Following the campus guidelines for Coronavirus all UC Davis classes, lectures, seminars, labs and discussion sections will move to virtual instruction and remain virtual through the end of Fall quarter 2020, including final exams. Given this, the department’s administrative functions have moved to remote work conditions. To contact staff members of the department via e-mail or phone, please go to our administrative staff contact page.

Gender Research Cluster

The Gender Cluster encompasses a group of scholars whose research and teaching interests focus on some aspect of gender as one of the major axes of stratification and inequality.

Gender is both an individual attribute and an institutionalized system of relations and practices. The variations in cultural and historical patterns of gender inequality indicate that gender is socially constructed rather than biologically given. Gender shapes how we understand the categories "male" and "female" as well as "masculinity" and femininity." It is relational, in that femaleness and femininity take on meaning in relation to maleness and masculinity, as well as in relation to other categories of identity and analysis such as race, class and sexual orientation.

Gender is perceived as solely a binary in most societies, creating certain cultural limitations on those who do not fit into this dichotomous categorization. Cultural assumptions about differences between and among genders help to justify and naturalize unequal access to societal resources. These assumptions ensure that women and men of different races, classes and sexualities are positioned differently across a range of sites and institutions both in the United States and abroad, including the labor force, the global economy, the educational system, the political system, religious institutions, migration patterns, popular culture and the family.

Cluster-related graduate courses

SOC 270 – Demography
SOC 295 – Global Motherhood
SOC 295 – Social Transformations and Life-Course Dynamics: Theories and Methods 

Gender-related courses

  • SOC 233 – Gender, Culture, and Local/Global Transformation (seminar)
  • SOC 234 – Gender, Family, and Society (seminar)
  • SOC 295 – Seminar: Gender and Race in Organizations
  • SOC 295 – Immigration
  • WMS 250 – Cultural Study of Masculinities

Please read course descriptions for more information.

Gender book award recipients

  • Eileen Otis (Ph.D., 2003) received the 2013 Sex and Gender Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association Sex and Gender Section for her book, Markets and Bodies: Women, Service Work, and the Making of Inequality in China (2011, Stanford University Press).
  • Clare Stacey (Ph.D., 2004). The Caring Self: The Work Experiences of Home Care Aides, the major book award from the ASA Section on Emotions.
  • Jennifer Reich (Ph.D., 2002). Fixing Families: Parents, Power and the Child Welfare System,Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Awardfrom the ASA Section on Race, Gender, and Class and a finalist for the SSSP's C. Wright Mills Award.
  • Jennifer Bickham-Mendez (Ph.D., 1999). From the Revolution to the Maquiladors: Gender, Labor, and Globalization in Nicaragua, major book award from the ASA Section on Political Economy of World Systems.
  • Julie Bettie (Ph.D., 1997)Women Without Class: Girls, Race and Identity, the ASA Section on Sex and Gender Book Award.

Gender Alumni

  • Julie Bettie (Ph.D. 1997) is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Women without Class: Girls, Race, and Identity (2002, University of California Press).
  • Jennifer Bickham Mendez (Ph.D. 1999) is an associate professor of sociology at College of William and Mary. She has published articles in journals including Social Problems, Mobilization, Labor Studies Journal, and Gender and Society. Her bookFrom the Revolution to the Maquiladoras: Gender, Labor and Globalization in Nicaragua (2005, Duke University Press) received the 2008 Annual Book Award from the Political Economy of the World System Section of the American Sociological Association, as well as an honorable mention from the Global Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
  • Jennifer Reich (Ph.D., 2002) is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Denver.She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Health Services Research at the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco in 2004. Her book Fixing Families: Parents, Power and the Child Welfare System, won a Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the ASA Section on Race, Gender and Class, and was a finalist for the SSSP's C. Wright Mills Award.
  • Eileen Otis (Ph.D. 2003) is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Oregon. She is the author ofMarkets and Bodies: Women, Service Work and the Making of Inequality in China (2011, Stanford University Press), as well as articles published in the American Sociological Review, American Behavioral Scientist, Qualitative Sociology, Politics and Society, and Contemporary Sociology. Her research has won awards from the Asia/Asian-American and the Sex and Gender sections of the American Sociological Association and from Sociologists for Women in Society.
  • Clare Stacey (Ph.D. 2004) is an associate professor of sociology at Kent State University. She is the author ofThe Caring Self: The Work Experiences of Home Care Aides (ILR/Cornell University Press) and has also been published in the Sociology of Health and IllnessSocial Science and Medicine and theJournal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved.
  • Ellen Scott (Ph.D.1997) is a professor of sociology and head of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon. She has been published inGender and Society,Journal of Marriage and the Family,Social Problems, and Theory and Society.


People specializing in this area

Xiaoling Shu

Xiaoling Shu

  • Affiliated Faculty:
  • Data Science and Informatics,
  • Computational Social Science,
  • Communication Graduate Program Group,
  • Feminist Research Institute,
  • East Asian Studies,
  • Global Tea Culture and Science Initiative.

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