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[KINSEY TODAY]

A publication of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction

Fall/Winter 2005

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The Kinsey Institute Board of Governors: Leadership in an Age of Transition

Justice Michael Kirby, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, travels halfway across the world to Bloomington. He joins Dr. Terry Tafoya, Native American family therapist and traditional storyteller from Seattle, and Dr. Emily Kaufman Frank, practicing internal medicine specialist from the Carmel Clinic in Indiana.

What motivates these and other diverse, dynamic professionals to serve on The Kinsey Institute Board of Governors?

"The Kinsey Institute is recognized globally as the primary center for the study of sexuality," says clinical psychologist Jo Ann Eisenberg, who also serves on the council of Children’s Memorial Medical Center in Chicago. "It has both the opportunity and the responsibility to lead at a time of worldwide concern about sexuality and its biological and cultural consequences."

Two members of The Kinsey Board of Governors work internationally on HIV/Aids related issues. Sofia Gruskin, from the Harvard School of Public Health, focuses on human rights and health. Richard Yuqi Zhao, University of Maryland School of Medicine, is actively involved in AIDS education in China.

Others bring legal expertise to the role. Lauren Robel is Dean and Val Nolan Professor of Law at the IU School of Law. Michael D. Shumate, J.D., spent time at The Kinsey Institute last summer, advising on governance issues.

Board of Governors
Board members: Rich Zhao; Gene Tempel, Suzanna Walters, and Del Brinkman; Michael Shumate and Emily Frank; Scott Long; Terry Tafoya; Jo Ann Eisenberg and Michael Kirby; Charlie Nelms and Diane Ward; Julia Heiman and Ellen Ketterson.

"Realizing the evolving vision for The Kinsey Institute’s growth requires thoughtful planning, effective articulation and advocacy, and building a sustainable base of private funding," says Nancy Lethem, Director of Development. Lethem works closely with the board, coordinating activities around fundraising, research and mission advancement, and governance.

University faculty and administrators also lend their expertise. Eugene Tempel is Executive Director of the IU Center on Philanthropy; Charlie Nelms, Vice Chancellor of the IUB campus, serves as Vice President for Student Development and Diversity; Paul ‘Del’ Brinkman is retired Dean of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Colorado.

IU Professor Ellen Ketterson, who studies hormones and animal behavior, is committed to expanding Kinsey Institute connections in the field of biology. J. Scott Long specializes in the sociology of science and statistical methods, with an interest in methodologies of sex research. Claude Steele is Lucy Stern Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

The group also includes Judy Simic, clinical social worker and sex therapist; Dale Leff, philanthropist and community leader from New York City; and Diane Ward, President of the Friends of The Kinsey Institute board and Director of Advancement at the IU School of Informatics.

All of the governors help raise funds and awareness. They are asked to make difficult planning decisions and serve as the Director’s sounding board and support.

"Our current board of governors is becoming more and more focused on organizational advancement," says Julia Heiman. "They know that we are poised to grow towards fulfilling our considerable and unique international potential."

"The board is cultivating a long term vision," Lethem observes. "This is a group of very energetic and remarkable people, committed not only to what we are today, but also to what The Kinsey Institute can become."

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Frank A. Hoffmann Contributes Expertise, Films, and Equipment to the Kinsey Collections

Among the Kinsey collections is a vast archive of films documenting sexual behavior. One Friend of the Institute, Frank A. Hoffmann, is particularly concerned with the need to preserve them.

 

Hoffmann has made numerous gifts to the Kinsey collections over the years, donating films, print materials, archival supplies and equipment.

"The library has a need for both expertise and resources, and Frank Hoffmann has offered us significant support in both areas," says Liana Zhou, Head of Library.

"Most recently, he purchased the film conversion equipment we need to preserve our film reels and provide scholars with DVD access to these materials."

Hoffmann has been a volunteer at the Institute library since 1994, when he returned to Bloomington as professor emeritus of English at SUNY Buffalo. He has also served on the Friends of the Kinsey Institute board.

He first became familiar with the KI archives while earning a Ph.D. in folklore at IU in the ’60s. "The majority of the research for my Analytical Survey of Anglo-American Traditional Erotica (1973) came from the Institute collections," Hoffmann explains. In that work, he examines stag films and other erotic materials for their folkloric elements: recurring themes, beliefs, jokes, superstitions, and customs.

Another project was to compile a complete catalog of the mid-20th century pocket sized erotic comic books known as "eight-pagers" or "Tijuana Bibles." He wrote about their popularity in Sex and Humor: Selections from The Kinsey Institute.

"The Institute’s film collection represents visual documentation of sexual behavior over time. It’s important to preserve the record of this fundamental aspect of culture."


Director's Column - By Dr. Julia R. Heiman

About six months ago, during a talk I was giving at a community event, I felt the tension in the room dramatically increase when I mentioned ‘evolution.’ This was an informal talk to a non-academic group and I was giving my perspective on the value of human sexuality research. I went on with my talk, but the tension lingered throughout the presentation.

The debate around evolution, as it is pitted against "intelligent design," is the topic of extensive popular and scholarly discussion. I have been following some of the exchange because it relates to a much broader issue. Indeed, the IU Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics has been spearheading a discussion on the teaching of science in a democracy and the meaning of the scientific method. They co-sponsored a visit by Eugenie Scott, PhD, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education. Dr Scott is interested in the careful teaching and representation of what science can and cannot do and she gave a keynote on the topic of evolution. Clearly, the outcome of the debates on the teaching of evolution will directly impact how science is taught and how it is understood. It may even influence the teaching of medicine, as Robert S. Schwartz provocatively illustrated in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article (6 October, 2005). In October, 2005, a CBS news poll (with unarticulated sampling strategies) reported that the majority of Americans reject the idea that humans have evolve.

So what does this have to do with sex research? Quite a lot I think. Evolution and sex research both attempt to describe very complex phenomena, using scientific methods. In each area, some of the core questions appear beyond our current measurement capacity. Both research domains require a database that can be verified, methods that can be replicated, and hypotheses that can be tested and confirmed or refuted. Neither assumes without question. In fact, both remain strong only through questioning and skepticism.

Sex research is an easy topic to have firm opinions about, opinions that are often based upon one’s beliefs and values rather than real information. This may very well be the most common pathway to sexual knowledge and can certainly be intelligent, sophisticated and convincing. Some have argued, for example, that Freud developed his theories of sexuality more by looking through the interpretive screen of his overall philosophy than by carefully observing his own select group of patients. Though this work had an enormous impact in the western world, it has not been considered real science. Ideas have a tendency to be adopted uncritically, even clung to, when they are employed as a compass to navigate areas of human life that tend to engender uneasiness or discomfort. Clearly, sexuality is one of those areas.

Part of what we do at the KI, and our strongest worldwide link, is our research. It is a consensus-seeking, collaborative enterprise rather than an individual one. If there is an attractive theory, it deserves to be tested repeatedly. If it stands up, it moves us forward; if it fails we move to new idea. We, and the field, evolve.

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IU Department of Gender Studies Announces Doctoral Program

The Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University announces its new doctoral program, to begin in the fall of 2006. Focusing on gender as an analytic category enabling research across many diverse fields — social sciences, the arts and humanities, the natural sciences, and policy studies — this will be the first and only graduate degree program in the nation specifically in gender studies.

Professor Suzanna Walters, Chair of Gender Studies, also serves as a Trustee of the Kinsey Collections. "The advanced degree program in Gender Studies, with its ties to The Kinsey Institute, offers us a way to enhance the links between the cultural studies of sexuality and scientific research in deeper and more systematic ways. Our resources here at IU are profound, and the potential for meaningful collaboration is enormous."

"Some of our future scholars of sexuality will be drawn to Indiana University by the powerful combination of the new Gender Studies Ph.D. and the resources of The Kinsey Institute," anticipates Dr. Stephanie Sanders, who serves as both Associate Director of The Kinsey Institute and Associate Professor in Gender Studies.

For further information, visit www.indiana.edu/~gender/.

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The Kinsey Institute Seeks Participants in New Women’s Survey

Dr. Stephanie Sanders, Associate Director of The Kinsey Institute, is launching the Women’s Sexual Well-Being Web Survey, which explores sexual experience, satisfaction, and health.

"This survey is an extension of earlier work we’ve done on well-being and sexuality," notes Sanders. "We’ve now developed a much more extensive and detailed questionnaire, focusing on sexual activity within the four weeks prior to answering the questions."

"We want to know more about how women’s sexual health is integrated into a sense of overall well-being," Sanders explains. "We’re also trying to assess aspects of sexual functioning and problems people may have without focusing on sexual function per se. Many of the women in this study may experience transient disappointments in their sexual relationships, but their experiences are not necessarily dysfunctional."

Women may participate in this survey regardless of their partners’ sex.

"Our goal is to collect data from a very broad sample," says Sanders. "The information will then give us a wider window on the sexual lives of women with diverse backgrounds, orientations, and partnerships."

To participate in the Women’s Sexual Well-Being Web Survey, go to www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/surveylinks.html.

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The Kinsey Institute Seeks Photographs for Upcoming Expressive Bodies Exhibit

The Kinsey Institute is actively seeking donations of contemporary photography for an exhibit in the IU School of Fine Arts (SOFA) Gallery, opening in early 2007. Submissions must arrive by March 2006 to be considered for the show.

The exhibit will focus on images of the body. In addition to new acquisitions, it will feature photographs by Frank Yamrus from The Portrait Series—Rapture.

"The twenty portraits in Yamrus’s Rapture series show the faces of individuals experiencing intimate moments of sexual pleasure," says curator Catherine Johnson-Roehr. "We are grateful to the group of donors who felt we should have the complete set of these remarkable photographs for our collection."

To donate to or learn more about The Kinsey Institute Art, Artifacts, and Photograph Collection, contact the curator, Catherine Johnson-Roehr, catjohns@indiana.edu.

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Graduate Fellows Consider Sex Science in the News

Two pre-doctoral fellows, Kimberly McBride and Johnny Sparks, are working with faculty at The Kinsey Institute and the Indiana University School of Journalism to explore ways of improving coverage of sexuality research.

Kimberly McBride, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Applied Health Science at IU, brings a clinical perspective to the fellowship. McBride has a master’s in Counseling Psychology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, as well as research experience through The Kinsey Institute. Johnny Sparks is a doctoral candidate in Mass Communications at IU, with a research background at IU’s Institute for Communication Research (ICR).

The project is a joint effort of The Kinsey Institute and the School of Journalism, with support from the Ford Foundation. (see Spring, 2005 Kinsey Today)

McBride and Sparks are developing a survey for sex researchers, media relations professionals, and journalists. The survey will address key issues related to sexual science communication. The year-long project will culminate with a solution-focused workshop, bringing together representatives in each field for practical training and discussion of the findings.

"With this grant, we have the opportunity to systematically examine the ways different professional groups interact with each other," Sparks explains. "Sex scientists, journalists, and media professionals all have particular standards and protocols, different audiences to consider, and various ways of understanding what constitutes knowledge."

Adds McBride, "Our goal is to understand the challenges faced by both scientists and journalists, and to ultimately improve the reporting of research findings."

You can contact Kimberly and Johnny at: kmcbride@indiana.edu and josparks@indiana.edu

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People at the KI – New staff members, post-doctoral fellow, and visiting scholars

The Kinsey Institute Welcomes Visitors and Scholars

The Kinsey Institute is a destination for international scholars from many fields, who come to study, use its resources, attend conferences, and collaborate with other researchers. [image - Ellen Laan and Erick Janssen

Recent visitors include Professor Ma Xiaonian, a Chinese scholar and sex therapist from Beijing, who met with faculty and consulted with Liana Zhou, Head of Library.

The Institute also welcomed Dr. Barbara Schneidman, Vice President of Medical Education, American Medical Association, and Dr. Kim Wallen, from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University.

Dr. Ellen Laan, Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, visited for two weeks in August, doing collaborative research with associate scientist Erick Janssen, a former colleague from the Netherlands.

"Spending time at the Institute gave me a chance to recharge my thinking in conversation with longstanding research peers," Laan observes. "The experience was enriching and invaluable."


Postdoctoral Fellow Zoë Peterson Focuses on Clinical Research

[image - Zoë Peterson Zoë Peterson joined the Institute this fall as a clinical research post-doctoral fellow. She recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Kansas, where she studied with Dr. Charlene Muehlenhard in the Department of Psychology.

"I wanted to come to The Kinsey Institute because of the opportunity to do both clinical work and research," Peterson explains. She will be assisting scientist Erick Janssen, analyzing some of his data on mood, arousal and risk-taking. Peterson hopes to also gain clinical experience in sex therapy, working with Dr. Heiman, once that service is underway.

"Because it is a somewhat controversial career choice, I think that being a sex researcher could be rather isolating, especially for someone who is new to the field. It is particularly nice to be here for that reason, where there is a community of people who conduct and value sex research."


New Faces

 

Receptionist Jennifer Solomon first became acquainted with The Kinsey Institute when she worked as a student assistant in the Institute library from January-July 2005. A graduate student in the Creative Writing MFA program at IU, she holds a BA in Women's Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill. Jonathan Ingels specializes in cataloging and oversees many aspects of technical services at the KI library. He joins us from the IU Main Library. He holds a master’s degree in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. Jamie Helsen, Development Associate, had her introduction to the KI through a public relations class, where she designed a campaign in anticipation of the Kinsey film. Jamie received her Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University in 2005, with a concentration in non-profit management.

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In the Gallery

Passionate Creatures Exhibit

Catherine Johnson and Garry Milius discuss Passionate Creatures.

[Image from Passionate Creatres Exhibit
An image from the Passionate Creatures exhibit.
Currently on exhibit though December 23, 2005
Passionate Creatures

While scientific discoveries about animals often fuel ideological debates about human sexuality and gender, animals have also been a recurring theme in erotic art over the centuries. Real and imaginary creatures are represented in this exhibition of objects and artwork from the Kinsey collections, spanning more than two thousand years of cultural history.


Coming in January 2006
Sex in the Cinema

Opening January, this exhibit explores the history of sexuality in the movies, through posters, lobby cards, film stills, and artifacts from mid-20th century Hollywood and Europe. A reception will be held in conjunction with the Bloomington PRIDE Film Festival, January 26-29.


To schedule a tour of The Kinsey Institute gallery, call 812-855-7686.


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The Role of the KI Board of Trustees

"The charge of the Board of Trustees is to protect and maintain the Institute collections—publications, objects, art, and data from around the world—while at the same time supporting the combined entity of The Kinsey Institute, with its activities in the fields of education and research," explains Director Julia Heiman.

In 1947, in order to guarantee absolute confidentiality to individuals who had been interviewed and to provide a secure, permanent location for the growing Kinsey collections, the Institute was established as a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with Indiana University.

To this day, the purpose of the trustees is to provide leadership and guidance for the work of the Institute while protecting the exceptional and unique collections.

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The mission of The Kinsey Institute is to promote interdisciplinary research and scholarship in the fields of human sexuality, gender, and reproduction. The Institute was founded in 1947 by renowned sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Today, the Institute has two components, an Indiana University research institute and a not-for-profit corporation, which owns and manages the Institute's research data and archives, collections, and databases.

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