In the last year, various institutions and associations have hired me to develop and conduct workshops for their organizations. Primarily, I am interested in doing work around creating meaningful diversity, addressing white privilege across all levels of students and staff, providing information on any topic within Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Public Health, and specific work on intersectionality, decolonizing science, research methodology, and public scholarship.

Most recently, I was invited to the American Association for Physics Teachers summer meeting in Provo, Utah. To the left are summaries of selected workshops. Contact me.

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Breaking Down Binaries: Sex, Gender, and Sexuality 101

First, I talk about natural variation in sex and how doctors in the US maintain there are only two sexes, which harms intersex people and others in such pursuits. Next, I talk about the gender binary imposed on us all and how thinking there are only men and women ignores a rich diversity of gender non-conforming, transgender, and non-binary people. Finally, I will talk about sexuality, which mainstream society manifests as compulsory heterosexuality, and talk about LGBQ+ identities that are then shaped out of homophobia and inequality. I define all labels and terms used and address any topics requested by the audience when it comes to trans and non-binary communities including transition, pronouns, and politics.

Drying ‘White Tears:’ Interrogating Whiteness and Racism in the Multiracial Classroom

I offer strategies for addressing white narratives in a multiracial classroom that may take form of ‘white tears,’ or complaints regarding hearing ‘too much about race,’ if not explicitly racist comments. One way to dry ‘white tears’ and decenter whiteness is to radicalize the curriculum and make required reading that which is never assigned: work by cisgender women and trans people that addresses racism, imperialism, colonialism, and migrations. The next step is to radicalize the classroom by encouraging people of color to speak first, if they so wish, and have others trust their lived experience, which requires white students to participate more through listening. It also requires a professor that can maintain control when classroom dynamics shift during a candid conversation on race and racism. I offer suggestions for POC faculty and white faculty alike.

Commute of Power and Oppression: Teaching Intersectionality across the Curriculum

I offer the history and definition of intersectionality, which I sum up as an academic theory that states one’s race, gender, and class intersect to determine one’s relationship to power and oppression. I help the participants navigate a visual exercise to ‘see’ intersectionality by drawing train tracks on the board (The Commute of Power and Oppression) where power (and privilege) would be at the top and oppression (and discrimination) would be at the bottom. Specific train tracks may include ‘Race,’ ‘Gender,’ ‘Class,’ ‘Sexuality,’ ‘Education,’ ‘Age,’ ‘Ability,’ ‘Citizenship,’ ‘Religion’ and others depending on audience interest. For each of the train tracks, I place groups that hold power at the top and groups that face oppression at the bottom while placing others in the middle. At the end of the workshop, participants learn they are both marginalized and in positions of power, depending on the social axis under discussion. Finally, I discuss how viewing the world through an intersectional lens can fight inequality in classrooms and society.

Dr. Kolysh’s workshop on the Commute of Power and Oppression for the American Association of Physics Teacher’s (AAPT) 2019 Summer meeting was phenomenal! The workshop was both informative and engaging. Dr. Kolysh builds us up to understanding the impact of our social positions on our lives and worldview. The visuals were extremely helpful in thinking about all of this. I highly recommend Dr. Kolysh and hope to participate in another one of their workshops in the future.
— Geraldine L. Cochran (Department of Physics and Astronomy | Office of STEM Education, Rutgers University; Committee on International Education, AAPT)