Sarah R. Phillips, Ph.D.


Associate Professor
Department of Sociology

Contact information
Office: 338 Marsh Hall
Phone: 503.352.2853

Chair, Department of Sociology/Anthropology and Social Work

photo of Sarah Phillips



Manchester College, Oxford University, 1996, Post Doctoral Summer Research Fellowship
Yale University, 1993-1995, Post Doctoral training in Health Policy/Health Services Research
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 1993, Ph.D. in Sociology
Whitman College, 1986, BA in Sociology


Why I Study Sociology....

I first became interested in studying sociology as an undergraduate. In a class, we read the story of Kitty Genovese, a young woman who, in 1964, was stabbed to death outside her apartment in New York City. The fact that she had been killed was, perhaps, unremarkable. But what lead to a sensationalized report in the New York Times and was the reason that I was reading about her death some twenty years later in college, was remarkable. Investigators found that no fewer than thirty eight of Kitty’s neighbors had either heard or seen the attack -- which took place over half an hour -- and yet, none acted to defend her or stop the attack, even though at one point the attacker left and Kitty tried to drag herself to safety. As a student, I was shocked by what seemed to be such cruel indifference. I wondered what happened to those people that they either cared so little or were so frightened that they could not act?  I told myself I would have been different. I would have done something. Then I started thinking about all the times that I had NOT done something. Certainly, I had never witnessed such an attack as that on Kitty Genovese, but how many smaller things had I failed to stop or interrupt? Had I always objected when I heard a racist or sexist or homophobic comment or joke? Had I always stepped forward when I witnessed behavior that I considered morally reprehensible? Had I averted my eyes and walked on when approached by a beggar or homeless person?

Today, I continue to study how we behave in groups and societies. What I learn is not always comfortable, but it is fascinating and it is, I believe, our best hope for becoming a better, safer, more egalitarian world. I hope that you will join me in my studies.


Publications and Professional Work

Select Publications


cover of moodeling life book


Sarah R. Phillips. 2006. Modeling Life: Art Models Speak about Nudity, Sexuality, and the Creative Process. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.


Available October, 2006

Sarah R. Phillips 2006 "Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions and Procedures" Book Review, Teaching Sociology, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 87-89.

Sarah R. Phillips. 2002 “Speaking of Sexuality: Interdisciplinary Readings.” Book Review in Teaching Sociology Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 271-273.

Sarah R. Phillips and Nancy Breaux. 1999. "More Than A Pervert." A feature-length documentary on the sadomasochism subculture in Portland, Oregon. Premiered April 1, 1999.

Sarah R. Phillips. 1995. "Turning Research Into Policy: A Survey on Adolescent Condom Use" SIECUS Report, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 9-12.

Bradford H. Gray and Sarah R. Phillips, 1995 "Medical Sociology and Health Policy: Where are the Connections?" Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Extra Issue.

Sarah R. Phillips, 1994 "Asking the Sensitive Question: The Ethics of Survey Research and Teen Sex." IRB: A Review of Human Subjects Research. Vol. 16, No. 6, pp. 1-7.

Sarah R. Phillips, 1991 "The Hegemony of Heterosexuality: A Study of Introductory Texts." Teaching Sociology, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 454-463.

Sarah R. Phillips and Kent L. Sandstrom, 1990 "Parental Attitudes Toward 'Youthwork.'" Youth and Society, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 160-183.


Select Presentations


"Gender, Objectification and Artistic Process" paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Assocation meetings, San Francisco, CA, April 2004.


“Gender and Life Modeling: Stigma, Power, and the Penis” paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Association meetings, San Francisco, CA, March 2001.


"Response to a Film on Sadomasochism" paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Association meetings, San Diego, CA, March 2000.

"More Than a Pervert" documentary screening as part of the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts' visiting artists series. April, 1999, Portland, Oregon.

"More Than a Pervert: Sadomasochism in Portland Oregon" paper presentation at the Pacific Sociological Association, April, 1999, Portland, Oregon.


male model

"Returning the Gaze: Life Models Speak About Their Work" Faculty Forum, Pacific University, March 1998, Forest Grove, OR.

"Immobile Eroticism: Sexuality in Life Modeling" Presented at the 56th annual meetings of the Oregon Academy of Science, February 1998, Salem OR.

"The Artist's Model: A Study of Negotiated Meaning in Ambiguous Context" Presented with Lalena Dolby at the 68th Annual Pacific Sociological Association Meetings, April, 1997, San Diego, CA.

"Art Mimics Life: Body Work and (Re)Presentation" with Deborah Paterniti, Ph.D. at the 68th Annual Pacific Sociological Association Meetings, April, 1997, San Diego, CA.

"Art Mimics Life: Body Work and (Re)Presentation" with Deborah Paterniti, Ph.D., at the 67th annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, March, 1997.

"Doing Gender while Doing Art" Presented with Lalena Dolby at the sixteenth annual Lewis and Clark Gender Studies Symposium, March 5-7, 1997, Portland, Oregon

"What is and What Ought to Be: Sociological Thinking in the Realm of Health Policy" Presented with Debora Paterniti at the 67th annual Pacific Sociological Association Meetings, March 1996, Seattle, Washington.

"Teaching About Sexuality in An Age of Sexual Correctness" Presented at the Pacific Sociological Association Meetings, March 1996, Seattle, Washington.

"The Contributions of Ethnographic Research to Health Policy Debates" Presented with Debora Paterniti at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, March 1996, Boston, Mass.

"Assisted Reproduction Technologies: The Case of In Vitro Fertilization and State Mandates" with Beth Kosiak. Poster presented the annual meeting of the Association for Health Services Research. Chicago, Illinois, June 4-6, 1995.

"In Vitro Fertilization and State Mandates: The Case of Maryland" presented by Beth Kosiak. District of Columbia Sociological Society, Annual Research Institute, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, April 29, 1995.

"Parental Attitudes Toward 'Youthwork'" with Kent L. Sandstrom. The Annual Meetings of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, August 1990.

"Twenty-five Years Later, the Legacy of Hill and Hansen Continues: Emerging Conceptual Frameworks for Family Study in the 1980's"  with Dr. Keith Farrington.  Pre-Conference Theory Construction and Research Methodology Workshop. Annual Meetings of the National Council on Family Relations, November 1987.




(2000) Regional Arts and Culture Council, Center for Documentary Studies       $1,500 to support annual documentary festival.

(1999) Hewlett Grant, Pacific Productions Project. $18,000 award to develop a collaborative program between the social sciences and media arts to make documentaries using social science research methods.

(1998) Pacific University, Junior Faculty Award


(1998) Oregon Council for the Humanities, with Dr.Nancy Breaux $5,000 research award for "Mainstreaming and Identity Definition Within A Sadomasochistic Subculture"



(1997) Meyer Grant, Pacific University $2,500 to pursue research over the summer months "The Artist's Model: A Study of Negotiated Meaning in Ambiguous Context"

(1996) Oxford University Summer research fellowship, Manchester College

(1996) Oregon Campus Compact Grant $1000 to develop service-learning opportunities for students in local migrant labor camps.

documentary poster


(1991/1992) University of Minnesota $10,000 Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation FellowshipUniversity-wide competition for awards based on the research proposal, the potential for significant contribution to the field, academic performance, and professional promise.

(1991) Martindale Award, Sociology Department, University of Minnesota. Annual award to a graduate student who has shown exceptional accomplishment, made progress toward the Ph.D., and made a contribution to the profession.

(1991) Teaching Assistant Award Sociology Department, University of Minnesota. Co-sponsored with the American Sociological Association, award for student achievement in Sociology.

(1987/1988) Sociology Department Fellowship, University of Minnesota.


Courses that I teach...


At Pacific University, all faculty teach a variety of different courses. Typically, we do not use graduate teaching assistants, which means that your classes will be taught by professors and that you will have plenty of opportunity to get to know the faculty in your discipline.

Below, I have listed some of the courses that I teach. We are always developing and trying out new classes, so the list may change now and then. You can use the links to the left to read descriptions of the courses listed below.


Soc 101 Inroduction to Sociology
Soc 102 Social Problems
Soc 211 Juvenile Delinquency
Soc 217 Gender and Sexuality
Soc 300 Introduction to Social Research
Soc 301 Social Statistics
Soc 321 Sociology of the City
Soc 355 Consumer Society
Soc 325 Hispanics in the United States
Soc 494 Senior Research Seminar
Soc 495 Independent Research


What I would tell a student considering a major in Sociology....

Sociologists study what many others try to put out of their minds – racism, violence, poverty, sexism. I think that the best sociologists are optimists at heart. Although we often spend our time as skeptics and critics, we do so because we believe that something better is possible. So, I think that students considering a major in sociology should be people who genuinely care about other people, who are hopeful about the future, and who are not afraid of taking and voicing a contrary opinion. Don’t be afraid to ask the annoying question. Don’t be afraid to question the status quo. Don’t be afraid to care about the society in which you live. Yes, it takes some courage ... but you can, and should, do it.