Call For Proposals: Event Co-Sponsorships

cosponsorshipThe Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN) invites requests to co-sponsor events organized by Northwestern University faculty, staff, and students. Decisions about co-sponsorship funding will be based on the event’s relevance to our mission of promoting research and education on sexuality in social context. We review such requests on a rolling basis.

For application instructions and detailed information, please click here.

Welcome from the Interim Director of SPAN

gregory-wardA warm welcome to all members of the SPAN community! With Steve and Héctor on sabbatical this year, I am delighted to step in and serve as Interim Director of SPAN for the 2016-17 academic year. As SPAN enters its seventh year of operation, I’d like to inform/remind everyone of various opportunities that the project offers and to give a heads-up concerning events planned for the coming months.

This year SPAN will continue to provide a range of funding opportunities for faculty and graduate students, including small grants for students to present sexualities-related work at academic conferences, summer research awards for graduate students, dissertation fellowships, and faculty research grants. We will also hold a faculty/graduate student reading group during Winter Quarter. Details about all of these opportunities will be posted on this website.

We are particularly excited to announce that the keynote address for this year’s SPAN Workshop will be delivered by the acclaimed gender and sexualities scholar Kane Race (University of Sydney). More information about the theme of the workshop and the lineup of speakers will be available soon. Please note that the workshop will take place on April 20-21, 2017.

We are also delighted to welcome our two new SPAN postdocs, AJ Lewis and Mitali Thakor! You can read more about them elsewhere on our website.

We look forward to seeing you all at events this year, and we always appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

Gregory Ward

Professor of Linguistics, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Philosophy
Interim Director, the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN)

Welcome from the Co-Directors of SPAN

Greetings and welcome to the 2016-17 academic year! This year both of us are on research leave—Steve has a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Héctor has one from the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern. While we will miss spending time with everyone in the SPAN community, we are happy to be leaving the program in very good hands for 2016-17. Gregory Ward (Linguistics, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Philosophy), who many of you know, has kindly agreed to take the helm and serve as Interim Director for the year.

We also want to welcome our two brand new SPAN Postdoctoral Fellows, Mitali Thakor and AJ Lewis, who will be in residence at Northwestern from 2016-2018. You can find more information about AJ’s and Mitali’s work and background on the SPAN website.

Speaking of the SPAN website, we are also happy to unveil our revamped site, which you can visit at: We thank the tireless SPAN program assistant, Eliot Colin, for their efforts over the summer in creating this new and improved site, which we think you will find easier to negotiate both via computer and on your phone. And if you use Facebook, please like the SPAN page!

Have a great year, and we look forward to reconnecting with all of you in 2017-18!

All best,

Héctor Carrillo and Steve Epstein
Co-Directors, the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN)

Announcing the 2016-17 SPAN Faculty Funding Recipient

Aymar Jean Christian
Aymar Jean Christian

Communication Studies

Open TV beta: Developing and Analyzing Queer TV Reception Online

What does an open television network look like? Launched in March 2015, the Open TV beta platform develops television from the bottom-up, using web distribution to incubate stories by emerging performance, video and community-based artists. The research project employs “networked” (digital, peer-to-peer) distribution to understand and critique heretofore hidden practices of “network” (linear, business-to-business) development, including pilot and series development, audience engagement and sponsorship. It interrogates traditional media practices through the development of noncommercial works by artists corporate cable and web TV networks marginalize, primarily queer, transgender, cis-women and people of color. The persistent inequality in creative industries results not only in stilted mainstream entertainment but also a rich, under-explored wealth of diverse artistry already moving forward in alternative spaces. By showcasing underrepresented arts and artists through more open platforms online, Open TV seeks deeper understanding of – and consistent audiences for – queer, feminist and racially sincere arts, television and film distribution.

Click here to learn more about SPAN faculty recipients.

Reading Group 2016 RECAP

Group Photo: Reading Group (2016)

“Pleasure/Danger: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Sexual Pleasure and Sexual Risk”

During the Winter quarter 2016, SPAN and the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research co-organized a successful reading group on the topic of “Pleasure/Danger: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Sexual Pleasure and Sexual Risk.” Twenty-two participants from Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses and the University of Chicago met over five separate sessions to discuss recent scholarship on sexual risk and pleasure in relation to issues such as HIV prevention, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), male and female circumcision, and sexual health more generally.