Faculty Focus – Dr. Ruth Goldstein

Name: Ruth Goldstein

Title: Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Educational/professional background: PhD in Medical Anthropology from UC Berkeley, MA in Folklore from UC Berkeley

What is your field of research, and how did you get into it? I am a medical anthropologist by training. My position in Gender and Women’s Studies is Gender and Ecology. My work connects human and environmental health, examining the gendered and racialized impacts of ecological contaminants and infrastructural development. Growing up in Baltimore at a time when lead paint toxicity became highly politicized, my interests began there, seeing how deeply connected human bodies were with the health and safety of the living environment.

What attracted you to UW-Madison? The Gender and Women’s Studies department was a big draw for me – accomplished scholars AND nice people. That’s often a rare combination.

What was your first visit to campus like? Cold! It was February. But everyone who I met was so warm.

Favorite place on campus? I don’t have one yet!

This is a unique point in time, as we’re returning after more than a year of pandemic. What do you most look forward to? Seeing people’s faces, experiencing the energy of the classroom.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.

Yes, I do feel that my work, specifically my service work contributes to the Wisconsin Idea. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the UW Indigenous Lands Expropriation Education Group. The support we have received from colleagues and the university to explore the enduring legacy of the University Land Grants and now to create educational modules has been heartening.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties, now that we can attend them again?

It’s still hard to imagine going to parties for me!

Hobbies/other interests: Gardening, being outside at all times, hiking, and trying to stay still enough that a butterfly lands on me.