Research Themes

In order to support interdisciplinary search by faculty and students and to enhance students' education, every year GSWS brings leading scholars to campus and mobilizes local experts whose work aligns with a one- or two-year research theme.  Lectures, colloquia, panel discussions, pedagogical workshops, film screenings, and other events allow members of the Pitt community to deepen their understanding of particular areas of scholarship, engage with emerging ideas, and consider their implications for pedagogy and curriculum. GSWS also sponsors conferences (usually a graduate student and faculty conference plus a conference showcasing undergraduate work) in support of some of these research themes.

GSWS also sponsors reading groups and presentations of work-in-progress by faculty and students.  In addition to reading groups supporting research themes and focusing on works by visiting scholars, reading groups in recent years have focused on transracial/transgender connections, intersectionality and its discontents, and gender and affect.  An ongoing reading group is aligned with the gender and science initiative and organized by Dr. Bridget Keown ( 

2021-2023: "Mobilizing Against Ethnonationalism: Intersectional Approaches"

In solidarity with the important programming around anti-Black racism in 2020-21 and in recognition of the special pressures created by remote instruction during the pandemic, GSWS has deferred programming supporting its next two-year research theme until Fall 2021.  Members of the Pitt community who wish to be notified about these events or who wish to propose collaborations or co-sponsorships aligned with the research theme may email the Program Director, Nancy Glazener (

The working conceptualization of "Mobilizing Against Ethnonationalism:  Intersectional Approaches":

In its myriad forms — demagoguery, fundamentalism, authoritarian populism, white supremacy — ethnonationalism always entails violence against those people it minoritizes through its vitriolic rhetoric and exclusionary politics, and gender and sexuality are always involved. In our programming for the next two years (2021-2023), GSWS invites intersectional approaches to understanding how groups and individuals resist and oppose ethnonationalism (now and in the past, in the US and throughout the world). Drawing on the foundational work of the Black feminist scholars who developed intersectionality and aiming to learn from and build on subaltern knowledges and practices of dissent, we want to create programming that investigates what resistance and mobilization can teach us about survival and solidarity, locally and globally. We invite suggestions for programming across disciplines and creative fields that draws on local talents or people we might bring to Pitt, that highlights both novel and longstanding strategies of mobilization and resistance, and that incorporates public intellectuals and community leaders and activists as well as academics.

2018-2020: "Gender and Science"

Ami McKay. Lecture: "Until We Are Tested: Lessons Learned from Exploring the History of Women in Medicine through Literary Narrative." (October 2018)

Craig Konnoth and Zena Sharman. Symposium: "Access, Advocacy, and Empowerment: Health and Well-Being of LGBTQ Youth."  (October 2018)

Scott W. Stern. Lecture: "Sex, Surveillance, and Social Control:  Casting 'Promiscuous' Women as Threats to National Security, and Incarcerating." (January 2019)

Carolyn Sufrin. Lecture: "Reproductive Health, Reproductive Justice, and Incarceration in the US" (January 2019)

Rajani Bhatia. Lecture: "Gender Before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context." Colloquium: "Intersectionality in STS: Boundary Object or Insurgent Practice?" (March 2019)

Victoria Pitts-Taylor. Lecture: "How to Wait:  Temporal Narratives of Medicalized Gender Transition." Colloquium:  "Chronopolitics and the Scientization of a Gender 'Disorder'" (September 2019)

Rebecca Jordan-Young. Lecture: "Did Testosterone Cause the Crash of 2008?  Science and Myths of Gender, Social Class, and Risk." (November 2019)

Sarah S. Richardson. Lecture: "The Maternal Imprint: Gender, Heredity, and the Biosocial Body." Colloquium: "Sex Contextualism." (January 2020)

Jenny Reardon. Lecture: "The Postgenomic Condition: Truth, Race, and Justice after the Genome." Colloquium: "Science and Justice: The Trouble, The Promise, and a Training Program." (March 2020)

2017-2018: "Gender and the Child"

Kathryn Stockton. Lecture: "Race, Face, Ravage, and Lyrical Fat: Deleuze and Childhood Porverty." Colloquium: "Makimg Out, Queerly: Kissing, Reading, Sex with Ideas (A Theoretical Memoir)." (September 2017)

Screening of transgender documentary Real Boy and discussion with director Shaleece Haas. (November 2017)

Mary Celeste Kearney. Lecture: " 'Against a Sharp White Background': Toward Intersectinoal Research in Girls' Media Studies." Workshop: "Looking Elsewhere: Creative Methodologies in Historical Media Research." (February 2018)

Sahar Sadjadi. Lecture: "Preemptimng 'The Breasts that Will Have to Be Removed': Puberty Suppression and Pediatric Gender Transition." (Febryary 2018)

Gayle Salamon. Lecture: "Retroactive Crossing-Out: Transgender Comportment in Public Schools." (February 2018)

Alice Dreger. Lecture: "Working Toward the Rights of Intersex People." (February 2018)

Discussion: "Wonder Woman: Gender, Fantasy, and Badass Feminism" (March 2018)

Conference: "Playing with Childhood in the Twenty-First Century" LINK (April 2018)

C.J. Pascoe. Lecture: "Taking Young People Seriously: Inequalities in Contemporary Childhoods." (April 2018)

2016-2017: "Masculinities"

Damon Young. Undergraduate discussion about the digital magazine Very Smart Brothas. (February 2017)

Ronald Jackson. Lecture: "The Dangerous Fantasies of Post-racialism and the Black Bogeyman." Discussion: "Teaching about Race: Whose Intellectual Traditions Matter and What We Can Do About It." (February 2017)

Jane Ward. Lecture: "The Tragedy of Heterosexuality." Colloquium about Ward's book Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men. (March 2017)

Chris Haywood. Lecture: "Teacher Sex, Pupils, and Masculinity."  (April 2017)

International Colloquium: "Masculinity and Affect." (April 2017)

Undergraduate Symposium: "Masculinities." Keynote speaker Brian Broome. (April 2017)

2014-2016: "Embodiment: Experience, Representation, Politics"

Anne Fausto-Sterlng. Lecture: "How Your Generic Baby Acquires Gender: A Dynamic Systems Approach." Colloquium: "The Dynamic Development of Gender Variability." Undergraduate colooquium about Fausto-Sterling's book Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World. (October 2014)

Laina Bay-Cheng. Lecture: "The Body Agentic: Neoliberal Metrics for Appraising Young Women's Sexuality." Colloquium on Bay-Cheng's work. (November 2014)

Ernesto Vasquez del Aguila. Lecture: "Being a Man in a Transnational World: The Masculinity and Sexuality of Migration." (November 2014)

Kerrie Kauer. Work-in-Progress Discussion: "A Feminist Cultural Studies Approach to Yoga: Co-optation or Counter Hegemonic Emnodiment?" (January 2015)

Chloe Hogg. Lecture: "Noble Wounds and the Surgeon King: Mediated Embodiments in Early Modern France." (January 2015)

Santiago Fouz Hernández. Lecture: "Erotic Passions: The Spanish Transition and the Early Work of Bigas Luna." (March 2015)

Conference: "Reproductive Health, Access and Action." GET INFO (March 2015)

Jeffrey McCune. Lecture: "From Fairytale Hip-Hop to Ferguson USA: A Canon of Prejudice." Colloquium on McCune's book Sexual Discretion: Black Masculnity and the Politics of Passing. (March 2015)

Todd Reeser. Lecture: "Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance."

Sally Jo Snyder. Lecture for undergraduates: "All of me. . . All the time: An Honest Conversation on Gender, Sexuality, and Disability." (September 2015)

Katrina Karkazis. Lecture: "The Trouble with Too Much T: Examining Eligibility Policies for Elite Women Athletes." Colloquium on Karkazis's book Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience. (September 2015)

Lisa Parker. Lecture: "Gender, Genes, and Justice." Provost's Advisory Committee on Women's Concerns Lecture. (October 2015)

Lucas Gottzén. Lecture: "Affective Atmospheres and Domestic Violence." Undergraduate colloquium: "Displaying Shame: Masculinity and Responses to Men's Violence Against Women." (November 2015)

Sara Goodkind. Lecture: "Are My Pants Lowering Your Test Scores?: Blaming Girls for Challenges Facing Boys." (February 2016)

Kale Fajardo. Lecture:  "Queer/Asian Filipinos in Oregon: A Trans* Coloinial Approach." (February 2016)

Deborah A. Harris. Lecture: "Taking the Heat: Women Chefs and Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen." (March 2016)

Conference: "Doing the Body in the Twenty-First Century."  Keynote for the faculty and graduate student conference by Ann Cvetkovich, "The Sovereignty of the Senses." Keynote for the undergraduate student conference by Kate Bornstein.

2013-2014: "Gender and the Global"

Kathleen DeWalt. Lecture: "Are We Developed Yet? Gender and Development 20 Years After Beijing." Provost's Advisory Committee on Women's Concerns Lecture. (September 2013)

Martin F. Manalansan IV. Lecture: "Queer Dwellings: Migrancy, Precarity, and Fabulosity." Undergraduate seminar: Manalansan's book Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora. (October 2013)

Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Lecture: "The Revolution in Maternal Thinking and Child Survival in Northeast Brazil: The Poitical and Moral Economies of Mother Love." Iris Marion Young Lecture. (October 2013)

Yolanda Covington-Ward. Lecture: "Blood, Belief, Bodies: Gender and the Routinization of Spiritual Power in a Kongo Church." (November 2013)

Aren Z. Aizura. Lecture: "Thailand as Treansgender 'Mecca': Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment." Pedagogy workshop: "Teaching Transgender Studies Today." (January 2014)

Uma Narayan. Lecture: "Microcredit and Third-World Women: Panacea for Povrerty or Delusional Development?" Colloquium: "The politics of Rescue and the Politics of Forgetting: Exploring the Contemporary Allure of Rescue Agendas in Feminist Politics." (February 2014)

David Paternotte. Lecture: "Same-Sex Marriage: From Europe to the Global Arena." (March 2014)

Armando Garcia. Lecture: "Sonic Wounds: Narratives of Sorrow and the Migrant Circuits of Brown Feelings." with response by Jennifer Josten. (April 2014)