Nancy Fischer

Urban Studies Director, Professor

CB 116
Curriculum Vitae

I have a variety of academic interests that are reflected in my teaching and research. My current intellectual project (both in teaching and research) concerns sociological perspectives on love and the role that love plays in having a sense of living a meaningful life. I’m exploring this topic through social theories about love and intimacy. My interest in this topic arose from our class discussions in two courses I teach: Sociology of Love, Intimacy and Sexuality, and Sociological Theory.

My primary research work has been as an editor in Sociology of Sexualities and Sexuality Studies.  I co-edited each edition of Introducing the New Sexuality Studies: Original Essays (with Steven Seidman). The latest edition, co-edited with Laurel Westbrook, features 84 essays by leading authors in Sexualities Studies; our authors’ chapters are so engaging that students tell me they read beyond what they are assigned. It. Along with James Joseph Dean, I co-edited The Routledge Handbook of International Handbook Heterosexualites Studies (2020), a collection of both classic and new works in Heterosexualities Studies, and I was a special editor for The Sociological Quarterly in an edition on Critical Heterosexuality Studies. I am a former Chair and a former Secretary of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sexualities.

I direct Augsburg’s Urban Studies Program and I teach various courses on urban issues, particularly societal changes needed to co-create a more sustainable future. I incorporate experiential education, where we learn from local community leaders, engage in community-based research projects, and/or visit neighborhoods or even other cities to experience how different forms of urban design impact how we interact with our environments. I co-lead short-term study abroad courses on urban sustainability every few summers through Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE); I have also co-authored journal articles on teaching urban sustainability abroad. My urban teaching experiences have transformed me into an avid urban walker and a transit advocate.

I have both a personal and a professional interest in fashion, particularly vintage and secondhand clothing. I have given presentations on vintage clothing, consumers and sellers and written about the history of wearing vintage in Vintage, the First Forty Years: The Emergence and Persistence of Vintage Style in the United States” on how the trend of wearing vintage clothing grew in the United States since the 1960s. My interest in fashion was inspired by my mother, who is an excellent seamstress. Although I lack my mother’s sewing skills, I sew in my spare time, and like all sewists, I have more fabric and patterns than time to make them materialize!


  • B.A. Hamline University, Saint Paul MN (Sociology and International Relations)
  • M.A. American University, School of International Service, Washington DC (International Relations)
  • Ph.D. State University of New York at Albany (Sociology, and Graduate Certificate in Women & Public Policy)


  • Love, Intimacy and Sexualities
  • Social Theory
  • Fashion, Secondhand & Vintage Clothing
  • Urban Sociology and Urban Sustainability

Professional Affiliations

  • The American Sociological Association

on-campus courses:

  • AUG 101 Augsburg Seminar
  • SOC 111 City Life: Intro to Urban Sociology
  • SOC 121 Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 265 Race, Class, Gender
  • SOC 266 Sociology of Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality
  • SOC 295 Topics: Make Change Happen!
  • SOC 300 Topics: Urban Issues: Housing
  • SOC 320 Sociology of Law
  • SOC 381 Urban Problem-Solving
  • SOC 485 Sociological Theory

Center for Global Education & Experience Courses:

  • Another Future is Possible: Sustainable Solutions in Amsterdam and Rotterdam
    • SOC111/SOC295 City Life: Intro to Urban Sociology or SOC295 Urban Sustainability
    • ENL270 Genres: Speculative Fiction (Professor Lindsay Starck, English)
  • The Dark Side of the Happy City in Copenhagen, Denmark
    • SOC295: The Happy, Sustainable City
    • ENL270 Genres: Danish Literature and Film (Professor Douglas Green, English)
  • Sustainable Cities in North America in Cuernavaca & Mexico City, Mexico
    • Co-led with Lars Christiansen
  • Sustainable Cities in North America in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada
    • Co-led with Lars Christiansen