Sarah Prior

Sarah  Prior
  • Associate Professor | Undergraduate Program Director
  • Department of Sociology
  • PhD Arizona State University 2012
  • MA Northern Arizona University 2008
  • BA Gonzaga University 2004
  • 460A Berkey Hall
  • 509 E. Circle Drive
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • 517-353-4760


Sarah Prior


Sarah Prior is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Undergraduate Program Director at Michigan State University. She is also the Director of the Bailey Scholars Program and a Core Associated Faculty/Staff at the Center for Gender in Global Context.  A sociologist and justice studies scholar, her work focuses on gendered violence and gender inequity.  Sarah's current work investigates the institutional culpability and institutional betrayal in issues related to campus sexual violence.  Her work is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to create social change at the personal, institutional, and societal levels.  As a teaching-scholar, Sarah focuses on strong and inclusive pedagogy.

Sarah has been a Lilly Fellow, a Bailey Scholars Faculty Fellow (2020-2022) and an Adams Academy Fellow (2019-2020).

Sarah is a member of sociological and criminological associations including the American Sociological Association (ASA), Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS); and American Society of Criminology (ASC) and its Division on Feminist Criminology. She is a member of RCGV - the MSU Research Consortium on Gender-based Violence. She has taught the following courses in the Department of Sociology: SOC 100 - Introduction to Sociology; SOC 214 - Social Inequality; SOC 216 - Sex, Gender and Sexuality; SOC 241 - Social Psychology; SOC 315 - Family and Society; SOC 316 - Youth and Society; SOC 360 Migration and Social Change; SOC 475 - Health and Society; SOC 488 - Sociological Theory and SOC 497 - Independent Research; in addition to courses in ISS, WGS and CJ.



Dr. Prior's current research focuses on campus sexual violence and the institutional action/inaction of colleges and universities. Her book Campus Sexual Violence: A State of Institutionalized Sexual Terrorism was released in Sept 2022 with Dr. Brooke de Heer (Northern Arizona University). Dr. Prior's current work also looks at the role and influence of pornography on both sexual violence. Dr. Prior is working on a project about campus sexual culture as well as a project on institutional betrayal/institutional courage. 


Prior, S., B. de Heer, and M. Maas. (2023). “Navigating Structural Inequalities of Mothering in the Academy during COVID-19” J.M. Ryan (ed). Pandemic Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Prior, S. and B. de Heer. (2022). Campus Sexual Violence: A State of Institutionalized Sexual Terrorism. Routledge.

Prior, S., and B. de Heer. (2021). Everyday Terrorism : Campus sexual violence and the neoliberal university. Sociology Compass.

de Heer, B., S. Prior, and J. Fejervary. (2020). “Female Pornography Consumption,  Alcohol Use, and Sexual Victimization”. Violence Against Women.   https://doi/10.1177/1077801220945035 

de Heer, B., S. Prior, & G. Hoegh. (2020). “Pornography, Masculinity, and Sexual Aggression on College Campuses". Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Prior, S., and B. de Heer. (2017). Raising Strong Women in a Culture of Rape: The Maternal Struggle. Conditionally Accepted. Inside Higher Ed.

Jones, L., de Heer, B., S. Prior. (2016). “Campus Sexual Assault: Conceptualizing Vulnerable Groups in an Unfolding Legal Context” in Campus Action Against Sexual Assault: Needs, Policies, Procedures, and Training Programs. M. Paludi (ed). Praeger/ABC-CLIO



Sarah Prior