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Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

The Center for the Study of Law and Society
and co-sponsor the
Center for Ethnographic Research
are pleased to announce the next talk in the Fall 2017 CSLS Speaker Series,

Lauren Rivera is Associate Professor, Kellogg School of Management and
Department of Sociology at Northwestern University

She will be speaking on her paper
“When Two Bodies Are (Not) a Problem:
Gender and Relationship Status Discrimination in Academic Hiring”


Although junior faculty search committees serve as gatekeepers to the professoriate and play vital roles in shaping the demographic composition of academic departments and disciplines, how committees select new hires has received minimal scholarly attention. In this paper, I highlight one mechanism of gender inequalities in academic hiring: relationship status discrimination. Through a qualitative case study of junior faculty search committees at a large, private R1 university, I show that committees actively considered women’s—but not men’s—relationship status when selecting hires. Drawing from gendered scripts of career and family that present men’s careers as taking precedence over women’s, committee members assumed that heterosexual women whose partners held academic or high-status jobs were not “movable,” and excluded such women from offers when there were viable male or single female alternatives. Conversely, committees infrequently discussed male applicants’ relationship status and saw all female partners as movable. Consequently, I show that the “two-body problem” is a gendered phenomenon embedded in cultural stereotypes and organizational practices that can disadvantage women in academic hiring. Moreover, I draw from interviews conducted with administrators and search committee members at this university as well as at a second public R1 university to illuminate general features of academic labor markets that encourage relationship status discrimination. I conclude by discussing the implications of my findings for sociological research on labor market inequalities and faculty diversity.

Please join us on Monday, November 20 from 12:45-2:00p in the Philip Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Ave. 

Coffee and water are provided. We invite you to bring your own “bag lunch.”

Professor Rivera’s paper is available in hard copy at the Center and by email request.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Jonathan Simon, Faculty Director
Rosann Greenspan, Executive Director


Monday, November 20, 2017
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Center for the Study of Law and Society


Philip Selznick Seminar Room
2240 Piedmont Ave
Berkeley, CA 94720-2150 United States
+ Google Map

Events are wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, contact the organizer of the event. Advance notice is kindly requested.

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