Danielle Dirks

Assistant Professor, Sociology

Dr. Dirks teaches courses on punishment, crime and American racial and ethnic relations.


  • Email: dirks@oxy.edu
  • Office: Swan Hall 235
  • Phone : 323-259-2758

Education: B.S. Psychology, B.A. Sociology, M.A. Sociology, University of Florida; Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin

In her second year at Occidental, Dr. Dirks was awarded the campus-wide Donald R. Loftsgordon Memorial Award for Outstanding Teaching. Her research and teaching interests, broadly conceived, are concerned with fundamental questions about justice and inequality in America, with a special focus on racial and gender inequality. She is currently working on a book project, Punishment in the Age of Google: The Mark of a Digital Criminal Record, that examines the rise of the digital mugshot industry, its effects on arrestees, and the ways in which technology and social media are shifting punishment practices in the United States today.

She is the author of  Confronting Campus Rape: Legal Landscapes, New Media, and Networked Activism (Routledge, 2015) and How Ethical Systems Change: Lynching and Capital Punishment (Routledge, 2011 with Sheldon Ekland-Olson). Her research has also been featured in many mainstream media outlets. Throughout her teaching, she engages digital media to enhance students’ educational experiences, to place their work front and center as public sociology. 


Dirks, D. (In progress). Punishment in the Age of Google: The Mark of a Digital Criminal Record. [working title]

Dirks, D. (2015). Confronting Campus Rape: Legal Landscapes, New Media, and Networked Activism. New York: Routledge. [Amazon]

Ekland-Olson, S., & Dirks, D. (2011). How Ethical Systems Change: Lynching and Capital Punishment. New York: Routledge. [Amazon]

Selected Publications

Dirks, D., Heldman, C., & Zack, E. (Forthcoming). “She’s Hot and She’s White So She Can’t Be Guilty”: The Construction of Criminality and White Womanhood. Contemporary Justice Review.

Dirks, D., Troshynski, E., & Heldman, C. (Forthcoming). International Violence Against Women: Prevalence, Outcomes, Prevention. Women, War, and Violence: Topography, Resistance, and Hope. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Dirks, D., & Zack, E. (Forthcoming). From Lynching to Life Without Parole: Race and Capital Punishment in America. In S. Bowman (Ed.), Race, Ethnicity, and the Prison System – Critical Perspectives. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Worthen, M. G. F., & Dirks, D. (Forthcoming). Gender and Deviance. Handbook of Deviance. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Dirks, D. (2011). American Capital Punishment and the Promise of "Closure." Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin.

Mueller, J. C., Dirks, D., & Houts Picca, L. (2010). Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and Engagement of the Racial Other. In E. S. Adler, & R. Clark (Eds.), How It’s Done, An Invitation to Social Research (4th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. [reprint] [link]

Rice, S. K., Dirks, D., & Exline, J. J. (2009). Of Guilt, Defiance, and Repentance: Evidence from the Texas Death Chamber. Justice Quarterly, 26(2), 295-326. [pdf]

Dirks, D., & Mueller, J. C. Racism and Popular Culture. (2007). In J. Feagin, & H. Vera (Eds.), Handbook of Racial and Ethnic Relations (pp. 115-129). New York: Springer. [pdf]

Mueller, J. C., Dirks, D., & Houts Picca, L. (2007). Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and Engagement of the Racial Other. Qualitative Sociology, 30(3), 315-335. [pdf]

Peña, M., Hernández, E., Sotelo-Turner, C., & Dirks, D. (2007). Balancing School with the Call to Community Service: Hispanic MA Students in U.S. Theological Schools. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 6, 284-296. [pdf]

Moradi, B., Dirks, D., & Matteson, A. V. (2005). Roles of sexual objectification experiences and internalization of standards of beauty in eating disorder symptomatology: A test and extension of objectification theory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(3), 420-428. [pdf]

Dirks, D. (2004). Sexual Revictimization and Retraumatization of Women in Prison. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 32, 102-115. [pdf]

Dirks, D., & Rice, S. K. (2004). “Dining while Black”: Racial Rituals and the Black American Restaurant Experience. In R. Coates (Ed.), Race and Ethnicity—Across Time, Space, and Discipline (pp. 255-277).Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publishing.