Clare Sears

Clare Sears

Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator
Sociology, Sexuality Studies
Location: HSS 373

Office hours are by appointment only.

Clare Sears, associate professor of Sociology and Sexuality Studies, joined the department in 2007. Their research and teaching interests include queer theory, transgender studies, critical criminology, historical methods, and disability studies. Sears received their Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and their B.A. in sociology from the University of Leeds, England. They have received multiple awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship and a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Sears is author of the book, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco (Duke University Press, 2015), which was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award in 2016 and was co-winner of the Committee on LGBT History’s John Boswell Award in 2017. They have published articles in Women’s Studies QuarterlyGLQ, Routledge History of Queer America and The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies. They also co-edited a special issue of the journal Social Justice on sexuality and criminalization. Sears is currently working on a book-length project that explores the interplay of sexuality, gender and psychiatric disability in law and popular culture.

Outside of academia, Sears has worked as an outreach worker and researcher in the field of public health and they have published numerous articles on homelessness, drug policy, and harm reduction.

Previously Offered Courses

  • SOC 105 Sociological Perspectives
  • SOC 300 Sociological Analysis
  • SOC 392 Introduction to Research Methods
  • SOC 455 Punishment and Social Control
  • SOC 457 Sociology of Law 
  • SXS 750 Queer Theory and Transgender Studies
  • SXS 702 Sexuality in Historical Perspectives
  • SXS 800 Sociocultural Foundations in Sexuality Studies
  • SXS 882 Designing the Culminating Experience: Advanced Research Methods
  • SXS 884 Advanced Methods in Sexuality Studies

Research Interests

Queer theory, transgender studies, critical criminology, historical methods, cultural studies, and disability studies


  • Clare Sears (2021) “Crossdressing, History of,” in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies, edited by Abbie E. Goldberg and Genny Beemyn. Thousand Oaks: Sage Press
  • Clare Sears (2021) “The Queer Project of Criminology,” Sexualities, 24(1-2): 298-300
  • Clare Sears (2018) “Centering Slavery in Nineteenth Century Queer History,” in Routledge History of Queer America, edited by Don Romesberg. New York: Routledge
  • Clare Sears (2017) “A Queer Exemption? What Trump’s Presidency Means for LGBTQ Politics,” in The Possible Futures of the US Under Trump (e-book published by Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict and World Order).
  • Clare Sears (2014) Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco, Durham and London: Duke University Press
  • Clare Sears (2013) “Criminalizing Queers,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 19(1): 128-130
  • Clare Sears, Andreana Clay, Jessica Fields, and Alexis Martinez (2011) Special issue on Sexuality and Criminalization, Social Justice, 37(1).
  • Clare Sears (2008) Electric Brilliancy: Cross-Dressing Law and Freak-Show Displays in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco, Women’s Studies Quarterly, 36(3-4): 170-187 (Reprinted in Susan Stryker and Aren Aizura (eds), Transgender Studies Reader, Volume 2, Routledge 2013)
  • Clare Sears (2008) All that Glitters: Tran-sing California’s Gold Rush Migrations, GLQ: A Journal in Lesbian and Gay Studies, 14(2-3): 383-402
  • Clare Sears (2005) A Tremendous Sensation: Cross-Dressing in the Nineteenth Century San Francisco Press, In News and Sexuality: Media Portraits of Diversity, edited by Laura Casteñada and Shannon Campbell. Thousand Oaks: Sage Press, 1-19.
  • Clare Sears, Thomas Davis, and Joseph Guydish (2002) Effects of Treatment History and Centralized Intake on Drug Treatment Outcomes. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 34(1): 87-95.
  • Clare Sears, Joseph Guydish, Erin Weltzein, and Paula Lum (2001) Investigation of a Secondary Syringe Exchange Program for Homeless Young Injection Drug Users in San Francisco, California, USA. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 27: 193-201.

Please email to schedule a meeting.