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CWGS Research Clusters

Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Clusters

CWGS has created a series of research clusters in specific subject areas. Through these research clusters and the work of various other schools, colleges, and research centers, we promote faculty research collaboration and interaction with undergraduates and graduates. Bringing together scholars trained in different methodologies and disciplinary traditions around a common theme, interdisciplinary research promises new opportunities for innovation and insight.

1. LGBTQ/Sexualities
Organizing Faculty:
Ann Cvetkovich, English
Laura Gutiérrez, Theatre and Dance
List of CWGS Core Faculty Research Cluster Affiliates and Faculty Allies

Issues such as same-sex marriage, gays in the military, and transgender visibility have drawn public attention to LGBTQ cultures. The scholarly study of sexuality -- its history, meanings, and expression -- is a crucial tool for evaluating these debates. How have views about "normal" and "aberrant" sexual expression changed over time? How do views differ across the globe and within different local communities? How do other social identities, such as race, gender, and gender expression, class, ability, and citizenship, shape our experience of sexual orientation? The field of LGBTQ/Sexuality Studies has been rapidly expanding over the past 20 years as the result of the expansion of Women's and Gender Studies and the need to separate gender and sexuality as categories of analysis. "Queer theory" has had a huge impact on cultural studies, area studies, and interdisciplinary scholarship.  LGBTQ studies has also developed in response to social movements and activism, including AIDS activism, increased visibility in media and mainstream culture, and advances in obtaining civil rights, including domestic partner benefits, marriage equality, and immigration.

Founded in 2004, the LGBTQ/Sexualities Research Cluster brings together faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates from across campus to share research in feminist and queer studies, the history of sexuality, and related fields. The cluster meets for activities such as lectures by visiting speakers, presentations by UT faculty and students, graduate student professional development, and pedagogy workshops. We co-sponsor events with many units across campus, including English, Spanish and Portuguese, Anthropology, Sociology, Germanic Studies, Theatre and Dance, Art and Art History, African and African Diaspora Studies (which sponsors the Black Queer Diaspora working group), Mexican American Studies, and Asian American Studies. 

In addition, we work with related groups on campus such as the Pride and Equity Faculty and Staff Association (PEFSA), the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC), and the Queer Students Alliance.

We also support curriculum through the LGBTQ/Sexualities track of the WGS Graduate Portfolio, the undergraduate LGBTQ/Sexualities Studies Certificate, LGBTQ/Sexualities Studies Transcript-recognized Minor (2016-2018 catalogue), core courses such as the WGS 303 Introduction to LGBTQ Studies, and cross-listed courses in a range of departments. For more information on the LGBTQ/Sexualities graduate portfolio or the LGBTQ/Sexualities undergraduate certificate, click here. 

The Pink Book lists courses of interest to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing LGBTQ studies for recent and upcoming semesters. Spring 2016 Pink Book (pdf)

2. Gender, Childhood, and Youth
Organizing Faculty:
Julia Mickenberg, American Studies

This research cluster focuses on gender, childhood and youth from an interdisciplinary perspective. We consider issues such as gender socialization through parenting, education, literature, and media; gendered images of childhood and youth in media and popular culture; youth media production; children's and teenagers' media consumption and fandom; gender-specific children's organizations, such as the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts; self-esteem and body image in children and youth; childhood and adolescent sexuality; gendered play; child and teenage celebrities; transnational and comparative girls' and boys' cultures; minority and immigrant children and youth within the United States (considered from a gendered perspective); public policy, gender and children; queer, transgender, and intersexed children; gendered histories and theories of childhood and youth; and other related themes as participants raise them. We include faculty and graduate students from American Studies, Radio-Television-Film, English, History, Theatre and Dance, Sociology, Psychology, Music, Anthropology, Social Work, Government, Education, Art History, Biology, and a range of other fields.

3. Gender, Race, Sex and Health
Organizing Faculty:
Julie Minich, English/Women's & Gender Studies
Sharmila Rudrappa, Sociology
Christen Smith, Anthropology

The past two decades have seen considerable activism by women, especially women of color and their allies, to improve the quality of their health and health care. Men, too, have begun to draw attention to the negative implications of “maleness” for their health and for the racist stereotypes that continue to endanger the lives of men of color. This research cluster argues that there needs to be a much clearer understanding of the impact of race, sex and gender on health. Such understanding can then provide the foundation for gender-sensitive policies that take seriously the needs of women and men.

Both race and gender differences and inequalities can give rise to inequities between men and women in health status and access to health care. Race and gender norms and values, and resulting behaviors, negatively affect health. These norms and values are not fixed, however, but evolve over time and vary substantially from place to place. Thus, the poor health consequences resulting from race and gender differences and inequalities can be altered. 

This research cluster is intended to promote interdisciplinary research on issues of women's and men’s health and the relationships between race, sex, gender and health. The cluster will promote research being undertaken by UT Austin faculty from different disciplines, including but not limited to history, social work, nursing and medicine. Research methods include qualitative and quantitative approaches. In addition, the cluster emphasizes collaboration between communities within and outside of the university, such as the Dell Medical Center, the Waggoner Center, Toxicology Training Center, the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, SafePlace, Planned Parenthood, and Jane's Due Process.

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