Posted April 20, 2022

Meet 5 Temple professors who teach and research gender, sexuality and women’s studies

These five professors from the College of Liberal Arts explore gender, sexuality and women’s issues in their work

Image of Joyce Joyce on a red couch with a multicolored background.
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Joyce Joyce, professor of English, is one of the faculty members who teaches and researches gender, sexuality and women’s studies in the College of Liberal Arts.

In addition to its Philadelphia roots, R1 research status, diverse student body and successful alumni, Temple is known for its distinguished faculty members—including those who teach and research gender, sexuality and women’s issues. Meet five professors from the College of Liberal Arts who focus on such topics.

Joyce Joyce, professor of English

Formerly chair of the English and African American Studies departments at Temple, Joyce studies African American literary criticism, African American poetry and fiction, Black feminist theory, and Black lesbian writers. She’s published articles on such authors as Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston and Temple’s own poet-in-residence Sonia Sanchez. Some of her books are Warriors, Conjurers, and Priests: Defining African-centered Literary Criticism; Black Studies as Human Studies: Critical Essays and Interviews; and Ijala: Sonia Sanchez and the African Poetic Tradition. She’s taught courses such as Black Women Writers, Black Feminist Criticism and Intellectual Thought, Essential Issues in Women’s Studies, and Black Lesbian Writers.

Photo of Judith Levine in front of a painting.(Photography by Joseph V. Labolito)

Judith Levine, associate professor of sociology

Levine’s academic areas of interest sit at the intersection of poverty and social policy and gender and work. She is the director of the College of Liberal Arts’ Public Policy Lab and is a former director of the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program. She is interested in how women’s social interactions affect their economic outcomes, which she investigates in her book Ain’t No Trust: How Bosses, Boyfriends, and Bureaucrats Fail Low-Income Mothers and Why It Matters. Levine has written and spoken about her research in such publications and media outlets as the Boston Review, Pacific Standard, MSNBC, NBC News and WHYY’s Radio Times. Additionally, her work has been published in such academic journals as The Sociological Quarterly, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Journal of Human Resources. In her current study, Landing a Job, she is following a cohort of college seniors as they enter the labor market. Classes that Levine has taught include Gender in America, Women and Poverty, and Introduction to Women’s Studies.

Image of Laura Levitt standing outside.(Photography by Joseph V. Labolito)

Laura Levitt, professor of religion

Levitt studies gender, American Jewish life, the Holocaust, memory, trauma, loss and visual culture. She chaired Temple’s Religion Department and directed its Jewish studies and gender, sexuality and women’s studies programs and is the current chair of the Office on Sexual Misconduct for the Association for Jewish Studies. A prolific scholar, Levitt has written numerous books, articles, bibliographies/encyclopedia entries and academic blogs. Her recent work includes The Objects that Remain, “The Allure of Material Objects: Fetishization Reconsidered” for the Massachusetts Review, and “Revisiting Reflections on Relics and Contagion in Two Parts” for Political Theology. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses including Race and Identity in Judaism; Feminist Theory; Secularism: Muslim and Jewish Women; Graduate Feminist and Queer Theory; and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Graduate Research Seminar.

Image of Jennifer Pollitt standing outside.(Photography by Joseph V. Labolito)

Jennifer Pollitt, assistant professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies

A sexuality educator, researcher and activist, Pollitt aims to help others find their voices and participate in the discourse around civil rights and class systems. She has lectured and facilitated workshops for academic and professional audiences, such as Empathy at Work, LLC, which she co-founded, and the inaugural Men & #MeToo Conference, which she organized in Philadelphia in 2019. Pollitt has also developed sexuality education curricula for the University of the Sciences, Princeton University and the American Medical Student Association. Her classes and programs focus on such topics as sexual and erotic agency, LGBTQIA civil rights, reproductive rights, gender equality, and pop culture’s influence on informal sex education in American society. Courses that Pollitt has taught in the Gender, sexuality and women’s studies program at Temple include Foundations of Women’s Studies; Introduction to Gender; Men & Masculinities; Sexuality & Disability; Love, Marriage & Family; and both the field work and capstone courses. In addition, she is launching Sexuality Education, a new course she will be teaching in fall 2022.

Image of Yun Zhu leaning on a staircase in front of a red background.(Photography by Ryan S. Brandenberg)

Yun Zhu, associate professor of Asian and Middle Eastern languages and studies

Zhu’s research interests are Chinese literature and culture, women and gender, translation studies, and comparative literature. Her first book, Imagining Sisterhood in Modern Chinese Texts, 1890–1937, was published in 2017. Additionally, she has written articles for various academic journals including Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, and Intertexts: A Journal of Comparative and Theoretical Reflection. Zhu has taught such courses as Women in Chinese Literature, Love and Desire in Chinese Literature and Film, and Science Fiction from China.