I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Polarization and Social Change Lab affiliated with the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and the Department of Sociology.
I study inequality and why it persists. Unequal social relations and structures can be maintained through force or ideological legitimation. I focus on legitimation. More precisely, I examine factors that ostensibly compensate for inequality—by providing social, psychological, and/or material benefits to subordinated groups—but can paradoxically end up legitimating and reinforcing it. Although legitimation is my focus, I take a broad view of the study of inequality and also examine various injustices and inefficiencies that limit or facilitate people’s opportunity and well-being.
I am working on three interconnected lines of research focused on factors that can compensate for but also legitimate inequality: (1) religion, (2) seemingly positive stereotypes about subordinated groups, and (3) philanthropy. Much of my research to date has focused on religion. In my current postdoctoral position, I am launching projects on positive stereotypes about subordinated groups and philanthropy as additional potential compensators for, but also legitimators of, inequality.
I’m writing a book with Oxford University Press titled Is Faith Feminine? What Americans Really Think about Gender and Religion. The book considers the ways religions are gender-typed, gendered social psychological opportunities and constraints related to religion, and how religion suppresses gender differences in politics.
My work has received several awards, has been published in Science Advances, Social Forces, Gender & Society, Public Opinion Quarterly, and other journals, and has been covered in several print, radio, and television outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, Economist, and CBS News.