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Chris Wakefield, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Chris Wakefield

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Chris Wakefield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Whitman College. Professor Wakefield teaches courses topic courses in crime and sexuality, as well as introductory sociology and social statistics.

Professor Wakefield’s research addresses efforts to use both formal and informal mechanisms of social control to constrain sexual behaviors, sexual desires, and sexual relationships. Using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, Wakefield’s work examines how law, definitions of what is “normal”, and sexuality collide in American society.

Professor Wakefield’s co-authored book, “Paying for Sex in the Digital Age: US and UK Perspectives” compares the beliefs, practices, and self-reported experiences of men who purchase sex from sex workers (often referred to as “clients” or “johns”). Representing one of the first times empirical data has been used to differentiate legal contexts both within and beyond the United States, the book reveals how clients of sex workers understand their relationships with sex workers, violence, and how they respond to legal boundaries around their purchasing behaviors.

Professor Wakefield’s work also extends into the management of released sex offenders. Their dissertation work addresses the long-term experiences of individuals under sex offender registries, including their relationships with family members, the community, intimate partners, treatment providers, supervising officers, and the changing legal system.

Wakefield is originally from upstate New York, but also calls Las Vegas, NV a second home city. Professor Wakefield loves stuffed animals and invites any student to come select one when visiting their office.

  • Sociology of sexuality
  • Crime
  • Criminology
  • Punishment
  • Legal studies
  • Law and society
  • Deviance
  • Sex offending
  • Sex work
  • Criminal justice
  • Statistics
  • Quantitative methods

Ph.D. Sociology
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
May 2023

M.A. Sociology
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
May 2017

B.A. Sociology (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies)
Syracuse University
May 2010

Johnson, Michael J., Chris Wakefield, and Kellyann Garthe. 2020. “Qualitative socioeconomic factors of cervical cancer screening use among transgender men.” Preventative Medicine Reports.

Sanders, Teela, Barbara Brents, and Chris Wakefield. 2020. Paying for Sex in the Digital Age. Routledge Publishing.

Wakefield, Chris and Barbara G. Brents. 2019. “The Influence of Legal Brothels on Illegal Sex Work Purchasing Habits: The United States Context.” The International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.

Macfarlane, Rachel T., Celene Fuller, Chris Wakefield, and Barbara Brents. 2018. “Sex Industry and Sex Workers in Nevada.” The Social Health of Nevada: Leading Indicators and Quality of Life in the Silver State. UNLV Center for Democratic Culture.

Wakefield, Chris and Andrew Spivak. 2018. "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Offenders: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Incarceration," in Dodson, Kimberly (ed). Routledge Handbook on Offenders with Special Needs. Routledge.

Davis, Georgiann and Chris Wakefield. 2017. "The Intersex Kids are All Right? Diagnosis Disclosure and the Experiences of Intersex Youth," pp 43-65 in Patricia Neff Claster, Sampson Lee Blair, Loretta E. Bass (ed.) Sociological Studies of Children and Youth 23 Emerald Publishing Limited.

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