Karisa Butler-Wall

Karisa Butler-Wall

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Teaching Associate

Ph.D., American Studies, University of Minnesota
B.A., Sociology, Wesleyan University

Office: UW1-339
Email: kbw24@uw.edu
Website: www.karisabutlerwall.com

I am an interdisciplinary scholar who teaches and writes about media, culture, and history from a feminist, queer, disability studies perspective. My research and teaching interests include gender and sexuality, health and disability, race and ethnic studies, affect theory, new media and digital technology, social movements and activism, and U.S. history and popular culture.


My teaching philosophy focuses on helping students understand how systems of power shape everyday practices; and conversely, how everyday actions can disrupt existing power relations. Centering feminist, queer, and critical race theory, my classes help students develop intersectional frameworks for analyzing historical, theoretical, and popular texts. Tackling topics from gender and police brutality to social media and mental health, my courses ask students to apply this knowledge to their own lives and communities. I validate students’ cultural backgrounds, experiences, and values by encouraging them to examine their own lived experience as a source of knowledge production. Informed by feminist disability pedagogy, my classes are designed to accommodate a variety of learning abilities and styles by providing multi-modal formats for in-classroom learning and assignments, and I offer students flexible assignment deadlines and multiple ways to earn credit. Designed to foster civic engagement and political awareness, my classes often ask students to participate in public education projects and community engagement assignments. As a teacher, I work with and learn from my students in a collaborative effort to develop new conceptual tools, frameworks, and ways of knowing that may lead us all to “imagine otherwise.”

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 445 Meanings and Realities of Inequality
BIS 393 Gender, Race, and Mental Health
BIS 224 Introduction to Feminist Studies
BIS 293 Introduction to Disability Studies


My research focuses on the intersections between gender, sexuality, and health in U.S. media and popular culture. My current book project, Feeling Healthy: Media and the Affective Governance of Gender, Sexuality, and Disability, brings a queer disability studies lens to examine how popular media enforce normative standards of what it means to be, look, and feel “healthy.” From early silent films to contemporary digital media, this project demonstrates how media technologies not only reflect but actively shape individuals and populations by orienting bodies around norms of gender, sexuality, and ability. Articles based on this research have appeared in Women’s Studies Quarterly and Disability Studies Quarterly, and my work has also been published or is forthcoming in the Routledge History of American Sexuality, A People's Guide to New York City, and Out History.

Selected Publications

“Disability.” Routledge History of American Sexuality, eds. K. Murphy, J. Ruiz, and D. Serlin. Forthcoming 2018.

“Gay Men’s Health Crisis” and “ACT UP: Stop the Church,” A People's Guide to New York City. University of California Press, A People’s Guide Series, eds. L Barraclough, W. Cheng, and L. Pulido. Forthcoming 2018.

“Viral Transmissions: Safer Sex Videos, Disability, and Queer Politics.” Disability Studies Quarterly 36, no. 4 (2016).

“Risky Measures: Digital Technologies and the Governance of Child Obesity.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 43, no. 1-2 (2015): 228-45.

“Sara Josephine Baker: Public Health Pioneer.” Out History (February 28, 2014).