Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Ann Vooris, (pronouns: she/they) although many of my friends call me “Jess” and/or “River.” I am a researcher, writer, and professor of Women’s Studies and LGBTQ Studies. I am currently a visiting assistant professor at Dickinson College in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Department. My research focuses on lgbt/queer families and parenting gender-creative and transgender children. I am interested in how we think about children’s gender and sexuality, and the idea of the “queer child” as a way to disrupt normative views of childhood. I also write about the “anticipation work” that parents’ engage in as they try to understand their children’s various expressions, identities, and possible futures. I am currently working on a book manuscript, Life Uncharted, based on my research with families of trans, gender-creative, and gay children, and I am busy planning a second research project on LGBTQ summer camps.
I hold a PhD (2016) and Master’s degree (2014) in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before coming to Dickinson College, I completed a post-doc in LGBTQ Studies at UMD (2016-2017), taught “International Women’s Perspectives” at Towson University as an adjunct (Fall 2017), and was a visiting professor at Amherst College in the Sexuality, Women’s, and Gender Studies Department (2018-2019).
On this site you can find more information about my research, my publications, and teaching, as well as resources for LGBTQ youth and their families. There is also a blog portion, where you will find my writing on a variety of topics, which often relate to the idea of “spaces in between” in relation to gender and sexuality, as well as cultural spaces, identities, age, life and death. To read more about what I mean, check out this post. I am also a poet, and often include my poetry and thoughts about writing here. For more information about classes that I have taught, take a look at my teaching page, as well as my course blogs for Women, Art and Culture and The Queer Child.
I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the rural landscapes and a childhood spent running around a 200 acre farm have greatly shaped my understanding of home, self, and community. I appreciate that my visiting positions at Amherst and Dickinson have given gave me the opportunity to live in rural areas again. With an English mother, and dual-citizenship with the UK, I also had a transatlantic childhood, and connect with the concept of being a “third culture kid” having grown up between two countries. I graduated in 2009 from Bucknell University where I double-majored in Creative Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies. I took a year off before graduate school, and conducted field work in Chiapas, Mexico for an anthropology project focusing on the Mayan village of Zinacantan.
Thanks for stopping by!