Sociology, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Elizabeth Bernstein, Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology, joined the faculty of Barnard in September, 2002. Her research and teaching focus on the political economy of the body, gender, and sexuality. She is the author of the award-winning books Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom (University of Chicago Press 2018) and Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex (University of Chicago Press 2007), and co-editor of the volume Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity (Routledge 2004). She is also a Principal Investigator along with Janet Jakobsen for the Gender Justice and Neoliberal Transformations Working Group, a collaboration among thirteen scholars working transnationally on questions of gender justice in the contemporary world, which is sponsored by the Barnard Center for Research on Women (https://bcrw.barnard.edu/projects/transnationalfeminisms/gender-justice-neoliberal-transformations/). She is currently beginning research for a new book project entitled Imagining Immunity: Precarious Bodies and the Governance of Gendered Dis-ease, a feminist analysis of the immunological metaphors that guide common conceptions of bodily risk and suffering, as well as biopolitical interventions designed to address conditions ranging from allergies to autoimmune disorders to infectious disease.
Her research and scholarship have been recognized by awards from the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, AAUW, the Mellon Foundation, and the American Sociological Association.
B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
- Sociology of the body, sex, and gender
- Sexuality and the state
- Sexual commerce
- Ethnographic Methods
2022 Paradoxes of Neoliberalism: Sex, Gender, and Possibilities for Justice. With Ana Amuchástegui, Sealing Cheng, Abosede George, Maja Horn, Janet Jakobsen, Kerwin Kaye, Tami Navarro, Mark Padilla, Sine Plambech, Mario Pecheny, and Svati Shah. London: Routledge. (https://www.routledge.com/Paradoxes-of-Neoliberalism-Sex-Gender-and-Possibilities-for-Justice/Bernstein-Jakobsen/p/book/9780367511593).
2018 Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom, University of Chicago Press.* https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo28509142.html
*Distinguished Book Award, American Sociological Association, Sociology of Sexualities Section, 2020.
*One of ten books selected for Author Meets Critic Session at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 2020.
* Honorable Mention, Society for the Study of Social Problems Global Division Book Award, 2019.
2014 Sexual Economies and New Regimes of Governance. Guest editor of special issue of Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State, & Society (22:3). https://academic.oup.com/sp/article-abstract/21/3/345/2259117?redirectedFrom=fulltext
2013 Gender, Justice, and Neoliberal Transformations. Guest editor of special issue of The Scholar and the Feminist Online, with Janet Jakobsen, Issue 11.1-11.2, Fall 2012/Spring 2013 http://bcrw.barnard.edu/publication-sections/sf-online/).
2008 Sexual Commerce and the Global Flow of Bodies, Desires, and Social Policies. Guest editor of special issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 5:4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1525/srsp.2008.5.4.1
2007 Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex.* University of Chicago Press. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/T/bo5298935.htm
* One of eight books reviewed in Contemporary Sociology on “the most significant books in sexuality studies published in the past decade,” January 2013.
* Italian Translation, Temporaneamente Tua: intimità, autenticità e commercio del sesso. Odoya: 2009.
* Norbert Elias Prize, Norbert Elias Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2009.
* Distinguished Book Award, American Sociological Association, Sex and Gender Section, 2009.
* One of ten books selected for Author Meets Critic Session at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 2009.
* Distinguished Book Award, American Sociological Association, Sociology of Sexualities Section, 2008.
2005 Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity. Co-editor, with Laurie Schaffner. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Regulating-Sex-The-Politics-of-Intimacy-and-Identity/Bernstein-Schaffner/p/book/9780415948692
2022 “Gender, Justice, and the Paradoxical Persistence of Neoliberal Times,” with Janet Jakobsen. In Paradoxes of Neoliberalism: Sex, Gender, and Possibilities for Justice, Bernstein and Jakobsen et. al., pp 1-34.
2022 “The Productive Incoherence of ‘Sex Trafficking,’” with Sealing Cheng, Sine Plambech, and Mario Pecheny. In Paradoxes of Neoliberalism: Sex, Gender, and Possibilities for Justice, Bernstein and Jakobsen et. al., pp 109-134.
2020 “Trafficking,” The Routledge History of American Sexuality, eds. Kevin Murphy, Jason Ruiz, and David Serlin, New York: Routledge, 365-378.
2016 “Redemptive Capitalism and Sexual Investability,” Political Power and Social Theory, Special issue on Perverse Politics guest edited by Ann Orloff, Raka Ray, and Evren Savci, Volume 30: 45-81.
2014 “Sexual Economies and New Regimes of Governance,” Introduction to Special issue of Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State, and Society 22:3, 345-354.
2014 “The Erotics of Authenticity: Sex Trafficking and “Reality Tourism” in Thailand,” with Elena Shih, Social Politics, 22:3, 430-460.
2013 “Gender, Justice, and Neoliberal Transformations—Introduction to the Special Issue,” with Janet Jakobsen. The Scholar and the Feminist Online (available at http://bcrw.barnard.edu/publication-sections/sf-online/).
2012 “Carceral Politics as Gender Justice? The ‘Traffic in Women’ and Neoliberal Circuits of Crime, Sex, and Rights.” Theory and Society, 41:3, 233-259.
2010 “Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Anti-Trafficking Campaigns,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, special issue on Feminists Theorize International Political Economy, guest edited by Kate Bedford and Shirin Rai, 36:1, 45-71.
2010 “Sex, Secularism, and Religion in U.S. Politics,” with Janet Jakobsen. Third World Quarterly, 31:6, 1023-1039.
2010 “Bounded Authenticity and the Commerce of Sex,” Intimate Labors, Rhacel Parreñas and Eileen Boris, eds. Stanford University Press, pp. 148-166.
2008 “Sexual Commerce and the Global Flow of Bodies, Desires, and Social Policies.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 5:4, 1-5.
2007 “The Sexual Politics of the ‘New Abolitionism.’” Differences: Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, special issue on God and Country, guest edited by Elizabeth Castelli, 18:3, 128-151.
2007 “Sex Work for the Middle Classes.” Sexualities, special issue on Cultural Studies of Commercial Sex, guest edited by Laura Agustin, 10:4, 473-488.
2005 “Regulating Sex—An Introduction,” in Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity, Elizabeth Bernstein and Laurie Schaffner, eds. Routledge, pp. xi-xxiii.
2001 “The Meaning of the Purchase: Desire, Demand, and the Commerce of Sex.” Ethnography Vol. 2, no. 3: 375-406. 2001.