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Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Whitman College

  • About

    After receiving my Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2012, I held an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Ripon College (2012-2014), and am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Whitman College (2014-2015).

    My research explores health, gender, social psychology, and inequality through the lens of the body.  More specifically, I am interested in how the body functions as a form of capital, how it intersects with other facets of identity and status (gender, race, class, sexuality), and how it is shaped by cultural practices.  Much of my research utilizes the framework of "bodily capital"--a multi-faceted concept including appearance, attractiveness, and physical ability that provides a way to understand why people invest time and money into their bodies, and what they expect to receive in return.

    I have investigated how the fit-appearing physiques of personal trainers provide them with a degree of health and moral authority in their interactions with clients (published in Social Science & Medicine); and how appearance choices made after “coming out” influence the construction of authentic gay and lesbian identities (published in Symbolic Interaction).

    Other publications have included co-editing a volume on the Sociology of Diagnosis in the Advances in Medical Sociology series; as well as a collaborative content analysis researching contemporary advice books to parents of gay and lesbian children (Journal of Family Issues).

    Currently, my research involves a historical analysis of BMI categories; and a project interviewing pregnant and recently pregnant women about how the experience of putting on or trying to take off “baby weight” shapes their identities and social interactions.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2012
    • M.A. University of Michigan, 2009
    • B.A. San Francisco State University, 2004
    • B.A. (English) Indiana University, 1997
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Health
    • Gender
    • Body/Embodiment
    • Social Psychology
    • Inequality
    • Qualitative Methods
  • Dissertation Title
    • Training Bodies, Building Status: Health, Physical Capital, and the Negotiation of Difference in the U.S. Fitness Industry
  • Dissertation Chair(s)/Committee
    • Karin Martin (Chair), Howard Kimeldorf, Renee Anspach, Esther Newton