Kari Lerum

Associate Professor

Kari Lerum

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

Office: UW2-328
Phone: 425-352-3588
Email: lerum@uw.edu
Website: www.karilerum.com
Blog: Founder and Co-Editor of Sexuality & Society
Mailing Box: 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-1713


My pedagogy 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, critical race studies, and media studies. I enjoy training students in critical, reflective, and creative scholarly practices, and strive to create warm, open-minded classes where difficult issues are discussed with rigor, respect, and humor.

Current Courses

BIS 219 The Politics of Sex Education
BIS 303 Approaches to Feminist Inquiry
BIS 312 Approaches to Social Research
BIS 341 Topics in the Study of Culture: Girls on Film
BIS 445 Meanings and Realities of Inequality
BIS 490/BIS 593 Senior Seminar/Graduate elective: Commercial Sex Work, Sexual Health & Global Human Rights
BIS 497 Sexual Politics, Justice, and Culture in Norway (Early Fall Exploration Seminar in Oslo, Norway)


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), and an introductory sexuality studies book (“Sexuality: the Basics,” Routledge press). My public scholarship can also be found at The ConversationMs. Magazine BlogRh Reality Check, Sexuality & Society, & The Feminist Wire. For more info please see www.karilerum.com

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Chapters & Essays

  • Lerum, K. 2016. “Sex Work and Criminalization.” In The Sage Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies. Edited by Goldberg, A. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Pp. 1018-1020.
  • Lerum, K. 2013. “Sexuality.” In Encycolopedia of Work. Sage.
  • 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).