I received my MA and am finishing up my PhD in sociology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I am now an instructor in the Department of Sociology at Florida Atlantic University. My research interests focus primarily on sexuality and gender but borrow literature from wide variety of subareas within sociology, specifically gender, sexuality, feminist theory, deviance, social problems, discourse and narrative, and medicalization.
My current research endeavors include my dissertation exploring discussions of sex addiction in both the news (media, television, and newspapers) and in twelve-step group literature catering to self-defined sex addicts. I aim to uncover the definitions claims-makers provide for sex addiction and their implications in relation to how we view sexuality, gender, and deviance. I place sex addiction as part of the modern phenomenon of “medicalization” in which both life experiences/events and deviant behaviors have come to be defined using medical terminology. Because sex addiction is not fully embraced by the medical establishment, there is an ongoing claims-making contest between proponents of sex addiction’s existence and others who challenge its legitimacy.
I am also finishing up two other research projects. The first is focused on women’s magazine’s discussions of masturbation and sex toys to its readers. I examined two magazines, one that has a predominately white audience (Cosmopolitan) with one that is explicitly marketed to black women (Essence). All articles published between 2005 to 2007 and 2010 to 2012 containing any reference to masturbation and/or sex toys were collected. The second project is one I am co-authoring focuses on employing a creative writing and drawing assignment in the setting of a sociology of gender undergraduate course to enhance the ability of students to understand concepts related to gender socialization and material culture and allow students to gain experience in engaging in content analysis.
I teach undergraduate courses on research methods, race and ethnicity, sexuality, social class, gender, and social problems. My goals as an educator is to serve as a guide to students by providing necessary and accurate background knowledge, asking critical questions that engage students’ higher order thinking skills, and facilitate their ability to understand the larger social processes at work around them. Reading scholarly literature, engaging in mini-research projects, and applying what they have learned in a course to one’s own life experiences are the types of activities employed in my classes.