IRW Staff

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Director: Nicole R. Fleetwood

Nicole R. Fleetwood is Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University. Fleetwood received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in the Program in Modern Thought and Literature and her B.Phil. from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University (Ohio). Her articles appear in African American Review, American Quarterly, Callaloo Art and Culture in the African Diaspora, Signs, Social Text, tdr: the journal of performance studies, and edited anthologies.  Her book Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (University of Chicago Press 2011) is the recipient of the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association.  She has worked as a consultant and has collaborated with a number of arts organizations and programs.  Currently, she is working on two books. One is a study of racial icons, commissioned by Rutgers University Press. The second is a study of prison art and visuality in which she examines a range of visual art and practices emerging inside prisons and about prison life, including photography, painting, and collaborative works with arts organizations and commissioned artists.

Areas of research and teaching: visual culture and media studies, black cultural studies, gender theory, sexuality studies; American cultural history; popular culture; and culture and technology studies.

For more information on Dr. Fleetwood, please go to her American Studies webpage:


Associate Director: Sarah Tobias

Sarah Tobias's work bridges academia and public policy. A feminist theorist and LGBT activist, she is co-editor of Trans Studies: the Challenge to Hetero/Homo Normativities (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming), co-author of Policy Issues Affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Families (University of Michigan Press, 2007), and additionally has written and edited numerous policy-related reports and articles. Prior to joining IRW in January 2010, she spent over 8 years working in the nonprofit sector and also taught at Rutgers-Newark, the City University of New York (Baruch College and Queens College), and Columbia University. In addition to serving as Associate Director of IRW, Sarah is affiliate faculty in the Women's and Gender Studies Department at Rutgers. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from Cambridge University, England.

colleen martin

Administrative Assistant: Colleen Martin

Colleen Martin ensures the smooth running of IRW's lectures and seminars and coordinates the efforts of the institute's work-study students. She is responsible for purchasing, accounting and scheduling, among other functions. She has been at Rutgers for 14 years, working in University Accounting, Payroll and The Office of Research and Economic Development before joining the IRW in December 2013. Her interests include women's rights, human rights and popular culture.

Sara Perryman

IRW Learning Community Coordinator: Sarah Perryman

Sara Perryman is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Women's and Gender Studies Department at Rutgers. Her dissertation seeks to theorize race and sexuality as affective experience in the context of postindustrial Detroit, Michigan. By putting feminist postcolonial scholarship in conversation with recent work in geophilosophy, new materialisms, affect theory, and the posthumanities, she argues that asymmetrical encounters with the earth over time shape urban topographies and actually produce the experience of identity as events. Racial and sexual difference emerge when certain bodies become viscous as they associate with landscapes, objects, music, money, states of mind, and so on. By tracing relational tensions between settler colonialism, territorialization, ‘natural resources,’ and eco-politics, she aims to better understand how technology, ecology, and affect overlap and cross-pollinate in Detroit’s fractious topography.

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Institute for Research on Women

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