Joane Nagel

Joane Nagel
  • University Distinguished Professor

Contact Info

Fraser Hall, Room 723


Professor Nagel (PhD Stanford) is a political and cultural sociologist; her work focuses on ethnicities, genders, and sexualities in the US and in the global system, American Indian activism, militarization of science, and global climate change. Her recent research includes “Re-Gendering Climate Change: Men and Masculinity in Climate Research, Policy and Practice (with Trevor Scott Lies), Frontiers in Climate (2022), “Lessons from the Pandemic: “Environmental Sociology, Climate Change, and COVID-19” (with David Heath Cooper), International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy (2021), “The Cowboy Scientist Saves the Planet:  Hegemonic Masculinity in Cli-Fi Films” (with Sam Kendrick), Masculinities (2021), “Gender, Conflict, and the Militarization of Climate Change,” Peace Review (2015), “Plus Ça Change: Reflections on a Century of Militarizing Women's Sexuality,” European Journal of Women’s Studies (2014),  Race, Ethnicity & Sexuality: Intimate Intersections and Forbidden Frontiers (Oxford, 2003), and American Indian Ethnic Renewal (Oxford, 1996). Her latest book is Gender and Climate Change:  Impacts, Science, Policy (Routledge 2016).


Ph.D. in Sociology, Stanford University, 1977


Ethnicity, Gender & Sexuality, Environmental Sociology


Why are racial and ethnic boundaries so persistent and ubiquitous?

       Americans occupy a social landscape marked by racial and ethnic boundaries.  We gaze across this divided social space sometimes with suspicion, sometimes with desire.  Our lives reflect these contradictions.  Even as we barricade ourselves inside ethnic enclaves, we plan trips as ethnic tourists, traveling across boundaries as consumers of raced and ethnic-flavored popular culture—music, movies, TV, dress, hair, talk, food.  Mostly, though, our lives are ethnically cleansed—friendships, partners, neighborhoods, churches, schools all safely segregated.  Occasionally we become interracial intimates—for love, or sex, or domination, or revenge.  Despite this contact, the differences persist; racial and ethnic barriers remain in place while the traffic moves over and around them. 

      Although our history is unique, we are not alone in our ethnic and racial preoccupations, ambivalencies, and often denied histories.  Other states and societies in the past and present global system look more like us than unlike us—building community or breeding contempt out of religion, language, color, custom.  Comparative and historical sociology offers a strategy for identifying patterns and reasons for ethnic integration and segregation, alliance and conflict, intimacy and distance.  My work examines the ways that politics, culture, gender, and sexuality shape racial, ethnic, and national boundaries, movements, activism, identities, and conflicts.  I draw on the traditions of comparative and historical sociologists and depend on the work of cultural and sexuality studies scholars.

Selected Publications

Nagel, Joane. 2016. Gender and Climate Change: Impacts, Science, Policy. Books. Routledge.