Katie Batza

Katie Batza
  • Associate Professor
  • Chair

Contact Info

321 Blake Hall


Katie Batza (uses any pronoun) earned a doctorate in United States History from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011 along with a graduate concentration in Work, Race, Gender, and the Urban World and a graduate certificate in Gender and Women's Studies. Before joining the University of Kansas department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in 2014 as their first 100% hired appointment, Batza was at Macalester College in St. Paul and Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Their research explores the intersection of sexuality, health, and politics in the late 20th-century United States. She has several research projects that are recently finished, in the publication pipeline, or final revisions: a walking tour and podcast project on reproductive justice in Boston, a cross-disciplinary analysis of access to healthcare for gender non-conforming and disabled individuals, and a book project that explores the early AIDS crisis in the Heartland. Batza’s first book, Before AIDS, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in February 2018 and explores gay health activism in the period before AIDS. She also has published on the history of lesbians and the fertility industry, mapping queer health history, and neoliberalism. They played an active role in the National Park Service’s LGBTQ initiative, contributing a chapter to the National Park Services LGBTQ theme study and co-founding a non-profit, Rainbow Heritage Network, that aids in identifying, preserving, and interpreting historic sites of particular meaning to the LGBTQ communities. She employs a wide array of research methods in her work, including oral history, archival research, and qualitative methods. Batza is also committed to working with community partners and working across disciplinary boundaries around important issues which propelled her to co-found, along with Dr. Nicole Reiz, the Big Ideas Incubator at KU that has coordinated teams of faculty, students, and community members to address issues of local food access and insecurity since 2019. Due to the wide array of research projects and interests, Batza’s work has been funded by numerous organizations including Point Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, a Mellon-Schlesinger fellowship from Harvard University, and numerous internal grants.

Starting in July of 2023, Batza became Chair of the WGSS department. After years of service as both the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies, Batza is excited to take this leadership role and hopes to continue the tremendous growth and strong community the department has enjoyed for more than a decade. In addition to this new leadership role, Batza’s research continues to evolve to be increasingly interdisciplinary and forward facing. She will continue her interdisciplinary research partnerships that include rainbow of academics and community partners from medical doctors in Boston, architects and environmental scientists in Lawrence, and non-profits in Lawrence, St. Louis, Topeka, and Washington, DC. Additionally, Batza’s research focus will shift slightly within the intersection of health, sexuality, and politics. While the first two monographs examined the creation of healthcare and political activism amidst ostracism from or absence of mainstream medicine in the periods before and during HIV/AIDS, the next book will explore the role of food in creating queer communities, politics, and health.

Batza loves being in the classroom and trying innovative things there. She is an Honors Faculty Fellow, has won several grants for course design, and enjoys mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. Please check the course offerings for upcoming semesters.


Teaching Interests

  • Health
  • Policy
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • History
  • Oral History
  • Social Movements and Activism

Research Interests

  • History of Sexuality
  • U.S. Social movements
  • Health and Medicine
  • Oral History


Katie has served as the Director for Undergraduate Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department. She has also been the co-chair of the University Sexuality and Gender Diversity Faculty and Staff Council.

Selected Publications

AIDS in the Heartland, book manuscript under advanced contract with UNC Press. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend and the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.

“Tactical Deployments of Respectability: Religion, Race, and Rights in the United States Heartland early-AIDS Response,” chapter in progress for Feminist and Queer Activism in Britain and the United States in the Long 1980s, ed. Sarah Crook and Charlie Jeffries, SUNY Press, expected publication Spring 2020.

Review essay of Robert W. Fieseler, Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation in Reviews in American History, vol. 47, no. 2, forthcoming.

“Trinity Episcopal Church Historic Site Nomination,” a nomination for the National Register of Historic Sites for the State Historic Preservation Office of Missouri, Spring 2019.

Before AIDS: Gay Health Politics in the 1970s, University of Pennsylvania Press, February 2018.

“National Park Service Theme Study Roundtable Discussion,” forthcoming, GLQ, Issue 25.1, Winter 2019.

“LGBTQ and Health,” invited chapter, in LGBTQ Community and Place, accepted at Berghahn Books (reprint of National Park Service Theme Study).

“Sexual Revolution in the United States,” encyclopedia entry, The Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History, ed. Howard Chiang, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2019, 1483-1486, January 2019. 

“A Clinic Comes Out: Idealism, Pragmatism, and Gay Health Services in Boston, 1971-1985,” invited chapter, The Politics of the Closet in the Age of Reagan: New Perspectives on Sexuality and the American States Since 1970, edited by Jonathan Bell, in press from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

“Sickness and Wellness,” invited chapter, in Routledge History of Queer America, edited by Don Romesberg, Routledge, May 2018, 287-299.

Review essay of Timothy Stewart-Winter, Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics and Gregory Woods, Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World, in Reviews in American History, vol. 45, no. 3 (Fall 2017), 526-532.

Book review of Marcia M. Gallo, “No One Helped:” Kitty Genovese, New York City, and the Myth of Urban Apathy, in the Journal of American Studies, vol. 55, no. 2, (Summer 2016), 97-98.

“Historic Places in LGBTQ Health,” invited chapter, in National Park Service LGBTQ Theme Study, October, 2016, 22.4-22.26.

“From Sperm Runners to Sperm Banks: Lesbians, Assisted Conception, and the Fertility Industry, 1971-1983,” TheJournal of Women’s History, vol. 28, no. 2, (Summer 2016), 82-102.

“Behind the Stud File,” a review of Justin Spring, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade, in the Newsletter of the American Historical Association’s Committee on LGBT History, Spring 2012.