Sociologists Available to Discuss Sexual Misconduct

Allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have once again brought to the fore the complicated sociological issues underlying the #metoo movement.  Sociologists study how this issue is related to class, race, and gender identity, for example, as well as the prevalence of sexual misconduct and its effects on victims and others in society.  The American Sociological Association has compiled a useful list of experts and research as background on the wide range of social issues that must be interrogated to understand the complexity of sexual misconduct.  These experts are available to answer media questions and provide perspective for news stories.

Elizabeth Armstrong, Professor of Sociology and Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan, studies sexuality, gender, culture, organizations, social movements, and higher education. She is the co-author (with Laura Hamilton and Brian Sweeney) of the 2006 article “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape” and her most recent article, “Silence, Power, and Inequality: An Intersectional Approach to Sexual Violence.” Contact: [email protected].

Nicole Bedera is a doctoral candidate in the sociology department at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on organizational responses to sexual violence, masculinity, and gender inequality. Her take on the Kavanaugh hearing can be found here. Contact: [email protected].

Heather Hvalka is Associate Professor of Criminology and Law Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. Her research focuses on sexual violence, sex and gender, youth, law and the state. Her work explores how young people talk about victimization and investigates cultural narratives and expertise in rape trials. She was recently interviewed by Slate on youth reporting of sexual abuse.

C.J. Pascoe is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon where she teaches courses on sexuality, masculinity, social psychology, and gender. CJ’s research illustrates the way that sexual harassment and assault are often understood as “normal” boy behavior that are little different than the flirting or romantic overtures that are such a central part of young people’s every day lives. She recently co-authored “Good Guys Don’t Rape: Gender, Domination, and Mobilizing Rape.” Contact: [email protected].

Sharyn Potter is the Executive Director of Research at the Prevention Innovations Research Center and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Her research focuses on engaging community members to work collaboratively to reduce sexual and relationship violence, stalking and harassment. She has been a leader in the development, dissemination and evaluation and of bystander intervention prevention strategies for colleges and universities the US Military and the workplace. She recently gave a TEDx talk on “Why Society Can’t Afford Campus Sexual Violence.” Contact: [email protected].  

Meredith G. F. Worthen is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma. She has expertise in campus rape and sexual assault as well as LGBTQ studies, gender, and deviance. Her recent research is focused on campus sexual assault education and survivors. Contact: [email protected]

Other resources:

Patricia Yancey Martin, Florida State University, “The Rape Prone Culture of Academic Contexts: Fraternities and Athletics

Jocelyn Hollander, University of Oregon, is currently engaged in research on self-defense training and the prevention of violence against women.

Sarah Diefendorf recently wrote an article for Huffington Post about virginity, masculinity and sexual assault. 

Shamus Khan, Columbia University, has been co-running a large project on sexual assault. Links to recent coverage on this project can be found here

Nancy Whittier, Smith College, is the author of Feminists, Conservatives, and Sexual Violence. Her recent blog is “Activism against Sexual Violence is Central to a New Women’s Movement.”


For more experts or resources on the topic of sexual misconduct, contact the ASA at 202-247-9873 or [email protected]. Or, contact Sheila Lalwani, Sociologists for Women in Society at [email protected].