Ara Wilson
Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies

I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to link understandings of economies (especially capitalism) with analyses of gender and sexuality, naming this effort queer political economy (QPE). I've taken this orientation in a few directions:
  • long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Bangkok, Thailand and short-term study of Singapore on the ways gender and sexuality get constituted within global and local political economies; 
  • combining Science & Technology Studies (STS) approaches with materialist (political economic)theories, e.g., on medical tourism and standardization 
  • transnational networks or spaces relevant to sex/gender, e.g., the UN-NGO orbit and the World Social Forum
  • reflection on core categories of interdisciplinary scholarship, such as intimacy, infrastructure, or gender itself. This includes investigations of the history of the academic fields of Anthropology and Women's Gender Studies. (Being in Gender Studies also means I read an interdisciplinary array of queer and feminist scholarship, which includes works in American Studies, Black feminism, and transnational queer feminist studies.)

I have taught a range of undergraduate courses in Gender Studies and regularly teach Money/Sex/Power and Nature/Nurture-Sex/Gender , team taught with a neurobiologist. I co-ran a project on Transgender Studies and helped initiate GSF's courses on Introduction to Transgender Studies and Digital Feminism and have been affiliated with three Bass projects. Currently I am the point person for Honors Theses in GSF.

Much of my work at Duke has been at the Graduate level, particularly with the GSF Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies.  I have taught seminars in core feminist areas (feminist theory; transnational feminist theory; research design; sexuality studies) as well as topical courses on Infrastructure; The 1970s (team taught); and Care Economies (team taught). While serving as the DGS for GSF for a number years, I enjoyed mentoring graduate students on dissertation writing and entering the unnerving market for jobs and fellowships. I now represent the social sciences on the Executive Committee of the Graduate Faculty

Current Research Interests

STS: infrastructure, standards, measurement & social life; transnational medicine (medical tourism); nature-nurture debate about sex & gender
Thailand: modern medicine, medical tourism, Rockefeller Foundation
GSFS: the history of the concept of gender; category of intimacy; globalization & sexuality

Office Hours

Generally by appointment; I also try to respond promptly to work emails during the semester.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

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