Human Sexuality:Self, Society, And Culture with Connect Access Code

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About the Author

Gilbert Herdt

Gilbert Herdt, PhD June 2007 Gilbert Herdt is a cultural and psychological anthropologist and an international expert on sexuality, sexual development, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Currently he is Professor of Sexuality Studies and Anthropology, and Chair of Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, a unique department in the US that annual teaches 6,000 students in sexuality. He is also the Director of the National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC), a long term project of the Ford Foundation that advances sexual literacy through web-based platforms and face-to-face trainings on sexual health, education, and rights, and Executive Director of the Institute for Sexuality, Social Inequality and Health, both of which institutions he founded. Trained in classical anthropology in the US and Australia, Gil received a 4 year Predoctoral Fulbright fellow to conduct dissertation research on sexuality and social development among the Sambia people of Papua New Guinea, for which he received his PhD from the Australian National University in 1978. He was then awarded a 3-year Individual NIMH Postdoctoral fellowship, taken in residence at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, to train in gender identity and sexuality under psychoanalyst Robert J. Stoller, M.D. His first book, Guardians of the Flutes, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1981, and is now in its third edition. Dr Herdt was appointed Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Stanford University (1979-1985). Herdt continued his research in 13 fieldtrips over a period of 19 years (1974-1993), culminating in a BBC film, “Guardians of the Flutes.” He published two influential edited books on ritual and sexuality in New Guinea, Rituals of Manhood (1982), and Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia (1984), both by the University of California Press, and a popular undergraduate case study, The Sambia: Ritual and Sexuality in New Guinea, 1987 and revised 2006, as well as many peer reviewed journal articles and chapters on the Sambia. Julian Davidson collaborated with Herdt on biopsychosocial study of 5-alpha reductase hermaphrodites among the Sambia in the l980s. Bob Stoller and Gil Herdt published their groundbreaking “clinical ethnography” on the Sambia entitled Intimate Communications, in 1990. Gil was promoted to Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Chicago in 1985. He served as Chair of Human Development (1989-1992) and created the Center for Research on Culture and Mental Health, where he directed an NIMH postdoctoral training grant there for many years, and was promoted to full Professor in 1990. In the US, he is best known for his path-breaking community based study in Chicago of 202 self-identified gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents and their families, published as two books, Children of Horizons, 1993, and Something to Tell You, 2000, along with many other papers and books. Herdt gave the first plenary on AIDS/HIV in the field of anthropology and co-chaired the AAA President’s Commission on AIDS for 3 years. He co-founders at the University of Chicago Evelyn Hooker Center for Gay and Lesbian Mental Health. This June 2007, Herdt received a gay and lesbian mental health lifetime achievement award from the new Institute for Sexual Orientation and Gender in Chicago. Toward the end of his Chicago years Gil collaborated with Martha McClintock in publishing a series of papers on the “magical age of 10” in pubertal development. Herdt has served on many organizational and founding national and international roles at research centers, on committees, and in government agencies. He was the founder and first president of the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Society, and Culture (an organization dedicated to the scholarly and historic study of sexuality), and has organized 8 international conferences on topics such as AIDS and Anthropology, sexual theory, gay and lesbian aging, and recently, moral panics and sexual rights. Dr. Herdt was also the founder and director of Summer Institutes at the University of Amsterdam (1996-1990), and at SFSU (2001-2006). He has received grants from the NIH, Spencer Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Ford Foundation, Haas Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Currently he directs a department of six, and Institute staff of 30, with an annual budget of 1.1 million dollars. He has published a series of more than 35 single authored and edited books and 100 articles and chapters, and is Editor of Sexuality Research and Social Policy (the journal of the NSRC), and is the general editor of a series of books at the University of Chicago Press. Herdt’s most books are Sexual Inequalities and Social Justice (with Niels Teunis, 2006), and 21st Century Sexualities (with Cymene Howe, 2007). Currently Gil is deeply involved in the creation of a national movement to promote science-based sexual literacy for all Americans to support sexual health, education and rights, and he is at work on a book about why Americans say that sexuality fails them in their course aspirations.

Nicole Polen-Petit