Joseph Jay Sosa

Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Teaching this semester

GSWS 2001. Queer Theory

Queer theory began as an activist intellectual movement in the 1990s that examined the lives, art and politics of non-heterosexual and non-gender conforming persons. With promiscuous origins in psychoanalysis, literary criticism, political philosophy, feminist inquiry and urban sociology, queer theorists used multiple methodologies to imagine alternative practices of community, desire, intimacy, and gender expression. This course asks questions that arise from the experiences of people whose bodies don't fit social norms (gay, lesbian, trans, various abled, polluted, racially stigmatized bodies). Potential topics include: how we communicate our sex lives or gender identity through the use of "public secrets;" the codes of romantic melodrama that frame contemporary dilemmas of civic life; and how activists have mourned slow catastrophes (e.g. AIDS, but also ecocide and colonialism).

GSWS 3301. Doing Gender Studies: Gender Across Ethnography and Archive

Gender and sexuality are constituted in social relations and lived experience. You can't hold gender in your hand or point out sexuality in a crowd. Examines how scholars discover gender in their research materials, with special attention to ethnographic and archival research. Students consider how interviews, surveys, oral history, archival research, participant observation, and discourse analysis produce different kinds of evidence about gender. Moreover, the course addresses feminist research ethics around representation, power relations, social position, and intimacy with research subjects.

Teaching next semester

ANTH 2610/GSWS 2610. Sex and State Power

Seminar. Examines sexual politics of the law, policing, public health and state surveillance and explores feminist and queer responses to the relationship between sex and power from a variety of disciplines and traditions. The course focuses on two major trends in the regulation of sex in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: (1) how policy making has shifted from defining sexual morality to managing populations and (2) the reinvigorated politics of the family as governments scale back their social welfare programs. Additional topics may include reproductive rights, sex work, marriage, hate crimes, surveillance, militarism, and prisons. Students will learn main trends in the politics of sexuality and conduct a research project on the topic of their choice.

GSWS 1101. Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Introduces key concepts, questions, and methods that have developed within the interdisciplinary fields of gender, sexuality, and women's studies. Explores how gender norms differ across cultures and change over time. Examines how gender and sexuality are inseparable from other forms of identification--race, class, ability, and nationality. And considers the role that gender, sexuality, and other identity knowledges play in resisting sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia.

Jay Sosa is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on sexuality, statecraft, and public culture in São Paulo, Brazil. His current book project, Participatory Desires, examines how demands for LGBT political recognition in media, protests, and government institutions have served as a catalyst for broader shifts in Brazil’s ideological spectrum.

Jay teaches courses on biopolitics, neoliberalism, public affect, and queer theory, as well as identity based social movements, democratization and human rights throughout the Americas.


  • B.A., Michigan
  • M.A., Ph.D., Chicago

Selected publications

  • 2016 Review of Vinodh Venkatesh's The Body as Capital: Masculinities in Contemporary Latin American Fiction. In Masculinities Journal. 6.
  • 2014 “‘Marijuana is a Crime, But Homophobia is Just Fine:’ The Scandalous Logics of Queer Solidarity.” in Queering Paradigms IV: South-North Dialogues on Queer Epistemologies, Embodiments and Activisms.  London: Peter Lang Publications.
  • 2014 "A Tale of Two Rios: Urbanization and Displacement in Brazil."  Latin America/Chicago: Newsletter for the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago.  pp.  3-4.
  • 2014  "Sex Politics Between Anticolonialism and Human Security." In Student Anthropologist 4(1).