My first research project is about how women quilt for fun. I started doing research on US leisure quilters in 1996 while I was pursuing my PhD at the University of Georgia. This project became my dissertation work, and I continue to study how and why women and men pursue creative activities. This research has taken me to Canada, Mexico, Ireland, France, Taiwan, England, and Australia to present my work. I have studied quilters in the US, Ireland and England, noting similarities and differences; I've also studied North American handcrafters, looking at how they negotiate family, age, and other barriers in order to spend time doing what they enjoy.
A second project centers on the emergence of the Red Hat Society. How midlife women engage in leisure, the positive spin on aging, and the social benefits of belonging to such an organization, are all part of this research project.
At the University of Northern Iowa, I teach Introduction to Sociology on a regular basis, and encourage students to develop a sociological imagination to assist in understanding the world around them. I also teach courses in my substantive areas of Gender and Culture, weaving in Qualitative Methods as students engage in independent research projects in my classes.
As a qualitative sociologist, I am interested in how gender, culture, and leisure intersect in contemporary society.
Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology
Bartlett Hall 2112
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0513