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Gender & Women's Studies|College of Arts & Sciences

Susan Dewey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Gender/Women's Studies • 307-766-3427 • Ross Hall 102

Cultural Anthropologist Susan Dewey has over a decade of research and consulting experience on sex work, violence against women, and feminized labor. Since receiving her Ph.D. in 2004, she has published seven books, including three sole-authored ethnographies, one co-authored text, and three co-edited volumes, which have received positive reviews in high impact journals such as Contemporary Sociology, Anthropological Quarterly, and American Ethnologist.  Dr. Dewey is an applied feminist anthropologist whose work serves a practical function via the production of public policy recommendations aimed at improving, on their own terms, the lives of individuals she engages with in her research. To this end, she has produced substantial technical reports for UN Women and the U.S. Census Bureau, and has presented her research findings at almost 40 conferences and universities around the world. She has received research and contract work funding from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Fulbright-Hays, UN Women, and the U.S. Census Bureau, and her research has featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Dewey’s research agenda encompasses extraordinarily broad geographic scope for an anthropologist, involving urban ethnographic work in Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Fiji, India, and the U.S. This work focuses on how institutional power intersects with individual women’s lives, specifically in the thematic areas of feminized labor and violence against women. Her scholarly investigations commenced with her Fulbright Hays-funded dissertation research in India, where she explored young women’s use of intimate labors as a social mobility strategy, and which resulted in her first single-authored book, Making Miss India Miss World: Constructing Gender, Power, and the Nation in Postliberalization India (Syracuse University Press, 2008). Her second sole-authored book, Hollow Bodies: Institutional Responses to Sex Trafficking in Armenia, Bosnia, and India (Kumarian Press, 2008), was based upon her postdoctoral work in Armenia (and later Bosnia-Herzegovina), where she explored how anti-trafficking initiatives impacted individuals involved in a complex amalgamation of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and activist groups. Her third single-authored 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. Engaging in sex work research over the course of nearly a decade prompted the publication of her most recent book, co-authored with anthropologist Dr. Tiantian Zheng, Ethical Research with Sex Workers: Anthropological Approaches (Springer, 2013).

Dr. Dewey is currently involved in two research projects. The first focuses upon harm reduction and help-seeking strategies amongst street-based sex workers in Denver, Colorado, and the second explores the lives and far-reaching economic and social networks of women market traders in the Pacific Island nation of Fiji.

Links to Dr. Dewey’s CV, books, recent research articles, and other publications are available on Psychology Today’s website:

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