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Letter from the Director

Welcome to the redesigned and interactive website of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Our many new features include a blog, “School for Scandal,” which we hope will serve as a conversation starter around issues concerning gender and sexuality. There will be regular posts from yours truly as well as from an exciting array of guest bloggers. Look here, too, for follow-up reports on the Center’s events throughout the year.

Our website makeover is deliberately—and playfully—tabloid in style, with the bubble gum colors reminiscent of US Weekly. Now, playful is not the opposite of serious. Indeed, if we are openly courting scandal, we do so to mark the ongoing caricature of gender and sexuality studies as at once too trivial to count as serious scholarship and too dangerous for impressionable students.

These two accusations may seem like throwbacks to the culture wars of the late 80s and 90s. But, when it comes to the combustible combination of queers, classrooms, and budgetary bad times, certain accusations, to quote the well-known ad from Master Card, are priceless. So, rather than refuse the charge, we thought we’d go straight at it (well, not exactly “straight,” but you know what I mean…). After all, critics of gender and sexuality studies are hardly pulling their punches.

For example, in February 2009, Republican legislators in the state of Georgia took aim at classes in queer theory and the sociology of sex at both Georgia State University and the University of Georgia, promising to team up with the Christian Coalition to rid public universities of faculty teaching these scandalously inappropriate topics. The Athens Banner Herald headlined the controversy, “Steamy sex courses fire GOP’s ire.” Luckily, “ire” was the only thing fired, and no faculty lost their jobs—this time round.

However, as historian and self-avowed “tenured radical” Claire Potter has pointed out in her blog, we should not be surprised by the return of these old-school attacks on queer and feminist faculty and queer and feminist studies. Let me quote her at some length: “In the face of declining state revenues, right wingers are once again ‘Mapplethorping’ the public. They are shilling their ideologically rigid view that even more school privatization, and deep cuts in higher education, are an appropriate fix for a plunging economy that has been jointly devastated by pirate capitalists, corporate lobbyists, and decades of neoliberal fiscal policies. How can the dismantling of higher education be turned into a happy thing, you might ask? Because you can get rid of fields of knowledge that students don’t need to know, and that might even harm them, like queer and feminist studies, while preserving the teaching of ‘universal values.’ And by doing this, you can divert attention from the real consequences to real people of policies that are turning our public universities into a simulacrum of the wretched, privatized Postal Service.”

Potter wrote these comments well before “death panels” and “abortion on demand” became rallying cries for right-wing talk show hosts, who urged on a “grassroots” social movement to oppose Obama’s “socialist” take-over of national health care. (We should be so lucky.)

No matter the actual facts of the matter, these particular attacks on health care reform have succeeded in sowing confusion, mistrust, and outright anger in no small part because of the way they link into morally loaded issues concerning bodily life, and sexual life remains a hot button issue no less under the Obama administration than during the Bush years, progressive hopes notwithstanding. There is already plenty of evidence that Obama’s much-trumpeted talent for finding the center falters when it comes to sexual equality, never mind sexual freedom. Attacks on gender and sexuality studies, and ongoing attempts to defund them, are thus part of larger battles over the meaning and limits of sexual justice and gender equality.

This is no laughing matter, to be sure, but it is all the more reason to make room for serious play as we dig in for the long haul. Social change is not built in one election cycle. Obviously, we need to do more than “just” laugh in the face of outlandish attacks on queers and feminists and anti-racist organizers, but laughter is one way to start girding our loins. (Thank you, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.) Otherwise it’s gonna be one unhappy march to the revolution.

– Ann Pellegrini
Director, CSGS

April 24: Religious Freedom “versus” Equal Rights? Emerging Dilemmas in Law and Policy Across the Americas: Gender, Sexuality, Religion



Religious Freedom “versus” Equal Rights? Emerging Dilemmas in Law and Policy Across the Americas: Gender, Sexuality, Religion

a forum with Lori G. Beaman, Benjamin Berger, Katherine M. FrankeMarco Huaco, Louise Melling, Julieta Lemaitre Ripoll, Pam Spees, Nelson Tebbe, Juan Marco Vaggione, Rev. Winnie Varghese–and more

Thursday, April 24
2 to 6 pm

For a preview of the day’s conversation, click HERE.

Lori G. Beaman, Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada

Benjamin Berger, Osgoode Hall Law School, Canada

Katherine M. Franke, Columbia Law School

Marco Huaco, President & Founder, Institute Pro Religious Freedom and Public Affaires (PROLIBRE), Peru

Louise Melling, Center for Liberty, American Civil Liberties Union

Julieta Lemaitre Ripoll, Legal Theory, University of the Andes, Colombia

Pam Spees, staff attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights

Nelson Tebbe, Brooklyn Law School

Juan Marco Vaggione, Sociology, School of Law, National University of Córdoba, Argentina, and the Argentinean National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)

Rev. Winnie Varghese, Rector, St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery

This forum is part of a larger multi-year initiative on “Managing Religious Diversity in the Neoliberal Americas,” based at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics and funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. For this April event, we are gathering leading legal scholars, policy practitioners, and religious studies scholars from across the Americas to consider tensions—real and alleged—between religious freedom and social equality.

This framing – religious liberty “versus” social equality for women and LGBT people – is happening across the Americas, but its specific forms, policy solutions, and vocabularies are not taking the same shape in each national context.

In the United States, for example, we see an amplification of rhetoric that pits the claims for equality and rights of LGBT people and women “against” the religious liberty of traditionalist opponents of, for example, homosexuality and abortion. But this is more than rhetoric: in March 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a major “religious liberty” challenge to the contraceptive provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and religious exemptions are the next frontier in the political and legal fight over same-sex marriage in the United States.

In Argentina, the Asosiación de Derechos Civiles (ADC) has challenged the compulsory teaching of Catholic education in public schools in the Province of Salta, calling it a violation of students’ rights to receive a secular education. In June 2013, the provincial Supreme Court upheld the Catholic curriculum. In their ruling, the Justices based their decision in part on the fact that a majority of citizens in that province are Catholic. The ADC is appealing the decision. Meanwhile, Christian communities in Chiapas and other parts of Mexico are demanding the right to home school children in a context where secular elementary education is compulsory.

These disputes across the Americas reveal the fractures and realignments that occur when the dominance or hegemony of particular religious institutions come under challenge, whether due to an increase in religious diversity and/or to changes at the level of the state. How are we to make sense of and respond to these phenomena? What critical tools are being used by local actors to respond to their specific national debates? How might we together develop analyses and activist tool-kits capable of thinking and acting across national boundaries and legal differences?

Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics
Conference Room
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor


Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality and the Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics; funding provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.

This event is free & open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, please contact the Hemispheric Institute at 212-998-1631.

Facebook event page here.



May 2: Temporality in Question: Psychoanalysis Meets Queer Time



Temporality in Question: Psychoanalysis Meets Queer Time

a panel discussion with William Auerbach, Carolyn Dinshaw, Katie Gentile, & Ann Pellegrini

Friday, May 2
4 to 6 pm

William Auerbach, psychologist in private practice in New York City

Carolyn Dinshaw, English and Social & Cultural Analysis, New York University

Katie Gentile, Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis, New York University

Ann Pellegrini, Performance Studies and Religious Studies, New York University

This forum stages a paradox: Over the past 15 years, scholars in queer studies have produced a rich and richly heterogeneous body of work linking temporal and sexual dissidence. In order to rethink and interrupt “straight,” or linear, time, much of this scholarship draws on and critically reworks psychoanalysis—prominently: Freud’s conceptions of melancholia, repetition compulsion, trauma, and the ongoing affective and erotic force of the past in the present more generally. In the main, however, and despite the arguable centrality of time for psychoanalysis as theory and as practice (in the form of the clinical hour, for example), psychoanalysts have only recently begun to address themselves to questions of time or temporality as such. This event brings together scholars and clinicians to explore what queer theories of temporality and untimely bodies might say to psychoanalysis and its conceptions of time.

Great Room
19 University Place, Ground Floor


Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, and by Studies in Gender & Sexuality.

This event is free and open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.  Seating is first-come.

For more information, please contact CSGS at csgs(at)nyu.edu or 212-992-9540.

Facebook event page here.

Image by Kimberly Haines.



April 21: “I Use My Love to Guide Me”: Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Impossible Situations



“I Use My Love to Guide Me”: Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Impossible Situations

a panel discussion with Reina Gossett, CeCe McDonald, & Dean Spade

Monday, April 21
7:30 pm

Event is free, but registration is REQUIRED — click here to register!

For more information about this event, please contact the Barnard Center for Research on Women at bcrw(at)barnard.edu.

In 2011, CeCe McDonald was a fashion design student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College when while walking to a grocery store, she and her friends were attacked by a group of white people shouting racist and transphobic slurs. When CeCe fatally stabbed one of their attackers in self defense, she was arrested and eventually imprisoned for 19 months. As she awaited trial and experienced incarceration, the Transgender Youth Support Network in Minnesota created the Free CeCe campaign, inspiring an international community of activists to support CeCe and rally for her freedom. Throughout, CeCe updated community members with her evocative and thoughtful writing on police brutality, transphobia, homophobia, racism, and the power of love against systems of injustice.

Recently, CeCe joined prison abolition activists Reina Gossett and Dean Spade in a conversation about her own experiences surviving trauma and impossible situations, and the importance of collective organizing for people facing systems of violence. Videos from this conversation will be available here shortly.

On April 21, CeCe, Reina, and Dean will share additional excerpts from their discussion and continue the conversation, responding to questions from the audience and online. Join us to support CeCe and the continued push for an end to the prison system and the institutionalized structures of violence throughout our society which support it.

Reina Gossett lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and believes creativity & imagination are vital in movements for self determination. She is a trans activist & artist, working as membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and blogging at reinagossett.com. Reina’s work has been featured in BCRW’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, as well as Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment & The Prison Industrial Complex. She is an activist fellow at BCRW.

CeCe McDonald is an activist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a creative and energetic person who, before her life was so unjustly interrupted, was studying fashion design at MCTC. She had a stable home where she lived with and helped support four other African American youth, her family. CeCe’s family describes her as a leader, a role model, and a loyal friend. She is known as a wise, out-spoken, and welcoming person, with a history of handling prejudice with amazing grace. She is currently working with actress Laverne Cox and director Jac Gares on a documentary about her experience.

Dean Spade is the founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of the Law, and an associate professor at Seattle University School of Law. He is currently a fellow in the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School.

The Auditorium at The New School
66 West 12th Street

This event is part of the series No One is Disposable, which features conversations on trans activism and prison abolition with BCRW activist fellow Reina Gossett.

Co-sponsored by the Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Office of Social Justice Initiatives at The New School, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU.


This event is free, but registration is REQUIRED — click here to register!

For more information about this event, please contact the Barnard Center for Research on Women at bcrw(at)barnard.edu.



March 11 & 12: Brother to Brother, Sister to Sister



Brother to Brother, Sister to Sister

a series celebrating the works of LGBT artists

Tuesday & Wednesday, March 11 & 12

IAAA (Institute of African American Affairs) at New York University continues the year-long series on lectures, poetry readings, and film screenings with key figures, as well as emerging stars, of the LGBT intelligentsia. At a time when LGBT issues are openly being considered in mainstream consciousness, it prompts us to rethink the boundaries and conceptual paradigms surrounding the production of cultural knowledge from the perspectives of LGBT artists, scholars and activists. These conversations will be an exploration into the many LGBT narratives that examine and reveal perceptions, attitudes, continuous negotiations or renegotiations, and creative systems of survival.

Events are free and open to the public. Please RSVP as indicated below.


Tuesday, March 11
7:30 pm

A conversation with Janet Mock and Laverne Cox.

SOLD OUT

Watch online: Livestreaming info will be made available at: www.nyu.edu/lgbtq

NYU Global Center
238 Thompson Street, Room C-95s

This event presented by NYU Women’s HERstory MonthCMEP‘s Multiple (Eye)dentity Series; LGBTQ Student Center‘s Storytelling & Performance Series; and Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

Moderated by Mya L. Vazquez


Wednesday, March 12
6:30 pm

a panel discussion with Seyi Adebanjo, James Earl Hardy, Q-Roc Ragsdale, & C. Riley Snorton

Space is limited. RSVP for March 12 program at 212-998-IAAA (4222).

20 Cooper Square, 7th Floor

For more information & updates please visit IAAA.



April 11-13: Living Labor: Marxism and Performance Studies



Living Labor: Marxism and Performance Studies

a conference with keynotes by Fred Moten and Sianne Ngai

Friday through Sunday, April 11-13

To live labor is to negotiate the extended processes of reproducing ourselves and others. To live labor is to engage the material conditions that traverse personhood and thinghood. To live labor is to attend to the forces, resonances, and energies that intertwine in the affects and objects of everyday life. For this reason, Living Labor: Marxism and Performance Studies invites submissions that explore the intersections of performance studies and Marxist philosophies. Papers may intervene at points of seeming incompatibility, address convergences, or look forward to emerging discourses relating to this nexus.

Department of Performance Studies Studio
721 Broadway, Room 612

For panel times, other details and more information, please visit livinglaborconference.tumblr.com or contact the NYU Department of Performance Studies.

Co-sponsored by the NYU Department of Performance Studies; and the Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality; Department of Art & Public Policy; Department of English; Department of Media, Culture & Communication; and Department of Art & Art Professions.



This event is free and open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.

Facebook event page here.



April 10: Perverse Ambitions, Deviant Careers: A Queer History of the Modern American Workplace



Perverse Ambitions, Deviant Careers: A Queer History of the Modern American Workplace

a lecture by Margot Canaday

Thursday, April 10
6:30 to 8 pm

Margot Canaday, History, Princeton University

While historians of sexuality have explored working class cultures, an assumption that workplaces were “straight spaces” in which queer people passed has limited inquiry into the workplace itself. Yet the workplace shaped queer life as much as the bar or the street. Fear of job loss was a central fact of queer life for most of the twentieth century. Moreover, because of a modern equivalence between work and personal identity (the job makes the person, said Marx), occupations have been central to establishing sexual identity. This talk—part of a larger book project that centers the workplace in queer history—offers a preliminary ethnography of LGBTs working in mainstream occupations during the American economy’s “golden age” of the 1950s and 1960s.

Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor

Co-sponsored by the NYU Department of Social & Cultural Analysis.



This event is free and open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, please contact CSGS @ csgs(at)nyu.edu or 212-992-9540.

Facebook event page here.



April 1: Hopefully Devoted, or the Feminist Lyre



Hopefully Devoted, or the Feminist Lyre

a lecture by P.A. Skantze

Tuesday, April 1
6:30 to 8 pm

P.A. Skantze, Performance Practices, University of Roehampton, and CSGS Global Visiting Scholar

This lecture, born of P.A. Skantze’s project The Flaneur at Her Devotions, makes use of a new methodology Skantze has been experimenting with: lyric theory, questions of gender, wandering, longing, and devotion as “temporal insurgency,” to use Fred Moten’s term. Who is allowed to take their time? Can we be an ethical thorn in the side of the businessification of learning if we insist on being inconvenient, digressing, getting lost? What does attending to the accidental auditory — what might, in a bad pun, be thought of as the practice of flanearing — produce against the visual grain of the flat screens, mini and grand, constantly jostling the present aside? As with all Skantze’s work, in this talk she is interested in the breath of “something like a universal,” as deployed by those of us too often assumed to be hindered by the specific: the specifics of gender, of race, of sexual orientation. Is it feminist to sing theory? Is it queer to write in meter? Let’s find out.

Department of Performance Studies Studio
721 Broadway, Room 612

Co-sponsored by the NYU Department of Performance Studies.



This event is free and open to the public.  Venue is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, please contact CSGS @ csgs(at)nyu.edu or 212-992-9540.

Facebook event page here.



Inaugural Global Visiting Scholar: P.A. Skantze

CSGS Inaugural Global Visiting Scholar: spring 2014 P.A. Skantze

P.A. Skantze is a director, writer and spectator of theatre and performance based in London and Italy. She works internationally with her performance company Four Second Decay. Her performance projects include All that Fell an experiment in physical radio, Audible Montage or Eurydice’s Footsteps, and [...]

March 6: The AIDS Generation

The AIDS Generation

a panel discussion with Eric Bartley, Jack Drescher, & Perry N. Halkitis

Thursday, March 6 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Eric Bartley, AIDS activist and Housing Works, Inc. Board of Directors member

Jack Drescher, psychiatrist & psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City

Perry N. Halkitis, Applied Psychology, Public Health [...]

Feb 8: Remembering José Esteban Muñoz

Remembering José Esteban Muñoz

Please join Tisch School of the Arts and the Department of Performance Studies in remembering the life and work of José Esteban Muñoz

Saturday, February 8 11 am to 1 pm

Eisner & Lubin Auditorium Kimmel Center 60 Washington Square South

Reception to follow 1 to 2pm Kimmel Center [...]