Erica MacDonald

Ph.D. Candidate

Erica MacDonald is a PhD candidate in the department of political science at the University of Connecticut in the subfields of comparative politics and international relations. Her dissertation, Formally Informal: Sex Work, Stigma and Institutions, examines the impact of the regulation of legal sex work on sex workers’ rights in New South Wales (AUS) and in Nevada (US). Specifically, her project explores how sex workers navigate exclusion from institutions to which they are legally entitled due to stigma and discrimination. In doing so, they create their own innovative institutions, that in turn, reimagine notions of work, community and care more broadly.

As a graduate assistant at UConn’s Democracy and Dialogues Initiative, she provides programmatic support for public-facing dialogues through the Encounters Series, and also works on a collaborative research project, examining the utility of dialogue as a pedagogical tool for human rights education. She previously provided administrative support for UConn’s Business & Human Rights Initiative and other programs through the Human Rights Institute.

Erica received her MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University and her BA in International Relations from Connecticut College. She has been engaged in grassroots sex workers rights activism for over a decade, and is currently on the board of directors of COYOTE RI, a Rhode Island based sex workers rights organization. Her work has appeared in the American Philosophy Association’s Black Issues In Philosophy, the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, and Columbia University’s human rights newsletter, RightsViews.

Research interests: Feminist methodologies; human rights; institutions; informal labor; sex work; intersectionality; solidarity; queer studies; disability studies; participatory action research; activist-informed research methods; dialogue

Erica MacDonald
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