Christina Carney
Assistant Professor, Department of Women's & Gender Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies
325 Strickland

2016   Ph.D.   Ethnic Studies, University of California at San Diego

2011    B.A.    Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


As a scholar, Carney's thinking is guided by a strong commitment to advancing the intersectional and interdisciplinary study of race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and culture through research, teaching, and service. Her areas of research specialization include black feminisms, black sexualities, sex work studies, queer of color critique, US West studies. Broadly, her research centers on the relationship between racialized gender and sexual difference and the construction of nation and region. This research puts into conversation gender and sexuality studies and African American history and culture to advance a feminist geography of the US West that centers black gendered and sexual labor. Her work has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, University of Missouri Research Board, and College of Arts & Science at the University of Missouri. 

Her book, Disreputable Women: Black Sex Economies and the Making of San Diego is forthcoming with the University of California Press (2024). Disreputable Women is a deeply transdisciplinary study on how black women use sex work and place-making to claim economic, bodily and sexual autonomy in a militarized city that is intent on displacing and caging them. Christina Carney distills the production of disreputable women–during two major 20th century urban development processes in downtown San Diego– where municipal police, public health officials, and even activists targeted street-involved sex-workers and the places they congregated as blight. Carney documents how some black women responded with place-based critiques that took the form of reconceptualizing the public and private spheres by using residential hotels and multi-use commercial spaces for housing and work, controlling their erotic economies and their sexual-cultural lives. In Disreputable Women, Carney marks how discrete and explicit intellectual-economic-political practices by black women complicate a dominant understanding of redlight and tenderloin areas and black sex work, as just undesirable contaminators who must be “cleaned-out.” Instead, her intuitive framework of “disreputability” offers a more ethical and workable approach to imagining the built environment and its inhabitants–offering a rich and robust grammar for understanding black women’s lives in the scene of militarization and gendered anti-blackness.



Gender and Identity: Understanding Intersectionality

Historical Studies of Black Women

Black Sexual Politics

Introduction to Black Studies

Mixed Level Courses (Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate)

Black Feminism: Past and Present