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Campus Sexual Assault and Gender-Based Violence

The Newcomb Institute has been a contributing force to the work both at Tulane and nationally around researching, preventing, and organizing around sexual assault on campus and gender-based violence.

Faculty: Sally J. Kenney

Newcomb College Endowed Chair

Executive Director, Newcomb Institute

Professor of Political Science

Tulane University


Since 2010, Sally J. Kenney has held the Newcomb College Endowed Chair at Tulane University where she is the executive director of the Newcomb Institute, a Professor of Political Science, and an affiliated faculty member of the Law School. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University, a B.A. and M.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Magdalen College, Oxford, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa. She has published extensively about comparative employment discrimination, the European Court of Justice, and judicial selection, focusing particularly on women judges. 


She has taught an undergraduate service-learning course on The Politics of Rape at Tulane for the last five years and has been a national leader on sexual assault on campus. She was one of the original planners of the Dartmouth Summit on Sexual Assault with David Lisak and Claudia Bayliff. She led a team of Tulane staff and students who attended that conference. Kenney was invited to the White House for the release of the Its On Us Report. Newcomb Institute has brought many leading researchers to campus to speak on their scholarship on sexual assault and assembled a consortium of faculty, students, and staff interested in working on the issue which evolved into the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Committee, now dissolved. (See Student Affairs’ All In for more recent information.)


The Newcomb Institute first screened the films Invisible War and The Hunting Ground which brought the filmmaker to town. Questioning following the screening of The Hunging Ground led Tulane to make more transparent its reporting of complaints that evolved into the Shifting the Paradigm annual event. Newcomb hosted several trainings for faculty about changing requirements to report sexual assault on campus; it hosted Assistant Secretary of Education Catherine Lhamon for a campus convening in 2014. Newcomb Institute has sponsored two conferences for student activists on sexual assault and is currently planning a third. Kenney was an active member of the Sexual Assault Taskforce responding to Tulane University’s ARC3 climate survey which garnered over 50% response rate. She attended the Stanford Conference on Title IX Advocacy in the Trump Era. She served on the Tulane Sexual Assault Climate Taskforce and continues to chair the committee endeavoring to change the grievance procedure for faculty who are accused of sexual harassment. In the fall of 2018, she gave a keynote address at the University of Kentucky’s annual conference on sexual assault on campus and delivered an address at the University of Houston on sexual assault and restorative justice. In the spring of 2019, she has been invited to deliver a paper at the Stanford Institute of Behavioral and Social Sciences. She is currently writing her own survivor narrative.


In the 2019 Newcomb Summer Session, Kenney and Laura Wolford will offer a one-week course for high school students on Dismantling Rape Culture. She is currently writing, working to make her course available online, planning a series on sexual assault and restorative justice, and planning a national interdisciplinary conference of scholars.


Faculty: Lisa Wade

Lisa Wade is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University, officially joining the faculty in 2021 as an Associate Professor with appointments in Sociology, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Newcomb Institute. Her research agenda has involved four main areas: U.S. discourse about female genital cutting in Africa, the relationship between biology and society, hookup culture on college campuses, and feminist theories of sexuality. Before receiving her M.S. and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Lisa earned an interdisciplinary M.A. in Human Sexuality from NYU and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California in Santa Barbara. From 2006 to 2019, she was a professor of sociology at Occidental College.

Lisa is the author of over two dozen research papers, book chapters, and educational essays. She has also published four book-length projects. American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus is the definitive account of collegiate hookup culture. Terrible Magnificent Sociology is a solo-authored introduction to sociology forthcoming in 2021. Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, co-authored with Myra Marx Ferree, leads the market for sociology of gender courses and is now in its second edition. And Assigned: Life with Gender is a co-edited anthology, with Chris Uggen and Douglas Hartmann.

As a public-facing scholar, Lisa also works to make her and others’ scholarship engaging to a public audience. She specializes, in other words, in being as comfortable “in the weeds” as she is “in the clouds.” In 2007, she founded Sociological Images, a website for which she earned several awards, including the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award from the American Sociological Association. Today, she regularly informs journalism and writes for the general public, occasionally appearing on television and radio. You can find Lisa online at lisa-wade.com and on Twitter @lisawade.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Writings:

  • Terrible Magnificent Sociology, forthcoming from W.W. Norton & Co.
  • “Doing Casual Sex: A Sexual Fields Approach to the Emotional Force of Hookup Culture,” forthcoming in Social Problems. Forthcoming.
  • “Confronting Manhood after Trump” (2019), in Antidemocracy in America: Truth, Power, and the Republic at Risk, edited by Eric Klinenberg, Caitlin Zaloom, and Sharon Marcos for Columbia University Press.
  • Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions (2nd ed., 2018), with Myra Marx Ferree. W.W. Norton & Co.
  • American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus (2017), from W.W. Norton & Co.
  •  “What’s So Cultural about Hookup Culture?” (2017), in Contexts 16 (1): 66-68.
  • Assigned: Life with Gender (2016), with Doug Hartmann and Christopher Uggen (eds). W.W. Norton & Co.
  • “Are Women Bad at Orgasms? Understanding the Gender Gap” (2015), in Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century, edited by Shira Tarrant for Routledge.
  • “Feminist Images of Public Intellectualism: An Interview with Lisa Wade” (2014), in Feminist Teacher 23 (2): 158-162.
  • “The New Science of Sex Difference” (2013), in Sociology Compass 7 (4): 278-293.
  • “Learning from ‘Female Genital Mutilation’: Lessons from 30 Years of Academic Discourse,” (2012) in Ethnicities 12 (1): 26-49.
  • “The Function of Balance in U.S. News Coverage of Uncontested Issues: The Case of Female Genital Cutting,” (2012) in Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism 13 (7): 867-883.
  • “Hooking Up and Opting Out: What Students Learn about Sex in their First Year of College” (2012), with Caroline Heldman in Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout our Lives, edited by John DeLamater and Laura Carpenter for New York University Press.
  • “Sociological Images: Blogging as Public Sociology” (2012), with Gwen Sharp in Social Science Computer Review 31 (2): 221-228.
  • “The Politics of Acculturation: Female Genital Cutting and the Challenge of Building Multicultural Democracies” (2011), in Social Problems 58 (4): 518-537.
  • “The Emancipatory Promise of the Habitus: Lindy Hop, the Body, and Social Change” (2011), in Ethnography 12 (2): 224-246.
  • “Journalism, Advocacy, and the Social Construction of Consensus” (2011), in Media, Culture & Society 38 (8): 1166-1184.
  • “Sexualizing Sarah Palin: The Social and Political Contexts of the Sexual Objectification of Female Candidates” (2011), with Caroline Heldman in Sex Roles 65 (3-4): 156-164.
  • “Selling Sex” (2011), with Gwen Sharp in Images that Injure: Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media, edited by Lester Paul and Susan Ross for Praeger.
  • “Hook Up Culture: Setting a New Research Agenda” (2010), with Caroline Heldman in Sexuality Research and Social Policy 7 (4): 323.
  • “Defining Gendered Oppression in U.S. Newspapers: The Strategic Value of ‘Female Genital Mutilation’” (2009) in Gender & Society 23 (3): 293-314.
  • “The Incidental Orgasm: The Presence of Clitoral Knowledge and the Absence of Orgasm for Women” (2005), with Emily Kremer and Jessica Brown in Women & Health 42 (1): 117-138.
  • “The Potential Relevances of Biology to Social Inquiry” (2003), with Jeremy Freese and Allen Li in Annual Review of Sociology 29: 233-256.
  • “Relationship Dissolution as a Life Stage Transition: Effects on Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors” (2002), with John D. DeLamater in Journal of Marriage and Family, 64 (4): 898-915.

Tulane University regularly offers courses on sexual violence taught by Newcomb Institute staff. Students are also now able to complete an undergraduate certificate in gender-based violence

Newcomb Pre-College Summer Session offers courses for high school students on rape culture and feminist advocacy.

Louisiana Sexual Assault Student Activist Conference

Spring 2016: 
Newcomb Institute supports the first Louisiana Sexual Assault Student Activist Conference (planned by students Tara Wilson, Hannah Novak, and Nina Baumgartner). Laura Dunn from SurvJustice was the keynote speaker. 

Fall 2017: 
Newcomb Institute supported the second Louisiana Sexual Assault Student Activist Conference (planned by students Hannah Novak and Helen Robins). Wagatwe Wanjuki was the keynote speaker. 

Spring 2019: 
Newcomb Institute joins with the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault to support the third Louisiana Sexual Assault Student Activist Conference (held at Xavier University). Dalton Tiegs and Rebecca Merton are keynote speakers. 

Past Programming

Newcomb Institute has brought national leaders, new documentaries, and cutting-edge researchers to campus each year to spark conversation and increase our knowledge about campus sexual assault. 

Spring 2012:  

  • Lynn Rosenthal, first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, for a talk on domestic violence 

Spring 2013:  

Fall 2013: 

Fall 2014: 

Fall 2015: 

  • Newcomb Institute and Tulane University Campus Programming (TUCP) brought Mac McClelland to campus  
  • Kevin Swartout, Associate Professor of Psychology at Georgia State University and a leading researcher on campus sexual assault perpetrator and survey design 
  • Screened The Hunting Ground and India’s Daughter 

Spring 2016: 

  • Libby Sharrow, Assistant Professor of History and Political Science at UMass Amherst for a talk on Title IX and sports policy history 
  • Brittney Cooper, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers for a talk on Black Lives Matter 
  • Newcomb Institute hosted lunch for Tulane faculty to learn more about their roles as mandatory reporters under Title IX 

Fall 2016: 

  • Newcomb Institute hosted a Fridays at Newcomb with panel of faculty who teach and/or research on Gender-Based Violence. 

Spring 2017: 

Fall 2017: 

Spring 2018: 

Fall 2018: 

  • Newcomb Institute co-sponsors English Department talk by Greta LaFleur, Associate Professor of American Studies at Yale, entitled “Ugly Histories: What Literary Study Can Teach Us About the History of Sexual Violence in America” 
  • Newcomb Institute took a group of students to the New Orleans Film Festival to see the documentary, Roll Red Roll

Spring 2019: 

Fall 2019: 

Spring 2020: 

Spring 2021: 

Spring 2022: 

Reading Group

Newcomb Institute hosts a reading group for students, staff, and faculty to continue our education about sexual assault.


Summer 2015: 

Fall 2015: 

Spring 2016: 

Summer 2016: 

Fall 2016: 

Fall 2018: 

  • Bear Town (Washington Square Press, 2018), Fredrik Backman, is selected as the first year reading project book; several NCI staff members lead discussions 

Fall 2019: 

Spring 2020: