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

Jay Sosa is a cultural anthropologist and queer studies scholar, whose work focuses on public culture, intimacy, affect, and activism. His first book project The Public Life of Rights: Queer Activism and Brazil’s Sex Wars uses ethnographic fieldwork with LGBT activists to offer an account of the sexual politics during Brazil's conservative turn in the 2010s. The book explores the symbolic and affective meanings human rights paradigms acquire as activists invoke them in street protests, hate crimes statistics, and television melodrama. Jay is also co-editing a journal special issue São Paulo, Superlative City, which brings together scholars across disciplines to consider aesthetics, crowd politics, and theater and activism in one of the most dynamic cities in the global South.

Jay is currently conducting archival research and interviews for a second project Poppers: A Queer Chemical. The project examines the trajectory of nitrite vasodilators from wonder-chemicals in the late 19th century, to cardiovascular medication, recreational drug, and sex toy in the 20th century, to gay male cultural symbol in the 21st century.

Jay teaches courses on global LGBT identity; sex and state power; race, gender, and intimacy in Brazil; and queer theory.

Jay Sosa


  • PhD, University of Chicago
  • MA, University of Chicago
  • BA, University of Michigan