Professor Stephanie Sears

Stephanie Sears

Associate Dean for Social Sciences and Associate Professor of Sociology

Associate Dean
Full-Time Faculty
Kalmanovitz Hall 179


Dr. Stephanie Sears has been a member of the USF faculty since 2002. She is a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and African American Studies and Critical Diversity Studies programs. Before her current role as Associate Dean of Social Sciences, Dr. Sears served as the College of Arts and Science faculty director of JEDI, the director of the African American Studies Program, Chair of Sociology, Chair of the Arts Council, Co-chair of College Council, Co-Director of the Marshall-Riley Living Learning Community and the founding director of Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars Living Learning Community. In addition, she served as a co-lead, helping to design and implement BASE, a Leo T. McCarthy Center’s Faculty Scholar, and a Joan and Ralph Lane Social Justice Scholar.

Dr. Sears’ research examines how race, class, gender, sexuality, and generation intersect in complex and contradictory ways, often simultaneously reproducing oppression and facilitating empowerment. These theoretical concerns formed the basis of her book, Imagining Black Womanhood, in which she examines how Black women and girls work with and against each other to create safe spaces, construct identities, and empower themselves. Her current research builds upon these interests and considers how women create and navigate “embodied freedom” practices and experiences via dance. Her scholarship has appeared recently in Body Battlegrounds: Transgressions, Tensions, and Transformations (2019) and Ethnic and Racial Studies (2021).

Research Areas

  • Dance and embodied practices
  • Critical Pedagogies

  • Intersectionality Studies

  • Black Femininities


  • Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of San Francisco (2009–Present)

  • Faculty Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, University of San Francisco (2022-2023)

  • Director of Marshall-Riley Living-Learning Community, University of San Francisco (2022–2023)

  • Leo T. McCarthy Center’s Faculty Scholar, University of San Francisco (2021–2023)

  • The Joan and Ralph Lane, Social Justice Scholar, University of San Francisco (2020-2021)

  • Co-coordinator of Faculty Writing Retreats, University of San Francisco (2012–2023)


  • PhD, African American Studies and Sociology, Yale University

  • MA, African American Studies and Sociology, Yale University

  • MA, Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University

  • BA, Psychology, Stanford University