This is a reading list from the course that PJ taught in Spring 2020. This link contains many of these readings and is regularly updated with newly scanned sources: https://tinyurl.com/swreadings
This course will help students develop an understanding of current social and political conversations around sex work. We will discuss academic and journalistic research into the sex trades as well as first-person accounts of sex workers’ own experiences. In the process, students will engage with analysis from a range of fields, including feminist theory, sexuality studies, queer theory, labor studies, moral philosophy, legal history, situated knowledge epistemology, media representation theory. Students will compare these approaches, analyze how research into sex work has changed over time, and consider sex workers’ own critiques of how they are represented in these discussions.
Molly Smith & Juno Mac. (2018). Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights. Verso Trade.
Rachel Aimee, Eliyanna Kaiser & Audacia Ray, eds. (2015). $Pread: The Best of the Magazine that Illuminated the Sex Industry and Started a Media Revolution. The Feminist Press.
Suprihmbé. (2019). heauxthots: On Terminology, and Other [Un]Important Things. bbydoll press
All other course readings will be made available here: https://tinyurl.com/swreadings
Please bring printed readings to class.
What’s in a Name?
- Carol Leigh. (1997). “Inventing sex work” in Whores and Other Feminists.
- Stella. (2013.) Language Matters: Talking About Sex Work.
- Suprihmbé. (2019) “Deﬁned/Deﬁners: My thoughts on common terminology around erotic labor & trafficking” in heauxthots.
- Molly Smith & Juno Mac. (2018). Revolting Prostitutes: the fight for sex workers’ rights. Verso Trade. [p. 1]
- Rachel Aimee, Eilyanna Kaiser, and Audacia Ray. (2015) “Preface: The Sex Worker Rights Movement in the Early 2000s—A Primer” in $pread. Feminist Press.
- Melissa Ditmore. (2006). “Termininology” in Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work (Vol. 1). Greenwood publishing group.
What Kind of Work is Sex Work?
- Kat Banyard. (2017). “The dangers of rebranding prostitution as ‘sex work.’” The Guardian.
- Heather Berg. (2014). Working for love, loving for work: Discourses of labor in feminist sex-work activism. Feminist Studies.
- Vero Rocks and Tasha Tasticake. (2007) “Positions: Is Sex Work A Sacred Practice or Just A Job” reprinted in $pread. (2015) Feminist Press.
- Jessie Sage. (2018). 4 Sex Workers on What They’ve Learned About Men’s Mental Health. Men’s Health.
Who Speaks for Sex Workers?
- Kate D’Adamo.(2017). Sex (Work) in the Classroom. Challenging Perspectives on Street-Based Sex Work.
- Vednita Carter and Evelina Giobbe. (1999). “Duet: Prostitution, Racism and Feminist Discourse.” Hastings Women’s Law Journal. [Read on the Introduction]
- Lorelei Lee (2019). Cash/Consent: The War on Sex Work, n+1.
- Elizabeth Anderson. (2019) “Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [Excerpts]
Can We Differentiate Sex Work and Sex Trafficking?
- Andrea J. Nichols. (2016). Sex Trafficking in the United States. Columbia University Press. [pp. 3-11]
- Annie George, et al. (2010). Sex Trafficking and Sex Work: Definitions, Debates and Dynamics — A Review of Literature. Economic and Political Weekly. [Read up to “Examples from India”]
- Ronald Weitzer. (2011). Sex trafficking and the sex industry: The need for evidence-based theory and legislation. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology.
- Jo Yurcaba. (2019). Sex Workers Describe The Policy Reforms That Would Actually Help Them. Bustle.
- Carisa Showden & Samantha Majic (2018). Youth who trade sex in the US: Intersectionality, agency, and vulnerability. Temple University Press.
- Alexandra Lutnick. (2016). Domestic minor sex trafficking: Beyond victims and villains. Columbia University Press.
- Kamala Kempadoo. (2001). Women of color and the global sex trade: Transnational feminist perspectives. Meridians, 1(2), 28-51.
- Erin Albright & Kate D’Adamo. (2017). Decreasing Human Trafficking through Sex Work Decriminalization. AMA Journal of Ethics.
- Maggie McNeil. (2014). Lies, damned lies and sex work statistics. The Washington Post.
- Elzbieta Gozdziak & Elizabeth Collett. (2005). Research on human trafficking in North America: A review of literature. International Migration.
- Janie Chuang. (2010). Rescuing trafficking from ideological capture: Prostitution reform and anti-trafficking law and policy. University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
- Ronald Weitzer. (2020). Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (2020). Great Decisions.
- Mari Ramsawakh. (2018). We Need to Stop Confusing Sex Work with Human Trafficking. Nuance.
- Sharon Pickering and Julie Ham. (2014). Hot Pants at the Border: Sorting Sex Work from Sex Trafficking. British Journal of Criminology.
- Eithne Luibhéid. (2002). A Blueprint for Exclusion. Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border. University of Minnesota Press.
The Intersectionality of Sex Work and Sex Workers
Prevalance of LGBTQ Youth in the Sex Trades
- Meridith Dank et al. (2015). Surviving the streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ youth, YMSM, and YWSW engaged in survival sex. Urban Institute.
- Kevin Nadal et al. (2014). Transgender Women and the Sex Work Industry: Roots in Systemic, Institutional, and Interpersonal Discrimination. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.
- Sarah (2016) “The Tedium of Trans Sex Work” Tits & Sass.
- Carisa Showden & Samantha Majic. (2018). Youth Who Trade Sex in the US: Intersectionality, Agency, and Vulnerability. Temple University Press.
Sex Work and Race
Critical Review Essay #1 Due!
- Vednita Carter & Evelina Giobbe. (1999). Duet: Prostitution, racism and feminist discourse. Hastings Women’s Law Journal. [Read only the section: “The Nexus Between Prostitution and Slavery”]
- Vednita Nelson. (1993) Prostitution: Where Racism & Sexism Intersect. Michigan Journal Gender & Law.
- Jasmine Sankofa. (n.d.) From Margin to Center: Sex Work Decriminalization Is a Racial Justice Issue. Amnesty International.
- Noah Berlatsky. (2014). The Imagine Sex Worker: The stigma against black sex workers can reinforce stigmas against all black women and all sex workers. Pacific Standard.
- Christine Whyte. (2013). “Praise Be, Prostitutes as the Women We Are not.” White Slavery and Human Trafficking–an Intersectional Analysis. Intersectionality und Kritik. Springer VS.
- Cheryl Nelson Butler. (2015). A critical race feminist perspective on prostitution & sex trafficking in America. Yale Journal of Law & Feminism. [Section IV onward]
Issues & Concepts
Objectification & Fetishization
- Evangelia Papadaki. (2007). Sexual objectification: From Kant to contemporary feminism. Contemporary Political Theory.
- Melissa Gira Grant. (2014). Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work. Verso. [Chapter 8: The Other Women – Stop at “Witholding Consent” section]
- Andre Shakti, Kinkly, “How Sex Work and Fetishization Increased My Body Confidence.”
- Fiona Attwood. (2004). Pornography and Objectification. Feminist Media Studies.
- Janice Loreck. (2016). Explainer: what does the ‘male gaze’ mean, and what about a female gaze? The Conversation.
- Madeline Holden. (2018). The State of the Male Gaze. MEL Magazine.
- Lucy Neville (2015). Male gays in the female gaze: women who watch m/m pornography. Porn Studies.
- Caroline Evans and Lorraine Gamman. (1995). The gaze revisited, or reviewing queer viewing. A queer romance: Lesbians, gay men and popular culture, 13-56.
Agency, Labor & Consent
- Julie Bindel. (2018). Prostitution is not a job. The inside of a woman’s body is not a workplace. The Guardian.
- Sophie Lewis. (2018). Not a workplace’: Julie Bindel and the school of wrong abolitionism. Verso.
- Melissa Gira Grant. (2014). Playing the whore: The work of sex work. Verso. [Chapter 8: The Other Women – “Witholding Consent” section to end of chapter]
- Charlotte Shane, Tits and Sass, “Getting Away With Hating It: Consent In the Context of Sex Work”
- Carisa Showden & Samantha Majic. (2018). Youth Who Trade Sex in the US: Intersectionality, Agency, and Vulnerability. Temple University Press.
Different Work(ers), Different Perspectives
- Elizabeth Bernstein. (1999). What’s Wrong with Prostitution-What’s Right with Sex Work-Comparing Markets in Female Sexual Labor. Hastings Women’s Law Journal.
- Svetlana Z. (2014) Sex is Sex but Money is Money. Matter.
- Jean Johnston. (1987). Out in the Cold. Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry. Eds. Frédérique Delacoste and Priscilla Alexander.
- Jacqueline Francis. (2016). How To Be Feminist At a Strip Club.
- Mary Taylor & Carol Leigh. (2006/2015) Positions: Sex in the Champagne Room. $pread. Feminist Press.
- Reese Piper. The Secret Life of an Autisitic Stripper. Narratively.
- Live Girls UNITE! (2000)
- Mindy S. Bradley. (2008). Stripping in the new millennium: Thinking about trends in exotic dance and dancers’ lives. Sociology Compass.
- Katherine Frank. (1998). The Production of Identity and the Negotiation of Intimacy in a Gentleman’s Club. Sexualities.
- Amanda Duberman. (2018). Meet The Dominatrix Who Requires The Men Who Hire Her To Read Black Feminist Theory. Huffpost.
- Yin Q. (2017). I Was A Professional Dominatrix — Until Having A Baby Changed How I See BDSM. BUST.
- Tania Levey & Dina Pinsky. (2015). A constellation of stigmas: Intersectional stigma management and the professional dominatrix. Deviant Behavior.
- Lorelei Lee (2017). Once You Have Made Pornography.
- Heather Berg. (2017). Porn Work, Feminist Critique, and the Market for Authenticity. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
Massage Parlors & Spas
Reading and discussion with Christina Springer.
- Christina Springer. (2018). The Splooge Factory. Frayed Edge Press.
- Judy Edelstein. (1987). Out in the Cold. Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry. Eds. Frédérique Delacoste and Priscilla Alexander.
- “Secrets of a Phone Sex Operator.” (n.d.). Broadly.
- Gabourey Sidibe & Terry Gross. (2017). Actress Gabourey Sidibe On Anxiety, Phone Sex and Life After ‘Precious.’ Fresh Air.
- Amy Flowers. (2010). The fantasy factory: An insider’s view of the phone sex industry. University of Pennsylvania Press. [Excerpt. Probably Chap. 2]
- Sandy (Allucquere Rosanne) Stone, (1994). Sex and death among the disembodied: VR, cyberspace, and the nature of academic discourse. The Sociological Review. [Excerpt]
Camming/Online Sex Work
- Sam Cole (2019). How Cam Models Changed the Porn World Forever. VICE.
- Madeline Henry & Panteá Farvid. (2017). ‘Always hot, always live’: Computer-mediated sex work in the era of ‘camming’. Women’s Studies Journal.
- Allegra W. Smith. (2017). Participatory porn culture: Feminist positions and oppositions in the internet pornosphere. Sex in the Digital Age Routledge.
- Angela Jones (2016). “I get paid to have orgasms”: Adult webcam models’ negotiation of pleasure and danger. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
- Teela Sanders, et al. (2018). Internet sex work: Beyond the gaze. Springer.
The Sex Worker Movement
Revolting Prostitutes I
- Molly Smith & Juno Mac. (2018). Revolting Prostitutes: the fight for sex workers’ rights. Verso Trade. [Chapters 1-4]
Revolting Prostitutes II
- Molly Smith & Juno Mac. (2018). Revolting Prostitutes: the fight for sex workers’ rights. Verso Trade. [Chapters 5-Conclusion]
Sex Work & Feminism
- Wendy Chapkis. (1997). Live sex acts: Women performing erotic labor. Routledge. [Chapter 1]
- Kari Kesler. (2002). Is a feminist stance in support of prostitution possible? An exploration of current trends. Sexualities.
- Noah Zatz. (1997). Sex work/sex act: Law, labor, and desire in constructions of prostitution. Signs: Journal of women in culture and society.
- Andrea Dworkin. (1993) Prostitution and Male Supremacy. Michigan Journal of Gender & Law.
- Sheila Jeffreys. (2012). Beyond ‘agency’ and ‘choice in theorizing prostitution. Prostitution, harm and gender inequality: Theory, research and policy, 69-86.
- Elizabeth Bernstein. (2019). “The Sexual Politics of Carceral Feminism.” In Brokered Subjects: Sex, trafficking, and the politics of freedom. University of Chicago Press.
- Toni Van Pelt. (2019) “Decriminalize Prostituted People—Not Prostitution.” National Organization for Women.
- Melissa Gira Grant. (2019). “Liberal Feminism Has a Sex Work Problem” The New Republic.
Feminism & Pornography
Conversation with Sheena about about labor conditions in strip clubs and coping with COVID-19
- Andrea Dworkin. (1985). Against the Male Flood: Censorship, Pornography, and Equality. Harvard Women’s Law Journal.
- Gayle Rubin. (1993). Misguided, dangerous, and wrong: An analysis of antipornography politics. Bad girls and dirty pictures: The challenge to reclaim feminism. Pluto.
- Mireille Miller-Young. (2014). A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography. Duke University Press. [Introduction]
- Gail Dines. (2010). Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality. Beacon Press.
- Kate Ellis, et al. (1990). Feminism and Pornography. Feminist Review, 36(1), 15–18.
- Catherine MacKinnon. (1993). Only words. Harvard University Press.
- Adrienne Rich. (1980). Compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (pp. 225-252). Routledge.
- Jennifer C. Nash (2008). Strange Bedfellows Black Feminism and Antipornography Feminism. Social Text, 26(4 (97)), 51-76.
- Patricia Hill Collins. (1993). Pornography and Black Women’s Bodies. Making Violence Sexy: Feminist Views on Pornography.
- Gloria Steinem. (1983). Erotica vs. pornography. Outrageous acts and everyday rebellions.
- Audre Lorde. (1978). Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. Fourth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Mount Holyoke College.
Panel Discussion on FOSTA/SESTA with Jessie Sage and Allison Falk
- Amy Zimmerman. (2018) “Sex Workers Fear for Their Future: How SESTA Is Putting Many Prostitutes in Peril.” Daily Beast.
- Karol Markowicz. 2019. Congress’ awful anti-sex-trafficking law has only put sex workers in danger and wasted taxpayer money.
- Caty Simon. (2018). “On Backpage.” Tits and Sass.
PJ Sage is an academic sociologist and journalist writing on tech, sex, and the adult industry. His popular writing has been published in VICE’s Motherboard, The New Inquiry, and Real Life magazine. He co-founded the Theorizing the Web conference and Cyborgology. He is also an XBIZ-nominated clip producer and photographer who creates audio rich smut.