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Barb Brents, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology
Office: CBC-B 239


Barb Brents specializes in political sociology, gender and sexuality. Her research sits on the borders of political studies, gender and sexuality research, cultural studies, and economics by looking at the role of sexuality in urban commercial life in Las Vegas and across the globe. She is involved in a number of collaborative projects with colleagues at UNLV and in the United Kingdom exploring sexual commerce and consumption, sex work as emotional and bodily labor, and the politics and regulation of sexuality. She also is involved in a collaboration with colleagues in the sociology department exploring social sustainability in Las Vegas. Past research also has explored intersections of politics, culture, economics, and gender looking at topics such as the politics of terrorism and violence, and business and social policies.

Recent Courses Taught

  • SOC 449 — Sex and Social Arrangements
  • SOC 453 — Gender and Society
  • SOC 723 — Classical Sociological Theory
  • SOC 776 — Seminar in Political Sociology
  • SOC 705 — Seminar in the Sociology of Sex

Current Research Projects

  • Globalization, Sexuality and the City
    This is a broad research project and network to encourage the production and dissemination of research on the intersections of sexuality, culture, and economics across the globe. The project regularly brings together individuals at UNLV whose research intersects with globalization and sexuality, including scholars in the Boyd School of Law, women's studies, and College of Hotel Administration. The project has brought renowned sex industry researchers to UNLV including Teela Sanders and Laura Agustìn.
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Area Social Survey (LVMASS)
    This collaborative project (professors Batson and Futrell as well as several graduate students) explores issues related to urban social life in Las Vegas. With initial funding from the UNLV President's Research Award, the project will gather baseline data on Las Vegas neighborhoods; data we hope will contribute to the creating of a more sustainable city. The centerpiece is a survey partially funded by and in collaboration with local government entities that will explore the attitudes, knowledge, and opinions of Las Vegas residents on neighborhood, environmental, and social sustainability issues. The data is comprised of household survey results from 22 neighborhoods in Clark County, Nevada. The LVMASS project also will gather qualitative data on housing, foreclosures, quality of life, social capital, and neighborhood stabilization.
  • Nevada's Brothel Industry
    For the last 10 years she has been involved in collaborative research to explore the politics, culture, organization, and labor of Nevada's legal brothel industry. The research is represented in several publications, including the book The State of Sex (Routledge, 2010), and she is currently heading a research team collecting data about brothel clientele: UNLV Consumer Survey.