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Tom Waidzunas

Associate Professor. Temple University Department of Sociology.

Curriculum Vitae

Contact information:

Email: tom.waidzunas@temple.edu (email is best way to reach me)

Phone: (215) 204-1446

Office: 753 Gladfelter Hall

Office Hours Fall 2018: Tuesday 2-3:30pm, Thursday 12:30-2pm

Mailing Address: Tom Waidzunas; Temple Sociology; 1115 W Polett Walk; 713 Gladfelter; Philadelphia PA 19122

Areas of Interest:

Sociology of Sexuality and Gender; Science and Technology Studies; Sociology of Social Movements; Social Theory; Sexuality Studies; Gender Studies; Sociology of Health and Medicine; Inequalities


PhD (Sociology/Science Studies) University of California, San Diego (2010); Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University Science in Human Culture Program/Sociology (2010-12); BA (Sociology/Philosophy) University of Texas at Austin (1999); BS (Electrical Engineering) University of Texas at Austin (1994)

Professor Waidzunas is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Temple University, and is affiliated with the Temple Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. He is also a member of the Science Studies Network @Temple University (SSN@TU).

Courses taught at Temple:


SOC0818 Human Sexuality (GenEd)

SOC0918 Honors Human Sexuality (GenEd)

SOC3396 Development of Sociological Thought (Writing W-course)


SOC8401 Sexuality and Gender

SOC8411 Gender and the Body

SOC9111 Contemporary Sociological Theory


His research involves questions at the intersection of sexuality studies, science studies, and sociology of social movements. His work has developed along two primary threads:

1. Workplace inequality and inclusion for LGBTQ persons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions.

Prof Waidzunas is a researcher on two collaborative National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research projects involving LGBTQ inclusion in STEM professions. The first project, the STEM Inclusion Study, is a collaborative mixed methods project with Dr. Erin Cech of University of Michigan. This is the first nationwide study of diversity and inclusion in U.S. STEM professions to systematically address experiences of LGBTQ professionals (along with race/ethnicity, gender, disability status, and other demographic factors) utilizing a research design that meets standards of representativeness and that includes non-LGBTQ control group comparisons.  Pilot research for this grant work was conducted at NASA, and Cech and Waidzunas are currently in the processes of finishing up papers from that preliminary work.

The second project is coordinated by the American Society for Engineering Education, with Principal Investigator, Dr. Stephanie Farrell, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University, and current President of ASEE. The NSF EAGER grant for this project funded a two-level LGBTQ Safe Zone training project that is part of the ASEE Action on Diversity initiative, Promoting LGBTQ Equality in STEM. This project included a research component that informs and is informed by the ASEE Safe Zone Program. Cech and Waidzunas have been conducting research exploring the climate for LGBTQ students and faculty in engineering colleges, the challenges involved in establishing and implementing ASEE Safe Zone and other diversity initiatives in engineering, and ways of overcoming those challenges. From Temple, I have been conducting Participatory Action Research, joining the ASEE training team to experience various challenges directly, any my team has been developing a version of the ASEE STEM Safe Zone training to be offered at Temple through the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Leadership (IDEAL). I also have been interviewing Engineering Deans in different kinds of engineering colleges about diversity and inclusion and how the ASEE program might fit at their school.

2. Examining how scientists measure, conceptualize, and hence constitute sexualities and sexual subjectivities in socio-historical context.

In a second set of research questions, Waidzunas uses approaches from science and technology studies to critically examine ways that scientists come to know, and hence constitute, sexuality and sexual desire. His book The Straight Line: How the Fringe Science of Ex-Gay Therapy Reoriented Sexuality  (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) explains how mainstream science of sexual orientation has been forged under the spectre of reorientation therapies, and in many ways, forecloses possibilities of human freedom even as it has liberated gays and lesbians. 

Other work in this area includes tracing the history of the "penile plethysmograph," a technique used in some scientific and correctional settings to purportedly determine the character of a man's sexuality (a device that was also important in the history told in The Straight Line).  Waidzunas’ paper with Steven Epstein criticizes the use of the device as an invisible window onto sexual truth, revealing assumptions built into different configurations of the "phallometric test" that employs the device.