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Sexual Citizenship Collaborative Research Cluster, 2013-2014

Group Members

Suzanna Walters, Professor, Sociology and Director, WGSS
Aziza Ahmed, Associate Professor, School of Law
Amy Barber, Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Communications Studies
Kimberly Brown, Assistant Professor, English
Peter Campbell, Postdoctoral Teaching Associate, Communications Studies
Laura Green, Professor and Chair, English
Denise Horn, Assistant Professor, International Affairs and Political Science
Sarah Jackson, Assistant Professor, Communications Studies
Shun Kiang, Ph.D. Candidate, English
Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor and Director of Jewish Studies and Director, Humanities Center
Phyllis Thompson, Visiting Scholar, WGSS

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About Our Research


Under the auspices of the Humanities Center during the 2013-2014 academic year, Professor Suzanna Walters convened a group of feminist academics in research and discussion around the theme of sexual citizenship.

The topic of sexual citizenship has taken on added urgency in the current social and political climate. From same-sex marriage to immigration to reproductive rights and beyond, what it means to think through “citizenship” has increasingly been imagined as cross–cut not just with gender, race, and class but sexuality as well. The concept of sexual citizenship bridges the private and public, and stresses the cultural and political iterations of sexual expression and sexual and gender identity. Central texts such as historian Margot Canaday’s The Straight State and Jasbir Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages interrogate how our very ideas of “citizenship” and “the state” are wrapped up in heteronormative assumptions, frameworks, and policies. Additional work by Brenda Cossman, Jon Binnie, Lauren Berlant, Shane Phelan, Chandan Reddy, and many others has provocatively investigated the “sexed” nature of citizenship claims and frameworks of national belonging.

This research cluster seeks to dig deep into this work, bringing it into closer dialogue with feminist theory and queer theory more broadly construed. What, we ask, is the relationship between theories of sexual citizenship and theories of gendered citizenship? How do these play out along cross-national vectors and along national vectors of race, class, and ethnicity? How is sexual citizenship activated in the “war on terror?” What models of sexual citizenship are implicit in current political contestations, such as those over same-sex marriage and immigration reform? What does “belonging” mean for citizens formally included but socially abject?

As a collaborative research cluster for 2013-2014, we provide an intellectual and collegial venue for interdisciplinary feminist/queer scholarship on campus to address these issues.

This work culminated in a one-day symposium “From Patriarchy to Pussy Riot: Gender, Sexuality, and Global Citizenship.” You can read more about the symposium here.

To download full footage of each panel from the event, please click here.

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To view the videos:

Right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) on the .mov files and follow the prompts to download or save to disk (prompt will depend on what web browser you are using).

Please note: If you just click the links, your browser will try to play the files and it likely will not work.

Once you have saved the files, you can play them locally on your computer with QuickTime.


This event was filmed by Adam Polgreen at Pack Network.
All footage belongs to Northeastern University and is not to be distributed.