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Amy L. Brandzel
Assistant Professor
American Studies and Women Studies

University of New Mexico

At the University of New Mexico I have taught a range of courses and conducted independent studies in the fields of gender studies, sexuality studies, critical race studies, and postcolonial theory, for both of my home units. In undergraduate and graduate classrooms I strive to provide an intellectually rigorous and encouraging atmosphere and to build critical reading, writing, and analytical skills that the students can apply to their future endeavors.

At the undergraduate level, I have taught numerous courses for my units, including “Sex, Race and Citizenship,” “Feminist Theories,” “Postcolonial Queer Studies,” and “Sexuality and Culture: The Politics of Sex.” Each of these courses is organized through an intersectional, interdisciplinary framework. I assign a variety of texts, such as social theories, film and popular culture, news media, online websites, legal cases, fiction, and poetry. Moreover, in each lecture, discussion, and even in informal meeting, I try to model how to analyze texts (broadly understood) and make critical arguments that highlight the various paradoxes, norms, privileges, and subordinations that each of us encounter, uniquely and differently, throughout our studies and in our daily lives. My classes are rigorous and intensive, but be assured I am always focused on the student, making sure that they can take ownership over their education. As Adrienne Rich so famously stated, “you cannot afford to think of being here to receive an education: you will do much better to think of being here to claim one.” In my classes it is my hope that students will push themselves beyond easy answers or comfortable learning skills, and towards new analyses, a sense of accomplishment, and pride in their scholarship.

At the graduate level, I work on many master’s and dissertation committees, and have a number of wonderful advisees that I am honored to work with. In each of these relationships I strive to guide students towards a thorough and comprehensive understanding of their fields of interest, while also working to challenge students to think creatively, rigorously, and strategically about their roles as intellectual practitioners within and beyond the academy. One of the central challenges of academic work is to take responsibility for the power and privilege inherent in our roles as educators, and to configure a path that will merge our intellectual, political, and personal agendas. I teach courses on Feminist and Queer Theory, Postcolonial Queer Studies, Feminist Methodologies, and The Violence of the Normative, as well as other courses.

And lastly, I consider one of the most critical tasks of my position here at UNM to be the building of undergraduate and graduate curriculums in postcolonial, queer and feminist studies. In Women Studies we have been busy revising the curriculum and refashioning our program; we are working to recenter our program around the intersectional nature of identities and how gender functions through race, class, sexuality, and nation throughout the world. I am quite proud of our achievements in Women Studies for moving our program towards a critically intersectional and transnational program. Similarly, in American Studies we are working to build our feminist and queer studies track, with a special focus on gender in transnational America, postcolonial queer studies, and native feminisms.


University of New Mexico: Women Studies, Mesa Vista Hall 2136 and American Studies, Humanities 454; brandzel@unm.edu