Sharon S. Oselin
Sharon S. Oselin

Associate Professor

Office: 1215 Watkins Hall
Phone: (951) 827-5618
Fax: (951) 827-3330
E-mail: sharon.oselin@ucr.edu

Curriculum Vitae


Sharon S. Oselin is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy (Cooperating), the Academic Director of the Presley Center of Crime and Justice Studies, and Affiliated Faculty of the Labor Studies Program. She earned her Ph.D. from UC Irvine and is a past fellow of the American Association of University Women.

Her broad research interests encompass crime, deviance, and criminal justice, gender and sexuality, organizations, and culture. Much of her work, however, focuses on the intersections of crime, deviance, and gender, with a particular emphasis on sex work. Dr. Oselin is the author of Leaving Prostitution: Getting Out and Staying Out of Sex Work (New York University Press, 2014). Based on multi-site ethnographic data, this book exposes the dynamics that unfold between service organizations and female street sex workers who affiliate with them. To that end, she assesses the process of exiting, the extent to which organizations facilitate or constrain this transition, and the agency of women along the way. Dr. Oselin’s work also appears in a wide variety of journals, including American Sociological Review, Social Problems, Gender & Society, Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, Sociological Forum, Deviant Behavior, Sexualities, Sociological Perspectives and elsewhere.

Sharon is currently working on a project (with Katie Hail-Jares) that investigates how gentrification impacts those engaged in the illicit street sex market. This study draws on sex workers who operate in two distinct neighborhoods within Washington D.C. (one highly gentrified, the other underdeveloped); a comparative analysis that illuminates how they interpret, experience, and adapt to urban changes incited by gentrification. The authors find that urban redevelopment can greatly affect street-based sex markets because it changes ecological conditions, alters social interactions and social support (with police, residents, fellow sex workers, clients), and modifies risks, all of which have implications for where, and if, individuals continue to operate in the trade and for the neighborhoods in which it transpires.

Dr. Oselin’s other ongoing mixed-methods collaborative projects focus on crime, institutions and the criminal justice system. Two of these studies examine re-entry and the role of institutions specifically. The first analyzes the efficacy of Riverside Probation Department’s Day Reporting Centers—which provide an array of services and resources—on former offenders’ recidivism. The second investigates the Inland Empire’s hiring practices of formerly incarcerated individuals in the region, and maps the available resources and services that can be leveraged to facilitate successful re-entry for this population.

In a final ongoing research project, Oselin (with Greg DeAngelo, at CGU’s Computational Justice Lab) examines the role of 911 dispatcher discretion in escalated police-community interactions. They explore how call takers’ interpretation, written summaries, and ordering of information affect officer preparedness and response on the scene, and how this ultimately impacts civilian and police escalation.

Greater details on these projects, which are run through the Presley Center, are available here: https://presleycenter.ucr.edu/ongoing-research.


Oselin, Sharon, Katie Hail-Jares, and Melanie Kushida. (Forthcoming). “Different Strolls, Different Worlds? Gentrification and its Impact on Outdoor Sex Work.” Social Problems.

Oselin, Sharon S. and Kristen Barber. Forthcoming. “Borrowing Privilege: Status Maneuvering Among Marginalized Men.” Gender & Society.

Oselin, Sharon S. 2018. “Challenging Stigma: Identity Work among Male Sex Workers in a Recovery Program.” Sociological Perspectives 61(2): 240-256.

Brady, David, Sharon S. Oselin, and Kim M. Blankenship. 2018. “Material Deprivation among Female Sex Workers in India.” In Handbook of Research on In-Work Poverty, edited by Henning Lohmann and Ive Marx. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Oselin, Sharon S. and Jennifer Cobbina. 2017. “Holding Their Own: Female Sex Workers’ Perceptions of Safety Strategies.” In Challenging Perspectives in Street Based Sex Work, edited by Katie Hail-Jares, Corey Shdaimah, and Chrysanthi Leon. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.


Academic Director of the Presley Center of Crime and Justice Studies.

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