Sociology and Criminology

Donna King

Dr. Donna King

Dr. Donna King / Bear Hall 248 / 910-962-3574 / kingd@uncw.edu

Associate Chair

  • 1994 Ph.D. Sociology, City University of New York, Graduate Center
  • 1986 M.A. Psychology, University of West Georgia
  • 1979 B.A. Music, State University of New York at New Paltz

Specialty Areas

  • Letting Go and the Evolving Self
  • Bodies and Embodiment
  • Feminist Critiques of Consumer Culture
  • Media and Democracy

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Media & Society
  • Sociology of Children and Childhood
  • Popular Culture
  • Self & Society

Research and Awards

Donna King and Catherine (Kay) G. Valentine, editors. 2015. Letting Go: Feminist and Social Justice Insight and Activism. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Donna King and Carrie Lee Smith, editors. 2012. Men Who Hate Women and Women Who Kick their Asses: Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy in Feminist Perspective. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Donna King. 2012. "Toward a Feminist Theory of Letting Go." Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies. 33.3: 53-70.


Nicholas Chagnon and Donna King. 2012. "Challenges in Minimizing Teacher Authority while Facilitating a Student-owned Activism Project," Humboldt Journal of Social Relations: Special Issue on Social Justice Actions, Teaching & Research.

It's a Girl Thing: Tween Queens and the Commodification of Girlhood. Documentary film. 2012. Shannon Silva, writer, producer, director. Donna King, writer, producer.

king smith book cover Girl Thing book cover Letting go

UNCW Faculty Honored with Awards for Teaching, Scholarship and Service, Friday -Sept. 11, 2015 Professor Donna King, J. Marshall Crews Distinguished Faculty Award

Donna King Wins Janet Mason Ellerby Women's and Gender Studies Scholarly Award

Donna King was awarded the 2015 Janet Mason Ellerby Women's and Gender Studies Scholarly Award, which recognizes UNCW faculty for substantial scholarship in the field of women's and gender studies. An active feminist teacher and scholar, King has consistently promoted women's and gender studies at UNCW and in the community through mentoring students, organizing programming, collaborating with colleagues, contributing to our core sociology curriculum (including the areas of media and popular culture) with up-to-date course materials that reflect her ongoing commitment to women's and gender studies, and through her feminist public scholarship. King has produced a substantial body of feminist scholarly work. Her book, Men Who Hate Women and Women Who Kick Their Asses: Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy in Feminist Perspective (Vanderbilt University Press, 2012) is an edited collection of essays by prominent American and Swedish feminist scholars that analyzes cultural messages about misogyny and violence against women, gender and power and the wide range of feminist responses to Larsson's hugely popular work. King served as producer and writer for the award-winning documentary film, It's a Girl Thing: Tween Queens and the Commodification of Girlhood, which critically and creatively examines the development and impact of pervasive corporate marketing to young girls. She has screened the film and participated in Q&As at numerous scholarly conferences both nationally and internationally. She helped organize a two-day UNCW Girlhood event to bring these issues to the local community, which included screening the film and acting as a panelist for discussion. Additionally, she co-authored a book chapter based on her contribution to UNCW's Reel Girls project, where low-income middle school
girls, mentored by sociology, film studies and women studies students, learned gender analysis, media literacy skills and basic film techniques before creating their own films and screening them for a public audience in Lumina Theatre. In her extended essay, "Toward a Feminist Theory of Letting Go," published in Feminist Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies, King lays the groundwork for a new feminist theory that reconnects self-awareness, self-care and social responsibility. She develops and extends her theory in a new book she coedited (forthcoming in 2015) entitled Letting Go: Feminist and Social Justice Insight and Activism (Vanderbilt University Press). King's collection contributes to debates about the negative consequences of neoliberal policies for individuals, communities and the environment. It critiques lean-in "feminism" and contributes to the debate generated by Sheryl Sandberg's problematic yet enormously influential book. King's feminist theory of letting go explores a practice of self-awareness in the service of a more humane, interconnected, interdependent social system, positing that a feminist letting go and its attendant self-care has the potential to be a radical act of awakening to social and environmental injustice and a call to activism for more humane sustainable relationships and structures. King was a founding member of the Women's Resource Center. She sat on the advisory board of directors and successfully chaired it during a difficult time of transition. King is also a longtime and active member of many professional associations, including the feminist organization Sociologists for Women in Society, where she has presented papers and organized sessions on feminist issues.