Kristin Luker

Kristin Luker

Professor Emeritus
JSP 2240 Piedmont
(510) 642-4038
Research Interests
Gender, sexuality, women and welfare

Until her recent retirement, Kristin Luker was Professor of Sociology and the Elizabeht Boalt Professor of Law. She is the author of many scholarly articles, as well as six books: Taking Chances: Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept (1975), Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood (1984) ,Dubious Conceptions: The Politics of Teenage Pregnancy (1996), When Sex Goes to School (2006), and Salsa Dancing Into the Social Sciences, (2008). In 2015 she published a casebook (with Melissa Murray) on the emerging field of reproductive justicea and the law.

Professor Luker has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Sociological Research Association, and was invited to the White House by President Clinton to discuss issues of politics and social policy. She has been awarded grants from the Spencer and Ford Foundations, as well as the Commonwealth Fund, and has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her book Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Her interests include sexual and reproductive behavior, gender, and the relationship between gender and the history of the social sciences in the United States and elsewhere. She plans to spend her retirement working on a book on the new politics of motherhood, and doing research and advocacy in the Center on Reproductive Rights And Justice (, which she founded.

Representative Publications

Work in Progress

  • "Transgendered Numbers: Truth and Authority at the Birth of Sociology."
  • "The Future of Virginity", presented at the American Sociological Association Annual Meetings, in the process of being revised for publication.


  • Salsa Dancing in the Social Sciences2008 Salsa Dancing in the Social Sciences, Harvard University Press
  • When Sex Goes to School2006 When Sex Goes to School, W.W. Norton.
  • Dubious concepts book cover1995 Dubious Conceptions: The Politics of the Teenage Pregnancy Crisis, Harvard University Press.
  • Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood1984 Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood, University of California Press.
  • Taking Chances: Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept1975 Taking Chances: Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept, University of California Press. (A second edition, with a new introduction, was published in 1991.)


Published Articles and Chapters