To Dr. Martha McCaughey, Appalachian State University sociology majors understand the importance of research in understanding a social problem and then coming up with a solution.
“They are passionate change-makers, community organizers and advocates of the disenfranchised or disempowered,” McCaughey said. “They want to make the world a better place.”
McCaughey left a tenured position at a larger research university to join the faculty at Appalachian in fall 2003 because “the campus felt more like a community I wanted to be a part of. The faculty really care about the students, and the students are eager to connect with their professors,” she said.
After coming to Appalachian, McCaughey’s research interests have remained the same: gender, sexuality, violence and technology. Her scholarly reputation in the areas of feminist theory and sexual assault prevention was established with her widely cited 1997 book, “Real Knockouts: The Physical Feminism of Women’s Self-Defense.” But now, her career allows her to write not only academic work but also for broader audiences (such as in Ms. magazine) and do creative work that engages in public conversations about social issues.
For example, McCaughey made a short video with Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Beth Davison, articulating an academic article with the hope that communicating the information in this other medium would help it reach a wider audience.
McCaughey also started the blog See Jane Fight Back with Dr. Jill Cermele in response to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The blog uses humor and creativity to communicate the research establishing the effectiveness of self-defense training as a part of sexual assault prevention.
McCaughey has written many articles and several books, most recently “The Caveman Mystique: Pop-Darwinism and the Debates over Sex, Violence, and Science” and “ Cyberactivism on the Participatory Web.”
In addition to teaching, she is faculty coordinator of First Year Seminar, a required course for all freshmen. She also writes a blog for first-year students.
Dr. Martha McCaughey has authored several books, including “Real Knockouts: The Physical Feminism of Women’s Self-Defense,” “The Caveman Mystique: Pop-Darwinism and the Debates over Sex, Violence, and Science” and“Cyberactivism on the Participatory Web.”