Kathleen McHugh

mchughDirector, 2005-2012, 2013-2014

Kathleen McHugh developed many new programs to support and expand CSW’s mission to develop, promote, and disseminate faculty and student research on gender, sexuality, and women’s issues. McHugh launched two highly successful faculty grant programs to strengthen the connection between faculty research and CSW programming: the Faculty Curator and Faculty Development Grants programs. Faculty Development Grants are instrumental in supporting research in CSW’s mission areas across the campus and in providing support for faculty at all career levels. The Faculty Curator program allows CSW public programming to more closely align with faculty research in various stages of development. Professors selected for the Faculty Curator program work with the CSW to organize a thematic lecture series of interest to a wide range of faculty and graduate students at UCLA. Series have included Changing the Object: New Feminist Film Histories, curated by McHugh; Gender and Body Size, curated by Abigail Saguy, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology; and, most recently, Women and STEM: How Stereotypes Undermine the Interest and Success of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, curated by Jenessa Shapiro, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology.

In 2008, McHugh developed and implemented the CSW Graduate Student Initiative, a renewed and extended public commitment to promoting the professional success and academic excellence of graduate students at UCLA. The keystone of this Initiative was the establishment of the Irving and Jean Stone Fund, which acknowledges scholar and CSW affiliate Jean Stone’s long-term relationship with and support for CSW. This fund supports outstanding young scholars in CSW’s mission areas through dissertation-year fellowships, administered in collaboration with UCLA Graduate Division; a Department of Gender Studies recruitment-year fellowship; and research assistantships that match faculty and graduate students in mentoring/employment relationships beneficial to the research of both. CSW’s existing programs for supporting graduate students—dissertation awards, travel and research grants, service awards, and the annual graduate student research conference, Thinking Gender, are part of the new Initiative, which also incorporates programs for professionalization and direct mentoring.

In order to more widely publicize information related to CSW-supported research, McHugh created a Publications Unit, which produced CSW Update, an online/PDF newsletter, monthly during the academic year, and a weekly email digest with information on upcoming talks, conferences, and announcements. The newsletter included research reports by faculty and graduate students, articles on upcoming events, and interviews with faculty and speakers. Videocasts of events are also posted on the CSW website and on the CSW YouTube channel.

As part of CSW’s large-scale research project on “A History of Women’s Social Movement Activities in Los Angeles, 1960–1999,” McHugh developed a project with the West Hollywood-based June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives—the sole archival repository on the West Coast dedicated to preserving lesbian and feminist history—to inventory, organize, preserve, and digitize several key Los Angeles-themed collections. The digitized materials and finding aids are now available from the UCLA Library website. This project led to an ongoing partnership between the UCLA Library, the Mazer Archives, and CSW.

To address the challenges facing the fields of women’s studies, gender and sexuality studies, post-colonial studies, ethnic studies, and LGBT studies in the coming years, McHugh developed a year-long project in association with the NYU Center for the Study of Gender. The project has resulted in two sister conferences; the first, New Majorities, Shifting Priorities: Difference and Demographics in 21st-Century Academy, was held at UCLA on March 4, 2011. The second conference, entitled New Majorities II: The Multiple Futures of Gender and Sexuality Studies, was held at NYU on April 29, 2011. The project’s goals included the development of innovative research, curriculum, and programming strategies and the best possible arguments that can be made for these essential fields of study. Through these conferences, CSW and CSGS articulated how these fields are indispensable to academia’s educational mission in the 21st century.


Kathleen McHugh is a Professor in the Department of English and in the Cinema and Media Studies program of the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media at UCLA.  Her most recent book is Jane Campion (University of Illinois Press, 2007), which examines the subversive style of the woman who has become one of the world’s greatest film directors. She is the author of American Domesticity: From How-To Manual to Hollywood Melodrama (Oxford University Press, 1999), the co-editor of South Korean Golden Age Melodrama: Gender, Genre, and National Cinema (Wayne State University Press, 2005), and the co-editor of a special issue of SIGNS on “Film Feminisms.” She has published articles on domesticity, feminism, melodrama, the avant-garde, and autobiography in Cultural Studies, Jump Cut, Screen, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Velvet Light Trap.

Before coming to UCLA in 2002, McHugh was Chair and co-founder of the Film and Visual Culture Program at UC Riverside, where she developed and coordinated interdisciplinary curriculum involving twenty faculty across seven departments; developed a film library with 3,000 acquisitions; wrote grants for equipment for production, editing, and screenings; and wrote proposals for a minor (approved in 1992) and a major (approved in 2000).