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Gender + Sexualities


The study of genders, bodies and sexualities is central to fully appreciating the past, whether studying political culture, work and leisure, religious ideologies, scientific practices, state formation, or war.  Our department has long been a recognized leader of gender history in a variety of temporal and geographic fields: medieval and modern Europe, colonial North America and modern US, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia.  Many of us work on topics that transcend national boundaries by integrating gender and sexuality into studies of imperialism, decolonization, borderlands, and international trade.  Our research methods are as diverse as the topics we study.  We approach the history of sex, gender, and sexuality as scholars of the emotions and the senses, political economy and business, material culture, consumption, food practices, cities and the built environment, and childhood and the family. 

Some of our activities include:

  • We host a regular Gender + Sexualities History Workshop series in which faculty, graduate students and guests share in-progress articles and chapters and discuss current issues in feminist pedagogy and politics. Undergraduate and graduate students can earn credit through HIST 295 GS. 
  • We host guest speakers, conferences, and symposia.
  • We partner with the Department of Feminist Studies and other affiliated scholars.
  • Each June, we host an annual graduate student retreat where graduate students from across campus discuss their work with faculty and peers separate from those on their doctoral committees.



Current Graduate Students


  • Justin Bengry (Lecturer in Queer History, Goldsmiths, University of London; Founder and Managing Co-Editor of Notches: (Re)marks on the History of Sexuality)
  • Megan Bowman (Lecturer, Georgia State University)
  • Joshua Birk (Assistant Professor, Smith College)
  • Sarah Case (Managing Editor, The Public Historian, Lecturer University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Sasha Coles (Assistant Teaching Professor of History, Penn State)
  • Sandra T. Dawson (Lecturer, Northern Illinois University)
  • Thomas Franke
  • April Haynes (Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin)
  • Fang He
  • Carolyn Herbst Lewis (Assistant Professor, Grinnell College)
  • Betsy Homsher (Vice President, Student Affairs, Kettering University)
  • Nora Kassner (Assistant Professor-in-Residence, UNLV)
  • Nancy McLaughlin (Associate Professor, UC Irvine)
  • Elizabeth Pryor (Assistant Professor, Smith College)
  • Nancy Stockdale (Associate Professor, University of North Texas)
  • Danielle Swiontek (Department Chair, Santa Barbara City College)
  • Bianca Murillo (Assistant Professor, Willamette University)
  • Laura Nenzi (Associate Professor, University of Tenn. at Knoxville)
  • Nicole Pacino  (Assistant Professor, University of Alabama, Huntsville)
  • Anne Rapp (Associate Professor, Lewis University, Chicago)
  • Anna Katharina Rudolph (Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Research on Global Catholicism, Saint Louis University)
  • Sergey Saluschev (Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, Santa Barbara). 
  • Stephanie Seketa (Director, Liberal Arts Program,
  • Katrin Sjursen (Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville)
  • Tanya Stabler (Assistant Professor, Loyola University, Chicago)
  • Matthew Sutton (Professor, Washington State University)
  • Sarah Watkins (Visiting Assistant Professor, Colby College)
  • Corinne Wieben (Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado)
  • Angela Woollacott (Manning Clark Professor of History, Australian National University)
  • Leandra Zarnow (Assistant Professor, University of Houston)

Cluster Colloquia

Cluster Colloquia

Undergraduate and Graduate Students can enroll in HIST 295GS – Gender and Sexualities Workshop on a quarterly basis to earn credit for their scholarly engagement at colloquia. 



  • Anshu Malhotra, “Stories and Histories: Gendered Performances, Caste and Sociability in Some Punjabi Domestic Tales,” 2 February 2024. 
  • Makoto Hunter, “‘Our Relationship to Each Other’: Co-wives and Other Unnamed Connections in the Udall Plural Marriage, 1880s–1930s,” 19 January 2024. 
  • Julie Johnson, “He Tells Me His Penis is​ Abnormally Large”: Productive Pleasures in Conversation in British Bedrooms after World War One,” 1 December 2023. 
  • Candice Lyons, “Loyalty, Love, or None of the Above: 19th Century US Women’s Queer Connections,” 17 November 2023. 
  • Jarett Henderson, “He Looked Pale and the Picture of Death” — Sodomy, Settler Self-Government, and the Age of Reform in 1840s Canada, 8 May 2023.
  • Kandra Polantis, “Deadly Curves: Dissection and Desire in Japan, 1879-1930,” 16 March 2023.
  • Marc Stein, “Queer Public History,” 2 March 2023. 
  • Kristen Thomas-McGill, “Reputation and Habitual Misbehavior on a “Spicy Little Isle Where Ladies Were Few,” 16 February 2023.
  • Mika Thornburg, “Selling Self-Discovery: Constructing a Desire for Female Travel in Postwar Japan, 1960-1985,” 19 January 2023.
  • Erika Rappaport, “Hotels, Swimming Pools, and Bikinis: Public Relations, White Sexuality, and the Disavowal of State Violence in 1960s Kenya,” 12 May 2022.
  • Arunima Datta, “Stranded: Travelling Indian Ayas Negotiating War and Abandonment in Europe,” 28 April 2022.
  • Giulia Giamboni, “Women’s Donations of Textiles: A Shared Body of Memories,” 17 February 2022.
  • Anna Rudolph, “Revolutionary Radegund,” 20 January 2022. 
  • Kendall Lovely, ” ‘If you love me, Beware’: Classicism, Voyeurism, and the Ovidian Eroticims of Kent Monkman,” 2 December 2021. 
  • Joy Dixon, “Sex Magick as Sacramental Sexology: Aleister Crowley’s Queer Masculinity,” 21 October 2021.

Cluster Contributions

Cluster Contributions

  • On 5 March 2024, the UCSB History Associates present “Beyond Bookselling: How Queer Bookstores Shaped the Gay Liberation Movement” with doctoral candidate Sarah Dunne in partnership with the Santa Barbara Public Library. This event is free and open to the public. 
  • Kristen Thomas-McGill, “Belief and Doubt in Histories of Abuse,” Broadsides, North American Conference on British Studies, (Blog Posted, 8 September 2023). Cases of sexual violence, particularly against children, hinge precariously on the belief of others, more so than other crimes. (Nobody pointedly asks a mugging victim if they are sure they were really mugged.) Historical instances of child sexual abuse are, therefore, distinctly productive sites for exploring not only histories of childhood, crime, or sexuality but also of belief itself. Further, they highlight the contingency of historians’ own practices of belief and disbelief. This case study from 1903 is instructive.
  • Kendall Lovely, Red Coral Stories, Digital Exhibition. This exhibition shifts Ancient Greek/Roman/Mediterranean culture as a Western ancient heritage toward creating a borderlands space of cross-cultural exchanges, past and present. In undermining the assumptions that align classical antiquity with whiteness, able-bodiedness, gender binaries, and civilizational progress, this project works to advance more complex relationships with pasts and futures for Indigenous people. 
  • Leila Rupp and John D’Emilio, Queer America, A Learning for Justice Podcast. This podcast is produced in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Press, publishers of Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History. It is the first book designed for high school and university teachers who want to integrate LGBTQ history into their standard curriculum. 
  • Jarett Henderson, “A Wave of ‘Infamous Crime’ Clause Making?” Broadsides, North American Conference on British Studies, (Blog Posted, 14 July 2023). What exactly constituted an “infamous crime?” Unlike anti-sodomy laws that kept sex between men a capital crime for much of the nineteenth century, we might think of “infamous crime” clauses as a form of state-sanctioned oppression that governed the lives of men who served out a sentence for a sodomy-related crime or feared being accused of one. Though relatively expansive (and vague) in scope and scale, this wave of “infamous crime” clauses stipulated the quotidian consequences for queerness in settler Canada.

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