The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture was founded in 2001 to support research and critical conversations concerning sexuality, sexual culture, and their mutually determining relationship to institutions, social practices and norms, and modes of representation. We understand sexuality to essentially inform diverse fields of social life, such as the state, the economy, civil society, family forms, social identity, and the cultural modes of representation. We draw from a broad field of scholarship in which sexuality is found to participate in discussions as far-reaching as: reproductive control and rights, heredity, marriage, nationalism, welfare systems, property, adoption, animal ethnographies, colonial imaginaries and administrations, performance, language norms, gendered ways and styles, disability politics and culture, visual cultures, materialities, and more.

A Lesbian History of the Sonnet

Lisa Moore, Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Texas at Austin


lisa_mooreWhen Petrarch was inventing the sonnet form, he was reading Sappho’s love poems to Lesbia.  Ranging from the fourteenth century to contemporary debates about the politics of formal poetry, this talk argues that representations of love between women are central to the sonnet form, and that all sonnets are in some sense imitations of a lesbian–or at least Lesbian–original.

Lisa L. Moore, Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes (Minnesota, 2011), which won the Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for the Publishers’ Triangle Award.  She also wrote Dangerous Intimacies: Toward a Sapphic History of the British Novel (Duke, 1997), and is the editor, with Omi Osun Jones and Sharon Bridgforth, of Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project (Texas, 2010) and, with Joanna Brooks and Caroline Wigginton, of Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolutions (Oxford, 2011), which was selected as a 2012 Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year.  She has published articles and reviews in journals including GLQ, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Cultural Critique, Textual Practice, Signs, Albion, and Modern Philology.  Her poems have been published by Split This Rock, Ostrich Review, Codex Journal, Broadsided, Sinister Wisdom, Lavender Review and others, and she won the 2012 Museum of Fine Arts-Houston Art/Lines Juried Poetry Competition.  Professor Moore is a frequent contributor to the Poetry section at the Los Angeles Review of Books. 

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. Co-sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature. For more information, please contact cssc@berkeley.edu


Feminist Translations/Queer Mobilities: A Symposium

Keynote Speakers: Gaye Chan, Professor of Art & Art History; Nandita Sharma, Associate Professor, Sociology; University of Hawaii

A one-day symposium on “Feminist Translations/Queer Mobilities,” featuring keynote speakers Gaye Chan, Professor of Art & Art History; and Nandita Sharma, Associate Professor of Sociology; University of Hawai‘i. Co-organized by the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Sexual Culture and the History of Art Department. More details coming soon.

This event is free and open to the public.

About the keynote speakers:

gaye_chan Gaye Chan is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Hawai’i. She is a visual and media artist recognized equally for her individual and collaborative work. The latter includes being cofounder of Eating in Public at nomoola.com and DownWind Productions at downwindproductions.com. She was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States in 1969. She received her MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. Her website is here.



Nandita Sharma is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai’i. Dr. Sharma is an activist scholar whose research is shaped by the social movements she is active in, including No Borders movements and those struggling for the commons. She is the author of Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of ‘Migrant Workers’ in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2006). She is also the co-editor (with Bridget Anderson and Cynthia Wright) of a Special Issue of the journal Refuge on “No Borders As a Practical Political Project” (26:2, released Fall 2011/dated Fall 2009). Her research interests address themes of human migration, migrant labor, national state power, ideologies of racism and nationalism, processes of identification and self-understanding, and social movements for justice. Her website is here.