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Dr. Cynthia Edmonds-Cady

Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Rachel Cooper - RC 303
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  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


Cynthia Edmonds-Cady is an Associate Professor of Social Work, and affiliated faculty in the Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program. She has an expertise in Intersectionality and community engagement, women and poverty, social movement work, ecotherapy methods, and the connection between nature and healing for women trauma survivors.

Teaching Interests & Areas

Diverse Populations, Community Practice, Practice with Families and Groups, and Child and Family Policy. All courses include a community engagement component.

Research Interests & Areas

Nature-based ecotherapy practices (including working with the land, animals, and with regenerative agricultural methods) with women trauma survivors, the community engagement of young low-income mothers, the uses of maternalism in the history of poor women’s social movements, and intersectionality in poor women’s access to reproductive rights during the Jim Crow era.

Research methods include qualitative methods such as: arts-based methods (photo-voice, poetic inquiry, autoethnography), focused ethnography, participatory qualitative mapping/spatial analysis, oral history, and archival methods.

Dr. Edmonds-Cady has presented and published papers on trauma survivors' healing through nature, feminist standpoint theory, the history of the Welfare Rights Movement, race/class and women’s reproductive control in the 1940s-1950s American South, and the use of feminist research methods.

Ph D Social Work

Michigan State University
East Lansing

MSW Social Work

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor

BS Social Work

Eastern Michigan University

University Outstanding Teaching Initiative Award

Illinois State University

Book Review

Edmonds-Cady, C. (2016, December). [Review of the book Shared prosperity in America’s communities, by S.M. Wachter & L. Ding] The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 43, (4), 165-168.

Book, Authored

Edmonds-Cady, C. (2023). Piling Rocks on the Dead. Bottlecap Press. (Chapbook)

Journal Article

Edmonds-Cady, C. (2023). Mapping Communities of Mothering: Where Race, Class, Gender, and Space Intersect. Journal of Progressive Human Services. DOI:10.1080/10428232.2023.2173473
Edmonds-Cady, C. (June 21, 2023). Finding the Solace Outside. Canary Literary Journal
Edmonds-Cady, C. (2017). A Right to Motherhood?
Race, Class, and Reproductive Services in the Jim
Crow South.The Journal of Sociology and
Social Welfare
, 44 (4), 143-166.
Edmonds-Cady, C. and Wingfield, T. (2017). Social Workers: Agents of change or agents of oppression? Social Work Education 36 (4), 430-442.
Edmonds-Cady, C. (2013). Motherhood and agency: American welfare rights activists’ resistance to state control over sexuality and reproduction. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, 3 (2), 134-149.


Edmonds-Cady, C. (2023, April). Making our way Outside: Toward an Embodied Nature Practice. Invited Talk for Earlham College. Richmond, Indiana.
Edmonds-Cady, C. (2023, May). When Human Connection Becomes Dangerous: Creating an Embodied Nature Practice for the Age of Covid. Paper presentation for the nineteenth annual International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Edmonds-Cady, C. (2019, May). Women in the Wild: Writing Evocative
Autoethnographies on Trauma, Nature, and Healing. Paper
presentation for the fifteenth annual International Congress for
Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-
Sosulski, M. and Edmonds-Cady, C. (2018, Oct.).
Through the Looking Glass: Teaching Macro
Practice Skills Through Immersive, Community-
Engaged Learning. Paper presentation for the
Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social
Work Education (CSWE), Orlando, FL.
Anti-Poverty Warriors: Lessons from the Welfare Rights Movement. ISU's Office of Diversity Advocacy Lunch and Learn series. Illinois State University's Office of Diversity Advocacy. (2017)
Edmonds-Cady, and Wingfield, T. (2016, March). From Behind the Walls of the Ivory Tower to the Streets: Knowledge Construction and Positionality in Social Justice Work. Paper presentation for the annual Race, Gender, & Class (RGC) conference at the University of New Orleans Department of Sociology, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Overcoming stereotyping and prejudice: Is it possible?. International Studies Seminar Series. (2015)
Socially Constructing Single-Mother Communities by Mapping the Intersection of Gender, Class, Race, and Space. Eleventh Annual International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI). (2015)
Defining Community at the Intersection of Motherhood, Race, and Space: Low-Income Women’s Civic Engagement. Ninth Annual International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI). (2013)
(Re) defining Civic Engagement: Understanding Community through Women’s Work and Women’s Bodies. Eighth Annual International Congress for Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI). (2012)

Grants & Contracts

SoTL Civic Engagement Small Grant Program. Illinois State University Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. Illinois State University. (2011)
Illinois State University, Pre-tenure Faculty Initiative Grant (PFIG). Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2010)
Illinois State University, New Faculty Initiative Grant (NFIG). Illinois State University. Illinois State University. (2008)
Center for Teaching, Learning, & Technology. Illinois State University, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Workshop seed money. Illinois State University. (2007)
Active Voices of Youth (AVOY) Student Advocacy Center (SAC) of Michigan. W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Private. (2001)