University of Minnesota
Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

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Dr Sara L Puotinen

Department Affiliations


The underlying focus for much of my research and writing is troublemaking. In my work, troublemaking functions in a number of different ways. It is an interdisciplinary method for putting a wide range of ideas across disciplines and the academic/non-academic divide into conversation with each other. It is a critical and playful approach for engaging with ideas and theories. It is a compelling way to describe and understand a central theme and task underlying many new social movements (like feminism or queer activism/theorizing). Finally, troublemaking, in the form of staying in trouble, is a central virtue in my own vision of a feminist virtue ethics. My current work on troublemaking involves three different, yet related, projects. First, I am using a blog ( that I created this past summer to track and critically reflect on as many different examples of trouble and troublemaking as I can find, such as academic engagements with the concept of trouble or representations of trouble in popular media. Drawing upon my tracking of trouble through the blog, my research in feminist ethics and my numerous presentations on troublemaking as a virtue, my second project involves exploring the value of troublemaking, as a method/approach/type of practice, for feminist ethics. Finally, my third project is an exploration of blogging for feminist pedagogy and scholarship. This project, which weaves together my research on blogging pedagogy with my various entries on feminist pedagogy and blogging and my experiences using the blog in my Queering Theory course in fall 2009, considers the research and writing potential for using blogs for teaching and while teaching.


  • Femnist Ethics
  • Queer Ethics
  • Feminist Pedagogies
  • Feminist and Queer Theory
  • Judith Butler
  • Troublemaking

Educational Background

  • PhD: Women's Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2006.
  • MA: Ethics and Culture, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA, 1999.
  • BA: Religion, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, 1996.

Courses Taught

  • GLBT 1001: Introduction to GLBT Studies
  • GWSS 3004: Contemporary Feminist Debates
  • GWSS 4403/GLBT 4403: Queering Theory
  • GWSS 5103: Feminist Pedagogies
  • GWSS 8190: Feminist and Queer Explorations in Troublemaking
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