Childhood, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Some of the most stimulating theoretical interventions in the humanities in recent decades have come from feminist scholarship, queer studies, disability studies, and childhood studies. Many faculty members in the department make gender, sexuality, and childhood a central part of their work. Professor Robb has written on Indian masculinity and male deployment of women’s voices in a minor North Indian newspaper, while Professor Butler’s first book covered the “church mothers” of a large African American Pentecostal organization. Prof. Thomas has written about a Buddhist temple mobilizing the sexual allure of a recognizable adult video performer to draw new audiences to the dharma, and Prof. Butler has also written on child sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic church. On the topic of children, Professors Schaefer and Thomas share an interest in how children are fashioned as moral subjects through affective and disciplinary measures in public schools and private homes, while Prof. Elias has conducted a study of idealized images of children as mediators of adult assumptions about innocence, sacrifice, and nationalism. Grad students interested in gender, sexuality, and childhood can benefit not only from these faculty, but also from the many faculty affiliated with the Alice Paul Center and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program.