Hi there! Welcome to my website. My name is Melinda Chen. In Mandarin, my name is 陳婉怡 (Chen Wanyi). I’m an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
My research lies at the intersection of sexual violence, queer theory, critical race and ethnic studies, and U.S. welfare reform. I am currently writing two books, Killing Radicalism: Neoliberalism, Normativity & the Anti-Rape Movement (single author, under contract with NYU Press) and The Reckoning: Indigenous Messages from the Anti-Rape Revolution (co-authored with Sarah Deer). Killing Radicalism explores how neoliberal conditions on rape crisis centers in the U.S. force victim advocates to alter their support to survivors of sexual assault. As a consequence of these neoliberal conditions, advocates face surmounting barriers to practicing inclusive care for marginalized survivors (e.g., BIPOC, LGBTQ+). The Reckoning examines how American Native women and Two Spirit people who have experienced rape and hate crimes conceptualize justice in order to develop tangible tribal remedies to violence.
My teaching follows a feminist, queer, and healing pedagogy. As an instructor, my goal is to ensure that students feel connected to their work and actualize these personal feelings into political practice. I provide room for thinking and feeling on subjects by de-structuring and collectivizing the classroom space. These practices are deliberately aimed at building communities and networks across intersectional spaces. My goal is to prepare students for working in real-world spaces as activists and champions for diversity.
Apart from my work, I strive to embody advocacy in practice by supporting social justice projects. I dedicate my free time to serving my community and listening to those whose voices we need to hear.