Elizabeth Bernstein (1993)

Assistant Professor, Women's Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University

My sociological research agenda focuses upon the intersections of sexuality, gender, and political economy. Economies of Desire, my forthcoming book, examines the significance of the exchange of sex for money in the late capitalist market place, based upon ethnographic research in five post-industrial cities. Subsequent research projects will explore the relationship between transnational migrations and intimate labor, comparing the trajectories of domestic workers and sex workers in New York and Barcelona.

I think that Berkeley was one of the few departments where I could have pursued the research agenda that I did--because of its strong tradition of urban-ethnography, the abundance and passion of feminist scholars on the faculty, and its location in the San Francisco Bay Area (a terrifically exciting and generative milieu for interrogating the theory and politics of sexuality). University-wide, there was a vibrant, interdisciplinary community of sexuality and gender theorists to generate productive dialogue.

I have tried to give back to some of the individuals and communities that enabled my research by following in the Berkeley 'public intellectual' tradition, making my research accessible to a broader public and speaking directly to questions of public policy in San Francisco, Barcelona, and New York City.

Dissertation Title: 
Economies of Desire: Sexual Commerce and Post-industrial Culture
Dissertation Book Title: 
Temporarily Yours: Sexual Commerce of Sex