I am a Professor in the Women’s Studies and Psychology Departments at the University of Michigan. I also have an unbudgeted appointment with the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies. Within Psychology, I am affiliated with the Personality and Social Contexts Area.
My research, at the intersection of psychology and women’s studies, works to understand the social construction of categories like gender, race and social class. Feminist theorists have long argued that these categories are not natural or essential, but instead derive meaning from specific social and cultural practices and beliefs that vary in different times and places. I’m interested in questions such as: How do the categories mutually construct each other and work together to shape outcomes such as well being or political attitudes? How do people experience these social categories as parts of their identities? How do members of different groups perceive these categories of difference, and how are these perceptions related to prejudice? To address these questions, I use both qualitative and quantitative methods. My past projects have explored topics such as: political participation among women who graduated from college during the late 1960s, the role of social class identity in women’s attitudes towards abortion, and the processes through which race and gender consciousness develop among college students.
Currently, I’m interested in the concept of intersectionality: how do individuals simultaneously experience racial, class and/or gender identities?
I teach many different courses, but some of my favorites are: Race and Social Identity, Introduction to Women’s Studies, and Scholarship of Women of Color.