• Erin Davis

    Erin Davis

    Professor of Sociology

Biographical Sketch

Professor Davis’ courses explore cultural diversity & social inequalities, focusing on gender, sexualities, bodies, and identities. Many courses include guest speakers (such as a spoken word poet/performing artist; health care policy analyst, or director of a LGBTQA Resource Center), involve field trips or off-campus travel, and/or incorporate public sociology projects. Her courses are often collaborative: intro sociology students work with geology students to research the lifecycle of a consumer object and Sociology of the Body students and Human Anatomy students participate in field trips to the Rare Books Room at UI and to the BodyWorlds exhibit in Minneapolis to explore different perspectives on the body. Professor Davis also works closely with students on their research, sponsoring student research presentations at the Iowa Sociological Association meetings, and the Midwest Sociological Society meeting.

Academic History

  • PhD in Sociology, University of Virginia, 2002
    • Dissertation: Overcoming Gender:  Transsexualism and the Gender Paradigm
  • MA in Sociology, University of Virginia, 1996
    • Thesis:  The Sexual Search:  The Changing Role of Intimate Relations in Marital Timing
  • BA in Sociology and Religion, New College of Florida, 1993
    • Thesis:  Whose Morality? Public Polarization of American Culture

Courses Taught

  • Sociological Thinking
  • Critiquing Consumption (FYS linking geology and sociology)
  • Gender Diversity
  • Traditional Culture and Contemporary Society in Japan
  • Families and Family Policy
  • Sexualities
  • Gender Differences and Inequalities
  • Self and Identity
  • Sociology of the Body
  • Research Design and Data Analysis
  • Senior Seminar

Select Off-Campus Experiences

  • SOC273:  Families and Family Policy:  10 days of course taught in Chicago--offered every other year.
  • SOC256: Gender, Culture, and Public Policy in Japan/Traditional Culture and Contemporary Society:  Full block in Tokyo, Kyoto/Osaka, and other areas of Japan.  Interactions with students from Kyoto Seika University.
  • Aoyama-Gakuin Women’s Junior College, Faculty-Student Exchange, Tokyo, Japan (Fall 2014 and Fall 2008)
  • 2004 Summer Institute: China’s Contending Metropolitan Regions: Hong Kong and Shanghai Field Study, East West Center.


  • Walsh, Emily and Erin Davis. 2017 “The Geology and Sociology of Consumption: Team-Teaching Sustainability in an Interdisciplinary First-Year Seminar,”  Journal of Geoscience Education. 65 (2): 126-135.  [Special Issue on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability]
  • Davis, Erin. 2009. "Situating ‘Fluidity’: (Trans) Gender Identification and the Regulation of Gender Diversity,”   GLQ.  15 (1):97-130.

  • Davis, Erin and Lisa Friel.  2001. “Adolescent Sexuality: Disentangling the Effects of Family Structure and Family Context. ”  Journal of Marriage and Family. 63 (August 2001):669-681.

  • Davis, Erin.  2001. Review of Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders and Sexualities, by Jason Cromwell, Contemporary Sociology, 30: 256-257.

  • Davis, Erin.  2000. Review of Travesti: Sex, Gender and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes, by Don Kulick, Contemporary Sociology, 29: 384-385

Select Presentations and Invited Lectures

  • Panel Discussion: “Gender and Leisure:  Does Having Fun Challenge and/or Reproduce Status Differences? Midwest Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 2016

  • “Studying Society through Film and Media in an Introductory Sociology Course” Midwest Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 2016

  • “Bisexuality Panel” Campus Event sponsored by the Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Department and the Third Wave Resource Group.
  • “The Rising Death Rates Among Whites.”Panel Discussion for KCRG-TV9’s “Ethical Perspectives in the News”,” Cedar Rapids, IA, 2015
  • “Vagina Politics Panel:  Can We Talk About Vaginas?” Campus Event sponsored by the Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Department and the Third Wave Resource Group for Sex Education Week, Cornell College, 2015
  • “Decriminalizing Sex Work”Panel Discussion for KCRG-TV9’s “Ethical Perspectives in the News”,” Cedar Rapids, IA, 2015
  • Interview for “How We Talk About Our Teachers” NPR, Morning Edition (2/23/15)
  • Digital Pedagogy Panel, Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, 2015
  • "Lessons from Ferguson” Panel Discussion for KCRG-TV9’s “Ethical Perspectives in the News”,” Cedar Rapids, IA, 2014

  • “Gender, Work, and Family in the Contemporary United States”Cornell Ambassadors Program, Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College, Tokyo
  • “Women’s Involvement in Strategy Boardgaming: Challenges and Possibilities.” The 10th Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. 2014.

  • “Sharpening the Sociological Imagination through Multi-Disciplinary Collaborative Course Projects.” Midwest Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Omaha, Nebraska. 2014.

  • “Feminism and Social Justice in the 21st Century.” Panel Discussion with Aparna Thomas, Johanna Schuster-Craig and Shannon Reed, Feminist Symposium, Cornell College 2014

  • "Symbols of Hate:  When an Image is More than an Image." Campus Event sponsored by the Diversity Committee, Cornell College 2014.

  • "Women and Gaming Research Report."  BGG.Con, Dallas, Texas. 2013. 

  • “Parental Roles and Responsibilities.” Panel Discussion for KCRG-TV9’s “Ethical Perspectives in the News”,” Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 2013.

  • “Dressing Our Daughters” Panel Discussion for KCRG-TV9’s “Ethical Perspectives in the News”,” Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  2012.

  • "Defining Family Values” Panel Discussion for KCRG-TV9’s “Ethical Perspectives in the News”,” Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  2012.

  • “So, What Is It Like To Be A Professor at a Private Liberal Arts College?” Sociology Graduate Pro-Seminar, University of Iowa. 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

  • “The Creation of Short-Term International Study Courses” Presented with Carolyn Enns and Joan Erikson at the FaCE capstone conference, FaCE Value: Advances Through Collaboration, at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado.  2011.

  • “Short-Term Study Abroad in Japan: Fostering Interdisciplinary Pedagogy” Presented with Carolyn Enns and Joan Erikson at Beloit College’s Asian Studies Teaching Colloquium on Transcultural Asia:  Pedagogies of Borrowing & Trading in Undergraduate Education, Beloit, Wisconsin.  2011.  

  • Transforming Study Abroad: The Creation of Short Term International Study Courses”  Presented with Carolyn Enns and Joan Erikson at ASIANetwork Annual Conference, Lisle, Illinois.  2011.

  • “Addressing the Challenges of Short-Term Study Abroad in Japan” Presented with Carolyn Enns at DePaul University's Japanese Studies conference on Teaching Japan: Pedagogical Possibilities in U.S. Higher Education, Chicago, Illinois.  2010.

  •  “Feminism and Mad Men” Campus event co-organized with Tori Barnes-Brus and co-sponsored by TWRG, Cornell College. 2010.

  • “The Role of Faculty Development in Internationalizing the Curriculum” ACM/GCLA conference on Integrating Study Abroad into the Undergraduate Curriculum, Beloit, Wisconsin. 2009.

  • “Feminist Identities and Ideologies among Contemporary College Students: Is Feminism Just “in the Water?” American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, New York, New York. 2009. 

  • “Feminist Identities and Ideologies among Contemporary College Students” Cornell Ambassadors Program, Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College, Tokyo. 2008.

  • “Trans-gressions:  The Cultural Intelligibility of Transgender Lives” Women’s Roles and Women’s Movements in Japan, Waseda University, Tokyo. 2007.

  • “Integrating Queer Studies into the Sociology Curriculum” Collaborative workshop session with Karin Peterson, Keith Bramlett, and Heather Talley, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  2005.

  • “A Comparative Study of Feminist Meanings, Identities, and Activism” Presented with Christine Smith at the Association for Women in Psychology Annual Conference, Tampa, Florida. February 2005 and at  at the Great Lakes College Association Women's Studies Conference, Kenyon, Ohio. 2004.

  • "Grrrlz to Womyn: A Workshop on Successful Feminist Mentoring" Collaborative session with Vange Heiliger, Amy Killoran, and Suzanne Smailes, Great Lakes College Association Women's Studies Conference, Kenyon, Ohio. 2004

Select Academic Awards

  • Cornell Institute for Summer Research (with Misha Quill), Cornell College, 2017
  • Cornell Institute for Summer Research (with Tori Barnes-Brus), Cornell College, 2015
  • Fund for Course Development (with Kara Beauchamp), Cornell College. 2014
  • Campbell McConnell Sabbatical Fellowship, Cornell College. 2011
  • Student-Faculty Collaborative Research, Cornell College. 2010
  • ACM Face Grant Phase II (with Carol Enns and Joan Erickson), ACM. 2010
  • Emil and Rosa Massier Award in the Social Sciences, Cornell College. 2009
  • Fund for Faculty and Curriculum Development (with Emily Walsh), Cornell College. 2008
  • Individual Travel Grant, GCLA Fund for the Study of Japan. 2007.
  • Faculty Appreciation Award, Antioch College. 2005.
  • Community Action Grant, Grrrlz to Womyn Program Technology Initiative, AAUW (American Association of University Women) Educational Foundation.  2002-2003.
  • Grrrlz to Womyn Grant, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio. 2002.
  • The Martin P. Levine Memorial Dissertation Award, Sex and Gender Section, American Sociological Association. 1999-2000.
  • Zora Neale Hurston Prize for Best Essay (co-winner), Studies in Women and Gender Program, University of Virginia. 1998.