If you’d like to know a little about me, a great way to meet me and get to know me is through this dialogue/interview with my brother and our family friend, my former theatre director, Keith Wharton, who asked us to speak at a Pride Month education event for employees at M & T Bank as part of its Pride Month Educational Programming. This podcast-style interview took place in late June, 2022.
Jessica Lowell Mason is a Ph.D. candidate and teaching assistant in the Global Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at the University at Buffalo. During the 2020-2021 year, she was a graduate fellow with the College Consortium and the Coalition for Community Writing’s Herstory Training Institute and Fellowship Program, Teaching Memoir for Justice and Peace, a year-long program in partnership with the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook University. In 2022, Jessica was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at the University at Buffalo, and for the past two years, she has served as the Northeast Modern Language Association’s Hospitality Fellow. Jessica has taught courses in composition, rhetoric, and communication at Carl Sandburg College, Spoon River College, Western Illinois University, and Buffalo State College. She currently teaches courses related to writing and rhetoric, literature, gender, sexuality, culture, media literacy, and public policy at the University at Buffalo and at Bard College through the Bard Prison Initiative. Jessica has worked for Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Ujima Theatre Co., Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Jewish Repertory Theatre, and Prometheus Books. In 2014, Jessica was awarded the Gloria Anzaldúa Rhetorician Award by the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Some of her poems, articles, and reviews have been published by Sinister Wisdom, Lambda Literary, Gender Focus, The Comstock Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Lavender Review, Wilde Magazine, Passengers Journal, IthacaLit, The Feminist Wire, Mad in America, SUNY Buffalo’s Romance Studies Journal, and Praeger. She is the author of Woman in Disguise (Saltfire Press, 2013) and Straight Jacket (Finishing Line Press, 2019), as well as the co-editor of Madwomen in Social Justice Literatures, Movements, and Art (Vernon Press, 2023). Her article, “Making Bedlam: Toward a Trauma-Informed Mad Feminist Literary Theory and Praxis,” is forthcoming in Humanities in 2023. She is the co-founder of Madwomen in the Attic, a feminist mental health literacy organization in Buffalo, NY and is the co-facilitator of an ongoing weekly writing workshop in partnership between MITA and the Herstory Writing Workshop, titled “Memoirs to (Re)Imagine Mental Healthcare.”
Image: Portrait of JLM taken by Vincent Lopez.