Kristen Abatsis McHenry
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
N. Dartmouth, MA
My name is Kristen Abatsis McHenry and I am a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where I teach Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Health and Society. I also teach part time as an online instructor for Spelman College Comparative Women’s Studies.
I earned my doctorate in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and I hold a master’s degree in women’s and gender studies from Georgia State University. My undergraduate degree is from Ithaca College (Women’s Studies and Politics). After finishing my doctorate I taught at Umass Dartmouth in Women’s Studies from 2008-2016, before joining the faculty at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA in 2016. At Spelman, I taught Comparative Women’s Studies from 2016-2020. In 2020, I moved back home to Massachusetts and rejoined University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where I am currently a lecturer.
As an interdisciplinary scholar of gender, health, and politics, my research explores the environmental links to women’s healthMy research interests include women’s health, environment, and breast cancer advocacy. My book,The Green Solution to Breast Cancer: The Promise of Prevention (Praeger 2015) investigates breast cancer activism in its two general forms, a consumer-based activism associated with “buy pink” campaigns and an environmentally-based activism that looks to address the potential role of pollutants in breast cancer prevalence. Using over fifty qualitative interviews with advocates, I argue that the breast cancer movement has recently become increasingly focused on environmental links to cancer and preventing cancer as opposed to curing it. This change marks a new focus in the larger movement and is best understood as a result of efforts of green advocates to determine and shape the wider research agenda by using a strategy of citizen-science alliances, where lay people and scientists work together to shape the research agenda. My core argument is that the breast cancer movement is an embodied health movement, and that attributes of organizations such as strategy, mission, and branding have led to a greater convergence between the pink and green wings of the movement, and green can no longer be understood as a sub-movement.
My research, including The Green Solution to Breast Cancer adds to the literature on women’s health activism and medical sociology, political economy of disease, and intervenes in current debates by focusing on women’s health as an environmental issue. My work is interdisciplinary and it applies political science and feminist queer crip literatures to health and environmental issues. I have articles, “Environmental Breast Cancer Activism and the Politics of Genes,” and “Fracking Women: A Feminist Critique of Hydraulic Fracking in Pennsylvania” published by the International Journal to Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, and an article “Getting Fracked: Gender Politics in the Fracking Debates” forthcoming in Signs. I have presented my research at several conferences including the National Women’s Studies Association and the American Political Science Association annual conferences. My next project is a book Fracking: women’s health and activism which is under advance contract with University of Washington Press’ Feminist Technoscience series.
I am committed to feminist pedagogical practice and use intersectional texts and perspectives to create a learning environment where students can make connections between diverse lived experiences and scholarly research. My goal as an educator is for students to recognize and critically examine political solutions and activism. The same commitment to political advocacy around environmental health and gender justice that propels my research also inspires my teaching.
Race, Gender, Biomedicine
Health and Society
Politics of Public Health
Intro to Public Policy
Gender Health Disparities
Gender, Health, and Environment