MJ Bosia Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Professor of Political Science and International Relations

MJ Bosia


M.A., Ph.D. Northwestern University
B.A. California State University, Sacramento
Fellow, Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto

Courses I Teach                                       

  • Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Careers in Social Change
  • Global LGBTQI+ Politics and Culture
  • LGBTQI Rights in the US
  • Film and Politics
  • Democratic Transitions
  • State Violence and Justice
  • The Politics of Food
  • Race and European Politics
  • Comparative Politics of Racism
  • Queer Theories
  • First Year Seminar on LGBTQI+ Memoir
  • Junior Seminar on The Politics of Queer Cinema

Who I am

I am a first-generation college graduate, non-binary, gay, and queer, born in San Francisco and raised in a suburb north of the City that was built on the unceded land of the Miwok people. Students, colleagues, and friends most often call me Mike.

After graduation from college in 1983, I was a legislative adviser and later staff director in the California State Senate, and I worked with communities affected by HIV/AIDS. I was one of a handful of out LGBT staffers in the state capitol at the time. This work helped me build community around my own sexuality and gender identity, and to focus on how each of us can address social isolation and exclusion in our work and personal lives.


HIV/AIDS: For my PhD research, I focused on the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. I examined the impact of the AIDS pandemic on the lived experiences of different communities in terms of marginalization and citizenship, the politics of hate that fueled isolation and death, and the processes of community building and participation that were required for an effective response.

STATE HOMOPHOBIA: my research began to focus on a global wave of what we call “state homophobia,” where government leaders talk about a “gay peril” to secure their power through draconian laws and hateful words in authoritarian and democratic settings. My research and teaching also focus on social justice, racism, Queer perspectives, democratic practice, state violence and human rights, and LGBTQI+ organizing in situations as diverse as Uganda, Egypt, and France.

FOOD POLITICS: At the same time, my husband’s career as a chef inspired my interest in food politics and sustainable agricultural communities and food choices.

ETHICS AND SOCIAL CHANGE: I explore questions of what we can do and what we should do in politics.  While I pay attention to the key concepts and theories in comparative politics, international relations, and sexuality studies, I ask students and colleagues to think about the moral frameworks that inform politics and the ethical consequences of choices made within such frameworks. This helps us “queer” or shift our understandings of the world.

FIELD RESEARCH: I have conducted field research in Vermont, France, Uganda, and Egypt, and travelled to India, Ecuador, Canada, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Cuba as part of my educational responsibilities and research interests. My research is contemporary and historical, so when I am in the field, I participate in site visits and political work (during which I was once detained by French riot police), interview activists, and review documents and historical records in archives.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE: at the International Studies Association, I have served on the executive committee of the LGBTQA Caucus, as chair of the committee on representation and diversity, and of the committee on professional rights and responsibilities, and as Vice President and a member of the executive committee of the association.

ON CAMPUS: I have worked with faculty, staff, and students to bring speakers addressing human rights, LGBT politics, gender identity, international development, food politics, political violence, and democratic process in important contexts around the world.


Cover of the book "The Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics" by Saint Michael's College Professor Michael Bosia.

My most recent book is The Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics. Click on the image for more information.

In addition to the Oxford Handbook, I have published my research on state homophobia in Uganda, Egypt and France in:

  • International Political Sociology, from Oxford
  • The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Security
  • Sexualities in World Politics
  • The Journal of Human Rights.
  • Global Homophobia: States, Movements, and the Politics of Oppression, which I co-edited with my colleague Meredith Weiss from SUNY-Albany, published by University of Illinois Press.  Professor Weiss and I received the Scholars Award from the International Studies Association LGBTQA Caucus in 2015 in recognition of this project.

My work on sexuality and race in AIDS politics was published in French Politics, Culture & Society, Perspectives on Politics, and New Political Science. This research also is included in The Global Politics of AIDS (co-edited by Patricia Siplon) and in a book about the ethical and political aspects of field research, called Engaged Observer.

I completed Globalization and Food Sovereignty: Global and Local Change in the New Politics of Food (co-edited with Jeffrey Ayres and two Canadian scholars), which is published by University of Toronto Press.

My current work focuses on the artist David Wojnarowicz, whose journals, essays, and recordings document queer lives in the 1980s. This project examines the origins of queer as a political and communal attitude in the economic and social transformations of the 1970s and 80s. I look to how Punk, Hip Hop, and LGBTQI+ communities intersected in key cities, including New York, San Francisco, London, and Berlin.

The following blog posts from my research and teaching are available for you to read:


Five Songs at the Origins of Queer Consciousness in Europe, London School of Economics

La Politique homonationaliste de Trump – “Trump’s homonationalist policies instrumentalize sexual minorities in the diplomatic game” March 2019.

Museveni’s ‘Gay Peril’ in Global Perspective,” Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa blog, May 2014.

Marriage Debate in France Strikes at the Heart of the Republican Consensus,” The Duck of Minerva World Politics Blog, June 2013.

And here are some recent reviews of my work:

Sexualities in World Politics: How LGBTQ Claims Shape International Relations” in Ethics & International Affairs (June 10, 2016)

Review — Sexualities in World Politics” in Sexuality Policy Watch (2015)

My Road to Saint Michael's

I was the first person in my family to complete college – my parents didn’t finish high school – and I knew I wanted to teach even while working in politics and policy.

Because of my sexuality and gender identity, I’ve always had ambiguous relationships with community. I was glad to leave the town I grew up in, and finally find refuge in the LGBTQI+ neighborhoods of San Francisco, where new friendships and support were possible as we struggled in response to AIDS and hate. I met Steven in the City and we embarked on a life together in 1989.

So I never expected to follow in the foot-steps of my Italian-American father by moving to a rural town. Alex was born and raised in San Francisco but spent his life trying to live like a farmer, growing bushels of produce and raising chickens, eventually even building his own water storage system. But when Steven and I moved to Vermont, we settled in Hardwick, a small town in Vermont’s isolated Northeast Kingdom. There, we helped launch Claire’s Restaurant and Bar, a community-supported establishment that gathered produce and artisan products from farms and businesses within 15 miles. That’s where we got married in 2010.

Claire’s was part of a larger effort in Hardwick and across Vermont to reinforce the local rural economy and bring a sense of sovereignty and control over what we eat. We ran the restaurant for 4 years and lived in the community for 10 years, and I will always be proud of what Steven accomplished as chef.

We moved to Winooski after returning from sabbatical research in France, Uganda, and Egypt, and I continued to dedicate my work at Saint Mike’s to equity and justice. We spend our holidays at a centuries-old house we are restoring in Italy, in a small town in the foothills of the Abruzzo Mountains near where my maternal grandfather was born.

Recent News

Mike Bosia of the political science/international relations faculty was invited to review a new book on the European Union’s role on human rights regionally and globally, based on his expertise in global LGBT sexual and gender minority rights. The review by Mike, who has published on LGBT and sexual/gender minority rights in France, Egypt, and Uganda, was published in one of the world’s leading electronic journals, E-International Relations. The book is authored by Markus Thiel, professor of international relations and director of the EU/Jean Monnet Center for Excellence at Florida International University. It is called The European Union’s International Promotion of LGBTI Rights.
(posted February 2023)

Michael Bosia of the political science faculty has a new scholarly article under review at the International Political Sociology, from Oxford University Press and one of the top ranked journals in international relations. The article is co-authored with Koen Slootmaeckers, senior lecturer in international politics and associate dean at City University of London. Mike and Slootmaeckers also presented the article for a Zoom workshop at the University over spring break. The article is called, “The Dislocation of LGBT Politics: Pride, Globalization, and Geo-Temporality in Uganda and Serbia.”  In it, Mike and his co-author look at how time and geography shape sexual and gender identity politics, considering the availability of both globalized homophobic and homophilic ideas and rituals, and how the dislocations of ideas and rituals add complexity to the forms of sexual and gender minority lived experiences. They consider these processes in the context of Uganda and Serbia, exhibiting different engagements with sexual globalizations in terms of LGBT rights, with the former a resistor and the latter a reluctant engager. Through an examination of the dislocations of LGBT politics and the resulting contestations as different LGBT experiences, they add new dimension to the critique of global human rights and western exceptionalism. Also, Mike attended the International Studies Association annual meeting from March 29-April 3 in Nashville Tennessee, where completed his term as a Vice President and member of the Executive Committee of the ISA. He will continue as Chair of the Committee on Professional Rights and Responsibilities. ISA describes itself as “one of the oldest interdisciplinary associations dedicated to understanding international, transnational and global affairs.” Mike will also serve as a discussant on three panels, as a host for a mentoring café for global south scholars, and he has organized a roundtable called “’What Does Queer Teach Us?’ The Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Queer Politics and Theories in International Relations.” His presentation at the roundtable is entitled, “’I love to hate/I hate to love’: The Neoliberal Obfuscation of Queer’s Out-Rage-Us Origins. Mike also joined a Saint Michael’s community Zoom conversation about the crisis in Ukraine in February sponsored by the College’s new Center for Global Engagement, illustrating the important practical utility of such a Center to help people understand and process world issues affecting their lives. President Lorraine Sterritt joined scores of students, college leaders, faculty and staff tuning in by Zoom to hear a panel consisting of Trish and other Saint Michael’s faculty from Political Science and International Relations, who took turns describing important insights, nuances and undercurrents that might escape Americans who only superficially are following news about Ukraine. The other contributing faculty experts were Professors Shefali Misra, Daniel Simmons, Patricia Siplon and the event’s host, Jeffrey Ayres (top right), director of the Center for Global Engagement.  


Mike also recently learned that his research was the subject of a review article entitled “Homofobi ve devlet” (state homophobia) in the Turkish newspaper, Evrensel. Written by Ernst Reuter Fellow Sinan Birdal at Freie Universität Berlin, the article explores Bosia’s development of a theory of state homophobia in his chapter, Homophobia and Crisis, in the book Global Homophobia (University of Illinois Press 2013). Bosia co-edited the book with SUNY Albany Professor Meredith Weiss. Evrensel is a leading independent left-wing daily newspaper in Turkey. The article is published online in Turkish, and Mike cautions that the google translation app might distort some of the terms and meaning in the original text. He gave an example of an inappropriate google translate: In a reference to President Museveni of Uganda in the original version, Museveni is translated by Google as “Jewish,” even though Google generally translates “Jewish” into Turkish as “Yehudi.” Mike explained that the author has been a leading independent scholar from Turkey, and the timely article’s publication is in the context of the government’s subversion of democracy, its hostility to LGBT rights, and a deepening economic crisis that threatens Turkey’s increasingly autocratic president.
(posted July 2022)

Mike Bosia of the political science faculty served on a dissertation committee in International Relations at the University of Copenhagen in December 2021. The dissertation entitled “The International Politics of Sex,” focused on activism in response to Russian state homophobia and was authored by Dean Cooper-Cunningham. Mike was selected for the review committee because of his expertise on state homophobia, global LGBTQI+ politics, and Queer theory. As the recipient of the 2020 Faculty Scholarly and Artistic Achievement Award, Mike provided the keynote address at this year’s Academic Convocation in September. His presentation, which was accompanied on guitar by political science and computer science alum Conor Disher, was entitled “Remembrance: When the Past is in the Present.” He also stepped down from his role as chair and a member of the Faculty Welfare Committee in November to begin a new initiative with faculty and staff to develop workplace interventions addressing trauma and well-being so that members of our community can achieve their professional potential.
(posted February 2022)

Michael Bosia of the Saint Michael’s political science faculty this spring “attended” the International Studies Association annual conference virtually. Says Mike, “We were scheduled to be in Las Vegas for the meeting. During this conference, I took office as one of three Vice Presidents, a member of the executive committee, and chair of the committee on rights and responsibilities. Last year, I was VP elect, a member of the governing council, and a member of the same committee. I also presented a paper called ‘The Dislocation of LGBT Politics: Pride, Globalization, and Geo-Temporality in Uganda and Serbia,’ co-authored with Koen Slootmaeckers of City, University of London – part of a panel we organized called Queering Time and Space in International Studies. I am the chair of the following events: the Intergenerational Café: Everything you wanted to know about academic life but were too afraid to ask; LBTQ Border Crossings: Asylum, Migration, and Assimilation.  And I presented on the roundtable, Doing Diversity Work.” Also, on June 12, Michael arranged through personal connections at the agency Paris Muse for members of the Saint Michael’s community to be able to take a live online tour of Mont-Saint-Michel, where members of the College’s founding Edmundite order once lived and worked before coming to North America.
(Posted July 2021)

Michael Bosia of the political science faculty was presented one of three major annual faculty awards, the Scholarship and Artistic Achievement Award Winner, during the annual Academic Convocation, which was a virtual online event this year because of the pandemic.
(Posted February 2021)

Michael Bosia, president of the Saint Michael’s campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors, recently participated in a public forum on the challenges facing higher education in Vermont, organized by Lieutenant Governor and gubernatorial candidate David Zuckerman.

Click here to view the forum: https://youtu.be/VROHGsSpSQY

Mike Bosia, associate professor of political science, is a contributing co-editor for the new Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics that was to be launched at the International Studies Association (ISA) meeting in Hawaii in March, but now became available starting May 8. Mike, along with co-editors Momin Rahman (Trent University Ontario) and Sandra McEvoy (Boston University), brought together new scholars and senior researchers for a total of 28 chapters providing case studies and theoretical insights. His own chapter is entitled, “Global Sexual Diversity Politics and the Trouble with LGBT Rights,” drawing from his field research in Uganda and Egypt that was funded in part by Saint Mike’s. Though the conference was canceled, the handbook is now available. As well, Mike assumed his responsibilities as a VP elect, member of the Governing Council, and a member of the Committee on Professional Rights and Responsibilities for ISA. He completed his three-year term as the chair of the Association’s Committee on the Status of Diversity and Inclusion.
(posted June 2020)

Michael Bosia of the College’s political science faculty has been nominated to one of three Vice President positions at the International Studies Association for a term to begin at the annual meeting in March, 2020, which is in Hawaii. Since Feb 2017, Mike has served as Chair of the Committee on the Status of Representation and Diversity (his term ends in 2020).  Prior to that, he was Secretary-Treasurer of the LGBTQA Caucus, and had been Awards Committee Chair and a founding member of the executive committee.  ISA is his primary professional association and he actively participates in panels every year.
(posted February 2020)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science and also a Fellow in the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto, spent a week in Toronto during spring semester 2019 for the International Studies Association annual meeting. Mike is the chair of the Committee on the Status or Representation and Diversity, and was the lead organizer of the special program series “Structuring Inclusion – Challenging Oppression.” He served as chair and discussant on panels related to global LGBT rights. Other news for Mike: Late in February, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell announced a new initiative pushing the global decriminalization of homosexuality, and Mike, an expert in state homophobia and LGBTQI+ rights, was contacted by the Paris-based news and information service for the Francophone LGBTQI+ community, Komitid, to write an analysis of the contradiction between the Ambassador’s initiative and the current administration’s hostility to LGBT rights and refugees. In late April Mike was a guest on The Dave Gram Show, an issues-oriented news and talk program daily on WDEV radio in Waterbury, featuring extended interviews by the veteran Vermont newsman and longtime wire service reporter, to speak about the same issue.
(posted June 2019)

Michael Bosia, professor of political science, was featured in the Colchester Sun newspaper in March, talking his new groundbreaking class offering next academic year of the first LGBTQ-named course in Saint Michael’s history. Global LGBTQI+ Politics and Culture will debut this fall. Mike also wrote an essay earlier in March that was posted on the Blog called “The Duck of Minerva” that “focuses on world politics from an academic perspective” according to the website — about a new French film on group Act Up Paris, His essay is titled “BPM (Beats Per Minute), AIDS Politics in France, and the Lessons for Resistance Today.” The film he references is titled “120 Battements par Minute” which translates to “BPM (Beats per Minute)” in English.
(posted June 2018)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, this week presented on a panel at the United Nations in New York City as part of the U.N. Academic Impact program, in conjunction with the International Studies Association. The panel Mike joined was called “Unlearning Intolerance: Perspectives from 2017” and was organized by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) as part of a series of discussions entitled “Prevention Forum”, intended to explore means of preventing manifestations of intolerance and violent extremism. The week before Mike was in New York City for an International Relations/International Studies educator workshop at the Council on Foreign Relations. Attendance at that event is by nomination.
(posted June 2017)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, was invited by Canada’s nationally prominent Globe and Mail newspaper to write an essay in response to the June 12, 2016 attack in Orlando, Florida. Michael’s piece for the June 13 edition was titled, “Attacking a gay bar – our refuge, our church – is latest in continuum of hatred.”
(posted June 2016)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, presented his research on global LGBT Human Rights and state homophobia,” at a panel he worked with Common Ground in organizing. The panel, on Local and Global LGBT Struggles and Human Rights, featured Cai Wilkinson from Deakin University in Australia presenting her research on LGBT politics in post-Soviet republics, Cornel Grey from University of Toronto focusing on gay men and masculinity in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora, and Jenna Lee from the Vermont Pride Center talking about LGBT politics and policy in the US. The panel was chaired by Dean of the College and Professor of International Relations Professor Jeffrey Ayres. In recent travels, Michael also presented two papers from his research on LGBT politics and state homophobia in France, Uganda, and Egypt at the International Studies Association annual meeting in Atlanta, GA, in March. One was on a Presidential Theme Panel he was invited to organize by the conference executive, which focused on “States, Sexualities, and Desires: Queering the Politics of Peace and Conflict.” He also co-facilitated a table on Sexuality Studies at the Methods Café that assists scholars with the development of their research. At the meeting, he was elected secretary-treasurer of the LGBTQA Caucus. In April, Michael visited The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, where he serves as a fellow, to mentor graduate students focusing on research related to sexuality and gender identity. Additionally, he published reviews of two recent volumes on global sexuality and gender identity studies: He was invited to review Sexual Diversity in Africa, Marc Epprecht and SN Nyeck, eds.in Perspectives on Politics 14:1 (March 2016), and his review of Homosexualities, Muslim Cultures and Modernity, by Momin Rahman, was published in the journal Sexualities 19:4 (June 2016). He also presented “The Price of Exile: Ugandan Refugees, Sexual Minority Rights, and the Politics of Identity,” at Refugee Lives at Risk/Citizen Rights Denied, a conference sponsored by The Centre for Human Rights & Peace Studies and the Department of Anthropology at Lehman College, CUNY, November 2015.

(posted June 2016)

Michael J. Bosia, associate professor of political science, presented his research from his co-edited volume, Global Homophobia, at a symposium hosted by the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto where he has an appointment as a fellow. Also, his book State Homophobia and LGBT Activism, is under contract at Cambridge University. In mid-December 2015 returned to University of Toronto to serve as the external examiner for a PhD dissertation in the Political Science Department on LGBT politics in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
(posted January 2016)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, presented research on state homophobia in Uganda at the European Conference on African Studies, and participated in a roundtable on debates over marriage at the meeting of the Council for European Studies, both in Paris in July. He is also the program chair for the New Political Science Section of the American Political Science Association for the 2015 annual meeting in San Francisco in September. Finally, he is author of a chapter called “To love or to loathe: modernity, homophobia and LGBT rights,” in an edited volume called Sexualities in World Politics: How LGBTQ Claims Shape International Relations, from Routledge, edited by Markus Thiel and Manuela Picq.
(posted September 2015)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, and his co-author and co-editor Meredith Weiss, were awarded the 2015 Scholars Award from the International Studies Association LGBTQA Caucus at the annual meeting of the ISA this past February in New Orleans. The award is in recognition of their volume, Global Homophobia: States, Movements, and the Politics of Oppression, which has received several favorable scholarly reviews. Also, Michael has a chapter coming out in the edited volume Sexualities in World Politics: How LGBTQ Claims Shape International Relations, entitled “To Love or to Loathe: Modernity, Homophobia and LGBT rights.”
(posted April 2015)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, recently was named a Fellow at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. The appointment does not require residency, but does mean Michael will be working with other fellows on programming at the Centre. Michael also has been informed that he and his co-editor Meredith Weiss at SUNY Albany have been named the 2015 recipients of the Scholars Award by the LGBTQA Caucus of the International Studies Association, for their book, Global Homophobia. The award will be presented at the annual meeting in New Orleans in February.
(posted December 2014)

Michael Bosia, Saint Michael’s associate professor of political science, in July attended a conference jointly sponsored by the International Studies Association and FLACSO Argentina in Buenos Aires, where he presented two papers: “To Love or to Loath: Modernity, Homophobia, and LGBT Rights,” and, co-authored with Jeff Ayres, dean of the college and professor of political science, “Gendered Knowledge in the Local Food Movement: the Emancipation of Expertise or the Localization of Profit?” Michael also was interviewed recently as a guest on the Pacifica Radio KPFA public affairs program Against the Grain, featuring a conversation with David Johnson, author of The Lavender Scare. Johnson discusses the interplay of anti-Communism and homophobia in the 1950s and previews his chapter in the book Global Homophobia, which Michael co-edited with a SUNY Albany colleague, focusing on the export of the Lavender Scare to US allies. At the conclusion of that on-air discussion is an interview with Michael about Global Homophobia, which documents the spread of “a modular, pragmatic and innovative homophobia.”
(posted August 2014)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, attended the “QP5” (Fifth International Conference Queering Paradigms), titled “Queering Narratives of Modernity,” which was held in Quito, Ecuador, February 20-22, and he co-organized a panel. This is a major academic conference on queer and sexuality issues globally. Michael’s panel was called: “Queer Provocations, Western Privileges, and the Decolonization of LGBTIQ Struggle”; the panel consisted of contributors working on an edited volume. Michael presented a paper called “States as Exceptional: Rethinking Rights beyond Political and Sexual Modernization,” focusing on France, Uganda, and Egypt. This paper is also part of his manuscript, State Homophobia and the Globalization of LGBT Rights, for which he received VPAA funding, a small research grant from the American Political Science Association, and honorable mention in the Martin Duberman Fellowship competition at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY – all last year. Michael also chaired a panel that including presentations on Russia’s anti-gay law, families in Poland, and European Union Policy, called: International Politics of Sexuality / Políticas internacionales alrededor de la(s) sexualidad(es) (March 2014)

Michael Bosia, associate professor of political science, has been awarded an external research grant through the Small Research Grant Program of the American Political Science Association, which supports research conducted by faculty at non-Ph.D.-granting institutions that have funding sources available for faculty research. The funding is to support research he has been conducting, starting during his sabbatical, in France, Uganda, and Egypt. The title of his study is “State Homophobia and the Diffusion of LGBT Human Rights.” LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. Michael’s study focuses “on the diffusion of state homophobia as a responsible player in shaping emerging identities.” Data collection for the project includes participant observation, interviews, and archival research, to examine the influence of homophobia on self-conceptualization and agenda-setting. Key cases include those where authorities invoke similarly foreign LGBT threats during times of political and economic stress across institutional contexts, including France, Uganda, and Egypt. To advance his work, Michael also has received an internal expense defrayment grant from the Faculty Development Committee and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The project also received honorable mention for a Martin Duberman Fellowship from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at City University of New York.