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Karisa A Butler-Wall


Karisa Butler-Wall is a Ph.D Candidate in American Studies with a minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies. Her dissertation, “Feeling Healthy: Media, Affect, and the Governance of Health,” examines the role of popular culture and media technologies in the emergence of new forms of health governance over the course of the past century. Through an analysis of case studies including WWI-era sex hygiene films, midcentury women’s televised fitness programs, 1980s’ safer sex videos created by gay and lesbian AIDS activists, and contemporary interactive technologies designed to confront the obesity “epidemic,” she argues that film, television, video and new media have worked to produce affective investments in health, enabling the biopolitical management of gender, sexuality, race, and dis/ability. Demonstrating how media technologies have blurred the boundaries between leisure practices of consumption and disciplinary techniques of regulation by linking new forms of health governance to individual desires to feel better, she argues that “health” has historically been promoted as the condition of possibility for greater freedom, happiness, and fulfillment at the same time that it justifies ever more insidious forms of surveillance and control.


  • Critical health and disability studies
  • Media and Cultural Studies
  • Feminist and Queer Theory
  • Biopolitics, medicine, and technology
  • Affect Theory
  • Critical Ethnic Studies
  • U.S. History and Politics
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: American Studies, University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2015.
  • B.A.: Sociology, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conneticut, 2005.


  • “Sara Josephine Baker: Public Health Pioneer.” Out History, February 28, 2014.
  • “Risky Measures: Digital Technologies and the Governance of Child Obesity.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 43, no. 1-2 (Forthcoming, Spring 2015).

Professional Activities

  • Communications Coordinator, Graduate Interdisciplinary Group in Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota: 2009 - 2013
  • Conference Co-Chair, Contingent Belongings: Queer Reflections on Race, Space, and the State, University of Minnesota: September 16, 2011 - September 17, 2011
  • Prize Committee Chair, Critical Disability Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association, : 2014 - present


  • Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2014 - 2015
  • Outstanding Visiting Peer Award for Excellence in a Paper Delivered by a Visiting Graduate Student Indiana University English Graduate Student Conference Committee, 2014
  • Graduate School Fellowship, University of Minnesota, , 2009 - 2014
  • Joseph J. Kwiat Award for Best Conference Paper Presented at the American Studies Association, University of Minnesota, 2013
  • Mulford Q. Sibley Graduate Fellowship for Summer Research Support, University of Minnesota, , 2011
  • Graduate Research Partnership Project, University of Minnesota, 2010

Courses Taught

  • AMST 3252W American Popular Culture and Politics, 1900-1940
  • GWSS 1002 The Politics of Sex
  • Writ 1301 University Writing- Writing the Body
Alternative Output Formats Alternative Output Formats