Sophie Pezzutto (they/she) is a PhD candidate, peer support worker, and social commentator based on Ngunnawal Country (so-called Canberra, Australia). Sophie's PhD in Anthropology at the Australian National University is the first ethnographic study of the transgender pornography industry in the world, and finds itself at the intersection of transgender studies, pornography studies, communication studies, and economic anthropology. As part of their research, Sophie lived in Las Vegas, learning from world renowned porn stars about self-branding and survival in the gig economy of the 21st century. Sophie has written for TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, The Conversation and AG: About Gender. Her research has been featured in Forbes, Buzzfeed, and Mother Jones. Beyond her research, Sophie is an active social commentator and has spoken about a wide range of issues at universities, government departments, and political events. Committed to their local community, Sophie works for A Gender Agenda, a small not-for-profit that advocates for the rights of trans, intersex, and gender diverse people on Ngunnawal Country. She also works for the Sex Worker Outreach Project as a peer educator and is an active neighbourhood organiser for the ACT Greens. She is fluent in German, English, and French.
(Detailed CV Upon Request)
Australian National University
PhD Candidate: Anthropology
A Gender Agenda
Peer Support Worker
Sex Worker Outreach Project
Peer Support Worker
PhD, Australian National University
2017 - Now
Ethnographic study of the trans* pornography industry in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
2018 Australian National University's (ANU) Vice Chancellor's Travel Grant.
2017- 2020 Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship.
BA (Hons.) Asian Studies
2015 - 2016
Thesis title: From Max Weber to Lee Kuan Yew: A discourse analysis of Confucianism and economic growth.
First class honours.
BA Economics, University of Western Australia
2009 - 2012
Majors: Money & Banking, Asian Studies.
2011 Sir Harold Bailey Memorial Prize in Asian Studies.
2011 Japanese Association of Western Australia Prize in Japanese Studies.
“Introduction”, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Trans pornography issue (eds. Sophie Pezzutto, Dr. Lynn Comella), 7.2 (Spring 2020).
“Professionalism, Pay, and the Production of Pleasure in Trans Porn” co-written with Korra Del Rio, Transgender Studies Quarterly, 7.2 (Spring 2020).
“From Porn Performer to Porntropreneur: Online Entrepreneurship, Social Media Branding, and Selfhood in Contemporary Trans Pornography”, AG: About Gender, vol 8, No. 16, pp. 30-60 (2019).
“Confucianism and Capitalist Development: From Max Weber and Orientalism to Lee Kuan Yew and New Confucianism”, Asian Studies Review (04/2019).
“The fakest of them all: Reflections on fame, friendship and ethnographic practice in the trans pornography industry”, Australian Anthropological Society Conference, Panel on Queer Anthropology (Convenors: Katherine Giunta, Sophie Pezzutto), Australian National University (December 2-5 2019).
“Fame and Loss of Self in Las Vegas: Social media and capitalist subjectification in trans pornography”, Far West Popular Culture Association Conference, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (February 22- 24 2019).
Anthropology in transit conference, University of California Irvine, Conference title: Facing/Framing failure: New perspectives on anthropological practice, Paper presented: “Rethinking Embodiment in Anthropology through Trans Subjectivities” (February 9-10, 2018).
“The rise of the ‘Porntropreneur’: even hustlers need side hustles in the gig economy”, The Conversation (2020).
"I did it for the data", The Familiar Strange (2019).
“Why Adult Video Stars Rely on Camming”, The Conversation (2018).
"My friend the PhD grad and trans escort", Bossy Magazine, ANU Women's department (2017).
"The University of the Future". Panel + Q&A featuring Senator Mehreen Faruqi (NSW Greens), Dr. Tjanara Goreng Goreng (ACT Greens) & Dr. Lachlan Clohessy (NTEU) moderated by Dr. Tim Hollo (ACT Greens). 14th Feb 2022.
Conversations in Transgender Studies: Transgender and Work. University of Melbourne, School of Social and Political Science. 14th May 2021.
"The Transsexual Experience" Documentary Screening at the National Sound and Film Archive (NSFA) Panel discussion with Tate McAllister (AGA) + Q&A. 31st March 2021.
IDAHOBIT discussion panel, “Alliances through solidarity”, Australian Taxation Office. May 2018.
UWA Pride Week discussion panel, “Out in the workplace”, University of Western Australia. August 2016.
"Everyone Is Making Porn At Home Now. Will The Porn Industry Survive?", Buzzfeed (2020).
"My Ghost Stories: Hooking up while trans on the latest frontier of misogyny", Mother Jones (2020).
"PhD study of transgender porn industry a first in anthropology”, Australian National University (2018).