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Skip Navigation LinksKCC Home > Faculty Member Profile > Alison Better

Alison Better

Biography
Dr. Alison Better is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York, Kingsborough Community College. She received her PhD in Sociology from Brandeis University in 2010.  Dr. Better’s research focuses on women’s romantic relationships and sexual agency, sex stores as a site for education and community around sexuality, and defining and challenging sexual categories of heterosexuality and homosexuality. Prior to joining the faculty at Kingsborough, she taught at Tufts University and Brandeis University and held academic staff positions at the Brandeis University Intercultural Center and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Courses
Soc 38: Sociology of Gender
Soc 31: Introduction to Sociology
Soc 31: Introduction to Sociology with Women’s Studies Focus

Education
PhD  2010  Brandeis University Sociology
 MA  2005 Brandeis University Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies
 BA  2000 Skidmore College Sociology and Women’s Studies

College Teaching
Kingsborough Community College (2011-Present)
Brandeis University (2007-2009)
Tufts University (2009)

Selected Publications and/or Other Resources

Publications

Better, Alison. 2014. Redefining Queer: Women’s Relationships and Identity in an Age of Sexual Fluidity. Sexuality and Culture 18(1): 16-38.

Better, Alison. 2014. Painting Desire Pink: Meaning-Making at a Romance Sex Store. Selves, Symbols and Sexualities: Contemporary Readings. Staci Newmahr and Thomas Weinberg, Editors. SAGE.

Better, Alison. 2013. Learning from Experience: Integrating Students’ Everyday Lives into the Urban Community College Sociology Classroom. The American Sociologist 44(4): 385-395.

Better, Alison. 2011. Pleasure for Sale: Feminist Sex Stores. Introducing the New Sexualities Studies, 2nd Edition, Steven Seidman, Nancy Fischer, and Chet Meeks, Editors. New York: Routledge

Conference Presentations

Better, Alison. 2014. The Political is Personal: Civically Engaging Introductory Sociology Students in their Own Communities. Paper accepted for presentation at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California

Better, Alison and Brandy L. Simula. 2013. How and for Whom Does Gender Matter?: Rethinking the Concept of Sexual Orientation. Paper presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, New York, New York.

Better, Alison. 2013. Learning from Experience: Benefits and Challenges of Integrating Students’ Everyday Lives into the Urban Community College Classroom. Paper presented at Community College Mini-Conference, Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.

Better, Alison. 2012. Queering Heterosexuality, or what does it mean for a woman to be in a relationship with a man? Paper presented at Critical Heterosexualities panel, ASA Sexualities Mini Conference, Denver, Colorado.

Better, Alison. 2012. Selling Romance, Seeking Pleasure: Contributions of a ‘Women and Couples’ Focused Sex Shop. Paper presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.

Better, Alison, Jason VanOra and Barbara Walters. 2012. ESL and Learning Communities at Kingsborough Community College.  Paper presented at Community College Mini-Conference, Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, New York, New York.

Better, Alison. 2012. Gaining Access and Keeping Secrets: Issues in Data Collection for Sexualities Research. Paper presented at Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, New York, New York.

Better, Alison. 2011. “Redefining Queer: Women’s Pleasure and Relationships in an Age of Sexual Fluidity.” Paper presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Better, Alison. 2009. “Bodies and Ethnographies: Rethinking the Researcher’s Role in Sexualities Studies.” Paper presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California.

Better, Alison. 2007. “Creating New Methodologies for Sexuality Research.” Poster presented at University Consortium for Sexuality Research and Training Inaugural Conference, Bloomington, Indiana.

Better, Alison.  2006. “Feminist Methods Without Boundaries.” Paper presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec.

Better, Alison.  2006. “Empowering Orgasmic Women to Change the World: An Examination of Women-Owned Sex Shops and Their Relation to the Feminist Movement.” Paper presented at Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.

Better, Alison.  2005.  “Best of Two Worlds: An Exploration of Identity Issues Among Gay Fathers.” Paper presented at American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Invited Lectures

“Come Again: Sex Stores, Relationships, and the Future of Sexualities” Keynote Speaker, Sex and Sexualities Research Conference, Brandeis University. April 2013

 “Women and Sexuality” Real Talk Panel Discussion. Women’s History Month. KCC. March 2012

 “Troubling Gender”. Orientation Lecture. Brandeis University. August 2010

 “Transgressing Categories: Gender, Sexuality, and the Body”. Orientation Lecture. Brandeis University. August 2009

Events and/or Key Dates


Research Interests

Gender and Sexuality

Sociology of the Body

Sex Stores and Women’s Pleasure

Creation and Maintenance of Sexual Categories

Using Qualitative and Ethnographic Research Methods in Sex and Sexuality Studies

Teaching and Learning


Awards Recognition, Distinctions and Grants

President's Faculty Innovation Award (with Prof. Amy Washburn), CUNY, 2013-14 

William Stewart Travel Award, CUNY, 2012

University Prize Instructorship, Brandeis University, 2009

Brandeis Pluralism Alliance Grant, Brandeis University, 2008, 2009, 2010 (5 awards total)

 


Institutional Affiliations / Professional Societies
American Sociological Association

ASA Task Force on Community College Faculty, Appointed Member, 2012-2015

Council Member, ASA Section on Sociology of the Body and Embodiment, 2010-2012

Section Memberships: Body and Embodiment, Sex and Gender, Sexualities, Teaching and Learning

Sociologists for Women in Society

Eastern Sociological Society

 


Personal Interests

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