Michelle Meagher, PhD, MA, BA

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Womens & Gender Studies
Chair, Faculty of Arts - Womens & Gender Studies


Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Womens & Gender Studies
(780) 492-7518
102-C Assiniboia Hall
9137 116 St NW
T6G 2E7

Chair, Faculty of Arts - Womens & Gender Studies



I hold a BA in Women's Studies (University of Alberta), an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities on the Body and Representation (University of Reading, UK), and a PhD in Cultural Studies from George Mason University, Virginia, USA. Upon graduating from GMU in 2005, I taught in the departments of Women's Studies and Cultural Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario for two years. In 2007, I returned to my home town to take up a position of Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at the U of A. When I'm not teaching or advising students, I'm in my garden or dreaming about it. 


My research focuses on feminist art and feminist art history with particular emphasis on the late twentieth century North American context. 

“Art, Feminism, and the Periodical Press” considers the ways that feminist art was produced, defined, and circulated by periodical communities of the late 1970s and through the 1980s in the U.S. context. I'm centrally interested in the New York based feminist periodical Heresies, which was published by a feminist collective between 1977 and 1992. From 2014-2019, this project was supported by a $104,000 SSHRC Insight grant. Research emerging from this project has appeared in Feminist Media Studies and Feminist Theory. Find out more about this project and my research team here

My work with Heresies has drawn me into the field of periodical studies. With Tessa Jordan, I co-edited a special issue of American Periodicals in Fall 2018 on the topic of feminist publishing. My current research project draws on digital humanities methods to understand and analyse feminist publishing networks. Supported by a KIAS CrAft Grant, Visualizing Feminist Networks is a collaborative project, with partners including Dr Jana Smith Elford, Medicine Hat College, Digital Humanities graduate research assistant Joel Blechinger., and the Arts Resource Centre, and the University of Alberta Libraries. Our project is one of a dozen case studies included in Dr. Susan Brown's Partnership Grant Proposal.

I have further research interests in body studies; feminist cultural studies; ageing and art; feminist generational politics; and the feminist seventies. 


Some of the courses that I am regularly scheduled to teach are: 

  • WGS 101: Representations of Girls and Women
  • WGS 220: Feminism and Popular Culture
  • WGS 301: History of Feminist Thought

Recent fourth year and graduate seminars include: 

  • Writing Social Change (Feminist Print Culture Studies)
  • Art and Feminism: Theory, Practice, Politics
  • Body Politics

In recent years, I've supervised undergraduate reading courses and honors theses on feminist crip studies and histories of feminisms of color. 

GSJ 506:Feminist Cultural Studies: "Making Feminist Media." In this class, we consider the politics and practices of feminist cultural production with an emphasis on feminist print culture and publishing. Beginning with an examination of turn-of-the-century suffrage publications like the WSPU’s Votes for Women, and turning to the late 1960s to early 1970s rise of the "women in print" movement in North America, which was marked by an explosion of feminist publications (Spare Rib, Heresies) and publishers (Virago Press), this course will consider the often complex role that print culture played and continues to play in developing as well as publicizing feminist activisms and actions. Insofar as the class is shaped by the framework of feminist cultural studies, our emphasis will be on examining how texts are produced, circulated, and consumed in both material and digital contexts. Key questions include: How does feminist publishing produce feminist communities and/or feminist counterpublics? What role have feminist publishing practices - and the recent emergence of feminist print culture studies - played in the (re)narration of feminist histories? How have older circuits that relied on bookstores, marks on paper, woman-only print shops, feminist-friendly distributors, and world-of-mouth been replaced or displaced by virtual circuits?

GSJ 598 and WGS 498 titled "Art, Activism, and Social Justice." The central goal of this class is to understand the ways that social justice movements affiliated with recent North American feminisms have used art to imagine new futures, to critique and challenge existing socio-political systems, and to transform the public sphere.  Main topics that we cover include: Feminist Art, Art in Public, Feminist Art Education, Institutional Critique, Art & Obscenity, Art & Environmentalism, Digital Feminisms, Art in Urban Spaces, Fibre Feminism, Feminist Galleries

Scholarly Activities

Research - femlab: a feminist exhibition space

For almost a decade, I have worked as a curator and director for a small gallery space that is hosted and supported by the Department of Women's and Gender Studies. femlab: a feminist exhibition space is a gallery that features a wide range of feminist creative activity. Upcoming shows include a collaboration with the Sexual Assault Centre, and another collaboration with graduate students in Digital Humanities. 

Research - Putting first year WGS on line

20190401 to 20200815

In a project that was selected and generously supported by the University of Alberta Provost, I am working with a team of developers and trainees to create on line versions of the U of A's first year Women's and Gender Studies courses - WGS 101 and WGS 102. 

Research - Visualizing Feminist Networks: Representing Heresies in Linked Open Data

20190101 to 20200815

This is a digital humanities project that has as its main goal the identification, description, and representation of advertising images from Heresies in Linked Open Data. Though underexamined in periodical studies, advertisements provide insight into the economic strategies of social movement magazines. They also reveal the extent to which social movement presses, and in particular feminist periodicals, relied upon periodical networks in order to sustain and advance their projects. 

The Visualizing Feminist Networks project, which is a collaboration with Jana Smith Elford at Medicine Hat College, will employ linked data to model, understand, and visualize the social, economic, and artistic networks that supported the success of Heresies, an important second wave feminist journal. This project is generously supported by the KIAS CRAfT Digital Research Archives grant, which enables us to work with the University of Alberta Libraries (especially the Digital Initiatives Unit), the Arts Resource Centre, and to hire a DH graduate student. 


Art, Ageing, and the Body

Author(s): Michelle Meagher
Publication Date: 2015
External Link: https://www-routledgehandbooks-com.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/doi/10.4324/9780203097090.ch11

Gender in the Aftermath: Starbuck and the Future of Woman in Battlestar Galactica

Author(s): Tracey Raney, Michelle Meagher
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Post-Apocalyptic TV and Film, edited by Barbara Gurr
Volume: Palgrave
External Link: https://www.library.ualberta.ca/catalog/7340331

Against the Invisibility of Old Age: Cindy Sherman, Suzy Lake, Martha Wilson

Author(s): Michelle Meagher
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Feminist Studies
Volume: 40
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 101-143
External Link: http://www.jstor.org.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/stable/pdf/10.15767/feministstudies.40.1.101.pdf

"Difficult, Messy, Nasty, and Sensational": Feminist Collaboration on Heresies

Author(s): Michelle Meagher
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Feminist Media Studies
Volume: 14
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 578-592

Telling Stories about Feminist Art

Author(s): Michelle Meagher
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Feminist Theory
Volume: 12
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 297-316

"Feminist Ageing: Representations of Age in Feminist Art" in A Companion to Feminist Art, edited by Hilary Robinson and Maria Elena Buszek

Author(s): Michelle Meagher
External Link: https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/doi/abs/10.1002/9781118929179.ch10

Backward Glances: Feminism, Nostalgia, and Joan Braderman's The Heretics

Author(s): Michelle Meagher, Roxanne Loree Runyon
Publication: Feminist Theory
Volume: 18
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 14
External Link: http://login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fmh&AN=126293245&site=eds-live&scope=site