Ph.D., Stony Brook University, 2007
Gender, Leisure, Emotion, Sexuality, Symbolic Interaction
Staci Newmahr is an ethnographer with a background in sociology and anthropology. She is interested in phenomenologies and narratives of limit (“edge”) experience. She has studied a wide range of activities and spaces, including sadomasochism (BDSM), Renaissance Faire devotees, feederism and asexuality. She has published in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Symbolic Interaction, Qualitative Sociology and Qualitative Sociology Review.
Her book, Playing on the Edge (2011), an ethnography of a public BDSM community, illustrates that feelings of intimacy are the outcome of collaborative or co-present boundary transgression. This work led her to a broader interest in transgressive leisure practices, transcendent experiences and geek culture.
As a symbolic interactionist, Dr. Newmahr is primarily concerned with systems of meaning and meaning-making processes. Her work has re-conceptualized edgework from a feminist perspective by extending consideration to emotional risk-taking, and framed Renaissance Faires as erotic spaces. She is the co-editor of Selves, Symbols and Sexualities, an anthology of original, contemporary work theorizing sexuality from an interactionist perspective. She has also written on ethnographic methods; her interests in this area include field practices, inductive analysis and issues of subjectivity in ethnography. Most recently, as part of a larger conversation about challenges to ethnography in the current academic climate, she co-conceived and co-proposed “surrogate ethnography.” Dr. Newmahr earned her PhD at Stony Brook University (New York) in 2007. A keynote speaker in the U.S. and internationally, she served as Associate Editor of Symbolic Interaction from 2011-2016, and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Positive Sexuality. In 2013, she recieved Buffalo State's Presidential Award for the Promotion of Equity and Diversity.
Nearly finished with her research on women who identify as healers (shamans, reiki practitioners and energy workers), Dr. Newmahr is ruminating on various intersections among gender, authority and nonconformity. This spring she will continue these lines of inquiry while on fellowship in the North of England. Her multi-site ethnographic study of transgressive leisure practices shifts the focus from specific leisure practices to broader themes of nonconformity, transgression and transcendence.
The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills
An Invitation to Sociology, Peter Berger
Popular Culture in Everyday Life, Waskul and Vannini, eds.
Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Erving Goffman
The Mezzanine, Nicholson Baker
Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault
Spare the Kids, Stacey Patton
The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
Liquid Fear, Zygmunt Bauman
The Monarchy of Fear, Martha Nussbaum
Taken for Granted, Eviatar Zerubavel
The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies, Michael Serres
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