about us

The Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN) was created in 2010 following the establishment of a new endowment at Northwestern intended to support research and education on “life sciences, biomedical sciences and social sciences as those fields relate to the study of human sexual orientation and human sexuality.” Working together with a diverse group of Northwestern faculty members, co-directors Héctor Carrillo and Steven Epstein proposed a new initiative, which was funded by the Provost for an initial period of three years (2010-13) and has been renewed for an additional five years (2013-2018).

Issues related to sexuality and sexual identity invites apparently inexhaustible public debate about the political and cultural implications of sexual diversity and its relationship to morality, equality, and social justice. Yet, we lack fundamental knowledge about many central aspects of the social structuring of sexual identity and the social and cultural implications of sexual practice. A pivotal and consequential example of this lack concerns the tightly intertwined social, psychological, biological, and biomedical factors that link sexuality and sexual orientation with health. SPAN is a broad-ranging initiative to promote research and education on sexuality, sexual orientation, and health in social context. While anchored in social scientific frameworks (including scholarship on identity, rights, policy, and immigration), the initiative is intended to be broadly interdisciplinary.

SPAN is located within the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program but operates in conjunction with Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health at the Institute for Policy Research as well as the Science in Human Culture Program (SHC). It therefore marks a unique collaboration among three interdisciplinary campus units.


Co-Directors

Department of Sociology
1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
hector@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-467-0516
Fax: 847-491-9907

Héctor Carrillo is Professor of Sociology and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern.

He is the author of two books: The Night Is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS (University of Chicago Press, 2002), and Pathways of Desire: The Sexual Migration of Mexican Gay Men (University of Chicago Press, 2017). His current research investigates the sexualities of straight-identified men who are sexually interested in both women and men, as part of a larger project on the paradoxes of sexual identity as a social construction.

Prof. Carrillo serves as a member of the editorial boards of Sexuality Research and Social Policy, and Sexualidad, Salud y Sociedad: Revista Latinoamericana. Previously, he was a member of the editorial boards for the journals Sexualities and Contexts, and he was associate editor of Social Problems. He is a past chair of the Sociology of Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association, and he served as co-chair of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Science track of the XVII International AIDS Conference. He also has a history of involvement in HIV/AIDS community based organizations.

Steven Epstein

Steven Epstein (Photo by Tony Rinaldo)

Department of Sociology
1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
s-epstein@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-5536
Fax: 847-491-9907

Steven Epstein is Professor of Sociology and John C. Shaffer Professor in the Humanities at Northwestern and currently serves as the Sociology department chair. He is a former director of the Science in Human Culture Program and the interdisciplinary graduate cluster in Science Studies. He is a faculty member at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, a faculty affiliate in the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, and a Faculty Associate in Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health at the Institute for Policy Research.

Professor Epstein studies the contested production of knowledge, especially biomedical knowledge, with an emphasis on the interplay of social movements, experts, and health institutions, and with a focus on the politics of sexuality, gender, and race. He is the author of Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge (University of California Press, 1996) and Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research (University of Chicago Press, 2007). He is a co-editor of Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine’s Simple Solutions.

Epstein serves on the advisory board of the journal Sexualities; is a former Council member of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sexualities; served on the selection committee for the Social Science Research Council’s Sexuality Research Fellowship Program; and served on the American Sociological Association Committee on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons in Sociology.


Faculty assistance

Leadership in conducting SPAN activities is also provided by

Associate Director of Gender & Sexuality Studies
a-partridge@northwestern.edu


Administrative assistance

Eliot Colin

Eliot Colin

Eliot Colin (sexualities@northwestern.edu) provides support as the the Program Assistant for SPAN. They can be reached at 847-467-4957.

Before joining SPAN, Eliot completed Loyola University Chicago’s Master in Social Work program, where they developed student affairs programs geared towards LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty. They are additionally involved with trans and queer communities via RAD Remedy, an organization devoted to improving trans health access.

Jasmine Tucker

Jasmine Tucker

General administrative support is also provided by Jasmine Tucker (gender@northwestern.edu), the program assistant for the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program.

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