Faculty & Scholars

Beth Catlett, Ph.D.

  • Chair, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University
  • Director and Co-Founder, Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender and Community

Dr. Beth Catlett is Department Chair and an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. Professor Catlett received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and her doctorate in Family Relations and Human Development from the Ohio State University. Her areas of scholarly interest include community development, community-based participatory action research, diversity in families, violence in intimate relationships, qualitative research methodologies, and the social construction of masculinities. Dr. Catlett specializes in community-based research involving gendered violence, adolescent relationships, and social movements to create community change. Her research has been published in several journals including Family Science Review, Men and Masculinities, Violence and Victims, Family Relations, the American Journal of Community Psychology, and the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. She was most recently published in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning.

Email: bcatlett@depaul.edu
Phone: (773) 325-4758


Irene Beck, Ed.D.

  • Co-Founder, Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender and Community
  • Executive Director, William and Irene Beck Foundation
  • Former Adjunct Faculty Member, DePaul University

Irene received her B.A. in History from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame IN, her M.A. from Fairfield University in Educational Administration and Supervision, and her doctorate in Human Development from the University of Rochester. Irene also earned a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University. As an adjunct faculty member at DePaul, her teaching focused on gender issues in youth, connections with school-based sexual harassment programs, and course-based action research. As Executive Director of the William and Irene Beck Foundation, Dr. Beck directs grants in support of programs that work against discrimination, particularly related to racism, sexism and poverty. She is also a Co-Founder of the Gender Equity Fund of the American Association of University Women, Illinois. Her current areas of interest focus on oral histories of women working against domestic violence and archival research.

Email: ib@beckfound.org


Nila Ginger Hofman, Ph.D.

  • BRI Faculty Fellow (2008), Associate Professor of Anthropology

Professor Hofman is a cultural anthropologist with a doctorate from Purdue University and a B.A. in anthropology from Long Island University. She has been teaching and conducting research at DePaul since 2001. Her research interests include hidden urban populations and her field sites include Zagreb, Croatia, and Chicago. She has also written about feminist research ethics and methodologies, and course-based action research. In Chicago her field research has been with injection drug using women and undocumented immigrants. Her research in Zagreb is with Croatian Jews and Romani women.

Email: nhofman@depaul.edu
Phone: 773-325-4783


Lourdes Torres, Ph.D.

  • BRI Faculty Fellow (2009), Vincent DePaul Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies

Dr. Lourdes Torres is the Vincent de Paul Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University. She obtained her B.A. at SUNY Stony Brook and both her M.A. And PhD at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana. Lourdes teaches courses on Latinos in the US, LGBTQ studies, and sociolinguistics. She is the author of Puerto Rican Discourse and Co-editor of Tortilleras: Hispanic and Latina Lesbian Expression and Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Her essays have appeared in Meridians, MELUS, Centro Journal, and the International Journal of Bilingualism. She recently co-edited a special issue of NWSA Journal on Latina Sexualities. She is currently working on a study of Latina lesbian organizing in Chicago, as well as a study of Spanish use across generations in Mexican and Puerto Rican communities in Chicago.

Email: ltorres@depaul.edu
Phone: 773-325-7353


Laila Farah, Ph.D.

  • BRI Affiliated Faculty (2009), Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies

Laila Farah is a Lebanese-American feminist performer-scholar. She attended Lebanese American University and Eastern Michigan University while working toward her B.A. in Theatre and Communication Arts. She continued at Eastern Michigan University in order to complete her M.A. in Performance Studies and Communication. She received her Doctorate in Performance Studies at Southern Illinois University. She is currently an Associate Professor and the Director for the Women’s and Gender Studies graduate program at DePaul University. She continues to work on future performance pieces in Chicago, as well as touring with her production of Living in the Hyphen-Nation. Her creative scholarship includes research with and the performance of “Third World” women and women of color, postcolonial identities and “alien-nation,” and ethnographic and auto ethnographic performance. She is active locally, nationally, and globally in gender-based initiatives through various organizations including the National Women’s Studies Association, the Arab American Action Network, and the International Oral History Organization. Dr. Farah has taught Performance of Gender, Women in the Middle East, International Women Film Directors, Women in Chicago Theatre, and Transnational Feminisms , and other Women’s Studies and Performance Studies courses at DePaul, Southern Illinois University, and SUNY Potsdam.

Email: lfarah@depaul.edu
Phone: 773-325-4464


Amira Proweller, Ph.D.

  • BRI Affiliated Faculty (2010), Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Research

Dr. Amira Proweller, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Research, received her Ph.D. in the Social Foundations of Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is the author of Constructing Female Identities: Meaning Making in an Upper-Middle Class Youth Culture and has also written several articles on youth culture and gender issues in a school context. Her research interests have focused on the cultural politics of schooling, youth culture and identity construction, qualitative research methodologies, and the socialization of urban teachers. Most recently, she has conducted collaborative research on the experiences of college students involved in a community-based service learning program on teen violence prevention in public schooling. Dr. Proweller serves as chair of the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Research in the College of Education at DePaul University and also teaches courses in the sociology of education, identity in education, social and historical issues in education, and qualitative research methods.

Email: aprowell@depaul.edu
Phone: 773-325-4320


Ann Russo, Ph.D.

  • BRI Affiliated Faculty (2011), Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies

Dr. Ann Russo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. Ann obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana. Her scholarship, writing, and activism is grounded in social movements to dismantle interlocking systems of oppression and privilege, with a focus on collective healing, intervention, accountability and transformation. She is the author of Taking Back Our Lives: A Call to Action for the Feminist Movement, co-author of Communities Engaged in Resisting Violence, co-editor of Talking Back, Acting Out: Women Negotiating the Media Across Cultures and Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, among others.  She has published essays in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, Violence Against Women, and Sojourner; as well as in anthologies, including The Intersectional Approach and Confronting Same-Sex Domestic Violence.  She is engaged with the work of a variety of local organizations committed to community accountability and transformative justice, including Project NIA, Young Women’s Empowerment Project, Community Justice for Youth Institute, Beyondmedia, Chicago Freedom School, and Gender Just.

Email: arusso@depaul.edu
Phone: 773-325-1774

Anna Assenmacher, M.A.

  • Assistant Director, Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender and Community

Anna Assenmacher is Assistant Director of the Beck Research Initiative for Women, Gender and Community at DePaul University. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Finance from Calvin College (1999), and an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University (2012). Her professional background includes experience in development, project management and strategic planning; prior to joining the BRI, Anna’s most recent role was as Senior Director of a Chicago-based consulting firm. Her current responsibilities include leading the development of an institutional infrastructure for the Initiative with a core focus on managing the strategic plan and direction of the BRI, developing long-term partnerships with community-based organizations to develop research projects for faculty and students, and managing the Service Learning and Internship Program, which provides research, advocacy, and internship opportunities for students in the department of women’s and gender studies. Anna is also an adjunct faculty instructor and teaches WGS 352/452: Gender, Community and Activism: Community-Based Learning in WGS.

Email: anna@beckresearch.org
Phone: 773-325-2279