Elizabeth Bernstein

Elizabeth Bernstein

Research Interests

Biographical Notes

Elizabeth Bernstein, Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology, joined the faculty of Barnard in September, 2002. Her research and teaching focus on the political economy of the body, gender, and sexuality. She is the author of the award-winning books Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom (University of Chicago Press 2018) and Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex (University of Chicago Press 2007), and co-editor of the volume Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity (Routledge 2004). She is also a Principal Investigator along with Janet Jakobsen for the Gender Justice and Neoliberal Transformations Working Group, a collaboration among thirteen scholars working transnationally on questions of gender justice in the contemporary world, which is sponsored by the Barnard Center for Research on Women (https://bcrw.barnard.edu/projects/transnationalfeminisms/gender-justice-neoliberal-transformations/). She is currently beginning research for a new book project entitled Imagining Immunity: Precarious Bodies and the Governance of Gendered Dis-ease, a feminist analysis of the immunological metaphors that guide common conceptions of bodily risk and suffering, as well as biopolitical interventions designed to address conditions ranging from allergies to autoimmune disorders to infectious disease.

Her research and scholarship have been recognized by awards from the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, AAUW, the Mellon Foundation, and the American Sociological Association.


Ph.D., California (Berkeley), 2001

Selected Publications

 Paradoxes of Neoliberalism: Sex, Gender, and Possibilities for Justice. With Ana Amuchástegui, Sealing Cheng, Abosede George, Maja Horn, Janet Jakobsen, Kerwin Kaye, Tami Navarro, Mark Padilla, Sine Plambech, Mario Pecheny, and Svati Shah.  London: Routledge. (https://www.routledge.com/Paradoxes-of-Neoliberalism-Sex-Gender-and-Possibilities-for-Justice/Bernstein-Jakobsen/p/book/9780367511593).


 Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom, University of Chicago Press.* https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo28509142.html


 Sexual Economies and New Regimes of Governance. Guest editor of special issue of Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State, & Society (22:3). https://academic.oup.com/sp/article-abstract/21/3/345/2259117?redirectedFrom=fulltext


 Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex.*  University of Chicago Press. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/T/bo5298935.html


Regulating Sex: The Politics of Intimacy and Identity. Co-editor, with Laurie Schaffner. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Regulating-Sex-The-Politics-of-Intimacy-and-Identity/Bernstein-Schaffner/p/book/9780415948692


 “Gender, Justice, and Neoliberal Transformations—Introduction to the Special Issue,” with Janet Jakobsen. The Scholar and the Feminist Online (available at http://bcrw.barnard.edu/publication-sections/sf-online/).

Selected Publications

Sexual Economies and New Regimes of Governance