Writing for the “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series, Catherine Fosl reflects on her current work on the queer public history of Kentucky. She traces how she uncovered the state’s LGBTQ history, in particular that of Louisville, and how the Sexuality Research Fellowship Program (SRFP), which sponsored research on the oral history of a local LGBTQ organization, led her down this path. Through her work as a public historian, Fosl has shined light on an aspect of this community’s history, culminating in the state’s first LGBTQ historic context statement, coauthored with the Fairness Campaign.
From Our Fellows
The SSRC has been providing funding to researchers at all stages of their academic and professional careers for more than 90 years. Through a highly competitive and rigorous peer-review process, the SSRC has awarded over 15,000 fellowships and grants to support research around the globe. From Our Fellows focuses on emerging research in the social sciences, including intersections with the humanities and natural sciences, by recipients of SSRC funding. The SSRC’s fellowships, grants, and prizes improve conditions for social science knowledge production worldwide.
Combating Sexual Dysfunction through an Intervention Designed to Strengthen Brain-Body Communicationby Lori Brotto
In her contribution to our “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series, Lori Brotto examines how a person’s psychological-physical connection influences their sexual desire. She explains how, through her research on cervical cancer survivors, mindfulness meditation—a practice that helps the brain focus on the present moment—can help reconnect the body and brain to stimulate sexual desire. Through this approach, Brotto argues, many other people, from cancer survivors to sexual assault victims, can reconnect with their sexual desires.
Sexual Consent Research and Affirmative Consent Policies: From Saturday Night Live to State Legislaturesby Zoë D. Peterson
In her contribution to our “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series, Zoe D. Peterson recounts how affirmative consent policies in college campuses went from being ridiculed as excessive in the early 1990s to a common college policy. Drawing on recent research on these policies, she presents the benefits and shortcomings of affirmative consent—promoting direct and active communication as well as overlooking coerced and uninformed consent, respectively. Peterson concludes with a call for more research on the effects of affirmative consent policies and on ways to address those who ignore the policies.
Over the last few decades, antiabortion activists have used disability rights as a way to curtail women’s reproductive rights, particularly in Europe. For the “Sexuality and Gender Studies Now” series, Dagmar Herzog traces the histories of both reproductive and disability rights, looking back at how the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany have been used to advance and push back against LGBT, women's and disability rights.
For our “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series, Catherine Lee, a 2000 fellow of the SSRC’s Sexuality Research Fellowship Program, describes how conceptualizations of kinship in the United States fail to account for the realities of people’s lived experience. Lee builds on her original research on race, gender, and sexuality in the context of Asian immigration and demonstrates concretely how notions of family underpin one of the most pressing moral and policy issues of our time: the separation of family members crossing US borders.
Jason Roberts, a Negotiating Agreement in Congress grantee of the SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy program, asks: How might we know whether the leadership of majority parties in the US Congress achieve their goals, and why? To measure the effectiveness of party leaders, Roberts first compares how much of a party’s publicly stated policy agenda is actually addressed through legislation. Second, he measures how well parties in the majority retain control in the House over somewhat arcane procedures that are essential for pursuing party goals.
For our “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series, Brian Donovan, a 2000 dissertation fellow of the SSRC’s Sexuality Research Fellowship Program (SRFP), explains how narratives of sex trafficking and coercion have historically been racialized in the United States. Building on his SRFP-funded research on the Progressive Era’s antiprostitution efforts, which were fueled by fears of “white slavery,” he links this racialized rhetoric of the early twentieth century to contemporary messaging on antitrafficking efforts.
Should life insurance be better imagined as “death insurance”? Graham Denyer Willis examines how the large number of people across the globe who lack access to formal insurance markets prepare for the impact that the death of a family member will have on their lives. In particular, Willis looks at how the PCC, a powerful criminal organization in Brazil, provides a form of insurance when its members are killed or incarcerated. In doing so, he reflects on how contemporary forms of capitalism, racial discrimination, and state violence create radically different relationships to “insurance.”
The International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) Photo Competition is offered every year to IDRF recipients. Prizes are awarded for the best single photo, the best self-portrait, the best photo essay, and the best video following a vote by IDRF fellows and staff.