Barbara Risman

Professor of sociology; distinguished professor of liberal arts and sciences


Barbara Risman — Photo: Jenny Fontaine

Changes in society have erased boundaries and standard definitions of gender, marriage and family.

Sociologist Barbara Risman explores the contemporary meanings of each through her research on gender politics in families, teen sexuality and gender relations, and feminist activism.

Using her theory of gender as a social structure, her latest book, “Where the Millennials Will Take Us: A New Generation Wrestles with the Gender Structure,”  provides insight into the minds of today’s young adults to uncover the strategies they use to negotiate the unsettled gender norms and expectations facing their generation.

She is also author of “Gender Vertigo: American Families in Transition” and editor of “Families As They Really Are,” a collection of essays on how families function in everyday life.

The recipient of the American Sociological Association’s 2011 award for public understanding of sociology, Risman is the former executive officer and current board member of the Council on Contemporary Families, a national organization that brings new research and clinical findings to public attention.

An experienced media interviewee, she has also blogged for Huffington Post and offered her opinions as op-eds via and the Chicago Tribune.

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