Announcing the 2023 Scholars of Sexology Fellows

The Scholars of Sexology Fellowship is awarded annually to support the work of one or more graduate students whose research would benefit from the resources of the Kinsey Institute Collections. Fellows are also expected to contribute to the organization, preservation, and/or accessibility of Kinsey Institute collections.

Congratulations to our 2023 Fellows: Alex Bateman, Yael Rosenstock Gonzalez, and Muza de la Luz, and Honorable Mentions Bruna Kalil Othero Fernandes and Sam Kizer.

Alex Bateman (she/her/hers) is a filmmaker, writer, and designer from Sydney living in New York City. She graduated from the University of Sydney’s Media and Communications degree with an additional double major in Film Studies and American Studies and is currently in the third year of her screenwriting and directing MFA at Columbia University. She is currently working on her thesis at Columbia University which explores sex technology and design, and lesbian identity within historical social and cultural frameworks.

She received a 2022/2023 AAUW International Fellowship for her thesis works at Columbia University, and an American Australian Arts Grant to support her thesis film.

As a Scholar of Sexology for the Kinsey Institute, Alex will create a digital presentation and a collection guide based on sex design from the 1990s. Alex will also submit her Columbia Thesis film for the Kinsey Institute that documents the experience of an illegal pleasure party. Alex will draw on catalogs and marketing of this period from the archival collection to examine how sex design was marketed and sold in the United States. Alex will carefully examine lesbian representations during this period when a female same-sex partnership was highly sexualized in marketing but not catered to in practice.

The collection guide will accompany and expand on materials used in the production of the short film and presentation, and catalog sex design during these twenty years and how it relates to the dismantling of the sex taboo but the heightening of the pleasure taboo.

Muza de la Luz is a performance artist and an MA in Performance student at the Norwegian Theatre Academy in Fredrikstad, Norway. Their research interests are in the intersections of interdisciplinary performance work. Rooted in dance and explored through the genres of burlesque, drag, and video, they use themes of ritual, myth, transformation, desire, and the erotic to raise consciousness around issues of gender identity, sexuality, sex worker rights, and environmentalism. Utilizing performance and storytelling, centering embodiment and lived experience, their work aims to disrupt the sexism, racism, homo/transphobia, and whorephobia embedded in contemporary American/Euro societies.

With support of the Scholars of Sexology Fellowship and inspired by the mission of the Sex Worker Syllabus project, Muza will create an annotated bibliography of the sex worker-produced materials that can be found in the Kinsey Institute collections, focusing on the 1970’s through present day. This will support their current research, orbiting around one central concept: it is important to hear about sex and sex work from the direct perspectives of professional sex workers. The creation of a sex worker-centered bibliography will provide Muza with a chance to survey the ways in which sex worker’s voices appear within a prominent scholarly collection, assessing the materials for content and context, and noting gaps in available materials that would be apparent only to those with insider knowledge of the field. 

Muza will also produce a performative video lecture, highlighting the gems they found within the archives during the Fellowship. The intention being to create a resource that scholars can use to include sex workers’ accounts in their research. Doing this work within the Kinsey Institute Archives will help encourage researchers across academic fields to consult and engage with sex workers and their experiences, an imperative practice in a world where misogyny and misinformation dominate the public narrative.

Yael Rosenstock Gonzalez is a PhD candidate at Indiana University Bloomington in Applied Health Sciences - Health Behavior. Her research centers the nuances of identity and power in topics of sex, consent, desire, pleasure, embodiment, agency, and partnering styles with a particular interest in Latines as a population that is underserved within sex positive work. Yael’s dissertation explores the experiences of body, belonging, race, objectification, and sex of currently or formerly sexually active 1st – 2nd generation Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican women, cis and trans, living in the United States. In particular, the study investigates

(1) the socialization around bodies growing up, as well as the influence that markers of Latinidad belonging/non-belonging, including racial phenotype, body shape, and language, as well as partner identity, have on experiences of objectification.

(2) how social models and cultural narratives related to body, feelings of belonging, and fetishization are impacting the women’s narratives about their sexual selves and their sexual experiences.

Yael’s project for the Scholars of Sexology Fellowship will interpret the messages shared about Latina sexuality from Latina specific porn and erotica magazines at the Kinsey Institute. This will include an analysis of narratives where they shared what they enjoyed receiving, performing, and generally engaging in sexually, as well as what they found attractive in others, and insecurities shared. The project will also highlight the ways in which the women are fetishized by the magazines and which Latinas (body types, race, countries) were included and how that might impact who is understood to be Latina. Lastly, Yael will create a guide for Latine sexuality related materials at the Kinsey Institute to support others seeking to work with these materials.

Honorable Mention

Bruna Kalil Othero Fernandes, Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana University
Research topic: Exploring Brazilian Erotic Art in the Kinsey Institute Collection

Sam Kizer, Ph.D. student in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University
Dissertation title: Doing it Differently? Narrating and Navigating Autistic Sexual Desire.

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