5 Superstar Women Sociologists You Should Know

And Why They Are a Big Deal

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There are many female Sociologists who do important work around the world. The following list includes 5 superstar Sociologists to learn more about.

Juliet Schor

Dr. Juliet Schor is arguably the foremost scholar of the sociology of consumption, and a leading public intellectual who was awarded the 2014 American Sociological Association's prize for advancing the public understanding of sociology. Professor of Sociology at Boston College, she is the author of five books, and co-author and editor of numerous others, has published a multitude of journal articles, and has been cited several thousand times by other scholars. Her research focuses on consumer culture, particularly the work-spend cycle which was the focus of her research-rich, popular companion hits The Overspent American and The Overworked American.

Recently, her research has focused on ethical and sustainable approaches to consumption in the context of a failing economy and a planet on the brink. Her most recent book, written for the non-academic audience, is True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically-Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy, which makes the case for shifting out of the work-spend cycle by diversifying our personal income sources, and by placing more value on our time, being more mindful of the impacts of our consumption and consuming differently, and reinvesting in the social fabric of our communities. Her current research into collaborative consumption and the new sharing economy is a part of the MacArthur Foundation's Connected Learning Initiative.

Gilda Ochoa

Dr. Gilda Ochoa is Professor of Sociology and Chican@/Latin@ studies at Pomona College, where her cutting edge approach to teaching and research has her regularly leading teams of college students in community-based research that addresses problems of systemic racism, particularly those related to education, and community-driven responses to it in the greater Los Angeles area. She is the author of a recent hit book, Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans and the Achievement Gap. The book is a thoroughly researched look at the root causes behind the so called "achievement gap" between Latino and Asian American students in California. Through ethnographic research at one Southern California high school and hundreds of interviews with students, teachers, and parents, Ochoa reveals troubling disparities in opportunity, status, treatment, and assumptions experienced by students. This important work debunks racial and cultural explanations for the achievement gap. 

Following its publication the book won two important awards: the American Sociological Association's Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award for Anti-Racist Scholarship, and the Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Outstanding Book award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She is the author of 24 academic journal articles and two other books--Learning from Latino Teachers and Becoming Neighbors in a Mexican-American Community: Power, Conflict, and Solidarity--and co-editor, with her brother Enrique, of Latino Los Angeles: Transformations, Communities, and Activism. Ochoa recently spoke about her current book, intellectual development, and research motivation in a fascinating interview that you can read here.

Lisa Wade

Dr. Lisa Wade is arguably the most active public sociologist in the media landscape today. Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at Occidental College, she rose to prominence as co-founder and contributor to the widely read blog Sociological Images, and now is a regular contributor to national publications and blogs including Salon, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Slate, Politico, The Los Angeles Times, and Jezebel, among others. Wade is an expert in gender and sexuality whose research and writing now focuses on hook-up culture and sexual assault on college campuses, the social significance of the body, and US discourse about genital mutilation.

Her research has illuminated the intense sexual objectification that women experience and how this results in unequal treatment, sexual inequality (like the orgasm gap), violence against women, and the socio-structural problem of gender inequality. Wade has written over a dozen academic journal articles, numerous popular essays, and has been a media guest across all platforms dozens of times in her still young career. With Myra Marx Ferree, she is co-author of a much-anticipated and just released textbook on the sociology of gender.

Jenny Chan

Dr. Jenny Chan is a groundbreaking researcher whose work, which focuses on issues of labor and working class identity in iPhone factories in China, sits at the intersection of the sociology of globalization and the sociology of work. By gaining hard-to-come-by access to Foxconn factories, Chan has illuminated many of things Apple doesn't want you to know about how it makes its beautiful products.

She is the author or co-author of 23 journal articles and book chapters, including a heartbreaking and analytically shrewd piece about a Foxconn suicide survivor, and her forthcoming book with Pun Ngai and Mark Selden, titled Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and a New Generation of Chinese Workers, is not to be missed. Chan teaches about the Sociology of China at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies at the University of Oxford in the UK, and is a Board Member of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Labor Movements. She has also played an important role as a scholar-activist, and from 2006 to 2009 was the Chief Coordinator of Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) in Hong Kong, a leading labor watch organization that works to hold corporations accountable for abuses happening in their global supply chains.

C.J. Pascoe

Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon, Dr. C.J. Pascoe is a leading scholar of gender, sexuality, and adolescence whose work has been cited by other scholars over 2100 times, and has been widely cited in national news media. She is the author of the groundbreaking and highly regarded book Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, now in its second edition, and winner of the Outstanding Book Award from American Education Research Association. The research featured in the book is a compelling look at how both formal and informal curricula at high schools shape the development of gender and sexuality of students, and how in particular, the idealized form of masculinity boys are expected to perform is premised on the sexual and social control of girls. Pascoe is also a contributor to the book Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media, and is author or co-author of nine academic journal articles, and seven essays.


She is an engaged public intellectual and activist for the rights of LGBTQ youth, who works with organizations including Beyond Bullying: Shifting the Discourse of LGBTQ Sexuality, Youth in Schools, Born This Way Foundation, SPARK! Girls Summit, TrueChild, Gay/Straight Alliance Network, and LGBT Inclusive Curriculum Campaign Toolkit. Pascoe is working on a new book titled Just a Teenager in Love: Young People’s Cultures of Love and Romance, and is the founder and editor of the blog Social In(Queery).