Gender and Sexuality

How do we ethically address forms of oppression and inequality intersecting with gender and sexuality?

Gender and Sexuality

The Rock Ethics Institute engages in research about the dimensions of human gender and sexual identity and the ethical issues that impact gender and sexual minorities. 

Sponsored Research

Principal Investigators:

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Associate Professor of Philosophy, Bioethics, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
2015-16 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow

Over the course of the past academic year, the Gender and Sex Equity Initiative has taken a small break from public-facing events and colloquia to plan our forthcoming project entitled “Care Ethics Otherwise,” which will be comprised of a special issue, a conference, and an edited volume.

We partnered with Amy McKiernan (Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dickinson College) to draft and disseminate a Call for Papers (below) for a special issue of the open-access journal Essays in Philosophy entitled “Care Ethics Otherwise.” Submissions are due September 1, 2022. The CFP outlines our approach and main themes and serves as a description for the conference we are planning to hold in May 2023. This year, we assembled an interdisciplinary conference planning board comprised of Lorraine Dowler (Geography), Joshua Trey Barnett (Communication Arts and Sciences), Tracy Rutler (French and Francophone Languages and Literatures/WGSS), Clark-Miller, and Malatino. The conference will function as a site to solicit and develop work on a larger edited volume addressing these themes.

CFP/Project Statement: Care Ethics Otherwise

The necessity of engaging with care—as concept, as practice, as a provisional way of naming multiple and overlapping fields of scholarly inquiry—grows ever more exigent. The litany of contemporary devastations that call for care-ful attention is familiar by now:  a global pandemic that continues to highlight and intensify longstanding and entrenched precarities underwritten by gender and sexual inequity, systemic anti-Blackness, classed and racialized stratifications of medical access, the maldistribution of care work within and beyond the home, ongoing Anthropocenic catastrophe prompted by technologies of extraction and neoliberal depredation, and the corporeal and communal vulnerabilities exposed by ongoing state abandonment and structural disinvestment in social welfare. Examining the transformative possibilities that inhere in reimagining and remaking the ethics and labor of care is crucial in this moment.

In this special issue, we aim to include essays focused on previously underexplored approaches to examining and practicing care ethics. We are seeking work that actively decenters understandings of care rooted in white, bourgeois, heteronormative domestic/kinship norms and practices.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:

  • racialization, anti-Blackness, and care labor
  • perspectives on care ethics developed from Black feminist scholarship
  • care ethics and decolonization
  • approaches to care ethics focused on addressing structural and institutional oppression
  • care, vulnerability, precarity, and state abandonment
  • biomedicalization, wellness, medical access, and care, especially for LGBTQIA+ folks
  • care ethics and trauma-informed care
  • decoupling care and love
  • the relationship between care and contempt, anger, and indignation
  • friendship, queer kinship, and care beyond the nuclear family
  • care, polyamory, and non-monogamy
  • care, sex work, and marriage/ family abolition
  • care ethics, prison abolition, and transformative justice
  • anthropocenic catastrophe, grief, ecology, and care
  • geographies and geopolitics of care
  • care, dependency, and disability justice
  • care beyond human worlds
  • anonymity, proximity, and questions of responsibility in care ethics
  • global care chains and marginalized care workers
  • tech and care

Principal Investigators:

Associate Professor of Psychology and Linguistics, Penn State Brandywine
2020–21 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow
Associate Teaching Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State Brandywine
2020–21 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow

Co-convened by Evan Bradley and Laura Evans (2020–2021 REI Faculty Fellows) the Ethical and Psychological Dimensions of Gender and Pronouns Initiative Investigates Ethical principles that impact gender-neutral pronoun use in interpersonal communication and pilots intervention strategies based on an ethical framework.The findings will be used to develop materials for ethical education and inclusion initiatives at Penn State and beyond.

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Topic(s): Gender and Sexuality, General, Global Issues, Health, Public Life
Topic(s): Gender and Sexuality, General, Global Issues, Health, Public Life, Race

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