Jaye Cee Whitehead, PhD

Associate Dean & Director of the School of Social Sciences
UC Box 
Marsh Hall 330 (Forest Grove)

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 opportunities 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.

Courses Taught:

SOC 208 | Race: Inequality and Identity
SOC 217 | Gender and Sexuality
SOC 300 | Introduction to Social Research
SOC 301 | Social Statistics
SOC 309 | Families
SOC 414 | Social Theory

Areas of Research & Specialization

My areas and specialization include gender, sexuality, family, emotions, and social theory


PhD in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, CA., 2007
MA in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, CA., 2003
BA in Sociology, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR., 2000

Why I Study Sociology

My love for sociology began right here at Pacific University. The sociological imagination satisfied my curiosity about the social world at the same time that it ignited my passion for understanding power and inequality.

I didn’t come to Pacific knowing that I wanted to be a sociology major, let alone a sociologist. Frankly, I took my first sociology course by accident and soon discovered that it motivated me to actually get out of bed and go to class. In my sociology courses we discussed everything from the mundane activities of everyday life, to grand questions about the economy, politics, culture, gender, race, and religion.

My early love for sociology never disappeared. As a professor of sociology at Pacific, I enjoy the unique opportunity to contribute to the department that ignited my initial desires to understand and change the social world.

What I would tell a student considering a major in sociology: do it! Majoring in sociology will only expand your options. I know that sometimes choosing a major feels daunting: as if you are making the most important decision of your life. The sociology major at Pacific provides a broad training in critical thinking and research skills that will make you a seasoned problem solver — a skill essential to most careers and life in general. Sociology is the perfect major for those of you concerned about inequality and passionate about social justice.

Published Works

"'The Proof is in the Pudding': How Mental Health Pracititioners View the Power of 'Sex'' Hormones in the Process of Transition" with Leia Franchini, Michael Iacolucci and Kath Bassett (forthcoming, 2015), Feminist Studies

"Sexuality and the Ethics of Body Modification: Theorizing the Situated Relationships among Gender, Sexuality and the Body," with Jennifer Thomas. 2013, Sexualities, Vol. 16(3/4), pp. 338-400.

"Reluctant Gatekeepers: 'Trans-Positive' Practitioners and the Social Construction of Sex and Gender," with Brad Forkner, Dana LaMonica, and Jennifer Thomas. 2012, Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 21 (4), pp. 387-400.

The Nuptial Deal: Same-Sex Marriage and Neo-Liberal Governance. 2012. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

“The Wrong Reasons for Same-Sex Marriage.” Op-Ed. New York Times, May 16, 2011.

“Marriage, Risk and Neo-Liberal Governance: Learning from the Unwillingly Excluded.” 2011. The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 52 (2): 293-314

“Feminist Prison Activism: An Assessment of Empowerment.” 2007. Feminist Theory, Vol. 8 (3): 299-314

"Marrying for America (with Dawne Moon)." 2006. Pp. 23-45 in Fragile Families and the Marriage Agenda, edited by Lori Kowaleski-Jones and Nicholas H. Wolfinger. New York: Springer

Select Presentations

'Transgender Body Modification: How gender ideology defines the symbolic function of sexed bodies." Invited paper at Willamette University, February 2014.

"Queer distractions and lost Socialist utopias." Invited paper presentation at the University of Oregon, November 2013. 
"'No homo!' Fag discourse and the performance of masculinity." Invited paper presented at Pacific University Center for Gender Equity's Serving the Full Spectrum Conference, October 2013.
Interview with Alliance for Democracy's Populist Dialogs, aired February 24, 2013

“Show Me the Body: Marriage equality activism and queer invisibility” paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting, March 2012

“Fitting in or Breaking Out: Considering gender norm resocialization in the clinical encounter between professional counselors and transgender clients,” with Kath Bassett, Dmitriy Maslenitsyn, and Rose Dahl, paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting, March 2012

"Marriage and the Symbolic Power of the State” invited paper presented at the Lewis and Clark Gender Symposium, March 16, 2012

“Intersectional Silences: Marginalized voices within the marriage equality movement” Keynote Address at the Hawaii Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting, February 18, 2012

Invited Lecture: “The Nuptial Deal: Motivations for and the tradeoffs of marriage equality.” Sacramento City College (December 3, 2011), Woodland Community College (December 4, 2011), and Honolulu Community College (February 17, 2012)

“Gender Prophets: Clinical Practitioners and Hormones in the Process of Diagnosing and Restoring Fragmented Gender Identities,” with Leia Franchini, Michael Iacolucci, and Kath Bassett. Paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting, March 2011

“Students as Research Colleagues: Collaborative Research with Undergraduates in Sociology” paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting, March 2011

“Sexuality and the Ethics of Body Modification: Theorizing the Situated Relationships among Gender, Sexuality and the Body,” with Dana LaMonica and Jennifer Thomas. Paper presented at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress in Sweden, July 2010

“Taking a Ride on the Gender Train: Practitioners’ Role in the Construction of ‘Trans’ Identity,” with Brad Forkner and Dana LaMonica. Paper presented at the American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting, August 2009

“Reluctant Gatekeepers: Resisting and Improvising the GID Diagnosis in the DSM,” with Brad Forkner, Dana LaMonica, and Sarah Uecker. Paper presented at the Pacific Sociological Associations’ Annual Meeting, April 2009

“American Presidents Don’t Cry,” paper presented at The First European Conference on Politics and Gender, January 2009


Police Bias Training

Pacific University and the Forest Grove Police Department are challenging bias, race and policing. In October, the university hosted a private training involving scenarios about the houseless, immigrants, and a mental health crisis. Learn more about this evolving partnership that started 18 months ago.

Drawng of a man on a tightrope

Families of college-age students know very well that a college degree is a big-ticket expense, but they regard it as an important investment in a young person’s future. Pacific University is well aware of this tension and works hard to keep college as affordable as possible.

Celebration of Giving

The university thanked its most dedicated donors, including the latest inductees of the 1849 Society and President's Circle, during the annual Celebration of Giving, held Nov. 29.

Jaye Cee Whitehead '00 came to Pacific from rural Wyoming. 'I got here and I had no idea what I was doing," she said. Today, she is an associate professor of sociology, ready and willing to help other first-generation students find their way.