Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 7, Issue 2
spring 2017
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Letter from the Chair of WGSS


from Inderpal Grewal

The question of what counts as evidence has become ever more important, given the assaults on expertise and knowledge in the current political climate. While deliberate ignorance (or “sanctioned ignorance,” as Gayatri Spivak once called it) in the face of overwhelming evidence is to be deplored, many of us have long sought to present evidence of power, resistance, struggle and inequality from the viewpoints of those not in power, from women, from non-gender conforming persons, women of color, those marginalized by racial, colonial and postcolonial violence. What resources can we marshal to counter the deliberate assault on evidence and expertise by autocratic and elite authorities and groups?...
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A Fond Farewell to George Chauncey and Ron Gregg

by Andrew Dowe

In their courses, Ron Gregg and George Chauncey trace how attitudes towards non-heterosexual acts, identities, communities and representations thereof change over time. In the thirteen years since I first arrived at Yale, I have witnessed profound shifts in Yale’s receptiveness of the presence and the study of LGBTQ individuals and communities. Ron and George have played a central role at every level — administrative, academic and cultural — in the steady progress Yale has made towards being a truly inclusive school...
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Faculty Profiles: WGSS Distinguished Visiting Scholars 2016-17

Zethu Matebeni


WGSS was thrilled to welcome Dr. Matebeni to Yale this semester. She taught two courses (read the accompanying student reviews) – Queer Africa, and Gender, Sexuality, and Decolonizing South African Universities. Zethu’s scholarship and activism on African sexuality and gender diversity is well cited. She received a PhD at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) at the University of the Witwatersrand. Since 2011 she has been at HUMA (Institute for Humanities in Africa) at the University of Cape Town as a senior researcher and lecturer in the Sociology department. Zethu is skilful in multidisciplinary approaches and is attentive to the idea and meaning of the public humanities. As a scholar, public intellectual and activist, she is invited regularly to give key note lectures in various fora...
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Gender, Sexuality, and Decolonizing South African Universities (WGSS 294)
by Glodie Mujinga Mulunda '19

I randomly shopped Gender, Sexuality, and Decolonizing South African Universities because I was very intrigued by the title and wanted to take a class that was very much different from my Economics courses.  I went in with an open mind and the course has not disappointed me...
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Queer Africa (WGSS 287)
by Haja Kamara '19

Zethu Matebeni’s seminar, Queer Africa, offers an in-depth analysis on the intersection of queer and African identities, allowing students to grapple with the complex ways that gender and sexuality have been constructed and deconstructed in various African societies...
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Trace Peterson


Trace Peterson joined WGSS this spring to teach Transgender Cultural Production. Trace is a scholar and poet. Her research interests include transgender literature, transfeminism, 20th and 21st century literature, creative writing, and poetry and poetics. She recently designed and taught an innovative course dedicated to transgender poetry in the English Department at Hunter College in 2015.  She is the author of the poetry book Since I Moved In (Chax Press, 2007), and numerous chabooks, and is Editor/Publisher of EOAGH Books, a small press which won the first Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry this year for Succubus in My Pocket by kari edwards...
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No One Could See the Vast Crowd
by Trace Peterson

This is a working sentence.
Someone walks by.
Three sentences standing around bonding.
Terrible, terrible sentences.
The third sentence resents the fourth sentence more than the fifth.
Sitting in a late cafe crying.
Trying to stare down carbs with the mistress’s tools.
A panoply of belated newsprint.
A drain stopper with a dripping faucet.
Coming in and coming out of the same entrance marked urgent.
Paragraphs concealing whole illegal phrases.
You marked me like this.
Your flesh was a Styrofoam packing glitch.
My flesh was plastic rotary phone alimony.
I carried about you into my term limits.
No one could see the vast crowd...
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Faculty News

Professor Joseph Fischel has been promoted to Associate Professor, WGSS


Joseph Fischel is an Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. He received his PhD from the Political Science Department at the University of Chicago in 2011, and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Pembroke Center at Brown University in 2011-2012. In 2012, he received the Julien Mezey Dissertation Award from the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities. His research interests are in normative political theory, feminist and queer studies, public law, and the legal regulation of sex/gender/sexuality. His first book, Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent (U. of Minn. Press, 2016), interrogates how the figures of the child and the sex offender, and figurations of consent, organize contemporary understandings of sexual harm and freedom in the United States. He is currently working on a second book project, Against Nature, Against Consent: A Solicitation to Sodomitical Justice, which examines the life and afterlife of sodomy law in Louisiana from multiple perspectives: ethnographic, queer theoretic, race critical, and historical. He has published articles in several journals, including differences, Law Culture & the Humanities, the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, and on the websites Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, and The Bilerico Project. His co-authored article, “Disabling Consent, or Reconstructing Sexual Autonomy” will be published in the Columbia Journal of Gender Law & Policy in winter 2016, and his chapter, “A More Promiscuous Politics: LGBT Rights without the LGBT Rights” is forthcoming in After Marriage Equality: The Future of LGBT Rights (NYU Press, 2016). He is a committed fan of running, yoga, beaches, and mediocre legal television series. He is currently on academic leave under a Morse Fellowship.


WGSS Welcomes New Faculty!

Eda Pepi, Assistant Professor (beginning AY 2017/18)


Eda was most recently a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at Stanford University. Her research interests include gender and kinship, ethnicity and indigeneity, and citizenship, sovereignty, and the state in the Middle East and North Africa. Eda's current project, Marital States: Ethnicity and Gendered Citizenship in Jordan, theorizes the relationship between gender and politics. She ethnographically examines how the Jordanian state polices its borders by regulating the marital and reproductive choices of Jordanian women. 


Evren Savci, Assistant Professor (beginning AY 2018/19)


Evren is currently an assistant professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. Her research interests include transnational sexualities, feminist and queer theory, political economy, language and epistemology, and religion. She is completing her book Queer in Translation: Sexual Politics under Neoliberal Islam.


Angel Nieves, Visiting Associate Professor (AY 2017/18)


Professor Nieves is an Associate Professor at Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y and is Director of American Studies there. He is also Co-Director of Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) which is recognized as a leader among small liberal arts colleges in the Northeast. Angel is also Research Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

2017-2018 James Robert Brudner '83 Memorial Prize Awarded to Scholar Carolyn Dinshaw


Established in 2000, the Brudner Prize is awarded annually to an accomplished scholar or activist whose work has made significant contributions to the understanding of LGBT issues or furthered the tolerance of LGBT people. Previous winners of the prize include (in order) George Chauncey, Lillian Faderman, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jonathan Ned Katz, Judith Butler, John D'Emilio, Matt Coles, B. Ruby Rich, Cathy Cohen, Edwin Cameron, Mary Bonauto, David M. Halperin, Samuel Delany, Cherrie Moraga, Richard Dyer, Susan Stryker, and Isaac Julien. Professor Dinshaw will visit Yale in February, 2018 to deliver the Brudner Memorial Lecture.

Alum Spotlight: Liza Grandia, Ph.D. (Yale B.A. Women’s Studies 1996)


My mama passed on three years ago. After tearful journey from California to Alabama, I opened the yellow door with emotional trepidation. The familiar smell of home washed over me. Relieved, I thought to myself, “thank goodness, the house still smells like Mama.” Then, an instant later, I realized with horror that the house actually smelled of pine sol. My last olfactory memory of my mama was a cleaning chemical.

That’s when I began thinking about how the seemingly dry “objective” field of risk regulation is deeply laden with emotions, values, and social complexities. It is my hunch that until we begin to rethink the hazards of chemicals in everyday lives in our homes and on our bodies, policy makers will do little to address the even greater environmental injustices faced by indigenous peoples. ...
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WGSS Colloquium and Working Group

by Yuhe Faye Wang and Sam Huber

We started this semester’s WGSS Working Group series with a room full of students excited to hold a conversation with Professor and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine. Students discussed Professor Rankine’s essay on racism, power, and everyday life in elite writing spaces. In our second Working Group event, students spoke with Professor Greta LaFleur on the introduction to her upcoming book exploring discourses of race and sexuality in eighteenth century Anglo-America. Our last Working Group event was held on April 24 with Professor Zethu Matebeni and is still forthcoming at the writing of this article...
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WGSS Spring Speaker Series

Race, Sex, and Ethics


Mental condoms, the philosopher child, art-making in utopia, and pet inheritance: the Race, Sex & Ethics Speaker Series of the 2017 spring semester brought all this and more to the WGSS and Yale community. “It is time for audacious visions,” as law professor Mari Matsuda encouraged her audience, and our speaker series delivered.

Kathryn Bond Stockton inaugurated the Race, Sex & Ethics Speaker Series. As a professor of English, Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity, and Dean of the School for Social and Cultural Transformation at the University of Utah, Stockton explained that often seduction, or what she provocatively calls “sex with signs,” is a most effective rhetorical posture to institutionalize social change and gender and racial equality...
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Gender and Sexuality in the Global South

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LGBT Studies Research Fellowship 2016/17


Ludmila Janion was selected from a record-number of applicants for the 2016/2017 LGBTS Research Fellowship. She traveled from Warsaw to spend a month at Yale, conducting research for her PhD. Her reflection follows:

It was a great honor and pleasure for me to be awarded a 2016/2017 LGBT Studies Research Fellowship at Yale University. I spent a fruitful and inspiring month not only doing my research in the infinitely rich Yale libraries, but also taking part in numerous scientific and social events on the Yale campus. The main aim of my research was to study American conceptualizations of gender variance, i.e. gender identity or expression that is deemed atypical for the sex assigned at birth...
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WGSS Addresses the 2016 Election and its Aftermath

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Publications from our Faculty and More

WGSS Lecturer Trace Peterson interview with the University of Arizona Poetry Center

WGSS professor Joe Fischel, and Gabe Rosenberg (Duke University) published commentary about Milo Yiannopoulos on Slate’s Outward page

WGSS Chair, Inderpal Grewal, was recently interviewed by sociologist Srila Roy (U of Witwatersrand in South Africa ) for the International Feminist Journal of Politics.  Click here to read: The Positive Side of Co-optation? Intersectionality

See WGSS Chair, Inderpal Grewal, on the MacMillan Report where she talked about her forthcoming book, Masculinities of Post-Colonial Governance.

WGSS alum, Vanita Gupta '96, and head of the Obama administration's civil rights division, talked to the New York Times about the pending Trump administration

Congratulations to WGSS Class of 2017

WGSS Class of 2017 (in alphabetical order)

Kathy Amiliategui, Nicholas Aramayo, Laura Goetz, Ruth Hanna, Eliza Hopkins, Austen James,
Ho Kyeong Jang, Rianna Johnson-Levy, Hudson McCormick, Caitlin Purdome, Jamar Williams

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