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Women's and Gender Studies
B.A., DePaul University; M.A., Ph.D., University of California (Los Angeles)
Jennifer Musto
Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies

I am an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College where I teach courses on gender, sexuality, migration, globalization, and technology.

Before arriving at Wellesley College, I was an External Faculty Fellow at Rice University and a member of the Humanities Research Center’s inaugural Seminar, Human Trafficking Past and Present: Crossing Borders, Crossing Disciplines. I was also a postdoctoral researcher at USC’s Annenberg Center on Communication & Leadership Policy, a Visiting Scholar in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University, and a Fulbright scholar affiliated with Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

In 2011, I received my PhD from UCLA’s Department of Gender Studies and my BA and advanced graduate training have all taken place in the dynamically interdisciplinary fields of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
My research broadly focuses on the laws, policies, and technologies designed to respond to prostitution, human trafficking, and forced labor in the United States, with particular focus on the empirical and sociolegal effects of these interventions on individuals and communities deemed “at risk.” 

My first book, To Control and Protect: Anti-Trafficking Rescue Politics in the United States (under contract, University of California Press) is an ethnographic examination of human and sex trafficking in the United States. This work explores the collaborative alliances that have been forged between state and non-state actors and suggests that anti-trafficking interventions targeted at sex-trade involved adults and youth in the United States have underwritten the expansion of the criminal justice system and fueled the growth of the carceral state more generally.

My other project examines the intersections of human trafficking, technology, and surveillance. Here I focus on how law enforcement and technology innovators are seeking to leverage technology to disrupt trafficking through big data and other networked, algorithmic, and mobile technology innovations. This research highlights the tensions and complexities surrounding technologically-mediated anti-trafficking interventions, including questions about the collection of digital evidence, expectations of privacy, anticipatory and predictive models of protection and intervention, and the rise of collective computational activism to address gender, sexual, and social justice issues.

I have lectured widely on these topics and my published work has appeared in academic journals such as Social Politics, Dialectical Anthropology, and Women’s Studies International Forum.

You can visit my personal website here.