The mission of the Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies (SDS) is to explore, analyze, and challenge the ways in which sexuality shapes people’s lives by advancing new forms of interdisciplinary knowledge that connect academic learning to both local and global, present and historical problems and contexts. We believe that sexuality—at the intersections of race, class, gender, disability, and citizenship status, among other things—not only saturates many aspects of social and political life but actively determines what gets to count as social and political life in the first place. This creates different forms of structural inequality in education, cultural production, scientific research, the workforce, law, immigration, and the practices of everyday life. We are committed to situating these struggles squarely in the histories and on-going processes of colonization in Canada and beyond, and, in turn, to creating an intellectual community in which to imagine and enact decolonizing and concrete social change through our pedagogy, research, and public engagement. Thus our goal is to provide vibrant interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and programming on the historical and contemporary formations of sexual practice and to foster critical conversations and analyses of queer and normative sexualities; the formation of sexual, racial, and gender, and gender-non-conforming personhood; and the role of sexuality in culture and politics both in North America and transnationally.
Faculty members associated with SDS come from about twenty departments and programs including Aboriginal Studies, Anthropology, Criminology, East Asian Studies, Drama, Education, English, History, Information Studies, Italian, Law, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health, Physical Education and Health, Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Social Work, Sociology, Visual Studies, and Women’s Studies.
The Centre is housed at University College, though its undergraduate programs are available to all students in U of T’s Faculty of Arts and Science. Undergraduate programming in Sexual Diversity Studies was first established in 1998, and now includes a Specialist, Major, and Minor program. SDS also has its own interdisciplinary courses at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year levels, including independent studies and 4th year seminars.