Featured Faculty: Dr. Kathryn Kein

Dr. Kathryn Kein


“We all come from different backgrounds and bring different perspectives to the classroom—we have so much to learn from listening to how we all approach a topic differently.”

– Dr. Kathryn Kein

Lilly Tomlin, Phyllis Diller and Gilda Radner

My research and writing focus largely on the relationship between comedy and feminism. While conventional wisdom of second wave feminism believes that feminists aren’t funny and can’t take a joke, I subvert that assumption by studying the work of Lilly Tomlin, Phyllis Diller, Gilda Radner and others. While writing about comedy isn’t always as funny as one would hope, my dog seems to enjoy most of my jokes.

Looking at the World in a Different Way

My teaching style emphasizes class discussion and interaction. Explaining our perspective, listening to those of others, and figuring out where we stand is often how we learn the most. In Gender & Women’s Studies, we’re asking you to try a new way of looking at the world, which can be very difficult. But students find that it opens up so many ideas they hadn’t considered, and that is really fun to be a part of.

GWST:  Something for ALL Majors! 

One of the most important things my students gain in GWST courses is a lens through which to look at the world that applies to other academic disciplines and to our everyday lives. A STEM major might not think GWST relates to his or her academic field, for example, but students consistently find that the analytical tools we develop can make them more well-rounded and informed engineers, scientists, doctors, etc. And while we might take a class about Gender and Sitcoms for a fun elective, learning how to cast an analytical eye on the culture we consume every day helps us to be more critical viewers and to be more cognizant of the ideas put forth in media we consume every day.

Winter Session 2018

I am teaching GWST 323 – Gender and Sitcoms. What’s so unique about this course is that it takes something we think of as trivial, like a TV sitcom—fun, maybe, but not an important thing to study in school—and takes it seriously as a part of our culture that influences how we see and interact with the world. We get to watch 30 Rock for homework, but we’ll also pair it with a text about the show’s exploration of discourses of feminism in popular culture. We can debate if we think Liz Lemon’s feminism is the same as that of Tina Fey.

“In winter courses you are giving a topic your undivided attention. You can learn a lot about a subject when you have the luxury of devoting so much of your intellectual energy to it.”


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