Jennifer Utrata is a sociologist interested in how economic and cultural transformations shape gender and intimate relationships in families. Her award-winning book, Women without Men: Single Mothers and Family Change in the New Russia (Cornell, 2015), analyzes how ordinary people, especially single mothers, navigate the transition from state socialism to market capitalism during Russia’s “quiet revolution” in family life. Through in-depth analysis of Russia’s matrifocal families, she challenges several assumptions underlying theories of family life, poverty, and gender. Related to her interest in single-mother families, she has written about nonresident fathers and divorce, the effects of work insecurities and neoliberal capitalism on the self, intergenerational relations between grandmothers and adult children, the intersectionality of gender and age, and the ways in which unpaid care work shapes gender inequality.
Her current research examines how “intensive grandmothering” in the United States affects the transition to parenthood, parents’ responses to the child-care crisis, and broader inequalities among families.
Sponsored by Havighurst Center for Russian &