feminism is for everyone – bell hooks


The Social Sciences Division at UC Santa Barbara has a long history of outstanding research and teaching on gender and sexuality. We have one of the top Feminist Studies Departments in the country, and there are many departments in the division and across the College with exceptional feminist scholars. Feminist Futures started as an idea of some of the most incredible faculty including Leila Rupp, Eileen Boris, and Laury Oaks. Under their leadership and with generous funding from Blair and Kristen Hull, the Feminist Futures initiative has grown from sponsoring a series of lectures, conferences, meetings, and consultations to opening up our own space with a series of initiatives.

“When I was Interim Dean of the Division of Social Sciences in 2016-17, I would emphasize the strength we had in gender and sexuality across the division in touting our areas of connections and excellence. When Charlie Hale came in as dean and I was serving again as an Associate Dean, he provided the opportunity and funds to make something of that strength. A group of fifteen faculty members from across the division, with a representative from HFA and input from graduate students along the way, spent a year meeting and planning what that “something” might look like. The result was the concept of a Center for Feminist Futures that would be innovative, intergenerational, intersectional, interdisciplinary, and impactful in disseminating research to wide publics. It was a truly collaborative and organic process, followed in succeeding years by a series of programs and events that modeled what the Center might do and culminated with the hire of our inaugural director. My dream for the Center is that it becomes the place people turn to for knowledge about and responses to the myriad of issues around gender and sexuality—in other words, that it helps to shape feminist futures.”

Leila Rupp headshot

– Leila Rupp Distinguished Professor in Feminist Studies UCSB and Interim Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean

“I enjoyed the collaborative process of building the Feminist Futures Initiative with professors all who worked on feminist, gender, sexualities, and LGBTQ studies. With Leila Rupp, Dean Charlie Hale, and Arts & Lectures, right before the Covid-19 pandemic, we hosted Anita Hill. As one component of her visit, I organized local high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to meet Anita Hill before her lecture. This exciting cross-generational event represents one unique vision for Feminist Futures and provides a springboard for thinking through other ways to facilitate feminist conversations across the generations.”

Laury Oaks headshot

– Laury Oaks, Professor of Feminist Studies, and a member of the original Advisory Committee – Leila Rupp Distinguished Professor in Feminist Studies UCSB and Interim Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean

“The Center for Feminist Futures promises to advance our work by connecting generations of scholars, teachers, students, policymakers, and others to inform the fight for social justice. It expands and deepens the goals I had for the Hull Center for Women and Social Justice, which I started upon coming to UCSB to hold the Hull chair, the first endowed professorship in the field of Women and Gender Studies in the UC system and still one of only a handful of such positions nationally. I was thrilled to become part of the Advisory Board envisioning Feminist Futures, helping to bring Anita Hill to UCSB, and speaking to donors. As a recipient with Dana Mastro from Communication (who had to dop out on becoming Academic Vice Chancellor) and Sarah Thébaud of Sociology, I received a research grant on “Care Across the Generations.”  So far we’ve sponsored a panel, “Black, Indigenous, and Latinx Mother Work: Communities of Care,” with graduate student parents and invited expert Michelle Téllez of the University of Arizona and the 2021 Hull Lecture in Women and Social Justice with domestic and care work activist and thinker Ai-jen Poo.  Dana and I, among others, worked on the Campus Climate Survey, adding questions about care work during the pandemic. With a team of Sociology graduate students, Sarah and I have an article under review from these responses and will be developing a white paper for the campus to address questions of child care. Such work models the kind of engaged scholarship that Feminist Futures can seed for the campus and beyond.”

Eileen Boris headshot

– Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies- Leila Rupp Distinguished Professor in Feminist Studies UCSB and Interim Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean