Faculty and Staff

Kari Lerum

Associate Professor

B.A. Sociology, Pacific Lutheran University
Ph.D. Sociology, University of Washington

Office: UW2-328 
Phone: 425-352-3588
Email: klerum@uwb.edu
Website: http://faculty.washington.edu/lerum 
Blog: Founder and Co-Editor of Sexuality & Society 
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-1713


My teaching -- in both content and process -- is an extension of my critical interest in social inequality. My Ph.D. training is in sociology, but I have also had many years of experience in collaborative teaching/learning across a range of disciplines including cultural studies, sexuality studies, and media studies. I enjoy training students in critical, reflective, and creative scholarly practices & principles of community-based research. I also strive to create warm, open-minded classes where difficult issues are discussed with rigor, respect, and healthy dose of humor.

Recent Courses

BIS 219 The Politics of Sex Education
BIS 312 Approaches to Social Research
BIS 490 Senior Seminar: Multi-media Storytelling for Social Transformation
BIS 490 Senior Seminar: Commercial Sex Work, Sexual Health & Global Human Rights
BCULST 501 Cultural Studies Research Practices


My research and scholarship centers on the critical study of social inequality, focusing on the relationship between sexuality, power, and context (including: organizational, institutional, cultural, and global contexts). In the past my research has included ethnographic research on post-industrial service work jobs including waitressing and sex work; more recently I have applied my research and scholarship to evaluating popular discourses about the "sexualization of girls," and discourses and policies about sex work and human trafficking. My current projects include a community-based study of transgender sex workers in the Seattle area (funded by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the Pride Foundation). I am also writing an introductory sexuality studies book ("Sexuality: the Basics," Routledge press), and I am a blogger for Ms. Magazine, Rh Reality Check, and Sexuality & Society.

Professional/Community/University Service

I am the editor of the "Mediations" section of Contexts Magazine, am a consulting editor for Archives of Sexual Behavior, and am on the editorial board of Sexuality & Culture. In 2011 I joined a U.S. team of human rights/sex worker activists and academics responding to the United Nation's Universal Periodic Review; I also serve on the board of directors for the Pat Graney Prison Transition program. I am currently serving as the vice-chair of the General Faculty Organization at UWB (2012-2013); within the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences I am chair of Society, Ethics, and Behavior, and chair of the Diversity committee.

Selected Publications

Refereed Articles

Lerum, K, McCurtis, K., Saunders, P. Wahab, S. 2012. "Using human rights to hold the US accountable for its anti-sex work agenda. The Universal Periodic Review and new directions for US policy." Anti Trafficking Review, 1, pp. 80-103.

Wahab, S., Baker, L., Smith, J. Cooper, K., Lerum, K.. 2010. "Exotic Dance Research: A Review of the Literature from 1970 to 2008." Sexuality & Culture.

Lerum, K., and Dworkin, S. 2009. “‘Bad Girls Rule’: An Interdisciplinary Feminist Commentary on the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.” Journal of Sex Research 46. 4.

Lerum, K., and Dworkin, S. 2009. “Toward an Interdisciplinary Dialogue on Youth, Sexualization, and Health.” Journal of Sex Research 46. 4.

Lerum, K. 2004. “Sexuality, Power, and Camaraderie in Service Work.”Gender & Society, 18, 6. 756-776.

Lerum, K. 2001. “Subjects of Desire: Academic Armor, Intimate Ethnography, & the Production of Critical Knowledge.” Qualitative Inquiry, 7, 4, Pp. 466-483.

Lerum, Kari. 1998. "12-Step Feminism Makes Sex Workers Sick: How the State and the Recovery Movement Turn Radical Women into ‘Useless Citizens’." Sexuality & Culture, 2, Pp. 7-36.

Academic Book and Encyclopedia Chapters
Lerum, K. 2013 (forthcoming). "Sexuality." In Encyclopedia of Work.

Lerum, K. 2012. “What’s Love Got to Do with It?: Life Lessons from Multiracial Feminism.”In Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. Salt Lake: University of Utah Press

Lerum, K. 2008. “Sexuality and Reproduction.” In Encyclopedia of Gender and Society, v. 2. Sage.

Lerum, K. 2001. "'Precarious Situations' in a Strip Club: Exotic Dancers and the Problem of Reality Maintenance." In The Production of Reality: Essays and Readings in Social Psychology (3rd edition), Pp. 279-287, edited by Peter Kollock and Jodi O'Brien. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2001. (Reprinted in the 4th edition, 2006).