Laura M. Carpenter
Associate Professor of Sociology
Laura M. Carpenter is Associate Professor of Sociology. Her scholarship and teaching focus on gender, sexuality, and health over the life course. In particular, she seeks to understand how cultural beliefs (such as interpretations of virginity as a gift, stigma, or step in growing up) influence social experiences (such as sexual initiation) and how individual biographies are shaped by broader historical processes. She also investigates symbolic politics—that is, how people use debates about one phenomenon, such as male circumcision, to fight about other things, such as medical overreach or the meaning of pain. Carpenter’s books include Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences (NYU Press, 2005) and (as coeditor) Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout our Lives (NYU Press, 2012). Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and National Institutes of Health. She received the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center Mentoring Award in 2018.
Carpenter, Laura M. 2020. If You Prick Us: Masculinity and Circumcision Pain in the United States and Canada, 1960-2000. Gender & History 32(1): 54-69. DOI:10.1111/1468-0424.12472
Carpenter, Laura M. & Heather Hensman Kettrey. 2014. (Im)perishable Pleasure, (In)destructible Desire: Sexual Themes in U.S. and English News Coverage of Male Circumcision and Female Genital Cutting. The Journal of Sex Research. [Available online, September 2014: DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2014.950720]
Newman, Harmony D. & Laura M. Carpenter. 2014. Embodiment without Bodies: Analysis of Embodiment in the Pro-Breastfeeding and Anti-Male Circumcision Movements. Sociology of Health and Illness 36(5): 639-654. [Article first published online: 5 November 2013, DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12095]
Carpenter, Laura M. & John DeLamater, eds. 2012. Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout our Lives. New York: New York University Press.
Carpenter, Laura M. 2005. Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences. New York: New York University Press.