Kathy Davis is currently senior research fellow in the PARIS research program and the Department of Sociology at the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Born in the US, she has taught psychology, sociology, and gender studies at universities in Europe and the Netherlands. Since 1990, she has worked as associate professor in women's studies and, later, as senior researcher at the Institute of History and Culture at Utrecht University. She has held visiting chairs and research fellowships in the United States at Wellesley College, Columbia University, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies at Harvard University as well as in Germany (Maria Jahoda Chair for International Women's Studies), Sweden, Austria, and Finland.
Kathy Davis has a long-standing interest in feminist scholarship on women's bodies and health. Her work is situated at the cutting edge between cultural studies, gender studies, and the sociology of the body. She has published extensively on contemporary feminist approaches to the body, interaction between physicians and women patients, cultural constructions of beauty and beauty practices, and the political and ethical dimensions of surgical technologies. Her research interests also include sociology of the body, intersectionality travelling theory and transnational practices, biography as methodology, and critical and creative strategies for academic writing. Her most recent work is on tango and passion in a transnational perspective.
These same interests are reflected in her teaching. She has taught courses at undergraduate and graduate levels on the sociology of the body; body politics in a transnational context; representations of gender and race; intersectionality; transnational feminism; the rhetoric and ethics of public and scientific debates; qualitative methods of social research; and academic writing.
Kathy Davis is the author of Power under the Microscope (Foris, 1988), Reshaping the Female Body (Routledge, 1995), Dubious Equalities and Embodied Differences (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003) as well as several anthologies: The Gender of Power (Sage, 1991), Negotiating at the Margins (Rutgers University Press, 1992), Embodied Practices: Feminist Perspectives on the Body (Sage, 1997), The Handbook of Gender and Women's Studies (Sage, 2006) with Mary Evans and Judith Lorber, Transatlantic Conversations. (Ashgate, 2011) with Mary Evans, and Dancing Tango: Passionate Encounters in a Globalizing World (NYUPress, 2015).
Her book The Making of Our Bodies, Ourselves: How Feminism Travels Across Borders (Duke, 2007) explores how feminist knowledge and body/politics circulate transnationally, using the feminist classic on women and health, Our Bodies, Ourselves, as a case in point. This book was the recipient of several prizes: the Distinguished Book Prize for 2008 from the American Sociological Association Section Sex and Gender, the Eileen Basker prize from the American Anthropological Association, and the Joan Kelly prize for women's history from the American Historical Association.
From 1994 to 2002, she was the president of the research committee Biography & Society of the International Sociological Association. She is currently the co-editor of The European Journal of Women's Studies, to which she regularly contributes editorial essays on 'hot topics' in the field of gender studies and feminist scholarship.
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