stef shuster

stef m shuster
  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Sociology
  • PhD, The University of Iowa 2014
  • 434C Berkey Hall
  • 509 E. Circle Drive
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • 517-355-3349


stef shuster


stef m. shuster is an assistant professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology. They earned their Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Iowa, with a certificate in Gender Studies, and their B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Their current research and teaching areas are united by an overarching interest in how evidence is a social artifact that is constituted through social, cultural, and historical contexts. Across their projects, shuster asks: who constructs evidence, how does evidence confer authority to individuals and groups, and how is it mobilized by social actors? These dimensions of evidence are a centralized feature of shuster’s scholarship in three domains including how: 1) medical providers negotiate evidence to make medical decisions within uncertain terrains; 2) social movement actors use evidence to make claims about social issues; and 3) language is used in interaction to regulate subjugated groups.

shuster currently serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and Gender & Society.


The social life of evidence is the subject of shuster’s book manuscript, Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender (NYU Press, 2021). Drawing on interviews with medical providers as well as ethnographic and archival research, shuster examines how health professionals approach patients who seek gender-affirming care. From genital reconstructions to hormone injections, the practice of trans medicine charts new medical ground, compelling medical professionals to plan treatments without widescale clinical trials to back them up. Relying on cultural norms and gut instincts to inform their treatment plans, shuster shows how medical providers’ lack of clinical experience and scientific research undermines their ability to interact with patients, craft treatment plans, and make medical decisions. This situation defies how providers are trained to work with patients and creates uncertainty. As providers navigate the developing knowledge surrounding the medical care of trans folk, Trans Medicine offers a rare opportunity to understand how providers make decisions while facing challenges to their expertise and, in the process, have acquired authority not only over clinical outcomes, but over gender itself.



shuster, stef and Laurel Westbrook. “Reducing the Joy Deficit in Sociology: A Study of Transgender Joy.” Social Problems.
Campos-Castillo, Celeste and stef shuster. “So What if They’re Lying to Us? Comparing Rhetorical Strategies for Discrediting Sources of Disinformation and Misinformation using an Affect-based Credibility Rating.” American Behavioral Scientist.

Hsieh, Ning and stef shuster. 2021. “Health and Health Care of Sexual and Gender Minorities.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 62(3): 318-333.

shuster, stef. 2021. Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender. New York: NYU Press.

Campos-Castillo, Celeste, stef shuster, Denise Anthony, and Sarah Groh. 2020. “Warning: Hegemonic Masculinity May Not Matter as Much as You Think for Confidant Patterns among Older Men.” Sex Roles.

Bodenheimer, Grayson and stef shuster. 2020. “Emotional Labour, Teaching, and Burnout: Investigating Complex Relationships.” Educational Research 62(1): 63-76.

shuster, stef. 2019. “Performing Informed Consent in Transgender Medicine.” Social Science & Medicine 226: 190-197.

shuster, stef. 2019. “Quaring the Queer in Appalachia.” Appalachian Journal 46(1-2): 72-87.

shuster, stef. 2017. “Punctuating Accountability: How Discursive Aggression Regulates Transgender People.” Gender & Society 31(4): 481-502.

shuster, stef and Celeste Campos-Castillo. 2017. “Measuring Resonance and Dissonance in Social Movement Frames With Affect Control Theory.” Social Psychology Quarterly 80(1): 20-40.

shuster, stef. 2016.“Uncertain Expertise and the Limitations of Clinical Guidelines in Transgender Healthcare.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 57(3): 319-32.



Twitter Handle: @stefshuster