Scholarly Interests: gender, sexuality, and development; masculinity; social aspects of HIV/AIDS; global health; ethnographic methods; African studies; culture and globalization; documentary film.
Robert Wyrod’s research lies at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and social change. His first book, Privilege in a Plague: AIDS and the Remaking of Masculinity in Africa (under contract with University of California Press), examines how the long-standing AIDS epidemic has shaped gender and sexuality in Africa, especially African masculinities. Inspired by the rich tradition of urban ethnography in sociology, Robert’s book is based on fifteen months of ethnographic research in Bwaise, a slum in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Privilege in a Plague reveals some challenges to, but the ultimate persistence of, men’s sexual privileges in the age of AIDS—a finding which provides an important corrective to the conventional portrayal of Uganda as Africa’s great AIDS success story.
Beyond his interest in the social aspects of AIDS, Robert has also examined the global dimensions of feminist activism, including how notions of women’s rights are articulated and reformulated in non-Western contexts. His current project focuses on the rise of China as a new force in African development and brings a distinctive ethnographic perspective to how Chinese development is shaping gender relations and sexual health in East Africa.
Prior to joining the Women's Studies faculty, Robert was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco.