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

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 also currently researching the history of the U.S. butyl nitrite [poppers] industry, examining how poppers enabled new erotic orientations and played key roles in the sexual revolution, gay power, the early AIDS crisis, and contemporary queer pop culture. Drawing on archives and interviews, the project examines how producers, consumers, and regulators have experienced and categorized nitrites.  

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.  




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