Current Series

From public mass shootings to the #MeToo Movement to an emboldened white supremacist movement to discussions of "toxic masculinity" in workplaces, on sportsteams, in education, family life, and more, masculinity in the U.S. can sometimes feel ubitquitous. This Critical Issues in America speaker series (and associated discussions and events) will critically examine masculinity in America, critically focussing the relationships of three interconected issues with masculinity in America: work and economy, intimacy and sexuality, and violence. These issues cut across a wide variety of social, cultural, economic, and political life in the U.S. today. Public lectures, discussions, debates, performances, and more will offer opportunities for critical interdisciplinary dialogue and exchange. Scholars and professionals will discuss their work on masculinity and, over the course of the 2019/2020 academic year, will be a part of a year-long campus dialogue on masculinity in America, critically evaluating and examining diverse and intersectional forms of inequality. All of the events are aimed at broad, general, and public audiences.


Thomas Page McBee
October 7, 2019 @ 1:30-2:45pm in the MultiCultural Center Theatre (MCC Theatre)
(co-Sponsored by the MultiCultural Center, UCSB)

"Am I A Real Man?"

Author and journalist Thomas Page McBee viscerally understood his privilege as a man in 2011, just a few months after he began injecting testosterone, when he spoke up at a news meeting and his new, lower voice silenced the room. As a man and a feminist, Thomas was horrified; but as a reporter, he knew he had a rare opportunity to use his "beginner's mind" to expose the baselessness of many of the hidden biases and narratives that drive our cultural narratives about gender. In his latest book, Amateur, he trained to fight a boxing match in Madison Square Garden in order to understand the relationship between masculinity and violence. In this talk, Thomas will share the questions that guided that project (Does testosterone really make men violent? Am I sexist? What is a real man?), the surprising answers he found in the course of his reporting, and provide expert-backed, concrete strategies for making the aspects of masculinity more visible, so that we may begin to truly reimagine them.

Informal Q&A with McBee and Professor Tristan Bridges (UCSB Sociology) following the talk

A documentary short by Quartz on Thomas Paige McBee's "Fight Like a Man"

Thomas Paige McBeeThomas Page McBee is an author, journalist, television writer, and “questioner of masculinity” (The New York Times). His Lambda award-winning memoir, Man Alive, was named a best book of 2014 by NPR Books, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, and Publisher's Weekly. His second book, Amateur, a memoir about learning how to box in order to understand masculinity’s tie to violence, was shortlisted for the UK’s Baillie-Gifford nonfiction book prize, the Wellcome Book Prize, and a Lambda Literary Award, and more. In the course of reporting the book, Thomas became the first transgender man to ever box in Madison Square Garden. Thomas has written columns for the Rumpus, Pacific Standard, Condé Nast's Them, and Teen Vogue. A former senior editor at Quartz, his essays and reportage have appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, Glamour, Out, The Cut, and more. Thomas speaks globally about post-Recession masculinity, gender at work, the current gender culture war, and how trans media narratives shape all of our bodies. Thomas also works in television, and has written for both Tales of the City (2019, Netflix) and The L Word (2019, Showtime). He is currently at work on multiple projects in several mediums, mostly exploring monstrosity. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife.

Alex Luu
Solo Performer, Workshop Facilitator, and Filmmaker

October 14, 2019 @ 1:00pm in the MultiCultural Center Theatre (MCC Theatre)

"Three Lives"

Three Lives is a one-man “performance theater” show that tells the autobiographical tale of Luu’s harrowing escape from war-torn Saigon as an ethnic Chinese/Vietnamese refugee in 1975. What follow is a tumultuous journey that is at once hilarious & heartbreaking, as seen through the eyes of four distinct characters — Grandpa Luu, Pops Luu, Alex himself, and a younger cousin named Albert. All four characters experience the Vietnam War, its violent aftermath, and the ultimate search for belonging and home in a new country (America).

Following the performace, Luu will lead a short performance workshop with interested audience members

Alex Luu is a critically-acclaimed solo performance/theater artist, workshop facilitator/teacher, and independent filmmaker. Combining performance art, kinetic movement, storytelling, and monologue, Alex’s work explores themes such as identity, racism/oppression, family dynamics, and the emotional, physical, and psychic scars of violence & war with equal doses of visceral honesty and over-the-top humor. Alex has performed his one-man show “Three Lives” and other performance works at theaters, arts organizations, campuses, and community spaces nationally since 1989, garnering critical acclaim from Los Angeles Times, Backstage West, Boston Globe, South End News, Asian New Yorker, LA Weekly, LA Alternative Press, Pasadena Weekly, and others. Alex is also a Lifetime Teaching Artist with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and former Teaching Artist with Ford Theatre Foundation and the nation’s premier Asian American theater, East West Players. Alex is founder/facilitator of MY OWN STORY (MOS), an autobiographical writing/storytelling/performing workshop. As Teaching Artist/Artist-in-Residence, Alex has performed and taught MOS at theaters and campuses, including Boston Center for the Arts, Berklee College of Music, Harvard University, Wellesley College, USC, UC Berkeley, Mondavi Performing Arts Center, and UC Davis. In addition to college students, Alex also works with at-risk high school youth. Alex was Editor/Film Editor for YOLK Magazine, the nation’s pioneering Asian American pop culture & entertainment magazine.

Organized by Professor Kip Fulbeck (Art Department, UCSB)
(Co-Sponsored by the "Masculinity in America" Critical Issues in American series)

Professor Brandon Whited, Dept. of Theatre and Dance, UCSB
October 24-26, 2019 @ 8:00pm (Hatlan Theatre, UCSB)

"Boys Like Us"

UCSB Dance Professor Brandon Whited explores gender dynamics and identities in this exciting and long-anticipated concert. Tickets for sale online HERE.

One night will feature a pre-performance panel and discussion with Professor Brandon Whited (Dance and Theatre, UCSB), Professor Kip Fulbeck (Art, UCSB), and Tristan Bridges (Sociology, UCSB). And another night will include a post-performance Q&A with some of the dancers. More information TBA.

(Co-Sponsored by the "Masculinity in America" Critical Issues in America series)

Dr. Michela Musto
November 4, 2019 @ 1:00-2:15pm in the McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB)

"Who Gets Called 'Genius' and Why?:
The Problem of White Male Entitlement in Middle School"

Girls outperform boys in most areas of education. Despite girls’ and women’s achievements, White men are overrepresented in jobs and occupations where “natural” intelligence and leadership skills are considered integral to success. From my two and half years studying a racially diverse suburban middle school in Los Angeles, I discovered how school processes shape students’ beliefs about which of their classmates are “naturally” intelligent and charismatic. I will explain how educators respond to White and Asian American students’ rule-breaking differently depending on students’ gender and race. Educators’ leniency afforded White boys the most opportunities to demonstrate their competency during classroom conversations. Over the course of middle school, students began to label White boys as the school’s most “confident” and “exceptionally intelligent” students. White male entitlement, which starts in early adolescence, has enduring effects, ultimately shaping students’ lives, educational opportunities, and career prospects in ways that perpetuate social inequality.

Informal Q&A with Dr. Musto and Professor Sarah Thébaud (UCSB Sociology) following the talk

Michela Musto is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University, where she is affiliated with the Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Her work investigates the contexts in which education reproduces social inequality, including academically tracked classrooms, youth sports and other extracurricular activities, and collegiate athletics. An article in American Sociological Review uses longitudinal ethnography to identifies how middle school students learn to perceive affluent, White boys as the school’s most exceptional students – not only in comparison to girls, but also in comparison to Asian American and Latinx boys. She is also working on a book project on this same topic. Michela’s previous work on girls’ and women’s advancement into the historically male-dominated fields of sport and STEM has been published in Gender & Society, Sociology of Sport Journal, Communication & Sport, and Education Policy Analysis Archive. She is also the co-author of Child’s Play, an edited volume published with Rutgers University Press that takes inequality in youth sports as its subject of inquiry. In addition to receiving funding from the National Science Foundation, the American Association for University Women, and the Haynes Foundation, Michela’s work has received awards from the American Sociological Association Sex & Gender and Children & Youth Sections.

Dr. Adia Harvey Wingfield
November 18, 2019 @1:00-2:30pm in the McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB)

“Professional Work in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era:
Gendered and Racial Outcomes in the New Economy.”

The research that is the basis for the talk is a study of how economic and organizational changes to work specifically impact black professionals. One major recent change is that many organizations now state their commitment to and interest in creating a more diverse workforce, yet research shows they rarely do this in ways that tangibly change the numbers of women of all races and minority men at the top levels of organizations. Part of my project investigates the consequences of this paradox for black professionals in high status occupations. Focusing on black health care workers, I show how emphasis on diversity is disconnected from black workers’ occupational realities. I also investigate how employment in gendered occupations such as medicine and nursing leads to particular work outcomes for black men and black women in the new economy. For black men, these consequences can yield divergent experiences that are shaped not just by race and gender, but occupational status as well.

Informal Q&A with Dr. Wingfield and Professor Maria Charles (UCSB Sociology) following the talk

Adia Harvey Wingfield is Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research examines how and why racial and gender inequality persists in professional occupations. Dr. Wingfield has lectured internationally on her research in this area, and her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Social Problems, Gender & Society, and American Behavioral Scientist. She recently completed a term as President of Sociologists for Women in Society, a national organization that encourages feminist research and social change, and is a regular contributor to Slate, The Atlantic, and Harvard Business Review. Professor Wingfield is the author of several books, most recently Flatlining: Race, Work, and Health Care in the New Economy, and is the recipient of the 2018 Public Understanding of Sociology award from the American Sociological Association.


Dr. Anthony C. Ocampo
January 16, 2020 @ 4:30-5:45 the McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB)

"The Gay Second Generation:
How Sexuality Shapes the Trajectories of Queer Sons of Immigrants"

Over the past two decades, researchers have produced thousands of studies on Latinx and Asian American children of immigrants, better known as the immigrant second generation. These studies have highlighted how structural, neighborhood, race, and cultural factors have facilitated divergent mobility trajectories for the contemporary second generation. Notably absent from these studies are the experiences of LGBTQ children of immigrants. Drawing on interviews with 63 Filipino and Latino queer men in Los Angeles, I examine how sexuality shapes the academic trajectories for the gay second generation. With this talk, I demonstrate how centering LGBTQ children of immigrants has the potential to advance theoretical frameworks on the immigrant second generation.

Informal Q&A with Dr. Ocampo following the talk

Anthony Ocampo is Associate Professor of Sociology at Cal Poly Pomona and a Ford Foundation Fellow. He is the author of The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race (Stanford University Press), and co-editor of Contemporary Asian America (NYU Press). His research has appeared in education, sociology, and ethnic studies journals, including Ethnic and Racial Studies; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Race, Ethnicity, and EducationEthnic and Racial Studies; Latino Studies; and the Journal of Asian American Studies. Dr. Ocampo’s research and commentaries on immigration, race, and education have been featured on NPR, Public Radio International, The New York Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle. He is currently finishing his new book Brown and Gay in LA: Queer Sons of Immigrants Coming of Ageunder contract with NYU Press.

Dr. John Ibson
January 21, 2020 @ 4:30-5:45pm the McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB)

"American Males in a Straight Jacket:
The Lingering Legacy of Midcentury Homophobia"

Disdain has been heaped on persons who desire sexual involvement with members of their own sex for well over a century in the United States.  But the actual fear of queer persons, especially queer males, including an intense dread of being one, has been part of American culture only since the years immediately following World War II. John Ibson links the birth of American homophobia to the wartime experiences of many American men, and to the combination of grief and guilt that often followed those involvements. Queer men have been only the more obvious victims of homophobia; the fear has taken a heavy toll in the lives of most American males, from little boys to old men. Though perhaps less so nowadays, the fear continues to do its dirty work.

Informal Q&A with Dr. Ibson and Professor Leila Rupp (Feminist Studies, UCSB) following the talk

With an undergraduate degree in political science from UC Davis and a PhD in history from Brandeis University, John Ibson is Professor of American Studies, emeritus, at California State University, Fullerton. Spending his entire professional career of 47 years in Fullerton’s Department of American Studies, he has taught such courses as Prejudice in America, The American Dream, War in American Culture, American Humor, 1960s America, and The Body in American Culture.  In his areas of scholarly specialization, he has taught these three courses: American Photographs; Sexual Orientations; and The American Male. His book Will the World Break Your Heart: Dimensions and Consequences of Irish-American Assimilation was published by Garland Press in 1990.  Picturing Men: A Century of Male Relationships in Everyday American Photography first appeared from the Smithsonian Institution Press in 2002, and the University of Chicago Press published that book in paperback in 2006. Chicago published his book The Mourning After: Loss and Longing among Midcentury American Men in 2018, followed in 2019 by Men without Maps: Some Gay Men of the Generation before Stonewall.  The recipient of awards for outstanding teaching at Fullerton, Ibson has received awards from the Orange County Equality Coalition and the LGBTQ Center of Orange County. He was one of the first chairs of his department at Fullerton and has also been its graduate program adviser.  He has been partnered with Steve Harrison, an art gallery owner and a retired public school teacher, for 41 years, and married to that fellow for nearly a decade. With Max, their dachshund, they live in Claremont.

Dr. Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr.
Feburary 10, 2020 @ 4:30-6:00 the McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB)

"Michael Brown to Michael Johnson:
An American Experiment of the BlackQueer

This talk is drawn from a chapter in McCune’s book in progress, Disobedient Reading: An Experiment in Seeing Black.  In this manuscript, McCune offers new reading practices for what is formed at sites which may be understood as canonical, formative institutions in the production of black life and death. In this manuscript McCune offers BlackQueer as a heuristic, or interpretative frame, to understand the positionality of black subjects whose relationship to the state and its agents has always been, and continues to be, alien, marginal, and vexed. 
Informal panel discussion and Q&A with Dr. McCune, Jr.,
Professor Terrell Winder (Sociology, UCSB), and Professor Terrance Wooten (Black Studies, UCSB) following the talk
Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., Ph.D.,  Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, is the author of the award-winning book Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing. He is presently completing two book projects. The first, Read!:An Experiment in Seeing Blackand the other On Kanye. He has published in a variety of journals and also serves on the editorial board of numerous journals. he is the co-editor of the University of California Press “New Sexual Worlds” book series. For his work at the intersections, of race gender, and sexuality, Jeffrey has been featured on Left of Black, Sirius XM's Joe Madison Show, HuffPost Live, NPR and as a guest expert on Bill Nye Saves The World.

Dr. Judy Y. Chu
March 2, 2020 @ 4:30-5:45 the McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB)

"How Gender Socialization Can Impact Boys' Relationships, Health, and Happiness"

This talk offers a way of looking at and thinking about boys that became possible as a result of feminist research conducted with girls (which I will refer to briefly to provide some context/background). I will begin by highlighting boys’ relational capabilities (and vulnerability), and describing how boys’ gender socialization can lead them to cover up these aspects of their humanity. I will then consider how boys’ alignment with culturally prescribed norms of masculine behavior can impact their relationships and well being. Finally, I will suggest how we can support boys’ healthy development by fostering boys’ connections to themselves and to others.

Informal Q&A with Dr. Chu and Professor Tristan Bridges (UCSB Sociology) following the talk

Judy Y. Chu, Ed.D. teaches a course on Boys’ Psychosocial Development at Stanford University, where she is a Lecturer in Human Biology. Her research on boys in their early childhood and adolescence highlights boys’ relational strengths and how their socialization towards culturally-prescribed norms of masculinity can impact their self-expression, relationships, and development. Her work aims to support boys’ healthy resistance against societal constraints that can undermine their connections to themselves and to others. She is the author of When Boys Become Boys (New York University Press, 2014) and co-editor of Adolescent Boys: Exploring Diverse Cultures of Boyhood (New York University Press, 2004). She serves as chair of the Global Men’s Health Advisory Committee at Movember Foundation, which helps boys and men to live healthier, happier, longer lives, and as advisor to The Representation Project, which challenges stereotypes in the media. She is also the mother of a sixteen-year-old boy.


All spring 2020 events are currently being rescheduled to fall 2020 as a result of COVID-19.

Check here for updates as those events become rescheduled.

Series Organizer

Tristan Bridges
Assistant Professor, Sociology

Series Co-Sponsors

UCSB Sociology Department

the Feminist Futures initiative, UCSB

UCSB Feminist Studies Department

the UCSB Masculinities Project

UCSB Center for Black Studies Research

UCSB Black Studies Department

UCSB Department of Asian American Studies

UCSB Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies

the UCSB MultiCultural Center

the UCSB Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

Highlighted Events


Related Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

SOC159M: Sociology of Men and Masculinities (fall 2019)