Wesleyan portrait of Margot  Weiss

Margot Weiss

Associate Professor of Anthropology

255 High Street,

Associate Professor of American Studies

255 High Street, 201

Associate Professor, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

255 High Street,

Coordinator, Queer Studies


Visit Professional Website

BA University of Chicago
MA Duke University
PHD Duke University

Margot Weiss

Margot Weiss is Associate Professor of American Studies and Anthropology, affiliated with the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and director of the cluster in Queer Studies.

Her scholarship explores the contradictory relationships between queer sexual cultures and contemporary capitalism. Major research projects include: the gendered, racialized, and class dynamics of BDSM in the San Francisco Bay Area; the politics of left intellectuals in the neoliberal US academy; and the knowledge practices of queer/left activists in New York, Chicago, and Montreal. She is the author of the award-winning Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2011) and editor of two forthcoming volumes Queer Anthropology: Critical Genealogies and Decolonizing Futures (Duke) and Queer Then and Now: The David R. Kessler Lectures, 2002-2020 (The Feminist Press). more at margotweiss.com

* Listen to a short interview on queer anthropology on AnthroBites, the Cultural Anthropology podcast

* Read "Queer Ever After?," a short review essay on the contradictions of queer critique in increasingly straight times, on Public Books

Margot Weiss is past president of the Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA), and currently serves on the board of CLAGS: The Center for LGBT/Queer Studies and the Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA). She is a founding member of the Wesleyan University Chapter of the AAUP.

Professor Weiss has taught at Wesleyan since 2008. She established Wesleyan’s Clusters in Disability Studies (in 2010) and Queer Studies (in 2013), and she chairs the GLASS Prize, awarded yearly for the best undergraduate research and writing in queer, trans, LGBT, or sexuality studies. She offers courses in queer theory, the anthropology of sexuality and gender, ethnographic methods, and social theory. Recent courses include: Global Queer Studies; Anthropology of Affect; Queer Theories; Social Norms/Social Power: Queer Readings of “Difference” in America; Queer Activism and Radical Scholarship; Social Movements Lab; Crafting Ethnography; Sex, Money, and Power; Reading Ethnography: Toward an Otherwise Anthropology; and Politics of the Body, a course she taught simultaneously on Wesleyan’s campus and at York CI in Niantic, CT. more on Professor Weiss's courses

Sample Publications:

Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke University Press, 2011). Awarded the Ruth Benedict Prize from the Association for Queer Anthropology and Finalist in LGBT Studies from the Lambda Literary Foundation.

2022. "Queer Theory from Elsewhere and the Im/Proper Objects of Queer Anthropology" Feminist Anthropology 3(1).

2021. “The Interlocutor Slot: Citing, Crediting, Co-Theorizing and the Problem of Ethnographic ExpertiseAmerican Anthropologist 123(4): 948–953.

2021. “Thinking Kink: Reflections on the Cultural Study of BDSM.” Sexualities (Special Issue on BDSM Studies) 24(5-6): 810–818

2020. “Intimate Encounters: Queer Entanglements in Ethnographic Fieldwork.” Anthropological Quarterly 93(1): 1355-1386.

2018. “Queer Politics in Neoliberal Times (1970s-2010s),” in Routledge History of Queer America, Don Romesburg (ed.). New York: Routledge. pp. 107-120.

2016. “Always After: Desiring Queerness, Desiring Anthropology.” Cultural Anthropology (Openings and Retrospectives on Queer Anthropology) 31(4): 627–638.

2016. “Discipline and Desire: Feminist Politics, Queer Studies, and New Queer Anthropology,” Mapping Feminist Anthropology in the 21st Century Ellen Lewin and Leni M. Silverstein (eds.). Rutgers University Press: 168-187.

2015. “Queer Precarity and the Myth of Gay Affluence” (with Amber Hollibaugh), New Labor Forum 24(3)

2015. “Queer Economic Justice: Desire, Critique, and the Practice of Knowledge,” Global Justice and Desire: Queering Economy, Nikit Dhawan, Antke Engel, Christoph Holzhey, and Volker Woltersdorff, eds. New York: Routledge. pp. 79-95.

Regularly offered courses:

AMST 118 (xFGSS): “Social Norms/Social Power:  Queer Readings of ‘Difference’ in America (FYS)” First year seminar that explores intersections of difference, norms, and power, drawing on a range of queer and American studies materials. syllabus

AMST 201 (xFGSS): “Queer Theories: Junior Colloquium” Interdisciplinary introduction to queer theory, and the foundation for the American Studies concentration in queer studies. syllabus

ANTH 203 (xFGSS, AMST): “Sex, Money and Power: Anthropology of Intimacy and Exchange” This course explores the commodification of various intimacies–sexual and social–drawing on recent ethnography. syllabus

AMST 233 (xANTH, FGSS): “Global Queer Studies” This course explores global experiences of LGBT/Q life, bringing an explicitly transnational lens to a field too often dominated by U.S.-centered perspectives. syllabus

ANTH 295B: “Theory in Anthropology: Anthropology of Affect” This course explores a range of theories of affect –sensation, emotion, intensity, movement–and their intersection with anthropology and ethnography. syllabus

ANTH 309: “Re-reading Ethnography: Toward an Otherwise Anthropology” This advanced reading-centered course explores the post-2020 turn toward an “otherwise” (or decolonizing) cultural anthropology. syllabus

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

by appointment: https://calendly.com/margot-weiss


Fall 2023
ANTH 400 - 01
Cultural Analysis