Professor James Joseph Dean

James Dean
  • Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Ph.D., State University of New York, Albany
  • B.A., Pomona College

Contact Information

Voicemail: 707.664.2599
Fax: 707.664.3920
Office: Stevenson 2085
Personal Website:

Areas of Expertise:

Sexualities, Social Theory, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, CultureMy research interests are in sexualities, gender, race, and inequalities. My forthcoming book explores the social construction of heterosexual identities. The book is entitled Heterosexuals and Post-Closeted Culture: Gender, Race, and (Anti)homophobias.  In the book, I examine how the increasing visibility and growing inclusivity of gays and lesbians in everyday life and across various social settings are shaping and altering heterosexual identities in the United States. Utilizing candid in-depth interviews with 60 black and white heterosexual men and women, I analyze the way boundaries between heterosexuality and homosexuality are fashioned in order to secure a privileged straight identity. The study documents how gender—masculinities and femininities—and race—blackness and whiteness— shape and reshape the ways heterosexuals project their sexual identity status. I argue that a post-closeted cultural dynamic is a key force in understanding the shifts in straight identities and that it conditions the development of softer forms of homophobia as well as gay-friendly attitudes and behaviors among straight Americans today.

Courses Offered:

  • SOCI 360: Sociology of Sexualities
  • SOCI 375: Classical Sociological Theory
  • SOCI 377: Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • SOCI 363: Sociology of Race & Ethnicity
  • SOCI 385: Sociology of Culture
  • SOCI 498: Senior Seminar

Selected Publications:

  • Dean, James Joseph.  Heterosexuals and Post-Closeted Culture:  Gender, Race, and (Anti)homophobias.  New York:  New York University Press, forthcoming.
  • Steven Seidman, Chet Meeks, and James Joseph Dean.  2012.  “The Politics of Authenticity:  Civic Individualism and the Cultural Roots of Gay Normalization” in Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology, edited by Jeffrey Alexander, Ronald Jacobs, and Phillip Smith, pp. 507-525.  New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Dean, James Joseph.  2011.  “The Cultural Construction of Heterosexualities.”  Sociology Compass 5(8):  679-687.
  • Dean, James Joseph.  2011.  “Thinking Intersectionality:  Sexualities and the Politics of Multiple Identities” in Theorising Intersections: Sexual Advances, edited by Yvette Taylor, Sally Hines, and Mark Casey, pp. 119-
    139, New York:  Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dean, James Joseph.  2007.  “Gays and Queers:  From the Centering to the Decentering of Homosexuality in American Film.”  Sexualities 10 (July):  363-386.
  • Dean, James Joseph. 2006.  “Straight Men” in Introducing the New Sexuality Studies, pp. 135-142, edited by Steven Seidman, Nancy Fischer and Chet Meeks, New York:  Routledge.