Heidi Hoefinger

Heidi Hoefinger

Heidi Hoefinger
Visiting Scholar, Anthropology


Ph.D.  (2010)   Social Sciences (Anthropology & Sociology) and Media Communications, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK    

M.A.   (2006)  Anthropology, Hunter College, City University of New York, USA  

B.S.     (2001)  Education and Anthropology, Plattsburgh State University of New York, USA 


Since Spring 2014, I have been teaching Sex & Culture (ANT210) at John Jay through the Anthropology Department. The course explores contemporary sex, sexuality and gender within social and cultural contexts that exist in an increasingly integrated but unequal global world. Specific topics and themes covered in the course include the construction and deconstruction of gender and sexuality, sexual practices and identities, femininities and masculinities, queer theory and kinship, LGBTQ sexualities, gender diversity and intersexuality, sex and disability, sex, gender, technology and the media, young people and sexualization, power, violence and BDSM, pornography, sex work and feminist debates, and transactional sex and intimacy.  

I am now a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropolgy working alongside Chair Anthony Marcus on a large international European Research Council (ERC) project led by my colleague Professor Nicola Mai from Kingston University in London, where I am the NY-based ethnograher looking at anti-trafficking efforts here in NYC, and their effect on sex work/ers and migration policy. The study will compare these issues in New York, Sydney, Aukland, Marseille, Paris, and Los Angeles. 

When I'm not teaching, much of my time is spent hanging out in Cambodia. For over a decade, I have collected stories and conducted research with two main groups of folks: young Cambodian women employed in the sex and entertainment sectors, and male and female deported Cambodian-American refugees, or 'Khmer exiled Americans' (KEAs).  I've also conducted London-based research on the queer British-Asian clubbing scene, and the migrant sex industry, as well as on street drug users in New York City.

Scholarly Work

Peer-reviewed Book

Hoefinger, Heidi (2013) Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia: Professional Girlfriends and Transactional Relationships.  Modern Anthropology of Southeast Asia Series, London: Routledge.  

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Hoefinger, Heidi (2016) "Neoliberal Sexual Humanitarianism and Story-Telling - The Case of Somaly Mam," Anti- Trafficking Review, Special Issue: Trafficking Representations, 7: 56-78, www.antitraffickingreview.org

Cory M. Morton, Heidi Hoefinger, Ross Aikins, Rebecca Linn-Walton and Greg Falkin (2016) "What are Youth Asking About Drugs? An Anlysis of the NIDA Drug Facts Chat Day,"  Journal of Drug Education: Substance Abuse Research and Prevention. DOI: 10.1177/0047237915622084

Shana Harris, Valentina Nikulina, Camila Gelpí-Acosta, Cory Morton, Valerie Newsome, Alana Gunn, Jennifer M. Wang, Heidi Hoefinger, Ross Aikins, Vivian Smith, Victoria Barry, and Martin J. Downing, Jr. (2015)  "Prescription Drug Diversion: An Assessment of Illicit Acquisition and Redistribution Predictors in Three U.S. Metropolitan Areas," AIMS Public Health, 2(4): 762–783. DOI: 10.3934/publichealth.2015.4.762

Ross Aikins, Heidi Hoefinger, Honoria Guarino, Andrew Rosenblum, Stephen Magura, and Herman Joseph (2015) "Conducting Rapid Street Assessment of Drug Users in NYC Using Oral Fluid and Brief Interviews: A Feasibility Study," Journal of Addictive Diseases, Special Issue: Selected Drug Use Issues in the Early 21st Century; Apr-Sep; 34(2-3): 185-97, DOI: 10.1080/10550887.2015.1059118

Hoefinger, Heidi (2014) "Gendered Motivations, Sociocultural Constraints, and Psychobehavioral Consequences of Transnational Partnerships in Cambodia," Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Special Issue:  "Intimate Contexts: New Research on Sex Workers and Their Customers in Cambodia," 15: 54-72.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2012) "The Global Girls Project: A Case Study of Ethics and Education in the Field," in Teaching Anthropology, Special Issue: "Teaching in the Field," 2 (2): 15-26.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2011) "'Professional Girlfriends': An Ethnography of Sexuality, Solidarity and Subculture in Cambodia," Cultural Studies, 25(2):  244-266. 

Book Chapters

Hoefinger, Heidi, Pisey Ly and Srorn Srun (2016) "Sex Politics and Moral Panics: LGBT Communities, Sex/Entertainment Workers and Sexually-Active Youth in Cambodia." Book chapter in Handbook of Contemporary Cambodia, Katherine Brickell and Simon Springer (eds.), Ch. 27, London: Routledge.
Hoefinger, Heidi (2016) Media, Sex and the Self in Cambodia. Book chapter in Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Asia, Tiantian Zheng (ed.), Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2015) "‘It’s All Ours’ - Race, Space and Place in the LGBTQ British-‘Asian’ Dance Club Scene in London." Book chapter in Post-Migrant Socialities: Ethnic Club Cultures in Urban Europe, Kira Kosnick (ed.), Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2013) "Transnational Intimacies: Examples from Cambodia." Book chapter in Mapping Intimacies: Relations, Exchanges, Affects, Yvette Taylor and Tam Sanger (eds.), London: Palgrave Macmillan.  

Newspapers, Magazines, Periodicals and Reports

Hoefinger, Heidi (2016) "Arrival of Hooters Raises Questions about Corporatization and Globalization of  'Girlie Bar' Work", in Cambodia Daily, Op-Ed, July 19.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2014) "Re-Evaluating Anti-Trafficking – Cambodian Feminisms and Sex Work Realities," in Hysteria – A Collection of Feminisms, Edition 3, “Abjection” (re-printed in a Tamil language special edition)

Hoefinger, Heidi (2014) "Rape Issue Not Properly Addressed, in Phnom Penh Post," Letter to the Editor, February 18, p. 16.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2013) "The Other Cambodians (Deported Cambodian-American Refugees)," in Southeast Asia Globe Magazine, September, p 67-68.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2012) "A Woman’s Work: Professional girlfriends and bar girls are creating new meanings of Khmer womanhood," in Southeast Asia Globe Magazine, February cover story, p 56-61.

Hoefinger, Heidi (2012) "Professional Girlfriends: Moving Beyond Sex Work," in Phnom Penh Post, Special Report, Part 1 in 3-part series on Professional Girlfriends, February 15, p 7 (re-printed in Khmer version of Phnom Penh Post, February 22, and Chinese language daily newspaper, Sin Chew, July 19)

Hoefinger, Heidi (2012) "Why Western Boyfriends: A Cultural Perspective," in Phnom Penh Post, Special Report, Part 2 in 3-part series on Professional Girlfriends, February 16, p 7 (re-printed in Khmer version of Phnom Penh Post, Feb 29, and Chinese language daily newspaper, Sin Chew, July 19)

Hoefinger, Heidi (2012) "The Bar: The Good, Bad, and Practical, in Phnom Penh Post," Special Report, Part 3 in 3-part series on Professional Girlfriends, February 17, p 7 (re-printed in Khmer version of Phnom Penh Post, March 7, and Chinese language daily newspaper, Sin Chew, July 19)

X:Talk Project, Heidi Hoefinger as contributor (2010) Human Rights, Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking. London: X:Talk Project.

Research Summary

2017-2020    Kingston University, London, UK.  Ethnographer for the European Research Council (ERC) project titled "Sexual Humanitarianism: Understanding Agency and Exploitation in the Global Sex Industry" (NYC, Los Angeles, Sydney, Aukland, Marseille, Paris). Will conduct research with migrant sex workers on how anti-trafficking efforts are affecting sex work/ers and migration policy in NYC.  Led by Principal Investigator, Professor Nicola Mai. 

2014 - 2015         National Development and Research Institutes, NYC.   Research consultant on various research projects within the Institute for Special Populations Research (ISPR); Responsibilities included conducting research, analysing data and writing journal articles on substance use in the U.S.

2012 - 2014         National Development and Research Institutes, NYC.  Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Science Training in Drug Abuse Research (BST) program, supported by Public Health Solutions and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Conducted research on substance use among Cambodia-American refugees deported to Cambodia.

2011 - 2012         Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. Consultant Ethnographer for European Research Council (ERC) project titled “New Migrant Socialities: Ethnic Club Cultures in Urban Europe” (London, Berlin and Paris). Conducted ethnographic research on London’s queer British-Asian dance club scene. 

2010 - 2011         London Metropolitan University, UK. Research assistant for “Migrants in the UK Sex Industry Project,” part of the Institute for the Study of European Transformations (ISET). Collaboration with the Sexual Health on Call (SHOC) clinic. Conducted on-site interviews with migrant female sex workers in sex work venues;  conducted service evaluations for SHOC.

2008 - 2010       Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. Research associate and teacher on the “Global Girls: Autobiography and E-Literacy Project”—a collaborative action-based research project between Goldsmiths College and ShareIt NGO. Provided free English and IT lessons for women employed in tourism, hospitality and sex sectors in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

Online Presence
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