Clare Sears

Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator
Clare Sears
Appointments available at other times as arranged.
Please email to schedule a meeting.

Contact Information

Office Information: 

HSS 373
Office Hours: 
Monday: 11:00-13:00


Clare Sears, Associate Professor of Sociology, joined the department in 2007. Their research and teaching interests include critical criminology, queer theory, transgender studies, historical methods, and disability studies. Sears received their Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2005, their M.A. in sociology from UC Santa Cruz in 2002, and their BA in sociology from the University of Leeds, England in 1992. They were awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1992-93 and a postdoctoral fellowship from the University of California Humanities Research Institute in 2005-06. Sears is author of the book, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco (Duke University Press, 2015) and co-editor of a special issue of the journal Social Justice on sexuality and criminalization. They have published articles on the history of cross-dressing law in Women’s Studies Quarterly and GLQ and recently completed a chapter on nineteenth century queer history for publication in Routledge History of Queer America. They have several works in progress, including a book project that investigates the historical emergence of emotional disturbance as an administrative and diagnostic category that is primarily used in special education. Outside of academia, Sears has worked as an outreach worker and researcher in the field of public health and they have published numerous articles on homelessness, drug policy, and harm reduction in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Journal of Drug Issues, and Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Previously Offered Courses

  • SOC 105 Sociological Perspectives
  • SOC 300 Sociological Analysis
  • SOC 392 Introduction to Research Methods
  • SOC 455 Punishment and Social Control
  • SOC 457 Sociology of Law 
  • SXS 750 Queer Theory and Transgender Studies

Research Interests

Critical criminology, queer theory, transgender studies, critical legal studies, and California history.


  • Clare Sears, Andreana Clay, Jessica Fields, and Alexis Martinez, eds. (2010) Social Justice, Special Issueon Criminalization and Sexuality, 37(1)
  • Clare Sears (2008) Electric Brilliancy: Cross-Dressing Law and Freak-Show Displays in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco, Women's Studies Quarterly, Special Issue on Trans-, 36(3-4): 170-187
  • Clare Sears (2008) All that Glitters: Tran-sing California's Gold Rush Migrations, GLQ: A Journal in Lesbian and Gay Studies, Special Issue on Queer/Migrations, 14(2-3): 383-402
  • Clare Sears (2005) "A Tremendous Sensation:" Cross-Dressing in the Nineteenth Century San Francisco Press." In News and Sexuality: Media Portraits of Diversity, edited by Laura Casteñada and Shannon Campbell. Thousand Oaks: Sage Press, 1-19
  • Clare Sears, Thomas Davis, Joseph Guydish and Alice Gleghorn (2009) Investigating the Effects of San Francisco's Treatment On Demand Initiative on a Publicly-Funded Substance Abuse Treatment System: A Time Series Analysis, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 41(3): 297-304
  • Clare Sears, Thomas Davis, and Joseph Guydish (2002) Effects of Treatment History and Centralized Intake on Drug Treatment Outcomes. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 34(1): 87-95
  • Clare Sears, Joseph Guydish, Erin Weltzein, and Paula Lum (2001) Investigation of a Secondary Syringe Exchange Program for Homeless Young Injection Drug Users in San Francisco, California, USA. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 27: 193-201
  • Clare Sears, Erin Weltzein, and Joseph Guydish (2001) A Cohort Study of Syringe Exchangers and Nonexchangers in San Francisco. Journal of Drug Issues 13(2): 445-464.