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Michele BergerWhen Michele Berger is not teaching, researching and writing, she is preparing to guide faculty through their fellowships at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

“Of course in the Faculty Fellows Program, people are highly productive. They are very excited about having a semester leave,” says Berger. “I take a look at the mix of the Faculty Fellows that we have in terms of faculty rank because that makes a difference in terms of the kinds of projects they may be engaged in.”

Berger is Director of the Faculty Fellowship Program. She is also Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

“I am currently teaching the intro to feminist thought class, which introduces students to how people have talked about gender and equity all the way from the 1700’s to today,” says Berger. Because of contemporary issues, the class explores “everything from Beyonce’s video ‘Lemonade,’ and how she’s working out issues of identity and relationship, to thinking about [civil rights activist] Ida B. Wells’s commentary on the criminal justice system and police brutality, all the way to the work that African American women are doing through Black Lives Matter.”

She says that engaging the students is the most fulfilling part of her work as a professor.

One of her students will return to Carolina to talk about her career so far. Berger will help facilitate a talk Thursday, Nov. 17, at Graham Memorial with UNC alum Georgia State Rep. Park Cannon (’14). Cannon majored in Linguistics and minored in Women’s and Gender Studies. Berger will co-host the event with Associate Professor of Linguistics and Faculty Fellow Misha Becker, who also taught Cannon. Among the topics will be how the humanities helped shape Cannon’s activism and public life.

“It’s such a meaningful experience to see a student like Park really succeed very early on,” said Berger. “She is a great model for thinking about the value of the humanities and the value of women’s and gender studies. There’s no one women’s and Gender Studies job, there are just many ways to serve. And she is a great example of that.”


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