Sociology Ph.D Candidate

About Me

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. My teaching and research interests fall within the general areas of family and the life course, social psychology, gender, children and youth, LGBT issues, and health and well-being. Methodologically, my work is both qualitative and quantitative, incorporating a range of traditional and innovative methodologies. My Dissertation focuses on the children of transgender individuals; particularly, their experiences during their parent’s transitioning, the unique challenges they face, and how they cope with these challenges.

Other current research projects examine changing portrayals of children and parenthood in mass media from 1925-2006, the effects of family transitions on heterosexual couples’ division of household labor, and how music festival vendors cope with the stressors of nomadic festival life.

Current Projects

“Families in Transition: The Children of Transgender Parents”

“Mom, Dad, or Somewhere In Between: Ambiguities Facing People with Transgender Parent”

Abstract: While children’s adjustment to family transitions such as divorce and remarriage has received considerable attention from family scholars, we have yet to explore how children experience a transgender parent’s gender transition. When families undergo a gender transition, they do not have social scripts to follow- or at least they must modify common scripts for their own purposes. The resulting experience is a complicated and ambiguous one. Drawing from in-depth interviews with people with transgender parents, I introduce the concepts of role relational ambiguity and gendered role ambiguity to explain how the parent-child relationship changes post-transition. I explore the prevalence of these forms of ambiguity, how individuals manage ambiguities over the long term, and whether there are relational and demographic patterns associated with these ambiguous experiences. I conclude with suggestions for future examinations into the complexities of trans family lives.

“Coping Through Community: Music Festival Vendors, Stress, and Social Support”

Abstract: While the popular image of music festivals is one of glamor and partying, the behind-the-scenes lives of those working festivals are considerably less so. Music festival vendors are a collection of transient entrepreneurs who spend the summers traveling from music festival to music festival selling handmade, fair trade, and import goods. Using field notes and in-depth interviews with music vendors collected in the summer of 2013, I describe the environmental, organizational, and competitive stressors facing them and how they invoke notions of a vendor community to cope with these stressors. I find that vendors strategically and unintentionally reciprocate emotional and instrumental kinds of support, but that such support does not extend to information-sharing. In this way, music festival vendors are ‘coping through community’ - able to simultaneously embrace and share in the benefits of a supportive vendor community, while keeping their personal lives and business practices at a distance.

“Cartoon Depictions of the Desirability of Children and Parenthood from 1925-2006” (with Jessica Calarco)

Related Media Coverage: [Motherboard News] | [CBC News] | [Mental Floss] | [The Conversation] | [PsyPost] | [Science Daily] | [Daily Herald] | [NDTV] | [Yahoo News] | [Business Standard]

“Divison of Household Labor Over the Life Course: Structural or Symbolic Pressures” (with Jamie Oslawski-Lopez and Rebecca Grady)

Abstract: Amid changing work and family arrangements for men and women over the last fifty years, social scientists have uncovered a paradox: despite some convergence in the work men and women do outside the home, women still do a disproportionate amount of unpaid labor within the home. Seeking explanations for the persistent inequities in the gendered division of labor as it relates to housework, scholars point to how structural transitions (e.g., in work, into parenthood, in and out of marriage) shape the organization of domestic life. Missing from this examination is the simpler question of whether couples become more traditional as their relationship matures- regardless of the transitions they face together. Using data from two waves of the NSFH, a nationally-representative sample of couples, we control for couples’ life transitions as we explore whether heterosexual couples just become more traditional over time, or as we call it, “falling into old habits.” We explore whether, despite many individuals’ intentions to create more egalitarian family arrangements, the embeddedness of gender in American culture itself exerts a force toward traditional gender arrangements in the lives of heterosexual couples. Findings suggest that rising traditionalism in domestic arrangements is not a result of couples’ unconscious internalizing of traditionalism, but rather concrete barriers faced during work and parenthood transitions.

Curriculum Vitae

My CV is available here.

Teaching

Indiana University - Bloomington, IN

Sociology 110: Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Every day, we are presented with social statistics about our world. Where does this information come from? What does it really tell us? And how do we know which statistics are credible, which are not, and which are…somewhere in the middle? In this course, we will familiarize ourselves with the core concepts and techniques sociologists use to understand the social world. We will cover the basics of research methods, sampling, statistics, and reading and designing charts, graphs, and tables. These topics will be illustrated using data and examples from social science research.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • read and understand social statistics
  • produce and present data in meaningful ways
  • apply the sociological perspective to contemporary social problems

Sociology 316: Sociology of Families

We all are part of families, for better and for worse. Families are universally important social institutions, past and present. Although the majority of families around the world have certain things in common—relating people biologically and socially, organizing care and residence, the specifics of how these things are accomplished may vary substantially across time and space. This course focuses on families in the contemporary U.S. It will introduce you to how sociologists study families and along with them, topics that seem very personal, emotional and important to many of us—ideals about love, marriage, gender, parenthood, sex and sexuality—scientifically. We consider both the “public” and “private” dimensions of families over the course of the semester‐‐ families as settings for socially important tasks such as raising children and caring for family members, and a focus for public policy and as the place where we experience much of our private lives. A central theme will be diversity and change, as we consider the many ways families have changed over the last 60 years in particular in the U.S., and the many forms of family diversity that surround us.

Sociology 100: Introduction to Sociology

Sociology is the systematic and scientific study of human social life –its structures, patterns, and problems. As a social science, it uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social activity, often with the goal of applying such knowledge to the pursuit of social welfare.

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the field of sociology and the ways sociologists ask and answer questions about the world in which we live. As a class, we explore concepts and tools central to sociology as we navigate different aspects of social life, from various forms of social inequality to social institutions like religion, the family, and the educational system.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • read, write, and think sociologically
  • think critically, creating your own informed perspectives on social structure and human agency, with the capability to support your arguments
  • discern the patterns, rules, and logic that undergird a social system and the consequences of these for those who are part of such systems
  • learn basic sociological concepts and how to use them in everyday life, introducing ideas that will be elaborated on in additional sociological courses

DePauw University - Greencastle, IN

Sociology 201: Global Families

This course travels across geographic, cultural, and historical boundaries to explore the diversity of the world’s families – in structure, in relationships, and as a globally changing social institution. We draw from sociological perspectives in examining the concepts, theories, and methods that help us answer questions about families as we and others know them. Class sessions include discussions of family life in different countries, cultural activities, film screenings, and student presentations.

Sociology 100: Contemporary Society

An introduction to sociology: its questions, concepts and ways of analyzing social life. The focus is on how human societies organize themselves; how culture, socialization, norms, power relations, social institutions and group interaction affect the individual; and how, in turn, societies are transformed by human action. Of particular concern are problems facing contemporary societies.

Contact Info

Indiana University
Department of Sociology
747 Ballantine Hall
1022 East Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
jtabor@indiana.edu