Re-Thinking Sex: Revolution, Liberation, and Sovereignty

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Gender and Sexuality; Race; Religion


This roundtable brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to unpack concepts of sexual revolution, liberation, and sovereignty. Informed by critical race theories, we interrogate the study of sexualities and sexual culture from the vantage point of difference. We ask who gets left out of sexual revolutions? How might the meaning of sexual freedom change depending on who is seeking it? What approaches to researching and writing histories of sexualities will better allow for diversity and also enable us to think across difference?

Session Participants

Chair: Jane Kamensky, Harvard University
Jane Kamensky is Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University and the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is a historian of the Atlantic world and the United States with particular interests in the histories of family, culture, and everyday life.

Her next book, Candida Royalle and the Sexual Revolution: A History from Below, will be published by W. W. Norton. Her most recent book, A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (2016), won four prizes and was a finalist for three others. Kamensky’s previous books include The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America’s First Banking Collapse (2008); Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England (1997); and the novel Blindspot (2008), jointly written with Jill Lepore. With Edward G. Gray, she edited the Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution (2012).

Panelist: Suzanna Krivulskaya, California State University San Marcos
Dr. Suzanna Krivulskaya is an Assistant Professor of History at California State University San Marcos, where she teaches courses in U.S. religion, sexuality, gender, and digital history. Her work has been published in the Journal of American Studies, Current Research in Digital History, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and is forthcoming from the Oxford Handbook of Christian Fundamentalism. She has also written for popular outlets like Religion Dispatches and The Revealer on topics in queer religion and sexual abuse. She is currently writing a book about the long history of Protestant sex scandals. Krivulskaya is the recipient of the 2019-2020 LGBTQ Religious History Award from the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network.

Panelist: Michelle S. A. Mcgeough, Concordia University
Michelle McGeough (Métis/Cree) recently completed her PhD in Indigenous art history at the University of New Mexico. Prior to returning to school for her advanced degree, she taught Museum Studies at the Institute of American Indian Art and was the Assistant curator at the Wheelwright Museum of the Native American in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. McGeough has a Master’s degree from Carleton University as well as a BFA from Emily Carr and an undergraduate degree from the Institute of American Indian Art. She also has a B.Ed. degree from the University of Alberta.
Dr. McGeough’s research interests have focused on the indigenous two-spirit identity. Presently she is working on a manuscript that examines Indigenous understandings of gender fluidity and the impact these notions have on artistic production. Other areas of her research include the application of Indigenous research methodologies and the incorporation of these ways of knowing into the development of curriculum and the curation of contemporary and historic Indigenous art. Currently, Dr. McGeough teaches Indigenous art histories in the University of British Columbia’s Art History Visual Art and Theory department. She is also an independent curator and has curated exhibitions for the I.D.E.A. at Colorado College. Aboriginal Art Center, in Ottawa and the Museum of Contemporary Native American Art in Santa Fe New, Mexico.

Panelist: Celine Parrenas Shimizu, San Francisco State University
An award-winning film scholar and filmmaker, Celine Parreñas Shimizu is Professor and Director of the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. Her work focuses on race and sexuality at the site of representation in global popular culture. In addition to her five books The Hypersexuality of Race: Performing Asian / American Women on Screen and Scene (Duke UP, 2007); Straitjacket Sexualities: Unbinding Asian American Manhoods in the Movies (Stanford University Press, 2012), The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure (co-edited with Tristan Taormino, Constance Penley and Mireille Miller-Young from The Feminist Press, 2013); The Unwatchability of Whiteness: A New Imperative of Representation (co-edited with J. Reid Miller and Richard T. Rodriguez, Brill 2018) and The Proximity of Other Skins: Ethical Intimacy in Global Cinema (Oxford UP, 2020), she publishes widely in top journals such as Concentric, Frontiers: Journal of Women’s Studies, Journal of Asian American Studies, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, positions, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Signs, Sexualities, Theater Journal, Wide Angle and Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. Currently, she is Associate Editor of GLQ and has reviewed grants and fellowships for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation. She serves on film juries and has produced and directed two feature films and several shorts. For more, go to

Panelist: Rebecca J. Sheehan, Macquarie University
Rebecca J. Sheehan is the Program Director of Gender Studies and Lecturer in the Sociology of Gender at Macquarie University, and an Honorary Associate at United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD and MA in History from the University of Southern California. Her research in 20th century United States history takes an intersectional approach to understanding the relationship between sexual behavior and gender identities. Sheehan has published articles on gender and popular music, boxing, how everyday Americans responded to white Australian femininst Germaine Greer, the intersectional feminist friendship of Florynce Kennedy and Germaine Greer, and Beyonce's international fans. She is working on a book entitled Rise of the Superwoman (under contract with Harvard University Press) about how the interactions of feminism, popular culture, and evangelical Christianity transformed dominant notions of womanhood in the 1970s.