WGSS Program News

Research from WGSS faculty and the Binghamton Human Sexualities Lab explores what college students mean when they say they’re ‘just talking’ 

Describing a relationship status as “just talking” allows college students to engaging in a kind of "veiled courtship" that meets the need for intimacy while retaining a kind of plausible deniability in a social context that often stigmatizes open discussion of emotional connection and relationship seeking. This research by Melissa Hardesty (Social Work and WGSS), Sarah Young (Social Work and WGSS), Ann Merriwether (Psychology and WGSS), Sean Massey (WGSS), and former students Sayre E. Wilson and Leora Wasserman was published in the journal Emerging Adulthood.   Read More

Conversation with former member of ACT UP NY and Binghamton alum Ron Golderberg

AIDS activist and and Binghamton alum Ron Goldberg returned to his alma mater on Oct. 24 to do a reading from his new book Boy with a Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of ACT UP New York, followed by a conversation with WGSS Director and Professor of Sociology Benita Roth, author of The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA.| Read More

Racial profiling in Upstate NY

WGSS faculty Sean Massey, working with Dr. Mei-Hsiu Chen (Department of Mathematics and Statistics) and two former Binghamton University students Richard Kauffman (now assistant professor of psychology at SUNY Oneonta) and Wangshu Tu (postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University’s School of Mathematics and Statistics) analyzed archival crime data from 2008 to 2015 to see how race and sex affect the investigation, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing in larceny cases. Their findings suggest that Black men in the Binghamton area are more likely to be the targets of excess suspicion, less likely to be granted leniency by prosecutors, and, if convicted, are more likely to be sentenced to incarcertation than White men. Results from this study can be found in the article "Race, excess suspicion, and larceny in Upstate NY" recenty published in the journal Criminal Justice Studies: A Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society.| Read More 

WGSS responds to U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is infuriating, heartbreaking, and sadly, the obvious outcome of a Supreme Court that has been undermined by those who flagrantly supported an insurrection to undermine our democracy.
Today’s decision reflects the majority’s intent to return us to a time when women were not legally full citizens. Not since the Dred Scott decision – which stated that the constitution did not give citizenship to those of African descent irrespective of whether they were enslaved-- has the Court acted to erase a fundamental right with such egregious intent. And make no mistake – the reasoning in the Alito decision will allow challenges to rights that Americans take for granted vis à vis the use of contraception, and the more recently won rights for LGBTQIA+ to love and marry whom they chose.
In the light of the decision, we in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies community call on the New York’s governor and the New York state legislature to protect access to abortion and to begin the process of ratifying our state constitution to further protect reproductive choices as a fundamental right. 

As Justice Breyer ends in his dissenting opinion, “[w]ith sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent.” (Read Breyer's dissenting opinion)

Former WGSS instructor becomes Research Fellow in Women's Health at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Join the Binghamton WGSS community in congratulating recent anthropology PhD, and longtime, excellent instructor for WGSS, Victoria Brown, who after a year of teaching at Skidmore College is off to become a Research Fellow in Women's Health through the Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Victoria will be looking at the social determinants of women's health with a focus on lower urinary tract disorders related to a number of clinical conditions including: child-birth related injuries, incontinence, and recurrent urinary tract infections. Although these conditions are common and costly, research on female lower urinary tract disorder outcomes–such as treatment, cost, impact on quality of life, social health disparities, and prevention–lag far behind other medical conditions. Her research goal is to develop high-quality prevention and women's health outcomes alongside a team of transdisciplinary researchers.

WGSS Major Casey Adrian Receives 2022 Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research

Congratulations!! go out to WGSS major Casey Adrian who just received the 2022 Provost's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. Casey is an undergraduate research assistant in the Human Sexualities Research Lab and serves as student representative on the WGSS Steering Committee. A luncheon honoring award recipients was held on Wednesday May 4, 2022 in the Mandela Room. 

Casey Adrian and WGSS Facultyn at Award Luncheon

Photo (from left to right): Dr. Leslie C. Gates (Sociology, LACAS), Dr. Sean G. Massey (WGSS, Psychology), Casey Adrian, Dr. Gladys M. Jiménez-Muñoz (Sociology, WGSS), Dr. Sarah Young (Social Work, WGSS).

WGSS Majors Present at 2022 Research Days

WGSS majors Kayci Rudge and Casey Adrian presented their research at the 2022 Research Days held on Friday April 29, 2022 at the Binghamton University Innovative Technologies Complex. Rudge's poster "What Do the Bits Become, Eric? Queering Queerbaiting in the CW's Supernatural" can be viewed here. Adrian's poster (which was co-authored with Sarah Morea) "A New Educational Paradigm: Identifying the Foundations of GMHC's Sex-Affirming HIV Prevention Education" can be viewed here.  

WGSS Statement on Transgender Rights

We in WGSS hope that everyone is settling into the Spring 2022 semester.  This message addresses issues that arose in Fall of 2021 in the wake of statements made by a prominent Binghamton University alumna, and in acknowledgement of Transgender Awareness Week (November 19 -26 2021) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th) which memorialize those within the transgender community who have been killed because of transphobia.  The WGSS Program wants our trans and gender non-conforming faculty colleagues, staff, and students to know we support you. The WGSS Program sees transgender rights and the scholarship on transgender lives as central to our educational mission. We condemn the exclusion of transgender experiences from scholarly research and teaching, and we condemn expressions of transphobia within and outside of the academy.

Transphobia, including that expressed under the guise of “feminism”, is not simply a difference of opinion or theory.  It has a direct relationship to violence, including murder. In 2021, at least 48 transgender/gender-nonconforming people have been killed, a number that is quite certainly an underestimate because of a lack of acknowledgment of transgender lives.  These victims of anti-trans violence are disproportionately Black and Latinx (https://www.hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2021).  In addition, transphobic violence can also be institutional, such as: failing to provide an educational setting that is affirming of trans and gender non-conforming individuals; erasing or neglecting transgender and gender non-conforming perspectives and experiences in curricula and research; or casting transgender and gender-nonconforming experience and identities as misguided, immature, or pathological.

Consistent with the guidelines proposed by the American Psychological Association Division 44 Task Force on Psychological Practice guidelines with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People, the WGSS program would like to affirm the following:

  • Gender is a non-binary construct; and gender may not align with sex assigned at birth.
  • The health and well-being of transgender and gender non-conforming people are negatively affected by anti-transgender minority stress (including discrimination and violence that can come from within the academy).
  • Clinical interventions and practices that aim to change someone’s gender identity and expression for the purpose of making it consistent with the sex they were assigned at birth are unethical and should be condemned.
  • As a community of scholars, we must work to promote the health and well-being of transgender and gender non-conforming people – including those who are our students and colleagues – by striving to make sure they receive the social support and trans-affirmative care they need. (See https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/transgender.pdf for more information).

WGSS commits to doing our part to contribute to programing around transgender issues starting in Spring 2022, and we call on others on campus, including the Kaschak Institute for Social Justice for Women and Girls, to provide funding opportunities for students who engage in trans-affirming scholarly research and to work toward funding a visiting scholar on transgender issues for 2022-23.  WGSS is also committed to working with interested parties to schedule an event on translives during this March, which is Women’s History Month.

Please feel free to communicate with us with any thoughts or suggestions for programming that you might have at broth@binghamton.edu

A Wider Lens against White Feminism

Benita Roth, Director of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of Sociology, had her review of Rafia Zakaria’s book, Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption, published in the "Short Takes: Provocations on Public Feminism" feature of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. | Read More

WGSS Faculty Receives Citizen Action of New York - Southern Tier Chapter 2021 Phoenix Award

Dara Silberstein, Research Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is a recipient of this years' Phoenix Award. This award is given out each year by the Citizen Action of New York - Southern Tier Chapter to local activists who advance the organization's vision of a "world based on racial, social, economic, and environmental justice".  Award recipients will be honored at an event on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. | Read More

Affirmative Consent Policies and College Student Sexual Behavioral Norms

Research from the Binghamton Human Sexualities Research Lab by Melissa Hardesty (WGSS Affiliate and Department of Social Work), Sarah Young (WGSS Affiliate and Department of Social Work), Allison McKinnon (Department of Psychology), Ann Merriwether (WGSS Affiliate and Department of Psychology), Rich Mattson (Department of Psychology), and Sean Massey (WGSS Faculty) was published recently in the journal Sexuality Research & Social Policy. Their article "Indiscrete: How typical college student sexual behavior troubles affirmative consent’s demand for clear communication" explores tensions between affirmative consent policies on college campuses and contemporary college sexual culture by comparing undergraduate students’ descriptions of sexual norms and the behaviors  they and their peers engage in to the norms implicit in campus sexual assault policies. | Read More

Viewing LGBT Minority Stress Through a "Glocal" Lens

The LGBT minority stress model provides a useful framework for thinking about the challenges faced by LGBTQ people in their daily lives. However, to understand the lives of sexual minorities, it is necessary to concider how concepts like minority stress, resilience, and even well-being, that come from Western U.S. psychological traditions, can sometimes obscure local understanding and pathways to mental health. These ideas are explored in "LGBT Minority Stress Through a 'Glocal' Lens" authored by WGSS Faculty Sean Massey in a recent chapter in the anthology Critical Sexual Literacy: Forecasting Trends in Sexual Politics, Diversity, and Pedagogy, edited by Gilbert Herdt Michelle Marzullo, and Nicole Polen Petit from Anthem Press.  | Read More

WGSS Faculty Receives 2020 Broome-Tioga NAACP Freedom Fund Social Impact Award

Sean Massey, Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is recipient of the 2020 Broome-Tioga NAACP Freedom Fund Social Impact Award. Recipients of the Achievement in the Arts, Social Impact, Economic Game Changer, and Community Service awards will be honored at a virtual event on Friday October 2, 2020.  | Read More

Statement from WGSS in the wake of New York State Attorney General’s report on Governor Andrew Cuomo and sexual harassment

On Tuesday August 3rd 2021, New York State Attorney General Letitia James presented her office’s investigation of Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment of a nearly a dozen former and current employees.  Based on the egregious behavior depicted in the AG’s report, a number of leaders including the State’s Congressional Delegation, several governors of neighboring states, and President Biden have all condemned his behavior and called on Cuomo to resign. The WGSS program joins in the widespread condemnation of the Governor’s behavior.

We are saddened and outraged by the pattern of abusive behavior detailed in the report.  That so many women were subjected to the Governor’s abuse speaks to the kind of toxic culture he fostered and that was enabled by those within his administration. Though we applaud the AG’s investigation, it should not have taken a collection of victim’s stories for there to be public condemnation of the Governor’s abuse.  It is an all too familiar example of how an individual woman’s complaint of abuse is silenced, or worse, depicted as her fault.  

The Governor’s disregard for his egregious behavior was on full display in his response to the report’s findings.  In essence, he blamed the victims, arguing that they have misunderstood his intentions. He has also claimed that “generational” or “cultural” differences led his victims to interpret his unwanted comments and contacts as abuse.  

Those of us who have advocated on behalf of victims of sexual abuse know that Governor Cuomo is not an isolated actor.  Sadly, there have been many accounts of abuse on our own campus, some of which have been shared on the “shareyourstorybing” Instagram account.  While campus administrators have made some efforts to respond to these complaints we call upon them to make every effort to end these abuses and the culture that has enabled them.

The Trailblazer: Jean Quataert Transformed the Field of History

Jean Quataert

The distinguished professor emerita of history helped lay the foundation for women’s history, recovering the role of women in German and European history. She began this work in the early 1970s, when the discipline was dominated by men and women’s issues weren’t considered significant, noted History Professor Donald Nieman, Binghamton University’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.| Read More

Passing of Jean Quataert,
Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies

To all the WGSS community:

We lost a giant yesterday.  Jean Quataert, Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies, left us after suffering a short illness.  There will be numerous notices about the loss of this exceptional feminist scholar, this exceptional colleague, this exceptional friend.  Jean directed the Women’s Studies program from 1986 to 1989, and thus was one of the feminists who built and sustained WGSS.

I will just speak personally in this message about how important she was to me. I had known Jean since my arrival at BU in 1998, and been to the house she shared with her husband, Don Quataert, many times.  In 2011, Jean came to be to ask me to co-author a piece on the historical literature on human rights, for a collection called The Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights. The piece, which we called “Gendering Human Rights: An Historical Sociological Movements Approach” appeared in the collection under the dissatisfying and generic title “Comparative and Historical Sociology,” but we were both proud of it.   Jean and I also co-edited a special issue of The Journal of Women’s History on “Human Rights, Global Conferences, and the Making of Postwar Transnational Feminisms” in 2012, and co-wrote the introduction to that issue, which contained articles about the role of United Nations global conferences on women in the latter part of the 20th century, and contained the voices of activists who had been part of those conferences.   That special issue was a runner-up for the 2013 CELJ (Council of Editors of Learned Journals) Best Public Intellectual Special Issue award.  Jean was very proud of this recognition and proud of all the work she did for the JWH while the journal was here at BU.  

I write about these collaborations not to insert myself into Jean’s story, but to let our community know what kind of colleague Jean was – she was passionate and intense, and also open to input, intellectually curious, and straightforward.  You always knew where you stood with Jean. You always knew what she thought about a topic, an article, a book a talk (sometimes even while the talk was happening).  Our relationship was a little bit mentor and a little bit peer, and wholly positive. I will miss her greatly, and regret the distance that her retirement and my task-laden days created.

It is customary in a message like this to list the accomplishments of the person who has passed, and those of you can, in our hyperlinked world, look at Jean’s CV online at https://www.binghamton.edu/history/docs/cv/profquat.cv.pdf, or follow the links to any number of sites about Jean and her work.

Lastly, although there will be many more words about Jean to come, I want to thank Leigh Ann Wheeler, whose grace in the wake of losing Jean, a special friend, colleague, and member of her family has benefitted all of us who loved Jean.  May Jean’s memory be a blessing for us all.


Feminism’s Legacy Sees College Women Embracing More Diverse Sexuality

More and more emerging adult college Women are rejecting exclusive heterosexuality and describing their sexual orientation in other ways. These findings are reported in the research brief "Trending Queer: Emerging Adults and the Growing Resistance to Compulsory Heterosexuality" published this month in the book Sexuality in Emerging Adulthood from Oxford University Press. The study was conducted by the Binghamton Human Sexualities Research Lab, which is co-facilitated by WGSS faculty Sean Massey and WGSS Affiliate faculty Ann Merriwether (Department of Psychology), Sarah Young (Department of Social Work), and Melissa Hardesty (Department of Social Work). | Read More

Beyond Leaky Pipelines and Glass Ceilings: Equity Issues on the Academic Track

Kathleen Sterling, Associate Professor of Anthropology, WGSS affiliated faculty and steering committee member at Binghamton University will be speaking in the Presidential Session of the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting on April 15. Her paper “Beyond Leaky Pipelines and Glass Ceilings: Equity Issues on the Academic Track” will be presented as part of the session “What is at Stake? The Impacts of Inequity and Harassment on the Practice of Archaeology.” 

Beyond White Feminism: Not ‘Healing’ the US Back to an Anti-Feminist Future

On January 25th, 2021 the Shorenstein Center hosted Koa Beck, Spring 2019 Joan Shorenstein Fellow and author of the new book White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind, in conversation with Benita Roth, Professor of Sociology, History and Women’s Studies at Binghamton University, and author and activist Barbara Smith for a discussion about the ways that gender policies, platforms, and initiatives can be pushed forward and re-envisioned for a more inclusive future that doesn’t return to the old “normal.” | Read More

Watch event on YouTube:  Click Here

Millennia-old burial sites show female hunters pursued big game and equal-opportunity hunting roles might have been commonplace

In the Early Americas, the blending of hunting roles regardless of sex is not especially surprising, says Kathleen Sterling, an associate professor of Anthropology, WGSS affiliated faculty and steering committee member at Binghamton University. Read More.