Jessica Fields, PhD

Research Faculty:, Rise: Research on Inequality, Sexuality, and Education

Jessica Fields is an Associate Professor of Sociology at San Francisco State University and Senior Researcher at the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality. In 2008-2009, she is also Interim Director of SFSU’s Public Research Institute. Dr. Fields’ book, Risky Lessons: Sex Education and Social Inequality (Rutgers University Press, 2008) explores sex education lessons about sexual difference and inequality; intersections of sexuality, race, and gender inequalities; and their own and others’ entitlement to sexual pleasure and respect. Dr. Fields examines these questions throughout her research program—in middle-school classrooms, community sexuality education debates, peer sexuality education programs for and by youth, and, most recently, HIV/AIDS education for women in jail. She is currently the lead investigator in a participatory action research study of HIV/AIDS, incarceration, and safer sex negotiation with public health educators and incarcerated women in San Francisco County Jail. Dr. Fields pursues her research program with RISE: Research in Inequality, Sexuality, and Education, a team of SFSU undergraduate and graduate student researchers from Sociology, Sexuality Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Psychology. At SFSU, she is an active mentor to graduate and undergraduate students and teaches courses on research methods; race, sexuality, class, and gender; youth; and sexuality education. Dr. Fields is Board President of Health Initiatives for Youth (, a San Francisco-based community organization committed to youth development and social justice.

Curriculum Vitae



Fields, Jessica. 2008. Risky Lessons: Sex Education and Social Inequality. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, Series in Childhood Studies.

Winner, 2009 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award, American Sociological Association Section on Race, Gender, and Class


Kendall, Nancy. 2010. Social Forces 89(2):714-16.

Knight, Becky L. 2010. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 36(1):103-5.

Best, Amy L. 2010. American Journal of Sociology 115(4):1332-34.

Levine, Amy. 2009. Contemporary Sexuality 43(9):8-9.

Wilcox, Bradford. 2009. Contemporary Sociology 38(4):329-30.

Elliott, Sinikka. 2009. Sex Roles 61(1/2):133-35.

Martin, Courtney. 2008.—Not Oprah’s Book Club (

Plante, Rebecca F. 2008. CHOICE Review Online 46(5).

Reprinted (excerpts)

Cahill, Spencer E., and Kent Sandstrom, eds. 2010. Inside Social Life: Readings in Sociological Psychology and Microsociology, 6th edition. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishers.

Meiners, Erica, and Therese Quinn, eds. Forthcoming (2011). Sexualities in Education: A Reader. New York: Peter Lang.

 Edited Volumes

Sears, Clare, Andreana Clay, Jessica Fields, and Alexis Martinez, eds., 2010. Social Justice: Criminalization and Sexuality [Special Issue] 37(1).

O’Brien, Jodi A., ed., with Eve Shapiro and Jessica Fields. 2009. Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2009 Outstanding Academic Reference, Reference and User Services Association, American Library Association

2009 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, Association of College & Research Libraries, American Library Association

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Fields, Jessica. 2012. “Sexuality Education in the United States: Shared Cultural Ideas across a Political Divide.” Sociology Compass 6(1):1-14.

Fields, Jessica, Isela González, Kathleen Hentz, Margaret Rhee, and Catherine White. 2008. “Learning From and With Incarcerated Women: Emerging Lessons from a Participatory Action Study of Sexuality Education.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy 5(2):71-84.

Fields, Jessica, and Celeste Hirschman. 2007. “Citizenship Lessons in Abstinence-Only Sexuality Education.” American Journal of Sexuality Education 2(2):3-25.

Fields, Jessica, and Deborah L. Tolman. 2006. “Risky Business: Sexuality Education and Research in U.S. Schools.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy 3(4):63-76.

Fields, Jessica. 2005. “‘Children Having Children’: Race, Innocence, and Sexuality Education.” Social Problems 52(4):549-71.

Fields, Jessica. 2004. “Same-Sex Marriage, Sodomy Laws, and the Sexual Lives of Young People.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy1(3):11-23.

Fields, Jessica. 2001. “Normal Queers: Straight Parents Respond to Their Children’s ‘Coming Out.’” Symbolic Interaction 24(2):165-87.

Book Chapters

Fields, Jessica, Martha Copp, and Sherryl Kleinman. 2007. “Symbolic Interactionism, Inequality, and Emotions.” Pp. 155-78 in Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions, edited by Jan E. Stets and Jonathan H. Turner. New York: Springer.

Fields, Jessica. 2006. “Knowing Girls: Gender and Learning in School-Based Sexuality Education.” Pp. 66-85 in Sexual Inequalities: Social Justice and Positionality in Sexuality Research, edited by Niels Teunis and Gilbert Herdt. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Commissioned Research Reports

Fields, Jessica, and Christopher P. Bettinger, with Katherine “Tate” Brazas. 2011. National Public Opinion Research on New Cognitive Model of Sexuality: Sexuality as Personality—Phase II, National Survey.

For American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project. 75pp report on representative survey of likely U.S. voters, examining receptiveness to innovative arguments in favor of comprehensive sexuality education that promotes expansive understanding of sexual behaviors, desires, and identities experienced over a lifetime. Includes discussion of survey methodology,tables and figures, and analysis of voter attitudes toward sexuality education policy making.

Fields, Jessica. 2010. National Public Opinion Research on New Cognitive Model of Sexuality: Sexuality as Personality, Phase 1, Focus Groups.

For American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project. 43pp report on focus group study of (a) arguments in favor of comprehensive sexuality education and (b) potential to develop messages that promote expansive understanding of sexual behaviors, desires, and identities experienced over a lifetime. Includes data collection and analysis design, tables and figures, and narrative discussion of controversies in sexuality education policy making.

Fields, Jessica, Cynthia Gómez, and Belinda Reyes. 2010. Community-Engaged Health Research: Experiences from the San Francisco Bay Area.

For Kaiser-Permanente Division of Research. 27pp analysis of focus group, interview, and survey data. Includes executive summary, table and figures, best practices, and narrative discussion of principles guiding community-engaged research (community capacity building, research in support of social change, and meaningful community involvement).

Encyclopedia Entries and Essays

Hentz, Kathleen, and Jessica Fields. 2008. “Sex Education/Abstinence Education.” Pp. 429-33 in Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development, edited by Deborah Carr, Robert Crosnoe, Mary Elizabeth Hughes, and Amy Pienta. New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

Hentz, Kathleen, and Jessica Fields. 2008. “Virginity Pledges.” P. 432 in Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development, edited by Deborah Carr, Robert Crosnoe, Mary Elizabeth Hughes, and Amy Pienta. New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

Hirschman, Celeste, and Jessica Fields. 2006. “Sex Education in U.S. High Schools.” Pp. 356-60 in American High School: An Encyclopedia, edited by Kathryn Borman, Spencer Cahill, and Bridget Cotner. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.

RISE (Research on Inequality, Sexuality, and Education; Jessica Fields, Elena Flores, Valerie Francisco, Sandra Ramirez, Dana Rudie, and Elizabeth Truesdell). 2006. “Youth on Youth: Peer Educators in the Mission Talk about Sexuality, Risk Reduction, and Pregnancy Prevention.”American Sexuality. Available at

Translated into Spanish and reprinted as “De Joven a Joven” on Available at

Fields, Jessica, and Stephen Russell. 2005. “Queer Sexuality and Gender Activism.” Pp. 512-14 in Youth Activism: An International Encyclopedia, edited by Lonnie R. Sherrod, Constance Flanagan, and Ron Kassimir. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.

Fields, Jessica. 2004. “A New Right, Old Wrongs.” American Sexuality: The Wedding Album. 2(3). Available at

Fields, Jessica, and Celeste Hirschman. 2003. “Citizenship Lessons: Sexuality Education in the United States.” American Sexuality: Special Issue on Abstinence-Only Policies and Sexuality. 1(6). Available at

Reprinted in 21st Century Sexualities: Contemporary Issues in Health, Education and Rights, edited by Gilbert Herdt and Cymene Howe. New York: Routledge.

Book Reviews

Fields, Jessica. 2011. “Review of The Right to Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America’s Public Schools (by Stuart Biegel).” Teachers College Record, Date Published: March 17, 2011 ID Number: 16368.

Fields, Jessica. 1998. “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner . . . : Review of Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Conformity (by Joshua Gamson).” Qualitative Sociology 22(3): 265-68.

Instructional Material

Fields, Jessica. 2002. “Alternative Syllabus and Formal Course Critique.” Critical Pedagogy in the Sociology Classroom, edited by Peter Kaufman. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association. Reprinted in 2nd edition, 2006.

Fields, Jessica. 2002. “Course Guidelines” and “‘Gender and Society’ Syllabus.” The Sociology of Gender: Syllabi and Other Instructional Materials, edited by Amy Blackstone and Betsy Lucal. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.

Fields, Jessica. 2002. “Reflecting on and Polishing Writing.” Writing in the Undergraduate Curriculum: A Guide for Teachers, edited by Kay Stokes, Keith Roberts, and Marjory Kinney. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.

Under Review

Peer-reviewed journal

Fields, Jessica, and Martha Copp. Affinity- and Alliance-Based Empathy Among Youth Peer Educators.

Work in Progress

Book manuscript

Fields, Jessica. For That Time: Risk, Intimacy, and Possibility in HIV Education and Research for Incarcerated Women.

Article manuscript

Fields, Jessica. The Worried and the Worrisome: The Emotional Grounds of Sexual Health Education in the United States.