I am a Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan.  I have done research on gender and childhood in everyday life in which I am interested in investigating the ways that micro, everyday interactions and meaning-making contribute to social inequality.  More recently, I am doing research and teaching in the area of environmental sociolgy. I am primarily a qualitative researcher and also interested in environmental history.

My previous research on young children has examined how children are gendered in preschool;  childcare expulsion; differing parent and provider understandings of children’s experiences of childcare; how parenting advice books construct gender-neutral childrearing;  and sexual socialization in early childhood.  My book, Puberty, Sexuality, and the Self: Girls and Boys at Adolescence (1996), is about gender differences in teens’ experiences of puberty and first sex.  I have also published research on how gender identity serves as a form of social control during childbirth, and about the cultural tools advice books provide parents about gay and lesbian adolescents’ coming out.

I am newly interested in environmental sociology and history. I am currently researching the history of the fight over the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts.  I am also interested in place attachment, gender in environmentalism, and sociology of the climate crisis.

I teach a wide variety of courses including sociology of family, sociology of the environment and the climate crisis, sociology of gender, sociology of childhood, qualitative methods, introduction to sociology, and honors thesis writing. I served as Chair of the Department of Sociology from 2017-2021.  I have served as Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Sociology. I also worked with the Advance Program where I served as Associate Director and participated as member and workshop presenter as part of the STRIDE Committee.  I continue to serve on the ADVANCE advisory board. I work with many students in the joint doctoral program in Social Work and Sociology where I have previously chaired the Supervising Committee for the Joint Program in Social Work and Social Science.  I am also affiliated with the Women’s Studies Program.

I grew up in Amesbury, MA, received a BA from Hampshire College, and my MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. I have been at the University of Michigan since 1995.