October 23, 2000
Sterk explores connection
By Holly Korschun
Almost 20 years ago, Claire Sterk began her ethnographic research with
the first national study of AIDS and prostitution in the United States.
She has since gone on to make groundbreaking discoveries in the world
where prostitution, crack cocaine and AIDS intersect.
Sterk will share her findings from her studies on the lives of prostitutes
in the age of AIDS as part of Emory's 2000-01 Great Teachers Lecture Series.
Tricking and Tripping: Prostitution in the Era of AIDS will
be held Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in 208 White Hall. Sterk will present
a detailed analysis of the complex lives of prostitutes, including common
pathways into prostitution, types of prostitution careers, the role of
boyfriends and pimps, the interrelationships between prostitution and
drug use, as well as the threat of violence hovering around prostitutes.
Sterk has spent decades building trust between herself and prostitutes
in Atlanta and New York. In her qualitative research, she is able to capture
an intimate portrait of how prostitutes negotiate their way through extremely
complex liveslives that must be clearly understood if effective
prevention and intervention programs can be developed for prostitution
and drug use.
The process of trying to understand the complexities of these womens
lives has in turn changed my own, both as a person and as a professional,
Sterk writes in her recently published book on prostitution, As
a researcher, I have learned how we often base our work on our own experiences
In her lecture, Sterk said she hopes to go beyond those experiences and
assumptions and suggest what might be done to improve the complex lives
of women mired in poverty, violence and drug use.
Sterk came to Emory in 1995 as an associate professor of behavioral sciences
and health Education and associate director of the Womens and Childrens
Center at the Rollins School of Public Health. In August she was named
department chair. She also chairs the Faculty Council and is president
of University Senate.
A native of Amsterdam, Sterk was a member of the team that investigated
the syphilis outbreak in Rockdale County and was interviewed for The
Lost Children of Rockdale County, a program that aired on PBS's
Frontline in October 1999.
Sterks lecture is free and open to the public. For further information, call 404-727-6000.