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.
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.
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.
In recent years, the increasing prominence of the #MeToo movement has raised awareness about sexual harassment and assault and their dynamics, most recently exemplified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Using this incident as a springboard, Karen Weiss explains in this piece for our “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series how “gendered accounts,” or the ways people excuse or defend inappropriate social behavior, exacerbate the victimization of those who have experienced sexual assault or harassment.
A 1997 postdoc fellow of the SSRC’s Sexuality Research Fellowship Program (SRFP), Arlene Stein details her SRFP-funded research on antigay social mobilization in rural Oregon in the late 1990s for our “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series. Stein studied how some individuals, whom she calls conservative moral entrepreneurs, persuaded these communities to attribute their worsening economic situation to “elites” and, in particular, gay and lesbian people. Reflecting on this research, Stein asserts the importance of sexuality research and how it can help us understand current political and social dynamics.