Joe Rollins

Position: Associate Professor of Political Science at Queens College
Campus Affiliation: CUNY Graduate Center|Queens College
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara
Research Interests: public law, gender and sexuality, and research methods

Prof. Rollins received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1998, where he also taught in the Law & Society Program and the Dept. of Sociology. His first book, AIDS and the Sexuality of Law: Ironic Jurisprudence, was published by Palgrave/MacMillan in 2004. His current project, funded by a grant from the Wayne F. Placek Fund of the American Psychological Association and a Visiting Scholar’s position at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley, examines changes taking place in the legal language of sexuality. His forthcoming book entitled Legally Straight will be published by New York University Press. He has served on the board of directors for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies and his work has been published in various scholarly journals.


Joe Rollins, AIDS and the Sexuality of Law: Ironic Jurisprudence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

AIDS and the Sexuality of Law investigates the role that HIV/AIDS has played in the legal construction of sexuality. AIDS and its metaphors have been judicially enlisted to patrol the boundaries of heterosexuality, producing flawed understandings of HIV/AIDS and sexuality. The proliferation of this flawed knowledge through judicial discourse has had a profound impact on the way sexuality is understood. Even more fundamentally, closer analysis exposes the ironic processes of the law whereby material reality, ignorance, and belief interact to replace unknowns with ‘social facts.’ The book concludes optimistically, arguing that there is political value in uncertainty.

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