In the past two decades, the relationship between sexualities and globalization has increasingly been studied by researchers in women’s studies and in other areas of the social sciences and  humanities. The globalization of trade, finances, and investment has had a palpable effect on the sexual health and human rights of individuals, and on sexual meanings, sexual identities, particularly since the close of the 20th century. Research suggests that globalization and its manifestations-- increased mobility, the transformation of nation-states and citizenship and the emergence of transnational civil society--have had a profound impact on discourses and practices attached to sexuality.

Similarly, human rights advocates, particularly women's and sexual rights activists have become increasingly aware of the relationship between globalization and evolving understandings of sexuality. In the 1990s women’s human rights activists along with sexual rights advocates played important roles in the creation and implementation of international agreements on sexual and reproductive rights. The multiple ways in which sexual and reproductive rights intersect with a wide range of health, human rights, social and economic justice and development issues were taken into account in those formulations. Nonetheless, macroeconomic policies, migration, reforms in the health sector, the rise of fundamentalisms, and militarization threaten the gains made in previous decades. In order to implement their strategies, rights advocates have explored the links between globalization and sexualities, seeking to sharpen their understanding of this relationship.

This project brings together an interdisciplinary group of academic researchers at Rutgers and activists from different regions of the world to advance understandings of the relationship between globalization and sexualities from an activist and academic perspective. The advocates who form part of the groundbreaking sexual and women’s rights organizations can inform academic inquiry, and the vibrant research produced at Rutgers University in the growing area of sexuality studies can strengthen activists effectiveness as they work in diverse transnational networks. Ultimately, the connections developed within the work group (faculty and graduate students) and activist circle can become a vehicle for a more integrated perspective of the relationship between globalization and sexualities.

Work Group Goals:

  • To develop comprehensive analysis of the relationships between globalization and sexualities.
  • To support collaboration among Rutgers University faculty, graduate students, and international activists in the interdisciplinary field of globalization and sexualities.
  • To identify the main issues presently at stake in relation to globalization and sexualities and sexual rights, as perceived through the academic and activist spheres and to identify the overlaps to instigate further collaboration.
  • To position Rutgers University as a partner to human rights advocates and policy makers in relation to the themes of globalization, sexual health and rights.

Charlotte Bunch, PI (SAS, WGS, Center for Women’s Global Leadership); Carlos Decena (SAS, WGS, Hispanic and Latino Caribbean Studies); Yana Rodgers (SAS, WGS, Center for Women and Work): Jyl Josephson (FAS-Newark, Political Science, Women’s Studies); Ethel Brooks (SAS, WGS, Sociology); Cheryl Clarke (Social Justice Education); Anahi Russo Garrido (SAS, WGS, GSNB-Women’s and Gender Studies graduate student); Andrew Mazzachi (SAS, WGS, GSNB-Women’s and Gender Studies graduate student).

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