Kari Lerum is an Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at University of Washington Bothell, and an Adjunct Professor in Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies at University of Washington Seattle. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from University of Washington Seattle and her B.A. in sociology, with minors in religion and global studies, from Pacific Lutheran University.
Lerum's research focuses on the intersections of sexuality, power, & context. Much of her current research and advocacy focuses on policies about sex work & human trafficking; this includes her participation a team of academics and activists that successfully convinced the Obama State Department to accept a UN recommendation to address human rights abuses against sex workers (2011). Lerum's research has also critically evaluated popular discourses about the "sexualization of girls," challenged normative assumptions of workplace sexuality, pushed for emotionally engaged epistemological approaches for critical theory, and advocated for non-carceral strategies for racial, economic, gender, & sexual justice.
Lerum's research and scholarship has been published in journals such as Anti-Trafficking Review, Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies, Gender & Society, Journal of Sex Research, Qualitative Inquiry, Sexuality & Culture, and Sex Roles, and in edited volumes such as Presumed Incompetent: The intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. Her more accessible public scholarship can also be found at Ms. Blog, Rh Reality Check, Sexuality & Society, The Conversation, and The Feminist Wire.