My research investigates the ways that emotion perpetuates class inequality in concert with gender and race oppression. I am particularly interested in how inequity is inadvertently reproduced in "helping" relationships.
Two research questions that I am currently exploring are:
Question 1: How does our social class affect the kinds of emotions that are acceptable for us to express?
Research Background: Theorists have argued that emotions are "communicative performances" conveying information to others about social status and expected roles (Abu-Lughod & Lutz, 1990; Keltner & Haidt, 2001). Further, they've argued that expression of emotions, particularly anger, plays an important role in social control. Findings from one study that I've conducted indicate that people respond negatively to women who express anger about being poor, but positively to women who express shame about being poor. The study findings contribute to literature exploring the role that emotion plays in legitimizing inequity generally (Fiske et al.) and of poor women specifically (Hancock, 2004; Reay, 2004; Gunaratnam & Lewis, 2001).
Question 2: How can a service learning project be used to empower girls who are involved in the juvenile justice system?
Research Background: Girls have historically been placed into juvenile justice programs that were designed to meet boys' needs. Research has indicated that the traditional system has not appropriately met the distinctive needs nor recognized the specific strengths of girls (Chesney-Lind & Pasko, 2003). Because of this, recent research has called for the implementation of gender specific programming within the Juvenile Justice System for girls. How can a service learning course work with juvenile justice to provide programming that empowers girls?
Contact me if you are interested in gaining research experience in these topic areas, as I'll be running studies in the upcoming semesters.
I am excited to be teaching Introduction to Psychology (as a diversity course), Psychology of Women, Social Psychology, Community Psychology, and a team taught Senior Seminar on Emotion. Several of these courses include a critical service learning component.
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