Janet Jakobsen

Claire Tow Professor and Chair of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Janet R. Jakobsen is Claire Tow Professor and Chair of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies and Director of the Center for Research on Women at Barnard College, where she has also served as Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development.  She studies ethics and public policy with a particular focus on social movements related to religion, gender and sexuality.  She teaches courses on social ethics, feminist theory, queer theory, activism, religion and violence. She is the author of Working Alliances and the Politics of Difference: Diversity and Feminist Ethics.  With Ann Pellegrini she co-wrote of Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance and co-edited Secularisms, and with Elizabeth Castelli she co-edited Interventions: Academics and Activists Respond to Violence.  She has held fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University and the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard Divinity School and has also taught as a Visiting Professor at Harvard University and Wesleyan University. Before entering the academy, she was a policy analyst and organizer in Washington, D.C.

Selected Publications


Secularisms, edited with A. Pellegrini (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008)

Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance, with A. Pellegrini

(New York: New York University Press, 2003; Boston: Beacon Press, 2004, paperback edition)

Interventions: Activists and Academics Respond to Violence, edited with E. Castelli (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)

Working Alliances and the Politics of Difference: Diversity and Feminist Ethics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998)


Articles and Chapters:


"Different Differences: Theory and the Practice of Women's Studies," in Women's Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics, ed. E. Lapovsky Kennedy and A. Beins (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006)

"Sex and Freedom" (with E. Lapovsky Kennedy), in Regulating Sex, ed. E. Bernstein and L. Schaffner (New York: Routledge Press, 2005)

"Can Homosexuals End Western Civilization as We Know It?: Family Values in a Global Economy," in Queer Globalization/Local Homosexualities, ed. A. Cruz- Malavé and M. Manalansan (New York: New York University Press, 2002)

" 'He Has Wronged America and Women': Bill Clinton's Sexual Conservatism," in Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the National Interest, ed. L. Duggan and L. Berlant (New York: New York University Press, 2001)

"Family Values and Working Alliances: The Question of Hate and Public Policy," in Welfare Policy: Feminist Critiques, ed. E. Bounds, P. Brubaker and M. Hobgood (New York: Pilgrim Press, 1999)

"Queer Is? Queer Does?: Normativity and Resistance," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 4 (1998)

Academic Focus: 

Feminist theory
Queer theory
Religion and politics
Public policy


Ph.D., Emory University, Ethics and Society, Graduate Division of Religion

M.A., School of Theology at Claremont

A.B. Dartmouth College, Highest Distinction in Philosophy and Distinction in Economics

Related Web Sites: 


In the News

As the National Organization for Women holds its national convention this week, Prof. Janet Jakobsen weighs in on a younger generation's approach to feminist movements.  An excerpt from the article.

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