Lisa Wade

Associate Professor

Newcomb Institute
Office Address
43 Newcomb Place, Suite 301
Photo of Lisa Wade


Lisa Wade is an Associate Professor at Tulane University with appointments in Sociology, the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and the Newcomb Institute. Her research agenda has involved four main areas: hookup culture on college campuses, feminist theories of sexuality, the relationship between biology and society, and U.S. discourse about female genital cutting in Africa. Before receiving her M.S. and Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Lisa earned an interdisciplinary M.A. in Human Sexuality from NYU and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California in Santa Barbara. From 2006 to 2019, she was a professor of sociology at Occidental College.

Lisa is the author of over two dozen research papers, book chapters, and educational essays. She has also published four book-length projects. American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus is the definitive account of collegiate hookup culture. Terrible Magnificent Sociology is a solo-authored introduction to sociology. Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, co-authored with Myra Marx Ferree, leads the market for sociology of gender courses. And Assigned: Life with Gender is a co-edited anthology with Chris Uggen and Douglas Hartmann.

Lisa's current research project is an examination of the full breadth of undergraduate social life during COVID-19. During the 2020/2021 school year, she interviewed a diverse group of 150 Tulane undergraduate students about being sent home in Spring 2020, the summer of "lockdown," and—once they returned to in-person school—how they managed friendships, roommates, parties, sex, and love in the midst of contagious disease.

As a public-facing scholar, Lisa also works to make her and others’ scholarships 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 and on Twitter @lisawade.

Selected Writings

  • Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions (3rd ed.), with Myra Marx Ferree. W.W. Norton & Co.

  • “Queer Students, Queer Hookups, Queer Cultures: The Potential for Critical Contributions to Theories of Sexuality” (forthcoming), with Janelle Pham. In Outskirts: Queer Experiences on the Fringe, edited by D’Lane Compton and Amy Stone.

  • “In Pursuit of the Potential of Sexual Field Theory: A Research Agenda” (in press), in Sexualities.

  • Terrible Magnificent Sociology (2022), an introduction to sociology from W.W. Norton & Co.

  • “Narratives of Outbreak and Survival in English-Language Cinema Prior to COVID-19” (2022), in Socius 8: 1-15.

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

  • “Confronting Manhood after Trump” (2019), in Antidemocracy in America: Truth, Power, and the Republic at Risk, edited by Eric Klinenberg, Caitlin Zaloom, and Sharon Marcos for Columbia University Press.

  • American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus (2017), from W.W. Norton & Co.

  • “What’s So Cultural about Hookup Culture?” (2017), in Contexts 16 (1): 66-68.

  • Assigned: Life with Gender (2016), with Doug Hartmann and Christopher Uggen (eds). W.W. Norton & Co.

  • “Are Women Bad at Orgasms? Understanding the Gender Gap” (2015), in Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century, edited by Shira Tarrant for Routledge.

  • “Feminist Images of Public Intellectualism: An Interview with Lisa Wade” (2014), in Feminist Teacher 23 (2): 158-162.

  • “The New Science of Sex Difference” (2013), in Sociology Compass 7 (4): 278-293.

  • “Learning from ‘Female Genital Mutilation’: Lessons from 30 Years of Academic Discourse,” (2012) in Ethnicities 12 (1): 26-49.

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

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

  • “Sociological Images: Blogging as Public Sociology” (2012), with Gwen Sharp in Social Science Computer Review 31 (2): 221-228.

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

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

  • “Journalism, Advocacy, and the Social Construction of Consensus” (2011), in Media, Culture & Society 38 (8): 1166-1184.

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

  • “Selling Sex” (2011), with Gwen Sharp in Images that Injure: Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media, edited by Lester Paul and Susan Ross for Praeger.

  • “Hook Up Culture: Setting a New Research Agenda” (2010), with Caroline Heldman in Sexuality Research and Social Policy 7 (4): 323.

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

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

  • “The Potential Relevances of Biology to Social Inquiry” (2003), with Jeremy Freese and Allen Li in Annual Review of Sociology 29: 233-256.

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