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 research interests encompass crime, deviance, and criminal justice, gender and sexuality, organizations, social movements, and culture. Much of her work focuses on the intersections of crime, deviance, and gender, with a particular emphasis on sex work. Sharon 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. To that end, she assesses the process of exiting, the extent to which organizations facilitate or constrain this transition, and individual agency and resistance along the way. Her work also appears in a wide variety of journals, including American Sociological Review, Gender & Society, Sociological Forum, Deviant Behavior, Sexualities, Sociological Perspectives and elsewhere.

Sharon is currently working on a book 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. They find that urban redevelopment can greatly affect street sex work because it changes ecological conditions, may alter social interactions (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.

Her additional ongoing mixed-methods collaborative projects focus on crime, institutions and the criminal justice system. The first analyzes the efficacy of Riverside Probation Department’s Day Reporting Centers—which provides an array of services and resources—on former offenders’ successful re-entry. The second examines the role 911 dispatchers play, through their written summaries, interpretation, and ordering of information, in escalated police-community interactions. See the Presley Center’s website for more details about these projects and for events that focus on a wide variety of topics related to crime:https://presleycenter.ucr.edu/


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.


Appointed co-director of the Presley Center for Crime and Socio-legal Studies.

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