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Meet our Faculty: Katherine Sender

Professor Sender standing outdoors

Katherine Sender, professor, Department of Communication

Katherine Sender is a professor in the Department of Communication and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Cornell University. Her research and teaching focus on gender and sexuality, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer media. Her research areas span television, audiences, cultural production, consumer culture and globalization.

Sender is the author of Business not Politics: The Making of the Gay Market (2004) and The Makeover: Reality Television and Reflexive Audiences (2012). She has also produced documentaries about media representation, including Off the Straight and Narrow: Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgender People on US Television (1998, 2006, and in post-production), and Brand New You: Makeover Television and the American Dream (2012). She is currently editing a documentary on Indian traditional textile techniques in the context of a globalizing fashion industry. Her current research project focuses on sexual mobilities across a range of media and locations.

Previous positions: University of Michigan (2015-18); University of Auckland, New Zealand (2012-15); University of Pennsylvania (2002-11)

Academic background: B.A. Honours in Psychology from the University of Sussex, UK, 1990; M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (2001) in Communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Last books read: “Why Comics” by Hillary Chute, “White Houses” by Amy Bloom, “The Sparsholt Affair” by Alan Hollinghurst

Current research projects? I am completing a journal article on queer beauty vloggers with a former honors student; I am editing a documentary about Indian traditional textile production in the contemporary global fashion industry; and I am researching for my next book about how sexuality becomes capitalized when it moves among spaces, people and media.

What are three adjectives people might use to describe you? I should leave this to my friends to offer…

Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching? I love my Sexual Identities in the Media class, and am looking forward to bringing Television in the Digital Age to Cornell. I will also be teaching a graduate qualitative methods class next spring with Lee Humphries.

What most excites you about Cornell CALS? Life. Happens.

Photo credit: Allison Usavage