My research explores sex, work, and social struggle. An ethnographer, I love talking to working people about how they get by and push back. I use gender and sexuality theory to do labor studies at a slant, asking feminist and queer questions about identity, power, and political economy.
My current book project, Porn Work, investigates labor in the porn industry. In it, I explore workers' creative strategies for surviving (and sometimes thriving) in an industry in crisis. I locate porn workers as experts on labor and class in late capitalism and explore their interventions in the politics of consent, authenticity, gendered and racialized performance, the gig economy, and the state. Porn Work tells a story of crafty workers, a flailing managerial class, and messy solidarities.
My research has won the support of a variety of fellowships and grants, including the American Council of Learned Societies/ Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship. I've presented my research in a range of venues. In 2018, I was keynote speaker at the University of Tennessee's Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Sexual Empowerment and Awareness Committee Collaborative Research Symposium. I regularly present at the meetings of the National Women's Studies Association, American Studies Association, and the Labor and Working Class History Association, among others.
I collaborate with worker organizers on policy advocacy, peer education, and mutual aid, and provide policy consultation to organizations seeking evidence-based policy on social justice.
Please feel free to email me for copies of published work.
Porn Work, Under Contract with UNC Press
“Porn Work, Feminist Critique, and the Market for Authenticity.” Signs. 42, no. 3 (2017), 669-692.
“A Scene is Just a Marketing Tool: Alternative Income Streams in Porn’s Gig Economy.” Porn Studies [Porn and Labour, special issue]. 3, no. 2 (2016), 160-174.
“Trafficking Policy, Meaning Making, and State Violence.” Social Policy and Society. 14, no. 1 (2015), 144—155.
“Working for Love, Loving for Work: Discourses of Labor in Feminist Sex-Work Activism.” Feminist Studies. 40, no. 3 (2014): 693—721.
“An Honest Day’s Wage for a Dishonest Day’s Work: (Re)Productivism and Refusal.” WSQ [Debt, special issue]. 42, no. 1-2 (2014): 161—177.
“Intimate Labor in Porn Work.” in Introducing the New Sexuality Studies: Third Edition, Eds. Nancy Fischer and Steven Seidman. New York: Routledge (2016). 448-455.
With Constance Penley, “Creative Precarity in the Adult Film Industry." in Precarious Creativity: Global Media, Local Labor, Eds. Kevin Sanson and Michael Curtin. Oakland: UC Press (2016). 159-171.
“Sex, Work, Queerly: Identity, Authenticity, and Labored Performance.” in QueerSex Work, Eds. Mary Laing, Katy Pilcher, and Nicola Smith. London: Taylor & Francis (2015). 23—32.
With Eileen Boris, “Protecting Virtue, Erasing Labor:Historical Responses to Trafficking.” in Human Trafficking Reconsidered:Rethinking the Problem, Envisioning New Solutions, Eds. Kimberly Kay Hoang and Rhacel Parreñas. New York: International Debate and Education Association (2014). 19—29.
“Porn, Work, Place: Beyond the (Set) Shop Floor.” in Harvard Design Magazine. 46 (2018): 204-206.
“Workers and Publics.” in Porn Studies. 5, no. 2 (2018): 217-220.
“Practicing Institutional Feelings: A Roundtable.” in Feminist Formations. 27, no. 3 (2016): 217—236.
“Laboring Porn Studies.” in Porn Studies. 1, no. 1-2 (2014): 75—79.
Review of Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work, by Melissa Gira Grant, in Porn Studies. 1, no. 3 (2014): 1—2.
“Sex Work and Trafficking.” in Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. (2014) 3410—3415.
With Jeffrey Hayes and Youngmin Yi, “Latinas and Social Security.” Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Report #D495 (2011).