Current Research

Welcome! I am an assistant professor of sociology at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I came to UNCG from University at Albany and, prior to that, a postdoctoral fellowship in the Criminology, Law and Society Department at the University of California at Irvine. My research examines the social control of disease and sexuality.

I have published three books. The first, "The War on Sex," is a collection of essays co-edited with David Halperin analyzing the criminalization of sex. The second, "Punishing Disease," is a monograph explaining the rise of punitive responses to HIV and other infectious diseases. In 2018, "Punishing Disease" was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Studies. The third book, "Unsafe Words," is a collection of essays co-edited with Shantel Gabrieal Buggs on sex, consent, and harm from a queer perspective.

Unsafe Words

Unsafe WordsPRE-ORDER NOW: Queer people may not have invented sex, but queers have long been pioneers in imagining new ways to have it. Yet their voices have been largely absent from the #MeToo conversation. What can queer people learn from the #MeToo conversation? And what can queer communities teach the rest of the world about ethical sex? This provocative book brings together academics, activists, artists, and sex workers to tackle challenging questions about sex, power, consent, and harm. While responding to the need for sex to be consensual and mutually pleasurable, these chapter authors resist the heteronormative assumptions, class norms, and racial privilege underlying much #MeToo discourse. The essays reveal the tools that queer communities themselves have developed to practice ethical sex—from the sex worker negotiating with her client to the gay man having anonymous sex in the back room. At the same time, they explore how queer communities might better prevent and respond to sexual violence without recourse to a police force that is frequently racist, homophobic, and transphobic. Telling a queerer side of the #MeToo story, Unsafe Words dares to challenge dogmatic assumptions about sex and consent while developing tools and language to promote more ethical and more pleasurable sex for everyone. Pre-order your copy now!

The War on Sex

The War on Sex NOW AVAILABLE: The past fifty years are conventionally understood to have witnessed an uninterrupted expansion of sexual rights and liberties in the United States. This state-of-the-art collection tells a different story: while progress has been made in marriage equality, reproductive rights, access to birth control, and other areas, government and civil society are waging a war on stigmatized sex by means of law, surveillance, and social control. The contributors document the history and operation of sex offender registries and the criminalization of HIV, as well as highly punitive measures against sex work that do more to harm women than to combat human trafficking. They reveal that sex crimes are punished more harshly than other crimes, while new legal and administrative regulations drastically restrict who is permitted to have sex. By examining how the ever-intensifying war on sex affects both privileged and marginalized communities, the essays collected here show why sexual liberation is indispensable to social justice and human rights. Order your copy!

Punishing Disease

Punishing DiseaseNOW AVAILABLE: From the very beginning of the epidemic, AIDS was linked to punishment. Calls to punish people living with HIV – mostly stigmatized minorities – began before doctors could even name the disease. Punitive attitudes towards AIDS prompted lawmakers around the country to introduce legislation aimed at criminalizing the behaviors of people living with HIV. Punishing Disease explains how this happened and with what consequences. Now that the door to criminalizing sickness is open, what other ailments will follow? With lawmakers moving to tack on additional diseases such as hepatitis and meningitis, the question is more than academic. Order your copy today!


In August 2014, I completed my PhD in Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. My dissertation examined the application of HIV law in Michigan, particulary the felony disclosure statute that makes it illegal for HIV-positive people to have sex without first disclosing their HIV-positive status. You can read the entire dissertation here. In addition, articles based on it are published in Social Problems, Social Science & Medicine, and Punishment & Society.

March 2021

Epistemology of the Pandemic Symposium

Friday, March 12
Boston University (Zoom)

Epistemology of the Pandemic Symposium
In this talk, I analyze the responsibility politics the followed in the wake of the 2020 New Year's Eve White Party in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I argue that gay men were yet again pitted against each other in the face of a deadly epidemic, obscuring the real drivers of the epidemic and repeating many of the moralistic errors made in early HIV prevention efforts.

February 2021

Berkeley Sociology Colloquium

Monday, February 22
University of California at Berkeley (Zoom)

Berkeley Sociology Colloquium
In this talk, I will report and consider demographic findings from a recent analysis of civil commitment facilities conducted by myself and colleagues at the Williams Institute at UCLA. We find that there are over 6000 men currently civilly committed for sex offenses in the United States. In almost every state analyzed, detainees are disproportionately Black. And, in the two states for which it was possible to consider detainee sexuality, we find that detainees are also disproportionately men who have sex with men. I consider these findings and explore next steps in this developing project.

November 2020

Building Power Across the Spectrum 2020 Keynote

Friday, November 13
North Carolina AIDS Action Network (Zoom)

BPAS 2020 Keynote Lecture
In this keynote lecture to the NCAAN's annual confernce delivered via Zoom, Trevor Hoppe discusses responsibility politics in the face of pandemics, drawing a line from HIV to COVID-19.

January 2018

Harvard Law School

Monday, January 29
Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law, Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics (Cambridge, MA)

Harvard Law School Book Talk
Trevor Hoppe gives a talk to Harvard Law School on his book, Punishing Disease: HIV and the criminalization of sickness. The book examines how and why U.S. policymakers and public health systems have adopted coercive and punitive responses to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. It also looks at how others diseases have been punished throughout history, and cautions against the extension of criminalization to diseases such as hepatitis and meningitis.

November 2017

St. Francis College

Tuesday, November 7
Lecture Series (New York, NY)

War on Sex Panel
St. Francis College hosted a panel discussion November 7, 2017 featuring the co-editor and contributors to a new book that examines how law, surveillance, and social control are used to stigmatize sex and fight against marriage equality, reproductive rights and access to birth control. Co-editor of The War on Sex, Trevor Hoppe (Assistant Professor of Sociology, University at Albany) was joined by contributors Judith Levine (author, Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex) and Mary Anne Case (Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law, University of Chicago) for the discussion on the criminalization of sex.

Curriculum vitae

Below, find my current CV. Or click here to download the PDF if using mobile.

Praise for Punishing Disease and The War on Sex

  • We need Unsafe Words: Queering Consent in the #MeToo Era now more than ever. A vital cultural reckoning with sexual assault and harassment brought issues of consent to the forefront – but often oversimplified them. We now need a more nuanced discussion of how consent may be understood and enacted. This groundbreaking collection brings together voices that explore and expand how concepts as such as power, assent, identity, autonomy, and community function in many people’s lives. It is imperative reading for everyone – policymakers, scholars, sexual liberationists – who grapples with these questions.

    Michael Bronski, author of "A Queer History of the United States"
  • With this dazzling collection of meditations and provocations from leading scholars in the field of sexuality studies, Unsafe Words offers something we desperately need: a place to ask the queer questions about consent that dare not speak their names. Can consent be queered? What happens when queer and feminist sexual politics clash over questions of consent? How does the prevailing consent paradigm perpetuate the harms of the criminal legal system and thwart more just possibilities for redress? This is a must-read for both activists and scholars of sexual ethics alike.

    Cati Connell, author of "A Few Good Gays: The Gendered Compromises behind Military Inclusion"
  • What happens when a nation seduced by carceral solutions confronts a dreaded disease linked to sex and drugs? Trevor Hoppe’s thorough and well documented analysis explains how and why legislators, courts, public health officials, and police across the United States have “criminalized sickness” in the case of HIV/AIDS. "Punishing Disease" is a wake-up call about the dangers of punitive approaches to stopping the spread of disease.

    Steven Epstein, author of "Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge" and "Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research"
  • Sociologists have examined a plethora of human conditions that have been medicalized and treated as Illness. This well researched book examines a case that flips medicalization on its head: how HIV/AIDS, a devastating disease, became criminalized and with what consequences. Trevor Hoppe’s clear analysis sheds important new light on how the meanings of disease and illness have significant social, political and health consequences.

    Peter Conrad, Brandeis University
  • Containing essays from some of the most insightful scholars and activists working on the front lines, "The War on Sex" is a vital tool for understanding how the regulation and criminalization of sex relate to our vital struggles in racial, economic, gender, and disability justice. Full of thoughtful, carefully researched essays, "The War on Sex" will support readers in classrooms and social movements to understand and strategize about the relationships among sex, criminalization, poverty, disability, and contemporary politics. We need this book right now.

    Dean Spade, author of "Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law"
  • Recent events just keep confirming, all too dismally, that the issues this collection takes up—from sex offender registries and sex trafficking to HIV in public health—link together as a major front of struggle in our time, often far from public view. Questioning some of the narratives of progress that are so widely echoed in the media and popular consciousness, "The War on Sex" will immediately meet the needs of academics and activists alike.

    Michael Warner, author of "Publics and Counterpublics"
  • We are living through a little-discussed assault on sexual freedoms that is pioneering new, subtle, and insidious methods of social control: this is the disturbing and difficult-to-refute thesis of The War on Sex, a new collection of essays... Interdisciplinary in scope and inclusive of activist voices from outside the academy, the book is an essential introduction to a struggle for self-determination and sexual self-assertion that has been occurring behind mainstream social movements’ focus on dignity and respectability.

    Ben Miller, Lambda Literary Foundation

Contact me.

The easiest way to get in touch with me is through the contact form below. If you are a member of the media on deadline, please put DEADLINE at the beginning of the subject.

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