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stef m. shuster, Ph.D.

Stef M. Shuster
  • Assistant Professor
  • History, Philosophy & Sociology of Science
  • Department of Sociology
  • Faculty Affiliate: Center for Gender in Global Context
  • Pronouns: they/them
  • Holmes Hall, E-193A
  • 919 E. Shaw Lane
  • East Lansing, MI 48825
  • (517) 355-4189


  • Constructing the Body
  • Feminist Science & Technology Studies
  • Medicine & Health
  • Narratives of Mental Illness
  • Reproductive Health & Society
  • Science and the Public
  • Science of Sex and Gender


stef m. shuster is an assistant professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology. Their current research and teaching areas—in the social aspects of medicine, science, and gender—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? shuster currently serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and Gender & Society.


  • Ph.D., Sociology, with a certificate in Gender Studies, University of Iowa
  • B.A., Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • B.A. Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington


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). In Trans Medicine, they trace the development of this medical field from the 1950s to modern medicine to show how providers create and use scientific and medical evidence to “treat” a gender identity. But, why do medical providers have authority over gender? And, what might the consequences of how providers make decisions in trans medicine teach us about medicine in general? Trans Medicine offers a rare opportunity to understand how providers make decisions given widespread uncertainty while facing challenges to their expertise. In the process of negotiating these challenges in the “treatment” of gender, shuster shows how providers have acquired authority not only in this medical area, but over gender itself.



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

Journal Articles

  • 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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-020-01131-3
  • 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.

Refereed Book Chapters

  • shuster, stef and Grayson Bodenheimer. 2021. “How Healthcare Providers Hold Trans Patients Accountable to Medical Authority.” Pp. 231-252 in Advances in Medical Sociology: Sexual and Gender Minority Health vol. 21, edited by A. LeBlanc and B.L. Perry. Emerald Publishing Limited.
  • shuster, stef. 2020. “Becoming a Legal Proxy: The Unintended Consequences of Informed Consent in Transgender Medicine.” Pp. 232-243 in The Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality, and Law, edited by C. Ashford and A. Maine. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. https://doi.org/10.4337/9781788111157.00025
  • shuster, stef and Ellen Lamont. 2020. “Sticks and Stone Break Our Bones and Words Are Damaging: How Language Erases Non-binary People.“ In The Emergence of Trans: Essays on Politics, Culture, and Everyday Life, edited by R. Pearce, I. Moon, K. Gupta, and D.L. Steinberg. London, UK: Routledge.
  • shuster, stef. 2019. “Generational Gaps or Othering the Other? Tension Between Binary and Non-binary Trans People.” Pp. 309-322 In Expanding the Rainbow: Exploring the Relationships of Bi+, Trans, Polyamorous, Asexual, Kinky, and Intersex People, edited by B. Simula, J.E Sumerau, and A. Miller. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Sense Publishers.
  • shuster, stef. 2018. “Passing as Experts in Transgender Medicine.” Pp. 74-87 In The Unfinished Queer Agenda After Marriage Equality, edited by A. Jones, J. DeFilippis, and M. Yarbrough. New York, NY: Routledge.


  • 2020-2021 “Social, Economic, and Health Consequences of COVD-19 Among Sexual and Gender Minorities of Color.” College of Social Science Covid-19 Grant, Michigan State University ($5,000) [with co-PI Ning Hsieh]
  • 2019-2021 “Treating Gender: Transgender Medicine and Uncertain Expertise.” Humanities and Arts Research Program (HARP) Development Grant, Vice President for Research and Innovation, Michigan State University ($25,000)
  • 2019-2020 “Underutilization of Healthcare and Barriers to Care among LGBTQ People of Color.” Diversity Research Network, Launch Award Program, Michigan State University ($4,200) [with co-PI Ning Hsieh]


Curriculum vitae

Personal website