Jessica Fields

Jessica Fields, a woman with short gray hair and glasses wearing a black turtleneck
Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs, Equity & Success in the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean
Telephone number
Building HL 246


Jessica Fields is Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs, Equity & Success in the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean and Professor of Health Studies at University of Toronto Scarborough. Fields’ research focus on racialized and gendered discourses of vulnerability and risk. In studies of high school communities, middle school classrooms, and jail-based HIV education, she explores the ways discourse curtails and produces sexual health education’s gendered and racialized lessons about the array of relationships, identities, desires, and behaviors that people imagine and pursue for themselves and others. With Laura Mamo, Nancy Lesko, and Jen Gilbert, Fields leads The Beyond Bullying Project (funded by the Ford Foundation), a community-based storytelling project that interrogates policymaking that challenge perceptions of LGBTQ sexualities and youth as problems and consider what is required for sexual health education to open up to the uncertainty, discomfort, and pleasure of learning from and about LGBTQ sexuality and lives. Fields is also the author of Risky Lessons: Sex Education and Social Inequality (Rutgers University Press), an ethnography of community responses to state legislation requiring school-based health education to promote abstinence until marriage. Risky Lessons received the 2009 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Race, Gender, and Class. Fields is currently completing her second book, Problems We Pose: Feeling Differently about Qualitative Research (University of Minnesota Press), in which she welcomes emotion and feeling as a source of insight—not an obstacle to understanding—into the racialized, gendered, and sexual inequities that compromise health and well-being.


  • PhD Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MA Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • MA English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BA English (with honors), New York University


Graduate Cross-Appointment, Sociology Department, University of Toronto

American Sociological Association

Canadian Sociological Association

National Women’s Studies Association

Teaching Interests

  • Sexual health education
  • Youth, sexuality, and health
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Writing

Research Interests

  • Sexual health education
  • Gender, race, and discourses of sexual health
  • Emotion and affect
  • Ethnography
  • Feminist, intersectional, and queer research
  • Participatory research and community engagement

Awards and Grants


Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant—Yes? Discourses of Consent in California’s Sex Education Policy and Practice (Co-Investigator, 2017 – 2019)

Ford Foundation, Sexuality and Reproductive Health and Rights Program—Beyond Bullying: Shifting the Discourse of LGBTQ Sexuality and Youth in Schools (Co-Principal Investigator, 2012 – 2014)

American Civil Liberties Union—National Public Opinion Research on New Cognitive Model of Sexuality: Sexuality as Personality (Principal Investigator, 2009 – 2012)

Kaiser Permanente Division of Research—Models of Community-Engaged Research Across the Bay Area (Principal Investigator, 2009 – 2010)

National Council for Research on Women—Diversifying the Leadership of Women’s Research Centers (Principal Investigator (Subaward), 2008 – 2009)

California HIV Research Program IDEA Award—Jailed Women and HIV Education: A Collaborative Investigation (Principal Investigator, 2006 – 2008)



O’Quinn, Jamie and Jessica Fields. Forthcoming (2019). “The Future of Evidence: Queerness in Progressive Visions of Sexuality Education.” Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Fields, Jessica. “The Queer Erotics of Participatory Research.” Forthcoming (2019). In Imagining Queer Methods, edited by Matt Brim and Amin Ghaziani. New York: New York University Press.

Fields, Jessica, and Lorena Garcia. 2018. “Loving Possibilities in Studies of Sexuality Education and Youth.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Sexuality: Childhood and Adolescence, edited by Sharon Lamb and Jen Gilbert. London: Cambridge University Press.

Gilbert, Jen, Jessica Fields, Laura Mamo, and Nancy Lesko. 2018. “Tending Toward Friendship: LGBTQ Sexualities in School.” Sexualities. [Available via Online First:].

Fields, Jessica, Jen Gilbert, Laura Mamo, and Nancy Lesko. 2018. “Constraints and Alliances: LGBTQ Sexuality and the Neoliberal School.” Pp. 134-48 in Youth and Sexual Citizenship, edited by Peter Aggleton, Rob Cover, Daniel Marshall, and Mary Lou Rasmussen. New York: Routledge.

Gilbert, Jen, Jessica Fields, Laura Mamo, and Nancy Lesko. 2018. “Intimate Possibilities: The Beyond Bullying Project and Stories of LGBTQ Sexuality and Gender in U.S. Schools.” Harvard Educational Review 88(2): 163-83.

Fields, Jessica, and Signy M. Toquinto*. 2016. “Sexuality Education in the Context of Mass Incarceration: Interruptions and Entanglements.” Pp. 279-300 in Handbook of Sexuality Education, edited by Louisa Allen and Mary Lou Rasmussen. London: Palgrave.

Gubrium, Aline C., Emily S. Mann, Sonya Borrero, Christine Dehlendorf, Jessica Fields, Arline T. Geronimus, Anu M. Gómez, Lisa H. Harris, Jenny A. Higgins, Katrina Kimport, Kristin Luker, Zakiya Luna, Laura Mamo, Dorothy Roberts, Diana Romero, and Gretchen Sisson. 2016. “Realizing Reproductive Health Equity Needs More Than Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC).” American Journal of Public Health 106(1):18-19.

Fields, Jessica. 2008. Risky Lessons: Sex Education and Social Inequality. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, Series in Childhood Studies.