Isom Student Gender Conference Keynote Speakers Announced

Posted on: February 27th, 2018 by kcozart

The Sarah Isom Center is happy to announce keynote speakers for the 18th Annual Isom Student Gender Conference taking place the first week of April 2018: Dr. Laura Otis and Dr. Molly Zuckerman.

When thinking about a keynote for this year’s conference, we wanted to feature someone who specialized in interdisciplinary research. Dr. Laura Otis was one of the first names that came to mind. Otis is a Professor of English at Emory University who uses her scientific background to think about the way different fields intersect.

Laura Otis headshot

Trained as a neuroscientist and literary scholar, she researches and compares the ways that scientific and literary writers describe identity, memory, communication, emotion, and thought. Otis received her BS in Biochemistry from Yale University in 1983, her MA in Neuroscience from the University of California at San Francisco in 1988, her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University in 1991, and her MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson College in 2017. She now teaches at Emory University, where her interdisciplinary courses focus on literature, neuroscience, cognitive science, and medicine.

Otis’s career is a testament to interdisciplinary research and teaching, goals which the Isom Center and our affiliates share. This is why we are excited grateful for the opportunity to bring this scholar to you in the coming year.

Because the Isom Center is also built on partnerships, both local and on a wider scale, we reached out to Dr. Molly Zuckerman, associate professor, from Mississippi State University’s Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures to present at the Isom Student Gender Conference. The Isom Center is providing travel grants for

Molly Zuckerman

(photo by Russ Houston / © Mississippi State University)

Zuckerman’s students to attend and present at the conference as well.


Zuckerman’ research centers on the bio-social determinants of health inequalities among past populations, with a particular focus on social identity and gender, and on the evolution of infectious disease, with a focus on syphilis and the treponematoses. She is associated with ongoing bioarcheological research projects in the UK, Mongolia, and St. Croix. She earned BA degrees in Anthropology and Women’s Studies at The Pennsylvania State University (2004), and an MA (2009) and PhD (2010) in Anthropology and a graduate certificate (2010) in Gender Studies from Emory University. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of South Carolina. Originally from Pittsburgh PA, she lives outside of Starkville, MS with her husband, an archaeologist, their four year old daughter, and too many pets.

The Isom Center looks forward to hosting these two interdisciplinary scholars for our 18th Annual Isom Student Gender Conference and exploring and sharing the research of our undergraduate, graduate, and visiting student scholars.