Dr. Deborah Harris
Dr. Deborah Harris
Welcome! I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. I came to Texas State in 2007 after earning my PhD from Mississippi State University.
I have taught courses in the area of stratification and inequality (undergraduate and graduate levels), qualitative research methods, rural aging, and the sociology of food. My published research has addressed the impacts of welfare reform on low-income women and their families, as well as how the closing of military facilities affects local communities.
My current research includes a study with Patti Giuffre on the work experiences of women chefs. In this project, we use women chefs as a case study for examining how some jobs become culturally accepted as masculine even when they are based on “feminine” activities such as cooking. We have combined content analysis of over 2200 pieces of food writing with in-depth interviews with 33 women chefs to understand the historical and contemporary conditions experienced by women chefs. Our work appears in Research in the Sociology of Work and Gender Issues. We also have a book forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in summer 2015 entitled, Taking the Heat: Women Chefs and Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen. It is available for order through Rutgers University Press and Amazon.
If you would like to learn more about our research on women chefs, see the following websites for our interviews, a blog, and media reports about our research:
A blog that we wrote on The Feminist Kitchen:
Our interview with Working Mother magazine:
My interview with the Christian Science Monitor:
Our research has been cited here:
I am also working on two projects that examine how social inequality can be manifested and challenged through food. The first project, with Rachel Romero, examines controversies over urban agriculture and land use in Austin, TX. The second is a study of various organizations that use food as a means of transgressing social boundaries and fostering peace between groups in conflict.