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Professor of Sociology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Barb Brents specializes in political sociology, gender and sexuality. Brents’ research uses a political economy lens to study sex and gender in neoliberal market culture. Her recent work uses the sex industry as a site to understand the intersections of culture and economics — including the construction of “market morality” in political debates around sexuality; the relation between tourism, consumption and sexuality; the emotional and bodily labor of selling sex; and consuming sex. She is involved in a number of collaborative projects with colleagues at UNLV, the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and Australia exploring sexual commerce and consumption and the politics and regulation of sexuality. Past research also has explored intersections of politics, culture, economics, and gender looking at topics such as the politics of terrorism and violence, business and social policies and social sustainability in Las Vegas. Her research has been published in the American Sociological Review, Sexualities, Sociological Perspectives, the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and Social Science and Medicine.

Brents’ work has been featured in the New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Slate Magazine, and she has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Time, Rolling Stone and Business Week. Brents received the Nevada Regents Outstanding Graduate Advisor award, the UNLV Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award and the UNLV Alumni Faculty Award. In 2014 she received the UNLV College of Liberal Arts, Donald Schmiedel Lifetime Service Award and the 2015 University of Missouri Noel P. Gist Distinguished Alumni Award. She also served National Board of the American Civil Liberties Union and as the Nevada State ACLU President.


  • –present
    Professor of Sociology , University of Nevada, Las Vegas