Sociology has shown me many new and wondrous ways to explore and make sense of the world. It also made me more aware that we, as a society, have a lot more work to do. I love teaching, researching, and facilitating critical conversations through making academic knowledge more accessible.
My current and future research focuses on culture, gender, theory, and embodiment. I am drawn to projects that explore spaces and aspects of social life that are frequently ignored, but essential to revealing how we experience and make sense of the world. In particular, I seek to explore the allure of sites that are generally categorized as leisure, hobby, or mundane.My dissertation brings together these interests through an ethnographic exploration of the seductions and intimacies of the mixed martial arts gym to the participants who spend their free time employing fighting techniques on each other and crafting stories with each other.
My excitement for studying the social world, and my love of a good research question, has often led me to expand my intellectual boundaries. During my time in graduate school I have theorized the sacred divide between sports and politics, explored the relationship between athletic participation and binge drinking, looked at the use of storytelling as a form of reasoning in discussion of controversial social issues, and employed discursive analysis to better understand how the 2010 Super Bowl commercials sold a traditional brand of masculinity and the need to “wear the pants” to the American public with fellow graduate-student Madison Van Oort.
I believe that sociology can provide students the tools and desire to understand the macro level forces that shape our society as well as the more micro and personal everyday lived experiences. During my time at the University of Minnesota I have had the opportunity to design and teach “Sociological Research Methods.” The Sociology Department has honored me with both the Graduate Teaching Assistant and Graduate Instructor awards. I have also been chosen as the recipient of the SAGE 2014 Teaching Innovations and Professional Development Award.
Public engagement is central to my larger commitment to service. As a result of this belief I have served for two years on the editorial board for Contexts. I am also one of the founding graduate editors of The Society Pages whose mission is “to bring measured social science to broader public visibility and influence” and co-produce and host the Office Hours podcast. I am currently working on a new podcast project, Give Methods a Chance, with Sarah Lageson. Check for the launch of the site at www.thesocietypages.org/methods on 1/1/15!