Houston empowers women as new WS program director
By Joyce Bell
As the new director of UNM’s Women Studies program, Gail Turley Houston, Ph.D., will oversee one of the oldest such programs in the United States.
Since 1972, UNM has furthered educations in feminism, women and gender studies. An interdisciplinary program with both a major and minor, courses are offered in history, literature, social sciences, law, education, humanities and the fine arts.
“I am strongly committed to finding a way to establish a graduate component to Women Studies, perhaps a certificate program to begin with,” Houston said. “I know there are many issues we confront as women. I want to meet often with students, faculty and staff in order to generate creative solutions.”
Houston has been at UNM with the English Department since 1996. As a scholar and committed teacher, she received a number of teaching awards. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s in Humanities at Brigham Young University and Arizona State University, respectively, then a master’s in English from BYU and her Ph.D. in English from University of California, Los Angeles.
In 1969, UNM Women Studies was a collective of faculty, graduate students and community members.
The Women Studies Program celebrated 30 years at UNM in 2002. This makes the program one of the oldest in the U.S.
Nearly every summer Houston travels to England to conduct research on her specialties, including Victorian literature, Dickens, the Brontës, the Victorian novel and 19th century British women writers. Houston has published two scholarly books, one on Dickens and anorexia and another on Queen Victoria vis-à-vis Victorian writers.
While on sabbatical in Los Angeles in 2002-03, Houston finished her book on banking panics and how they impel Victorian literature.
Houston invites students to visit the program office, Mesa Vista Hall, rm. 2132, or the website at www.unm.edu/~womenst.