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Alyson K. Spurgas
Associate Professor of Sociology
Phone: (860) 297-4072 Office Location: Seabury Hall N-030
Send e-mail to Alyson K. Spurgas Personal web page
Trinity College faculty member since 2017
General ProfileTeachingResearchPublications/PresentationsHonors/Awards
Ph.D., The Graduate Center, CUNY
M.A., Univ. of Maryland Baltimore C.
B.A., Univ. of Maryland Baltimore C.

Alyson K. Spurgas received a doctorate in Sociology and a doctoral certificate in Women's & Gender Studies from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2014. Spurgas's first book, Diagnosing Desire: Biopolitics and Femininity into the Twenty-First Century (Ohio State University Press, 2020), interrogates the medical regulation and technoscientific production of "receptive" or "responsive" sexual desire in women. Through in-depth qualitative research and incisive textual analysis, Spurgas complicates reductive explanations for gender differences in sexual desire and arousal patterns, highlighting instead the embodied, psychic, and material effects of gendered trauma, sexual carework, and white feminine socialization. Diagnosing Desire was awarded the inaugural First Book Prize from the Cultural Studies Association in 2021. The free open access e-book can be downloaded here.

Spurgas's newest book, Decolonize Self-Care, will be released on OR Books in November 2022. This public-facing text was co-authored with critical public health scholar Zoë C. Meleo-Erwin for Bhakti Shringarpure's "Decolonize That!" series.

Recipient of the Mellon Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center (2011-2012), and winner of the Alexandra Symonds Prize (2013) for an essay on recent changes in female sexual dysfunction diagnoses, Spurgas has been recognized internationally for their innovative, interdisciplinary, and intersectional work on gender, sexuality, desire, and trauma.

In the classroom, Spurgas’ teaching style is fundamentally collaborative, creating a space wherein both student and teacher work together to think more deeply and more critically.