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M.A. American Studies and Cultural Studies
Antioch University McGregor School

B.A. Political Theory and German
University of California, Berkeley

Academic Experience

School represents an opportunity to not only acquire the technical and specific skills needed for work, but to think critically about one's own identity, the identities of others, and how these identities exist within a web of power relationships. School also represents the potential for building relationships--or at least communicating--across the boundaries often created by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other aspects of identity. As an educator, I attempt to provide the structure, the encouragement, and the guidance to ensure that these opportunities are not lost and that students take that crucial journey into awareness and connectedness. Awareness includes learning about the history of the U.S., the impacts of globalization in the U.S. and around the world, the institutions we inhabit, and the multiple realities and perspectives that make up American and world cultures.

I am a writer, community activist, backpacker, training consultant, and avid reader. In the classroom, I believe in learning as a shared experience where every student has an important voice. My role is to (1) ensure that all student voices are heard (2) bring voices to the room via writing, videos, or speakers that would not otherwise be present (3) use appropriate pedagogic tools to encourage students to think critically about their own and others contributions to the discussion and (4) add my own voice to the discussion. I feel I am successful as a teacher if students leave the classroom questioning ideas and practices they may not have questioned before and with the tools to continue critically examining their experiences.

My particular area of study is whiteness, by which I mean the knowledge, ideology, norms, and practices that maintain a race and class hierarchy in which the group of people who qualify as "white" disproportionately control power and resources, while within that group of white people, a small minority of elite control most of the group's power and resources. I am interested in social justice issues., especially the impact of the interlocking systems of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation in educational and other social institutions. Another area of interest is the role of emotion and spirit in critical pedagogy.

Professional Areas of Interest
  • Social construction of whiteness; the relationship between white identity and dominant U.S. culture; racial and ethnic identity development
  • Social justice issues in the U.S., especially the impact of the interlocking systems of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation in educational and other social institutions
  • Cultural studies, especially hegemonic systems of thought and knowledge production
  • The role of emotion and spirit in critical pedagogy
Presentations and Publications

"Teaching Outside Whiteness" in Diversity and Multiculturalism: A Reader, S. Steinberg, Ed. Peter Lang: 2009.

Inviting an Exploration of Visual Art into a Class on American Cultures_Фё─ё¤ in Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom: Critical Educultural Teaching Approaches for Social Justice Activism, Virginia Lea & Erma Jean Sims, Eds. Peter Lang:2008.

Identifying Race and Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom, Judy Helfand and Virginia Lea, Editors. Peter Lang. 2004.

Entering Whiteness with Conscious Intent in Post-Secondary Classrooms. Self published thesis, Antioch University McGregor School. September, 2002.

"Constructing Whiteness" Race, Racism and the Law, edited by Vernellia Randall, M.S.N., J.D. (, 2002

Understanding Whiteness/Unraveling Racism: Tools for the Journey. Judy Helfand and Laurie Lippin, Ph.D., Thomson Learning Custom Publishing, 2001.

Taking Apart the Matrix: Multiple Systems of Oppression. White Privilege Conference. Co-facilitated with Salome Raheim. Colorado Springs. 2007.

Engaging Dissonance for Transformation: Classroom Techniques to Create a Learning Community. National Association for Humanities Education Conference (NAHE). San Francisco. 2007.

Transforming Whiteness in the Classroom. Two day Institute at National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE). Chicago. April, 2006.

Valuing Emotion and Spirit in Teaching about Race and Ethnicity. Presentation at Second Annual International Conference on Teacher Education and Social Justice. San Francisco, July 2004.

Walking the Talk: Curriculum, White Backlash, and Social Location. Presentation at National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE). June 2004. Co-presented with Laurie Lippin.

"Building Equity in Our Schools: Sexual Orientation, Family, and Gender." Co-planned and co-presented this symposium as a member of the School of Education Diversity Project, Sonoma State University. March 2002.

"Menopause Trilogy: Mitzi, Birthing, Toad Woman" written and performed at Brava!, San Francisco, 1993.

"Four Faces of Queer." Toby Eastman, Judy Helfand, Henry Holmes, and Don Chan Mark. Performed at Studio Rhino, San Francisco, 1992.

"Lesbian Cooties" in There_Фё─т╚s Something I_Фё─т╚ve Been Meaning to Tell You edited by Loralee MacPike. Naiad Press, 1989.

"Silence Again" in Sex Work, edited by Frederique Delacost and Priscilla Alexander, Cleis Press, 1987, 1998.