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Mission Statement

The unique history, collections and research of the Kinsey Institute have established it as a leader internationally in scholarship, teaching and service in sexuality, gender and reproduction. The Institute's mission is to maintain this leadership by developing and nurturing a community of interdisciplinary scholarship within and beyond Indiana University. This community of scholarship includes the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, education and law. The primary intellectual and research concerns of the Institute are:

  • sexuality in its anthropological, biological, behavioral, cultural, historical, institutional, legal, medical, psychological, policy, social, and other relevant aspects.
  • gender dimensions of sexuality and reproduction, including behaviors, cultural representations, customs, doctrines, ethics, identities, institutions, laws, practices, public policies, social meanings, and other relevant domains.
  • reproduction as mediated by behavioral, cross-cultural, demographic, epidemiological, ethical, ethnographic, health, legal, policy, psychological, representational, sexual, social, and other relevant factors.

Values

Sexuality, gender and reproduction are fundamental elements of human life and prominent in the organization of human societies. As such, these are critically important areas for research, scholarly interpretation, instruction and debate, with different significance and meanings across different cultures and sub-cultures. Researchers and scholars have a major contribution to make to enhancing understanding of sexuality, gender and reproduction. Ignorance, taboos and fear can obstruct efforts to study, know, understand, and teach about their structural, cultural and individual impact. Research can illuminate a range of problems worldwide, including those related to overpopulation, reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases (most notably, HIV and AIDS), teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, assault and harassment, and sexual dysfunction. These problems occur in varying cross-cultural contexts, at times generating heated controversy, at times religious, legal, and political regulation, intensified mass media and other cultural representation, and international scrutiny and pronouncements through bodies such as the agencies of the United Nations.

Interdisciplinary inquiry into sexuality, gender and reproduction provides immense prospects for enlightenment, prevention, remedy, and understanding of these complex domains, and the conflicts, regulation, and interventions to which they have been subject. Moreover, such research and scholarship can illuminate longstanding debates as to the relative importance of interacting biological, individual and cultural factors in patterns of gender, sexual and reproductive behavior.

Indiana University is richly endowed with interdisciplinary resources, extraordinary faculty expertise and a record of over half a century of investment in research and scholarship in these fields. Hence, it has both the opportunity and responsibility to lead at a time of worldwide concern about sexuality and its biological and cultural consequences.

Methods

The Kinsey Institute will provide leadership by:
  • promoting and conducting interdisciplinary research in sexuality, gender and reproduction
  • building resources for the direction, identification, acquisition, cataloguing, development, preservation, archiving and use of its collections
  • providing university, national, and international scholars from a wide variety of fields access to Institute collections through forms of affiliation, collections fellowships, honorary visiting scholar appointments, and by appropriate, equitably applied terms and conditions governing use of materials
  • creating and disseminating knowledge and understanding through international, national and local symposia and seminars, through publication and exhibition, and through research fellowships
  • providing an information service though e-mail and the Institute's web site about scholarship within and beyond Indiana University to bridge the gap between disciplines and other academic communities
  • promoting and assisting the development of courses related to sexuality, gender and reproduction, and in other appropriate ways disseminating its scholarship and teaching
  • seeking endowment to sustain physical and intellectual space for research, teaching, publication, and exhibition in sexuality, gender and reproduction so as to enhance these fields of inquiry at Indiana University and beyond.

Alfred Kinsey's Legacy

In the early nineteenth century, moralists and legal authorities defined the state of sexual knowledge and appropriate practice. In the second half of that century, physicians, psychiatrists and criminologists, joined by other clinicians in the early decades of the twentieth century, dominated theory and research, mainly under the notions of sexual disease and deviancy. Trained as a taxonomist in biology, Alfred Kinsey set out in the 1930s as a disinterested scientist to document the full variety of human sexuality in order to provide a more scientific basis for society's approach to sexuality.

His major legacy as a key figure in the process of change included:

  • the accumulation of a wide variety of materials relevant to the history and sociology of human sexuality that has grown to become among the largest and most comprehensive in the world
  • a database of a size, richness and scope still only partially used but of continuing interest to contemporary researchers
  • a major impact on public attitudes to sexuality, gender and reproduction, particularly on the laws governing sexuality, that has helped legitimize related scholarly research
  • a compassionate spirit that compelled him to try to help individuals struggling with their sexual lives, efforts captured in his extensive correspondence.
Structure and Funding

Components of the Institute

The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction has two components:

This arrangement dates to the Institute's founding in 1947.

Within the Institute itself there are four principal areas: Administration; Research; Information Services; and Library and Special Collections, which includes the library; the art, artifacts, and photography collections, and the Institute archives.

The Institute's nonprofit corporation is governed by the volunteer Board of Trustees. The director of the Institute serves as the chief executive officer of the corporation.

Funding

The Institute's four current sources of financial support are:

  • Indiana University
  • grants
  • its corporate earnings
  • gifts and bequests

Individuals interested in supporting the Institute and its programs can contribute through gifts, material donations, bequests, or endowments. Please contact kinsey@indiana.edu.

 

 


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