Speaker Series: Stefan Vogler
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Stefan Vogler is a sociologist who studies sexuality-and gender-related issues in law, science, and health. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an Affiliated Scholar with the American Bar Foundation. Vogler previously was a Research Scientist with NORC at the University of Chicago and held postdoctoral positions at Northwestern University and the University of California, Irvine.
His research is centrally concerned with processes of legal and social classification and their relationship to social inequalities and social change. Vogler has been particularly interested in how practices of measurement and categorization vary across institutional settings and overlap and interlock with gender, sexuality, race, and nationality.
In his first book, Sorting Sexualities, Vogler unpacks the politics of the techno-legal classification of sexuality in the United States. His study focuses specifically on state classification practices around LGBTQ people seeking asylum in the United States and sexual offenders being evaluated for carceral placement – two situations where state actors must determine individuals’ sexualities. Though these legal settings are diametrically opposed—one a punitive assessment, the other a protective one—they present the same question: how do we know someone’s sexuality? Vogler reveals how different legal arenas take dramatically different approaches to classifying sexuality and use those classifications to legitimate different forms of social control. By delving into the histories behind these diverging classification practices and analyzing their contemporary reverberations, Sorting Sexualities shows how the science of sexuality is far more central to state power than we realize.