Nancy Fischer

Associate Professor

Memorial Hall 432
CB 116

Nancy Fischer

Associate Professor

Nancy Fischer joined the faculty in fall 2005. She is an associate professor of sociology and teaches in the sociology department, the metro-urban studies program, the women’s studies program, and the environmental studies program. She is Augsburg’s current director of the metro-urban studies program.

Nancy’s research and teaching are in the areas of urban sociology, sexuality, and culture. At Augsburg, she currently is teaching Introduction to Human Society, Human Community and the Modern Metropolis, Race, Class & Gender, Sociology of Sexualities, Sociology of Law, and the study abroad course Sustainable Cities in North America. “I think if I had to choose favorites, my favorite courses are in urban sociology and sociology of sexuality. I like teaching urban sociology because I’ve lived in different kinds of places – I grew up in rural North Dakota, later lived in Washington DC and Boca Raton, FL – so I have rural, urban and suburban experiences to draw from when I’m in the classroom. I really love cities. Growing up in a rural area, I always associated the city with fun, excitement, art and culture. My enthusiasm for the urban environment has never left me. Also, I have a great time when I teach Sociology of Sexuality because it is the class where I can really see students’ sociological imaginations develop – we normally don’t think about all the ways that sex and our sexual identities are socially produced and it’s fascinating to explore that process in the classroom.”

In July 2008, Lars Christiansen and Nancy Fischer co-taught the study abroad course Sustainable Cities in North America. Christiansen, Fischer and 13 students traveled three weeks in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia to learn from experts about food systems, waste and recycling programs, transportation, public policy, and community development and the latest in green building construction. The class literally “walked the talk” in terms of reducing carbon footprints – students either rode bicycles, walked or took public transportation during the entire trip. Based on what they learned from this course, Lars and nancy published “Teaching Urban Sociology and Urban Sustainability on Two Feet, on Two Wheels and in Three Cities” in Teaching Sociology. They also teamed with Augsburg Abroad advisor Andrea Dvorak and political science professor Joe Underhill to write “A Necessary Partnership: Study Abroad and Sustainability” for Frontiers: The International Journal of Study Abroad.

Nancy is the former chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sexualities. She is the co-editor of Introducing the New Sexuality Studies: Original Essays and Interviews for Routledge. The second edition of the Introducing the New Sexuality Studies will be available in March 2011. She published “Oedipus Wrecked? A Case Study on the Moral Boundaries of Incest”in Gender & Society (2003) and an entry on incest in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship & Sexuality through History (2008). She has written a number of book reviews for The American Journal of Sociology, Contemporary Sociology, The Journal of Sex Research and Gender & Society.

Nancy is currently working on a project she calls “The Social Life of Secondhand Clothes.” This project is a sociological analysis of the secondhand and vintage clothing industry that explores the emergence of secondhand clothing as a popular fashion trend. “Vintage” clothing has been part of pop culture style since the 1980s and she is exploring that recent history. The project also examines the secondhand clothing market as an industry; that is, how used clothing is distributed and marketed at different store levels from charity thrift shops, to vintage clothing boutiques, to upscale consignment shops. In this sense, this study is an exploration of where one’s clothes go once we “recycle” them in the various ways that channel them through different levels of the secondhand clothing market.


  • B.A. Hamline University (International Relations, Sociology)
  • M.A. American University (International Communication)
  • Ph.D. State University of New York at Albany (Sociology)

Areas of Concentration

  • Urban Sociology
  • Law & Society
  • Sexuality & Gender
  • Culture

Areas of Teaching and Responsibilities:

SOC 121 Introduction to Human Society

SOC 211 Human Community & the Metropolis

SOC 265 Race, Class and Gender

SOC 291 Sociology of Sexuality

SOC 320 Sociology of Law

SOC 295 Sustainable Cities in North America (study abroad) Photo Album