Lisa Wade, Associate Professor

Lisa Wade

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology & Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
220G Newcomb Hall


Ph.D. Sociology, University of Wisconsin, 2006
M.A. Human Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Life Education, New York University


Lisa Wade is Associate Professor of Sociology. She is also a core faculty member in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and an affiliate of the Newcomb Institute.

Research Interests

Dr. Wade's publication record includes work on college hookup culture, the sociology of the body, and U.S. discourse about female genital cutting, all of which reflect her theoretical interest in gender and its intersections, sexuality, culture, and the body. In 2017, she published American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus. The text situates collegiate hookup culture within the history of sexuality, the evolution of higher education, and the unfinished feminist revolution. Wade maps out a punishing emotional landscape marked by unequal pleasures, competition for status, and sexual violence. She discovers that privileged students tend to enjoy hookup culture the most, and considers its effects on racial and sexual minorities, students who “opt out,” and those who participate ambivalently. Dr. Wade’s current research project documents undergraduate life during COVID-19, revealing how institutional forces and interpersonal dynamics shaped students’ capacities to make more and less cautious decisions regarding the virus.  

In addition to publishing academic research, Dr. Wade is well-known for delivering conversational yet compelling translations of sociological theory and research. She is the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions (with Myra Marx Ferree) and the author of Terrible Magnificent Sociology, an introduction to sociology text. As a public-facing scholar, Lisa works to make her and others’ scholarship engaging to a public audience. She specializes, in other words, in being as comfortable “in the weeds” as she is “in the clouds.” In 2007, she founded Sociological Images, a website for which she earned several awards, including the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award from the American Sociological Association. Today, she regularly informs journalism and writes for the general public, occasionally appearing on television and radio. You can find Lisa online at, on Twitter at @lisawade, and at Threads and Instagram T @lisawadephd. 

Selected Publications

Wade, Lisa. Forthcoming. “Re-thinking the ‘Stalled Revolution’: Toward New Metaphors for Feminist Struggle.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

Wade, Lisa, and Janelle Pham. Forthcoming. “Queer Students, Queer Hookups, Queer Cultures: The Potential for Critical Contributions to Theories of Sexuality.” In Outskirts: Queer Experiences on the Fringe, D’Lane Compton and Amy Stone (eds.). New York: New York University Press. 

Wade, Lisa. 2022. “In Pursuit of the Potential of Sexual Field Theory: A Research Agenda.” Sexualities 25, 3: 284-300. 

Wade, Lisa. 2022. Terrible Magnificent Sociology. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 

Wade, Lisa, and Myra Marx Ferree. 2022. Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions (3rd edition). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 

Wade, Lisa. 2021. “Doing Casual Sex: A Sexual Fields Approach to the Emotional Force of Hookup Culture.” Social Problems 68, 1: 185-201. 

Wade, Lisa. 2020. “Decanonizing the Introduction to Sociology Text.” Norton Learning Blog, October 15. 

Wade, Lisa. 2019. “Confronting Manhood after Trump.” Pp. 19-26 in Antidemocracy in America: Truth, Power, and the Republic at Risk, edited by Eric Klinenberg, Caitlin Zaloom, and Sharon Marcos. New York: Columbia University Press. 

Wade, Lisa. 2017. American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 

Wade, Lisa. 2017. “What’s So Cultural about Hookup Culture?” Contexts 16, 1: 66-68. 

Wade, Lisa, Douglas Hartmann, and Christopher Uggen (eds). 2016. Assigned: Life with Gender. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 

Wade, Lisa. 2015. “Are Women Bad at Orgasms? Understanding the Gender Gap.” Pp. 227-237 in Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century, edited by Shira Tarrant. New York: Routledge. 

Wade, Lisa, with Heather Talley. 2014. “Feminist Images of Public Intellectualism: An Interview with Lisa Wade.” Feminist Teacher 23, 2: 158-162. 

Wade, Lisa. 2013. “The New Science of Sex Difference.” Sociology Compass 7, 4: 278-293. 

Wade, Lisa. 2014. “Understanding and Ending the Campus Sexual Assault Epidemic.” Contexts 13, 2: 18-19. 

Wade, Lisa. 2012. “Learning from “Female Genital Mutilation”: Lessons from 30 Years of Academic Discourse.” Ethnicities 12, 1: 26-49. 

Wade, Lisa. 2012. “The Function of Balance in U.S. News Coverage of Uncontested Issues: The Case of Female Genital Cutting.” Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism 13, 7: 867-883. 

Wade, Lisa, and Caroline Heldman. 2012. “Hooking Up and Opting Out: What Students Learn about Sex in their First Year of College.” Pp. 128-145 in Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout our Lives, edited by John DeLamater and Laura Carpenter. New York: New York University Press. 

Wade, Lisa, and Gwen Sharp. 2012. “Sociological Images: Blogging as Public Sociology.” Social Science Computer Review 31, 2: 221-228. 

Wade, Lisa. 2011. “The Politics of Acculturation: Female Genital Cutting and the Challenge of Building Multicultural Democracies.” Social Problems 58, 4: 518-537. 

Wade, Lisa. 2011. “The Emancipatory Promise of the Habitus: Lindy Hop, the Body, and Social Change.” Ethnography 12, 2: 224-246. 

Wade, Lisa. 2011. “Journalism, Advocacy, and the Social Construction of Consensus.” Media, Culture & Society 38, 8: 1166-1184. 

Wade, Lisa, and Caroline Heldman. 2011. “Sexualizing Sarah Palin: The Social and Political Contexts of the Sexual Objectification of Female Candidates.” Sex Roles 65, 3-4: 156-164. 

Wade, Lisa, and Gwen Sharp. 2011. “Selling Sex.” Pp. 163-172 in Images that Injure: Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media, edited by Lester Paul and Susan Ross. Westport, CT: Praeger. 

Wade, Lisa, and Caroline Heldman. 2010. “Hook Up Culture: Setting a New Research Agenda.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy 7, 4: 323. 

Wade, Lisa. 2009. “Defining Gendered Oppression in U.S. Newspapers: The Strategic Value of ‘Female Genital Mutilation.’” Gender & Society 23, 3: 293-314. 

Wade, Lisa, Emily Kremer, and Jessica Brown. 2005 “The Incidental Orgasm: The Presence of Clitoral Knowledge and the Absence of Orgasm for Women.” Women & Health 42, 1: 117-138. 

Freese, Jeremy, Allen Li, and Lisa Wade. 2003. “The Potential Relevances of Biology to Social Inquiry.” Annual Review of Sociology 29: 233-256. 

Wade, Lisa, and John D. DeLamater. 2002. “Relationship Dissolution as a Life Stage Transition: Effects on Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.” Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 4: 898-915.