).  I will discuss the sexual relationship between Buffy and Spike in a way that is less about the existence of non-normative sexuality and more about Buffy’s hope that her return from Heaven is why she’s participating in this sexual relationship and the shame she feels when she realizes she can’t blame it on anything.  To do any of these things I look at the pre-existing essays on topics such as discussions of power exchange, representations of sexuality/kink, readings of the BDSM images, and more (Call) (Alexander) (Burr) (Amy-Chinn).It’s also important to read Buffy and Spike’s relationship against the real violence at hand from fights to Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy in season six’s “Seeing Red” and how the show separates BDSM and violence – and if it does so successfully.  This requires a reading of the gendered aspects of Buffy and Spike’s lives and how their challenges to traditional gender roles reconstructs Bader’s analysis of sadomasochism into an even more unique reading of Buffy and Spike’s relationship.  Due to her destiny, Buffy is stronger than Spike and, thus, immediately challenges any form of traditional gender. Questions to consider: How does their non-sexual relationship differ from their sexual relationship? How does Spike’s chip (and his flaccidity) play into the discussion of gender and complicate the discussion of BSDM vs. Violence? And, at the root, how and why does the sadomasochistic relationship between Buffy and Spike help her cope with her return to Sunnydale after her death?

“Integrating Media Literacy into University-Wide Curriculum” Poster session at the University of Phoenix Academic Research Symposium – May 2014

  • Using a qualitative analysis and literature review of existing scholarship regarding media literacy approaches, we demonstrate how media literacy will enhance course curriculum and promote critical thinking skills. There is an opportunity for students and faculty members to develop the skill set of integrating media into the classroom efficiently regardless of whether they are in business or sociology or criminal justice. Our findings suggest that a closer look at media allows for an integration of the 21st century into the course curriculum.

“Appropriation, Consumption, and Representation of Native American Culture in The Twilight Sagaat the Far West Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference – March 2011

  • In this essay, I construct a racial hierarchical structure that provides a base analysis with regards to the appropriation of Native American society within the Twilight saga novels and then focus on the representation of female Native American identities and the social commentary that is provided to the predominantly young readership.  My essay focuses on certain aspects of the Twilight saga, specifically how Native American culture is used throughout the saga and more specifically how the Native American women are presented to the audience for consumption.  As introduction to the essay, I introduce the reader to the relevant  arguments around the Twilight saga and the way its messages are being sent to young readers.  Additionally, I talk about the historical representation of Native Americans in popular culture, particularly images present in popular culture aimed at the “young adult” category.  This is followed by a brief summary of the key points of the Twilight Saga that are relevant to my essay.  The first point I make is related to the Native American identity for consumption within the Twilight saga.  I breakdown the race issues within the saga, talking about race being a hierarchical issue which is Vampire, White, and Native American.  I will discuss the appropriation of Native American culture by author Stephanie Meyer, illustrating the underlying messages of colonialism between the Vampires and werewolves (Native American). Next, I analyze what it means to be Native American in Twilight.  The use of the governmental reservation plays into Meyer’s exploration into boundaries and control of her “minority” characters.  How does this affect the female characters in the saga?  I use this question to lead into my third point which is unpacking Native American female representation and the underlying messages and social commentary being sent through characters Leah, Emily, and “the Third Wife.”  To conclude my essay, I connect all these issues with my initial investigation into the use of this text within society and how problematic this is and how we need to continue to move beyond the appropriation of Native American society for visual/textual consumption.

“Beyond Reader-Response Theory: Recognizing an Author Fandom” Poster session at the University of Phoenix Academic Research Symposium – February 2012

  • Thanks to social networking Internet sites, it has become easier for authors and readers to interact with one another.  I see this as effecting the direction of Fan Studies dramatically as fans are becoming more and more involved in the lives and work of authors.  Authors share their daily lives and writing habits with the world while continuing to go on book signing tours and buy into the capitalistic merchandising world.  Fans do what they do best and follow/friend/write to their favorite authors on a variety of networking sites.  For the purposes of my work, I focus on paranormal romance novel (PRN) authors.  “Nearly 20% of all romance novels sold in 2005 had paranormal story lines,” (Guran 10).  I discuss the nature of fan studies and how cyberspace is changing the author/reader dynamic, then I lay out a way of looking at the cyber world as a narrative in which PRN authors are participants, and how one author, in particular, goes one step further and indirectly serves as a character representative of her own novels, perpetuating the creation of an Author Fandom.

“‘She was not woman, she was female. She was vampire’: Challenging Sexuality and Gender in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series” at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference – April 2009

  • JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series presents gender and sexuality in very heteronormative and patriarchal ways.  While this series is not complete, the novels that are complete cover the main characters that are presented at the start and future novels will fold in introduced and new characters.  In this essay, I discuss the nature of romance novels and reflect on how the audience plays into the creation of story and character.  Language will be an overarching aspect of the essay that will look at the use of male/female rather than man/woman as well as insults and affections between warriors.  Masculinity and the ways in which Ward creates flawed masculinity is a point I expanding on.  Further, I break my essay into three sections as follows – sex and sexuality: looking at the acceptance of male homosexuality but lack of female homosexuality and how that plays into the necessity of sex between characters as being penetrative; the expectations of male and female sexuality; life: the importance of blood for the vampire characters and the way this penetrative act is revered. I also look at the way of life of the lessers (the enemies, all males) and the creation of new life for both the vampires (females who risk dying in child birth; female higher power) and lessers (a male supreme being as their Creator); Death: these vampires are not immortal or difficult to kill, so I will look at the gendered differences in how the characters experience death (females die easier and their deaths are in relation to the males they are mated to).  I conclude my paper by pointing out female characters that have been briefly introduced for future novels in the series and my hopes that they will be instrumental in breaking this pattern of patriarchal romance as well as a call for lesbian representation.

Master’s Project

“‘So… I’m a Vampire’: Queer Narratives within Heteronormative Vampire Romance Novels” – Final Master’s Project, University of Cincinnati Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department – May 2010

  • The symbolic vampire is utilized in postmodern vampire literature as a commentary on a host of current social issues.  What makes this so?  Issues which the vampire is situated against are the abject of society – the sick, the disfigured, racial minorities, sexual minorities, disease (such as HIV/AIDS), rape victims, etc.  Many novels have been written featuring the romanticized vampire, historically placed within a Gothic setting, so how can the desire for a creature that fits the very definition of abject be desired by readers?  Historically we can look to the original vampires, Dracula and Nosferatu, to recognize the pattern of vampires as erotic creatures.  Dracula and the Dracula-influenced Nosferatu are the epitome of (alternative sexuality) Gothic eroticism, specifically heteroeroticism through the sexual (biting) relations between the opposite-sex vampire and human and homoeroticism through the sexual (biting) relations between the same-sex vampire and human.  Dracula also transgresses the norms of sexuality and morality with the three vampire females who live in his castle – frequently referred to as the Brides of Dracula, promoting a polygamous marriage.  It is unclear what Dracula’s (or Nosferatu’s) sexual identity is, but the string of bisexual/pansexual vampires in popular culture may speak to the queer sexuality of the vampire legends.  What I will explore is how these stories of (abject) desire are made sexy and romantic (humanized?) instead of eliciting a response of sanguivoriphobia. Authors writing vampire romances post-1990 exploit the sexual transgressions of the original vampire figures and create vampires who exude eroticism, hypermasculinity, and hyper-gender roles.  Where these authors have grabbed onto the idea that vampires are erotic, many have tried to recreate the sexuality of these vampires with attempts to heterosexualize them.  In my life, I’ve heard people say that the harder a queer person tries to be “straight,” the more obvious that there’s something they’re trying to hide.  In this same vein, vampires are always already queer and an attempt by modern writers to make them hyper-heterosexual just makes the queer narratives seem even more glaring.  This project is a form of queer activism to challenge readers of vampire romance novels to recognize the queer narratives at work in these novels.