Photo of Julia "Jules" Balén

Julia "Jules" Balén

Professor, English

Contact Information


Ph.D. Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies, The University of Arizona, 1993


Julia Balén came to CSUCI from the University of Arizona having served as Associate Director of the BA and MA programs in Women's Studies. During the eight years in this position Balén worked with others to develop strong graduate, undergraduate, and internship/service learning programs including an innovative concentration in Chicana Studies.

Balén served as principle investigator on a faculty/curriculum development grant funded by the Ford Foundation through the Institute for Public Media Arts to produce a year-long, team-taught course that addressed oppressive practices and issues of diversity through a combination of theory, experiential learning, and video production. The course, "Crossing Boundaries: Diversity and Representation," engaged cultural, critical race, and feminist theories with creative writing and video production. At CI, Balén has worked with students in LGBT Studies to bring research on bullying to local community leaders through an annual Anti-Bullying Summit (video link below).

Balén earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies from the University of Arizona with a focus on embodiment and power relations and has published numerous articles on topics ranging from feminist humor to activism and pedagogy. Balén's book on LGBTIQ choral movement, _A Queerly Joyful Noise: Choral Musicking for Social Justice_ (Rutgers, Oct 2017), takes up how choral musicking offers effective counterstorying opportunities that specifically address the cultural damage to the identities of LGBTIQ peoples and how such practices might be amplified to better heal and create social change.

Areas of specialization include twentieth and twenty-first-century world literature, feminist & ethnic studies, post-colonial philosophy, activism and social change, sexuality and gender studies.

Trained in facilitation and mediation processes, Balén combines this practice with the research on engaging differences productively--to help groups see differences as a source of vitality. Balén is proud to be serving as CI's Interim Faculty Development Coordinator and on HSI initiatives. Balén consults in the community and nationally with organizations interested in social justice that want to better align their decision-making processes with their ideals. (See Liberating Group Wisdom link below).

Before and during the process of earning degrees Balén worked as a carpenter, building everything from furniture and cabinets to houses and apartment complexes, and teaching carpentry skills to women and underprivileged teens. But the job Balén loved best--besides teaching--was delivering singing telegrams.

Representative Courses Taught

  • ENGL 349 Multicultural Literature
  • ENGL 432 Arts of the Harlem Renaissance
  • GEND 433 Intro to LGBT Studies
  • ENGL 354 Studies in Cultural Literature
  • FJS 210 Ethics for a Free World
  • PHIL 210 Ethics for a Free World
  • FJS 360 Exploring Freedom and Justice



twentieth and twenty-first-century world literature, feminist studies, post-colonial philosophy, activism and social change, sexuality and gender studies

Additional Teaching and Research Information