Katie Batza, PhD

Katie Batza Headshot
  • CSL Associate
  • Associate Professor, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Contact Info


Katie Batza earned her 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. Her research explores the intersection of sexuality, health, and politics in the late 20th-century United States. She is currently engaged with several research projects: a book project that explores the experiences of the early AIDS crisis in the Heartland, a walking tour and podcast project on reproductive justice in Boston, and a cross-disciplinay analysis of access to healthcare for gender non-conforming and disabled individuals. She is also the co-founder and co-director of the Big Ideas Incubator at the University of Kansas, an infrastructural innovation designed to holistically strengthen the University's research capabilities, impact, and relationship with the public.

The Big Ideas Incubator builds teams of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students from across the disciplinary spectrum who share a scholarly interest, trains them to speak across their disciplines and collaborate with public stakeholders, pairs them with community partners to imagine, create, and deliver real-world solutions to increasingly complex problems over a three-year period, and fosters interdisciplinary research both during and beyond the three-year Incubator period. Currently in its first project, the Big Ideas Incubator is working on the issue of food sustainability. 

Her 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. She 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. Her work has been funded by 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, Whiting Foundation, and numerous internal grants.