Like many others who came to graduate school in the 1960s, my sociological education was inextricably bound up with the turbulence and excitement of those times. Inevitably, the intellectual questions I engaged with as a grad student reflected the political issues of the period. My thesis work (mentored by Arlie Hochschild and Sheldon Messinger) was on childcare programssomething I, as a young childless woman, would not have been interested in had not the women's liberation movement introduced the idea of the political aspects of "private life," and raised the question of the state?s responsibility for such services.
My first job after graduate school was at Bryn Mawr College, in the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. In 1990, I joined the sociology department at UC Davis. I also have developed a very productive relationship with the Center for Reproductive Health Policy and Research at UCSF, where I am an adjunct professor.
While in Philadelphia, I continued my interest in the state, family and social servicesthis time in the field of reproductive health. I studied a Planned Parenthood clinic in the late 1970s, and have remained engaged in studying reproductive health services and reproductive politics ever since. My most recent book, Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion before and after Roe v Wade, was very deliberately written as a "cross over" book, intended to be read by an audience beyond academia. I also frequently write op-eds and do interviews with journalists about various aspects of reproductive health. I attribute this commitment to "public sociology" as a natural outgrowth of the "engagee sociology" that captured the imagination of many of us in the 1960s.