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Susan Dewey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Gender/Women's Studies
Cultural anthropologist Susan Dewey is currently in the preliminary stages of two research projects that explore aspects of feminized labor in two very different cultural contexts. The first, which commenced with her summer 2011 fieldwork, explores the lives and far-reaching economic and social networks of women market traders in the Pacific Island nation of Fiji. Her second project, based in Denver, Colorado, engages law enforcement officers, sex workers, and social service providers regarding their perceptions of what constitutes force and coercion with respect to sex work.
Susan teaches our Introduction to Women’s Studies course, our methods course, is developing a course on sex work and sex trafficking, and also teaches a class on gender and global change. She is currently developing a Summer Innovative course in order to take students to Fiji.
Susan has published three books that address the complex intersections between feminized labor and public policy. Her most recent book, Neon Wasteland: On Love, Motherhood, and Sex Work in a Rust Belt Town (University of California Press, 2011),explores how sex workers in upstate New York negotiate their lives as parents, family members, and employees while working in a profession widely regarded as incompatible with motherhood and fidelity.
In Hollow Bodies: Institutional Responses to Sex Trafficking in Armenia, Bosnia and India (Kumarian Press, 2008), she highlights the nuanced nature of sex trafficking as a social justice issue that has received dramatically increased amounts of international attention and donor funds in the past decade. Making Miss India Miss World: Constructing Gender, Power, and the Nation in Postliberalization India (Syracuse University Press, 2008) examined urban Indian perceptions of feminine beauty in the wake of dramatic socioeconomic changes instigated by the implementation of structural adjustment policies.
Together with anthropologist Karen Brison, she co-edited Super Girls, Gangstas, Freeters and Xenomaniacs: Gender and Modernity in Global Youth Cultures (Syracuse University Press, 2012), an original collection of ethnographic works from the Pacific Islands, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Western Europe. This volume analyzes children and adolescents as active agents who use the cross-culturally fraught conception of modernity, within particular local conditions, to make sense of their own lives.