In the Berkeley sociology department, I found my intellectual home. I was drawn to Berkeley in part because it was teaming with my smart, creative colleagues from the editorial collective of Socialist Review, and in part because it was far and away the best place to study historical sociology from a feminist perspective.
My interest in women's history, class inequality, and contemporary families deepened at Berkeley and continues to motivate my teaching and scholarship. Berkeley gave me analytic tools, the courage to be creative and independent in my choice of topics and methodological approaches, and role models. If I close my eyes, I can easily see Arlie Hochschild's long hands sculpting a thought or hear Carol Hatch wryly skewering a sloppy argument.
Since finishing at Berkeley, I have taught feminist theory, sociology of families and historical methods at Brandeis University. In 1994, my dissertation became a book, A Very Social Time: Crafting Community in Antebellum New England. I have co-edited two anthologies with colleagues who have Berkeley ties: Families in the U.S.: Kinship and Domestic Politics, with Anita I. Garey, and Women, Class, and the Feminist Imagination, with Ilene J. Philipson. My current work explores the relationships between Scandinavian homesteaders and the Dakota people in the northern Great Plains from 1900 to 1930.
In 1999, I was a fellow at the Berkeley Center for Working Families. To the delight of my contemporary sociologist friends, I was finally doing research squarely in the present! With Barrie Thorne and Arlie providing leadership and stimulus, Berkeley proved the ideal forum for analyzing the inequalities of class and gender, profoundly shaping my forthcoming book, Not-So-Nuclear Families.