I am a Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. My research has focused on gender and childhood in everyday life. I am interested in investigating the ways that micro, everyday interactions and meaning-making contribute to social inequality and to thinking about these issues across the life course. I am primarily a qualitative researcher.
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 teach a wide variety of courses including sociology of family, 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 was also Director of Graduate Studies in Sociology and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Sociology. I also work 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.