Grad Students

Rebecca A. DiBennardo

Contact Information

Office  Haines 105

My dissertation, “From Pervert to Predator: Law, Medicine, Media, and the Construction of Contemporary Sexual Deviance,” investigates how legal, medical, and cultural institutions construct the meaning of “sexual predators” in California’s 1996 Sexually Violent Predator Act, which defines and regulates sexual predation as a pathological mental illness. Drawing on three years of fieldwork; interviews with experts working in adjacent fields of law, medicine, politics, and advocacy; and legal and media content analysis, the project paints of vivid picture of how social and institutional mechanisms work in tandem to define and regulate sexually predatory behavior. This dissertation contributes to growing critical feminist legal literature exploring the productive and symbolic functions of law, cultural sociological studies on the relationship between institutions and social meaning, and literature on the relationship between state power and the regulation of sexualities.

I also research a variety of other topics related to gender and sexualities; including queer families, sexual politics, and stratified reproduction.

Fields of Study

Sexualities, Gender, Law & Policy, Criminology


DiBennardo, Rebecca. “Ideal Victims and Monstrous Offenders: News Media and the Rise of Sexual Predator Discourse.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World: 4 (2018): 1-20.

DiBennardo, Rebecca and Abigail C. Saguy.  “How children of LGBQ parents negotiate courtesy stigma over the life course.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 19, no. 6 (2018): 290-304.

Parcesepe, Angela M., Aira Toivgoo, Mingway Chang, Marion Riedel, Catherine Carlson, Rebecca DiBennardo, and Susan S. Witte. "Physical and sexual violence, childhood sexual abuse and HIV/STI risk behaviour among alcohol-using women engaged in sex work in Mongolia." Global Public Health 10, no. 1 (2015): 88-102.

DiBennardo, Rebecca, and Gary J. Gates. "Research note: US census same-sex couple data: Adjustments to reduce measurement error and empirical implications." Population Research and Policy Review 33, no. 4 (2014): 603-614.

Raven, Maria Catherine, Colleen C. Gillespie, Rebecca DiBennardo, Kristin Van Busum, and Brian Elbel. "Vulnerable patients’ perceptions of health care quality and quality data." Medical Decision Making 32, no. 2 (2012): 311-326.

Grants and Awards

Dorothy L. Meier Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2018-2019

UCLA Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017-2018

UCLA Excellence in Teaching Award, 2016-2017

UCLA Center for the Study of Women Travel Grant, 2016

UCLA Department of Sociology Graduate Fellowship, 2010-2016

UCLA Excellence in Teaching Award, 2014-2015

UCLA Department of Sociology Summer Fellowship, 2014

UCLA Center for the Study of Women Travel Grant, 2014

UCLA Excellence in Teaching Award, 2013-2014

UCLA Department of Sociology Summer Fellowship, 2013

UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship (with Prof. Kim Crenshaw), 2012-2013            

UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (with Prof. Megan Sweeney), 2012

Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Grant-in-Aid, 2011

UCLA Williams Institute Small Grant, 2011

UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship, 2011

NYU Dean’s Scholarship, 2009-2010

NYU Graduate Assistant Fellowship, 2008-2009

Louise Van Loon Fellowship for Graduate Study, 2008-2009

National Compton Mentor Fellowship, 2005-2006


Abigail Saguy, Rebecca Emigh


C.Phil. Sociology, UCLA 2014; M.A. Sociology, UCLA 2012; M.P.A. Health Policy, New York University 2010; B.A. International Studies (with honors), Vassar College 2005