Plenary Speaker

Patricia Leavy, Ph.D.


“Telling Gender, Family and Relationship Stories through Arts-Based Research”


A best-selling author, women’s studies expert, and an internationally recognized leader in arts-based and qualitative research, Leavy is a strong proponent of arts-based research as a means of making research publicly accessible. 


Tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at Stonehill College from 2002-2012 and founding director of its Gender Studies Program, she received a 2014 Special Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association and has appeared on national news, radio and online media. She has regular blogs in The Huffington Post, The Creativity Post and We Are the Real Deal.




 Plenary Speaker

Marjorie Jolles, Ph.D.


Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Roosevelt University, Jolles trained as a philosopher and uses Continental philosophy to explore the cultural life of women and feminism. Her past research has focused on embodiment, narrative, theories of style, and the culture of self-help, and appears in Hypatia; Feminist Formations; Critical Matrix; Feminist Teacher; The Oprah Phenomenon (eds. Watson and Harris, 2007); Gender, Sex, and Politics (ed. Tarrant, 2015); and in her edited collection Fashion Talks: Undressing the Power of Style (SUNY, 2012).


In 2013, Marjorie was awarded a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop new curriculum on the family. The resulting course, “What is a Family?” provides a history of the concept of family as theorized by canonical figures in the Western humanities alongside contemporary feminist and critical race theorists. Marjorie’s current research project focuses on maternal and abortion rhetorics in the US, with special emphasis on recent trends in abortion storytelling, prompted by a growing cultural mandate that pro-choice politics attend to abortion’s affective and ethical dimensions.