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Jennifer Terry

Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, History of Consciousness

University of California
3218 Humanities Gateway Building
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697



cultural studies; science and technology studies; formations of sexuality; critical approaches to modernity; American studies in transnational perspective


Since January 2003, I have been an associate professor of Women’s Studies/Gender & Sexuality Studies with affiliations in Anthropology and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Irvine. My scholarship is concentrated in feminist cultural studies; science and technology studies; comparative and historical formations of gender, race, and sexuality; critical approaches to modernity; state-sponsored violence and biomedicine; and American studies in transnational perspective. I was a visiting professor at Columbia University for Spring 2014. I have previously taught at UC Berkeley and Ohio State University. I received my PhD in History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz.

My books include An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society (University of Chicago Press, 1999), Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Difference in Science and Popular Culture (Indiana University Press, 1995), and Processed Lives: Gender and Technology in Everyday Life (Routledge, 1997). I have written articles and chapters on reproductive politics, the history of sexual science in the United States, contemporary scientific approaches to the sex lives of animals, love of objects, signature injuries of war, and the relationship between war-making practices and entertainment.

I am now completing a book titled Attachments to War: Violence and the Production of Biomedical Knowledge in Twenty-First Century America. Modern modes of militarization and innovations in medicine are deeply entangled with one another and bound up in a relationship of mutual provocation. How did this come to be so? What are the effects of this entanglement? How does this entanglement tie war making to humanitarianism? These questions are central to what I am writing as a way of exploring how ordinary people become deeply attached to war today in ways that are either rarely acknowledged and routinely disavowed or hyperbolically celebrated as painful yet redemptive truths. My focus, in the book, is on how state-sanctioned wounding provokes the expansion of medical knowledge to produce new techniques and technologies aimed at contending with and sometimes exploiting the damage done by war. This relationship of mutual provocation, I argue, perpetuates and elaborates processes of militarization by redeeming war as a necessary condition for human advancement. I examine a series of cases, each centered around a particular source of biomedical war profiteering, to analyze how the entangled relationship between war making and medical knowledge is manifested in the context of speculative capitalism and U.S. empire.

In 2008, I completed a three-year National Science Foundation collaborative project on Privacy, Identity, and Technology, with Paul Dourish and Simon Cole. I chaired the department of Women's Studies at UC Irvine from 2005 through 2008 and from 2010 through 2012. I was a member of the Critical Theory Institute at UC Irvine from 2005 through 2008. I am the founder and coordinator of the Queer Studies Minor degree program at UCI.

Select Media Appearances

"Battlefield Views," accessible at

"The YouTube Wars," The Riz Khan Show, al Jazeera English, aired June 16, 2010, accessible at

"Do Women Need a Sex Pill?", CNN Opinion Online, June 21, 2010, accessible at

Courses Frequently Taught:

Undergraduate courses:
Gender and Feminism in Everyday Life
Gender and Popular Culture
Gender and Science
Gender and Technology
Feminist Theory
Queer Lives and Queer Knowledges
Feminist Cultural Studies
New Reproductive Technologies
Militarism and Gender
Queer History Making

Graduate courses:
Gender and Technoculture
Subaltern Sexualities
Feminist Knowledges and Social Change
Feminist Methodologies
Identity and Difference
Movement and Displacement
Feminism, Conflict, and Humanitarianism

UCI Affiliations:

Comparative Literature
UCI Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies

Other Affiliations

Consortium Member, Bioethics, Sexuality, and Gender Identity Project, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Affiliate, Center for New Racial Studies Multi-campus Research Program based at UC Santa Barbara

Affiliate, Centre for Applied Somatechnics, Department of Critical and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Australia


"Killer Entertainments," Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Fall 2007), with Raegan Kelly, available for interactive viewing at

"Loving Objects," Trans-humanities 2(1) (2010): 33-75.

"Significant Injury: War, Medicine, and Empire in Claudia's Case," Women's Studies Quarterly Special Issue on Technology, 37(1&2) (Spring/Summer 2009): 200-225.

An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society
Publisher: University of Chicago Press; (November 1999)

Processed Lives: Gender and Technology in Everyday Life
Routledge; 1 edition (May 1997)

Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Difference in Science and Popular Culture (Race, Gender, and Science)
Indiana University Press; (November 1995)