In 2009, the Feminist Studies graduate program was born, and on Sunday, the department will see its first recipient of a doctoral degree: Carly Thomsen.
Carly holds another honor as the 2014 winner of UC Santa Barbara’s Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Award for Social Sciences. Her dissertation, “Unbecoming Visibility Politics and Queer Morality,” focuses on tensions and estrangement among and between LGBTQ women in the Midwest and mainstream gay rights organizations.
Carly – who will move to Houston after graduation for a two-year postdoctoral appointment at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University – praised her department and her advisor for their guidance throughout the program.
“The Feminist Studies department at UCSB has provided me with immense support, encouragement and inspiration,” Carly said in an Office of Public Affairs and Communications news release. “I feel extraordinarily grateful to all the people who made it possible for me to be the first person to complete a Ph.D. in feminist studies here. Mostly, I thank my advisor, Leila Rupp. She’s a huge name in the area of sexuality studies and she recruited me in a way that made me think we would have a stellar relationship. And I was not wrong about that.”
In the release, Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and chair of Feminist Studies, said: “It bodes well that our first Ph.D. is recognized by the larger academic community through the postdoctoral appointment and through the Lancaster Award.”
The GradPost featured Carly in June 2012 in a Graduate Student in the Spotlight column. In the article, she talked about how a single class changed her life and steered her on the path toward women’s studies. Also, Carly was a co-winner of Preliminary Round 6 of this year's Grad Slam competition, in which she presented a three-minute talk based on her dissertation.
For the full news release, read A Feminist First.