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Carolyn Stauffer

DEPARTMENT: Applied Social Sciences Dept

POSITION: Associate Professor

DEPARTMENT: MA in Organizational Leadership

POSITION: Associate Professor

DEPARTMENT: MA in Biomedicine

POSITION: Co-director

LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | RLN 225

PHONE: (540) 432-4453


Carolyn Stauffer has taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at 2 higher education institutions on the African continent and holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She lived and worked in Southern Africa (16 years) and the Middle East (17 years). Stauffer has conducted trainings in Asia, the South Pacific, North America, East and Central Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. As a veteran in cross-cultural settings, Stauffer is an agile educator who uses both left and right brain educational approaches to engage our postmodern and global world.

Stauffer’s research interests include gender-based violence, social capital, resilience and trauma, and intersectionality theory applications. Undergirding Stauffer’s academic pursuits is a rich tapestry of work experience in the human service and humanitarian aid arenas. While in the U.S., Stauffer worked in the mental health field in the Shenandoah Valley as well as researching urban demographics amongst marginalized center-city communities in Richmond, Virginia. During her decade and a half in Africa, Stauffer worked under the auspice of MCC, an international relief and development organization with development and emergency assistance training initiatives that took her from the southern-most tip of the continent (Cape Town) to the outlaying eastern parts of Uganda (Jinja).

During her time in South Africa, Stauffer worked as an organizational development consultant (with NGOs and blue chip companies undergoing dramatic post-Apartheid workplace diversity shifts), in the domestic and gender-based violence field (as a senior trauma counselor and public relations officer for a rape crisis support center), and as a community development specialist (and founding member of a Soweto-based HIV/AIDS Program servicing AIDS infected or affected communities living in the informal settlements surrounding Johannesburg). Stauffer weaves the depth and breadth of these many and varied experiences into her decade of teaching.

Carolyn is married to CJP professor Dr. Carl Stauffer, and together they have had the privilege of sharing life with two university-age children. Carolyn is fluent in Hebrew, loves dance, music and art, and enjoys all things creative, imaginative and off the beaten track.


  • Ph.D., Sociology University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (2010)
  • M.A., Public Administration Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA (1990)
  • B.A., Social Work Eastern Mennonite College, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA (1984)


  • Stauffer, C. (2017). Infrapolitics of Defiance: Forms of Agency Exhibited by Homeless Survivors of Gender-based Violence. Social Sciences, MDPI: Open Access. doi:10.3390/socsci6030070
  • Stauffer, C. (2017). Narrating the Gift: Scripting Cycles of Reciprocity in Gauteng in Mottiar, S. and Ngcoya, M. (Eds.) Philanthropy in South Africa: Horizontality, Ubuntu and Social Justice. Pretoria, South Africa: HSRC Press. ISBN: 9780796925671
  • Stauffer, C. (2015). The Sexual Politics of Gender-based Violence in South Africa: Linking Private and Public Worlds. Journal for the Sociological Integration of Religion and Society, 5(1), 1-16. ISSN: 2159-8711
  • Stauffer, C. (2007). Africa: Fast Forwarding into the Future. FutureTakes: Transcultural Futurist Magazine, 6 (1). ISSN: 1554-7744
  • Stauffer, C. (2007). Riding Waves of Change: Women in Church Leadership, VBI Publications, Working Papers: Southern Africa, August 2007.
  • Stauffer, C. and Stauffer, C. (Eds.). (2005-2010). Peace Pathways, Regional Peace Network,
  • Stauffer, C. and Stauffer, C. (2002). Nurturing the Tree of Peace, MCC Peace Office Publications, 32(1), 1-4.

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

  • “Mechanisms of Underground Resistance: Patterns of Dissociative Behavior Among Homeless Domestic Violence Survivors”
    International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation – Annual Conference, Washington DC (March 30 – April 3, 2017)
  • “Infrapolitics of Defiance: Forms of Agency Exhibited by Homeless Survivors of Gender-based Violence”
    Global Status of Women and Girls Conference, Christopher Newport University, VA (March 24-26, 2017)
  • “Dressing the Wound: Dynamics of Sexual Abuse and Recovery within Religious Enclaves”
    Global Status of Women and Girls Conference, Christopher Newport University, VA (March 3-5, 2016)
  • “Locked In, Locked Up, or Locked Out: Social Capital Networks as Forms of Resilience Among Battered Undocumented Latinas”
    Peace and Justice Studies Association – Annual Conference, James Madison University, VA (Oct 15-17, 2015)
  • “Visible and Invisible Dissent: The Subversive Actions of Homeless Women Who Are Survivors of Gender-based Violence”
    Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology – Annual Conference, Montgomery, AL (Oct 8-10, 2015)
  • “Rebuilding in the Aftermath of Environmental Disasters: Community Resilience Strategies (co-presenter)
    Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan (June 20, 2015)
  • “Understanding Complex Trauma: Biopsychosocial Interactions” (co-presenter)
    Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan (June 16, 2015)
  • “Bodies as Battlefields: Reimaging Women’s Roles in Conflict Zones”
    Virginia Social Science Association, Norfolk State University, VA. (March 28, 2015)
  • “Healthy Sexuality”, (co-presenter)
    Small College Counseling Association, EMU, Harrisonburg, VA. (March 20, 2015)
  • “Faith and Trauma: Anabaptist Perspectives”
    American Islamic College, Chicago, IL. (March 15, 2015)
  • “Peace Building in Intimate Domains: Domestic Violence Unveiled”
    Pacific Center for Peacebuilding, Suva, Fiji, (June 5, 2014)
  • “A Subversive Shalom: Enacting Radical Peace” (co-presenter)
    Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship Conference, EMU Harrisonburg, VA. (Feb 1, 2014)
  • “Gender Mainstreaming in War and Peace: Panacea, Band-Aid, or First Step?”
    Virginia Commonwealth University: Women, War & Peace Conference, Richmond, VA. (Sept. 20-21, 2013)
  • “Christ in the Public Square: Transformational Development?
    Calvin College: Faith and International Development Conference, Grand Rapids, MI. (Feb 1-3, 2013)
  • “The Interplay Between Development and Gender Empowerment Issues: Where to From Here?”
    Calvin College: Faith and International Development Conference, Grand Rapids, MI. (Feb 2010)
  • “Patterns of Social Reciprocity in the New South Africa”
    University of the Witwatersrand: Post Graduate University Colloquium, Johannesburg, South Africa, (Sept. 4-5, 2009)
  • “Teen Sexuality Unzipped”
    South African Department of Education: Keynote Address, National Conference: Life & Love at Schools, Bedfordview, South Africa (September 24, 2009)
  • “Betwixt and Between: Gauteng’s Black Professionals at the Nexus of Contradictory Class Locations?”
    University of Johannesburg: Comprehending Class Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa (June 22-25, 2009)