The Intimacy Lectures

We are excited to have such an esteemed, thoughtful, and provocative group of presenters in this series.


Fall 2015 and Spring 2016

Mignon R. Moore (Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1998) is Associate Professor of Sociology at Barnard College-Columbia University. Her research lies in the fields of family, race, gender, sexuality and aging, and has been published in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, Gender & Society, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Journal of Marriage and Family, Ethnic & Racial Studies, and The DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race. Her first book, Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships and Motherhood among Black Women (2011 University of California Press), examines how African American same-sex couples form and raise families and experience a gay sexuality while retaining connections to racial/ethnic communities. It won the 2012 Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association Sex & Gender Section and was a finalist for the 2012 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Professor Moore is the recipient of the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar position, Woodrow Wilson Foundation Early Career Prize, Human Rights Campaign Award, and the Columbia College Women Alumna Achievement Award.  She received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to assess the physical and mental health outcomes related to sexual identity, social support, community institutions, and regular sources of medical care for racialized sexual minority elders. That study forms the basis for her second book, an on-going project titled In the Shadow of Sexuality: Social Histories and Social Support among LGBT Elders. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the American Sociological Review and Social Problems.

Laura Grindstaff is Professor of Sociology at UC Davis and a faculty affiliate in Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, and Performance Studies. Her research and teaching focus primarily on American popular culture and its role in reproducing gender, race, and class inequality. She has authored or co-authored papers in Social Problems, Annual Review of Sociology, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Text & Performance Quarterly, and Cultural Critique, among other journals. Her ethnographic studies of media include the award-winning The Money Shot: Trash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows (University of Chicago Press) and a series of essays on reality programming as a form “self-service” television. Grindstaff has also published widely on the topic of gender, sport, and cheerleading. She is co-editor of the Handbook of Cultural Sociology (Routledge).

Rosalind Gill is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at City University London. She is author or editor of seven books including Gender and the Media (Polity, 2007), New Femininities:Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity (Palgrave 2011, with Christina Scharff), and Gender and Creative Labour (Blackwell, 2015, with Bridget Conor and Stephanie Taylor). She has worked on a variety of issues connected to visual culture, sexuality and embodiment – including researching men’s reactions to idealised male body imagery, teenagers experiences of ’sexting’ and looking critically at claims about the relation between’ sexualization' and empowerment. She is currently working on a book about aesthetic labour, and another on mediated intimacy.

Jennifer Hirsch is Professor and Deputy Chair for Doctoral Studies in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. Professor Hirsch's research explores gender, sexuality, and reproductive health; the comparative anthropology of love; U.S.-Mexico migration and migrant health, and the applications of anthropological theory and methods to public health research and programs. Her books include A Courtship After Marriage: Sexuality and Love in Mexican Transnational Families, which analyzes changing ideas and practices of love, sexuality and marriage among Mexicans in the U.S. and in Mexico; two edited volumes on the comparative anthropology of love (Modern Loves and Love and Globalization), and the award-winning The Secret: Love, Marriage and HIV, which presents findings from a comparative ethnographic study of the social organization of men’s extramarital relations in five countries. Hirsch’s work has also been published in journals such as Social Science and Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, Culture, Health and Sexuality, and AIDS. A Principal Investigator of many NIH-funded research projects, Hirsch is currently engaged in two jointly-led projects: with Richard G. Parker, she directs the Columbia-Vietnam Social Science Training and Research (STAR) Partnership, a long-term NIH-funded social science research capacity building project; and with Paul Colson, she directs PrEP for Black MSM: Community-based Ethnography and Clinical Research. In April of 2012 Dr. Hirsch was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete her next book, tentatively titled Desire Across Borders, which explores the intersection between US-Mexico migration and HIV risk.

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. She is known for her work on women's labor and migration in economic globalization. She has received more than 100 invitations to share her work at universities, government and nongovernmental institutions, and research think-tanks throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, including the United Nations and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Her latest monograph Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo (Stanford, 2011) won the Distinguished Book Award in the Labor and Labor Movements Section of the American Sociological Association. Examining the intersections of human trafficking and labor migration, her current research analyzes the constitution of unfree labor among migrant domestic workers in Dubai and Singapore. She has received research funding from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and National Science Foundation, and has received fellowship invitations from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, NJ.

Martha Albertson Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor at Emory University, is an internationally recognized law and society scholar. A leading authority on family law and feminist jurisprudence, her scholarly interests include the legal regulation of intimacy and the implications of human dependency and vulnerability. Fineman's publications include The Autonomy Myth: A Theory of Dependency, (New Press, 2004); The Neutered Mother, The Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies, (Routledge, 1995); and The Illusion of Equality (Chicago, 1991). Fineman is founding director of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project (FLT), which recently published Transcending the Boundaries of Law: Generations of Feminism and Legal Theory (Routledge 2010). She is also the faculty facilitator of the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative (VHC), which hosts national and international workshops and conferences, as well as reading groups, and a works-in-progress seminar for Emory faculty and graduate students. VHC provides a forum for scholars interested in engaging with the concepts of “vulnerability” and “resilience” from a theoretical perspective.

Lauren Berlant is George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago.  She wrote a national sentimentality trilogy—The Anatomy of National Fantasy (1991), The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship (1997), and The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture (2008)—that morphed into a quartet, with Cruel Optimism (2011), addressing transnational precarious publics and the aesthetics of affective adjustment in the contemporary United States and Europe. Her interest in affect, aesthetics, and politics is also expressed in the edited volumes Intimacy (2000), Compassion (2004), and On the Case (Critical Inquiry, 2007). Her most recent books are Desire/Love (2012) and, with Lee Edelman, Sex, or the Unbearable (2014).

Susan Fraiman is Professor of English at the University of Virginia.  She is author of Unbecoming Woman: British Women Writers and the Novel of Development (1993) and Cool Men and the Second Sex (2003).  She writes frequently on Jane Austen and is editor of the Norton Critical Northanger Abbey (2004).  Recent articles on more contemporary topics include “Bad Girls of Good Housekeeping: Dominique Browning and Martha Stewart” (American Literary History, 2011) and “Pussy Panic versus Liking Animals: Tracking Gender in Animal Studies” (Critical Inquiry, 2012).  Her Intimacy Lecture is taken from X-treme Domesticity, forthcoming from Columbia University Press.

Allison Pugh is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and an honorary research fellow at the University of Sydney in Australia.  Her research focuses on the intersections of economic activity and intimacy, and examines how families adapt to increasing insecurity, commercialization, overwork, and risk.  Her latest book, The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity, is a study on the broader impacts of job precariousness, and is available this January from Oxford University Press.  Tumbleweed asks the question:  if employers owe us very little, what does that mean for the way we think about obligation in our other relationships?  Her first book, Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children and Consumer Culture (University of California Press, 2009), was based on three years of ethnography with children and parents in California.  In 2016-7 she will be a fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.  She maintains a twitter feed @allison_pugh.

Kerry Abrams is Professor of Law and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at the University of Virginia. Abrams joined the University of Virginia faculty in 2005 and the Provost’s Office in 2014.  Her primary teaching and research interests are in the areas of citizenship law, immigration law, constitutional law, legal history, and family law. Abrams has written numerous articles on the family-based migration, the history of immigration law, and the marriage equality movement.  Abrams is a graduate of Swarthmore College, where she earned a B.A. in English literature with highest honors. She graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she was president of the Moot Court Board. After law school, she clerked for Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and practiced law for several years in the litigation department of the New York City law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP. From 2002-05, she was Acting Assistant Professor of Lawyering at New York University School of Law. 



Previous Speakers - Spring 2015

Eva Illouz is Professor of Sociology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She currently serves as the President of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. She is the author of 80 articles and book chapters, 7 books translated in 16 languages which have received international awards in philosophy and sociology. Eva Illouz was a member of the Wissenshaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2007, and a visiting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and in Princeton. Her books include Why Love Hurts; Cold Intimacies: the Making of Emotional Capitalism; and Consuming the Romantic Utopia.

Paula England is Professor of Sociology at New York University. She is the author of two books and more than 100 articles, with more than 20 of these reprinted, translated or recognized for awards. Her early research focused on occupational sex segregation and the sex gap in pay. She has also written on the effects of motherhood on women’s pay. Her recent research is on relationships, sexuality, contraception, unplanned pregnancies, and nonmarital births. She is the winner of the American Sociological Association’s 1999 Jessie Bernard award for career contributions to scholarship on gender, and of the 2010 Distinguished Career award from the Family section of ASA. She is currently the President of the American Sociological Association.

Jennifer Cole is a professor of anthropology in the Department of Comparative Human Development and Co-Chair of the Committee on African Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research examines how personal change across the life course shapes, and is shaped by, broader political, economic and cultural transformations: the unruly terrain where person and history meet. She approaches this problem through her fieldwork in Africa -- specifically the island of Madagascar -- paying particular attention to the legacy of Madagascar’s colonial and now post-colonial encounter with France. Her work has addressed intimate matters as they relate to several domains of social life, including youth and generational transformation, the analysis of emotion, and most recently, migration. Her most recent single author monograph, Sex and Salvation: Imagining the Future in Madagascar (Chicago 2010) analyzed generational change in urban Madagascar, focusing especially on how young women’s entry into the sexual economy, and their desire to marry European men, shaped this process. One edited volume, Generations and Globalization: Youth, Age and Family in the New World Economy (Indiana 2007) explored the way age and intimate familial relations mediate the broader social and economic processes often glossed as “globalization,” while another, Love in Africa (Chicago 2009) developed a framework for thinking about relations between men and women in Africa in terms of emotional, as well as sexual and economic terms. She is currently working on two projects on the role of intimacy in migration. The first is an edited volume that explores the intimate dimensions of African migration to Europe. The second book draws from extensive and ongoing fieldwork among bi-national Franco-Malagasy couples to examine the role of intimate relations in the formation of a hybrid transnational culture, as well as the role of these families in creating new patterns of inclusion and exclusion in both France and Madagascar.

Rosalind Gill
Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis, City University London
Author of New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity (2011), and “Media, Empowerment and the 'Sexualization of Culture' Debates” (2012).

Elizabeth A. Armstrong is a sociologist with research interests in the areas of sexuality, gender, culture, organizations, social movements, and higher education. Her books include Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco 1950-1994 (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and, with Laura T. Hamilton, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2013). Professor Armstrong joined the Department of Sociology and the Organizational Studies Program at the University of Michigan in 2009. Before that, she held a faculty appointment in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. She was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and a recipient of a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology at the University of California-Berkeley and a B.A. in Sociology and Computer Science from the University of Michigan.