Susan B. Kaiser, Interim Dean
Susan B. Kaiser joined the UC Davis Division of Textiles and Clothing in 1980, and over the years her interdisciplinary approach to scholarship has enabled her to foster bridges across the campus. She has been a member of the Women and Gender Studies Program for two decades (director in 2008-09 and 2013-14) and is also affiliated with the Department of Sociology. She spearheaded the establishment of the Science and Society Program and co-founded the Cultural Studies Graduate Group.
Kaiser earned a Bachelor of Science degree in textiles and clothing at the University of Texas at Austin (where she was named an outstanding alumna in 2001); and a Ph.D. in textiles and clothing, with a minor in sociology, at Texas Woman’s University. She was an assistant professor at California State University, Los Angeles, before coming to UC Davis. She is a fellow and past president of the International Textile and Apparel Association, and serves on the editorial board of Fashion Theory.
She has been honored as an outstanding mentor (by the UC Davis Women and Research Consortium) and has held administrative roles, as an associate dean in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (home of textiles and clothing) from 1991 to 1996, and as the Division of Textiles and Clothing chair from 2000 to 2006.
She was a UC Presidential Co-Chair (with Professor Leslie Rabine) for Undergraduate Education from 2003 to 2007, developing curricula related to “Transnational Production and Consumption of Fashion” — bringing together students from an array of majors to focus on linkages among social justice, the environment and material culture. Kaiser cited among her proudest achievements her participation with team leader Judith Newton, Kent Ono and others in developing the Cultural Studies Graduate Group.
Her current research focuses on themes of place and space, with particular interest in (a) those (e.g., rural areas, small towns) that are neglected as sites of fashion interest and (b) their interplay with intersecting identities: gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, social class, and national identity.
She is the author of The Social Psychology of Clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context, first published in 1985 and republished in 1990 and 1997, and translated into Japanese, Chinese and Korean; and Fashion and Cultural Studies (2012), and has written or co-written nearly 100 articles and book chapters in the fields of textile and fashion studies, gender studies, consumer studies, cultural studies and sociology.