Kirsten Dellinger, Ph.D.
Dr. Kirsten Dellinger is the new Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for the College of Liberal Arts. She was born in Raleigh, NC and grew up in Malvern, PA just outside of Philadelphia. Dr. Dellinger went to Rollins College in Winter Park Florida and got a BA in Psychology and then went on for her MA and PhD in Sociology at the University of Texas, at Austin. What drew her to sociology was an interest in understanding how our social context impacts who we are and what opportunities or barriers we face in our lives. "I’m compelled to figure out how things work in organizations" she says. "In particular, how do people experience their work lives? How do everyday practices or policies impact different groups and how can we make change for the better?"
"I can identify various strong women in my life who may or may not identify as feminist. My mother has a deep sense of self worth that I have always admired. My sister was always a partner in pushing the boundaries of what “girls” could do—being creative, funny, and brave. My “Aunt” Betty was a person who encouraged me and other girls to explore the world with abandon. My first basketball coach in junior high, Mrs. Morgan, supported me as a young woman and planted the seed that I might be able to play basketball in College. That was not a thought I had ever had!"
The first course Dr. Dellinger took in college that had a specific feminist focus was a Feminist Philosophy course during a Winter Session. She was introduced to classic 2nd wave feminist literature. When Dr. Dellinger went to graduate school at UT Austin, the first book she read was one I found as I wandered around the feminist bookstore, Book Woman. "I looked, in awe, through the shelves and shelves of feminist work and I picked out and bought “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center” by bell hooks. I walked into a cohort of feminist graduate students who turned out to be my lifelong colleagues and friends."
The 2007 Pay Equity Report is a project at the University of Mississippi that Dr. Dellinger is excited about. "The priority the Provost has given this report and the plans for action are very encouraging." She has also been a part of the Critical Race Studies Group, the UM Slavery Research Group, and the Committee on Sensitivity and Respect.
"The most powerful impact that the University of Mississippi has had on my feminist thinking is reinforcing the fundamental importance of intersectional thinking," she says. "We have to examine gender and sexuality through a lens that explores the impact of race, ethnicity, class and other systems of power. This is where transformative feminist thinking is happening!"