Complexities of social identities are increasingly a subject of political and social discourse. How should these identities, and the civic conversations about them, be appropriately understood and engaged? For many people, a challenging aspect of this question rests in the tension between believing that social identities related to, say, gender and sexuality are often matters of public concern (perhaps especially so when linked to calls for social and/or political justice) even while they are understood as intimately private and personal. Additionally, some of these social identities are commonly thought to be socially constructed by members of the public even while they are they are understood as rightly private and determined by the individual. How might we improve our understandings of these and related dimensions of our social identities?
Join us as Robin Dembroff (Yale) and Jay Sosa (Bowdoin) engage these issues in a rich conversation moderated by Erin Moore (OSU). Together, we invite you to explore what might be at stake in our collective understanding of gender and sexual identities as public and/or private phenomena in our society.
This event is part of CEHV's 2023-24 COMPAS Directions program.
Robin Dembroff (Philosophy, Yale)
Robin Dembroff is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at Yale University. Dembroff works on feminist and LGBTQ philosophy, with a focus on what gender is and how it shapes social outcomes, experiences, and ways of knowing. Their current book project, Real Men on Top: How Patriarchy Weaponizes Gender, is under contract with Oxford University Press.
Dembroff's work has been published in professional journals spanning four disciplines, and appears in popular venues including Scientific American, The Boston Review, TIME, The Guardian, and The New York Review of Books. In 2019, Dembroff co-authored an amicus brief in support of gay and transgender employees, which was submitted to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of over seventy philosophy professors. They have given over a dozen keynotes and named lectures, and have been featured on several podcasts including Slate's Hear Me Out and Hi-Phi Nation. In 2022, Britannica named Dembroff one of twenty “shapers of the future” under 40 in academia and ideas.
Jay Sosa (Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, Bowdoin)
Jay Sosa is an anthropologist and queer studies scholar. His research and teaching focus on gender and sexuality politics in the Americas, with an emphasis on the connections between state policy, public culture, and activism.
His first book, Sex War Aesthetics: LGBT Activism and Backlash Politics in Brazil (in progress) examines how sexual human rights cultures transformed over Brazil’s turbulent decade in the 2010s. The book analyzes Brazil’s transforming political culture in debates over LGBT rights extending across Brazilian political and public life––court cases, legislative campaigns, news coverage of violent crime, and television melodrama. He has also written about street protest, political sexism, and the production of hate crime statistics.
Sosa is the former co-chair for the Association of Queer Anthropology, and his research has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation, Fulbright IIE, the Mellon Foundation, The Wenner Gren Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.
Erin Moore, moderator (Anthropology, Ohio State)
Erin Moore is a sociocultural and medical anthropologist. Moore’s research brings critical, humanist perspectives to the study of global health, disease, and development. Geographically, Moore specializes in Sub-Saharan Africa - and in globally mobile NGO bureaucracies. Moore is currently investigating the gendered political economic history of Uganda’s devastating HIV epidemic, and has previously written about East African miniskirt bans, development interventions targeting adolescent girls, love and deception in the sexual economy, and translating global feminisms.