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Michelle Velasquez-Potts

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Dr. Michelle Velasquez-Potts

Assistant Professor, Women's and Gender Studies

Phone: (405) 325-8683
Pronouns:  she/her/ella

Dr. Michelle Velasquez-Potts (she/her/ella) is an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Her research areas include feminist and queer theory, science and technology studies, critical prison studies, and disability studies.

At OU, Michelle teaches introductory courses (Fall 2023 & Spring 2024: Intro to WGS) and upper division courses (Fall 2023: Contemporary Feminist Thought). Michelle has also taught courses exploring LGBTQ issues, visual culture, protest and activism, and Latinx studies. Outside of academia, Michelle has collaborated on resources about carceral abolition. Disability justice and abolitionist praxis guide her work inside and outside the classroom.

Michelle welcomes all students to come to office hours to discuss what interests them. Favorite topics include: majoring in WGS, disability justice, abolition, Latinx and BIPOC feminisms, queer/trans activisms, graduate school, and life outside of OU.

Michelle received a Ph.D. in the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley and previously taught in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She was also awarded the University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Her first book manuscript Suspended Animation: The Rise of Force-Feeding in Carceral Times examines how state power makes specific use of the feeding tube and the practice of force-feeding to control both bodily life and death among incarcerated people. By situating force-feeding practices at carceral sites such as Guantánamo Bay detention camp and in the history of US medical technologies, the book argues that the punitive administration of the feeding tube blurs the line between life and non-life, producing a state of “suspended animation.”



Between Past and Future: The Slow Death of Indefinite Detention. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience 9, no. 1 (2023): 1–21.

Pedagogies of Negation: Notes on the Politics of Refusal. Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 8, no. 2 (2023): 111–122.

Velasquez-Potts, Michelle. Abolitionist Generosities: On Hunger Striking as Queer Refusal. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 8, no. 3 (2021): 107–125.

Velasquez-Potts, Michelle. From Maze to Guantánamo: Reflections on the Temporality of

Hunger and the Slow Death of Detention, trans. Lise Garond. Tracés: Revue de sciences humaines 41, (2021): 169–186.

Velasquez-Potts, Michelle. The Aesthetics of Torture: Listening to Abu Zubaydah’s Interrogation Drawings. Art Journal Open (2021).

Velasquez-Potts, Michelle. Embodied Refusals: On the Collective Possibilities of Hunger Striking. Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics 2, no. 1 (2020): 212–229.

Velasquez-Potts, Michelle. Carceral Oversight: Force-Feeding and Visuality at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp. Public Culture 31, no. 3 (2019): 581–600.

Velasquez-Potts, Michelle. Staging Incapacitation: The Corporeal Politics of Hunger Striking. Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 29, no. 1 (2019): 25–40.


Regulatory Sites: Management, Confinement and HIV/AIDS. In Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011), edited by Nat Smith and Eric Stanley.


Beyond Inside/Outside: Imagining Safety During COVID-19. Abolition Blog: Pandemic Solidarities and Struggles (2019).