Issues faced by women as a result of the ways that their anatomy is often perceived are among the research interests of Virginia Tech’s Christine Labuski, an anthropologist and an expert on gender, sexuality, and the body. 

Labuski finds that women with chronic genital pain struggle with embarrassment and a lack of adequate information in their efforts to seek health care, which often leads to delays in their diagnosis and a worsening of their condition.

Labuski is an assistant professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies program, and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Science and Technology in Society and in the interdisciplinary doctoral program, Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical,and Cultural Thought

She has written several articles and book chapters regarding genital pain, as well as on the issues faced by members of the transgender population in their search for adequate health care. She has published in The Archives of Sexual Medicine, Feminist Studies, and Transgender Studies Quarterly. 

Her book, "'It Hurts Down There’: The Bodily Imaginaries of Female Genital Pain” is forthcoming from SUNY Press. With Virginia Tech colleague Nicolas Copeland, an assistant professor of sociology, she also co-authored “The World of Wal-Mart: Discounting the American Dream” in 2010.

Labuski will discuss her recent article “Vulnerable Vulvas: Female Genital Integrity in Health and Disease” on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. on the second floor of Newman Library. Her lecture will be the second in the Visible Scholarship Initiative series for the semester. 

Published in Feminist Studies in 2013, “Vulnerable Vulvas” received the journal’s Claire Goldberg Moses Award for theoretical innovation in feminist scholarship.

Labuski, who joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2012, was the recipient this year of grants from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences for a grant-writing initiative and for an international travel award that allowed her to present her work at the Society for the Social Studies of Science meetings in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She holds a Ph.D. and a master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a bachelor's degree from Fitchburg State College.

The Visible Scholarship Initiative is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the University Libraries. Illustrating how faculty address key questions, employ varied methods, and produce significant results makes it possible to acknowledge and encourage research and creative activities that engage challenging questions and demonstrate sophisticated understanding.