Catherine Bolzendahl


Catherine Bolzendahl
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Sociology
University of California, Irvine
4257 Social Science Plaza
cbolzend [at] uci [dot] edu

Research Profile

The bulk of my research stands at the intersection of political sociology and the sociology of gender, framing gender as a fundamental basis of inequality and source of societal change. I enjoy exploring these issues through a variety of substantive topics and with diverse methodologies. Generally, my work may be characterized along three main lines: 1) The importance of gender equality for welfare state spending and development; 2) Changing notions of citizenship, political participation and gender inequality; 3) Family as a site of inequality according to gender, race, political rights, and sexual orientation. My work has been  published in a variety of outlets including Social Forces, Gender & Society, Social Politics, the European Sociological Review, the British Journal of Sociology, Social Science Quarterly, and Sociological Perspectives.

My coauthored book Counted Out: Same Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family has won book awards from the American Sociological Association, the Midwest Sociological Society and the North Central Sociological Association. Our findings have also been covered in a variety of news outlets including Newsweek, The New York Times, ABC News, MSNBC, and C-SPAN. It is now available in paperback, and related work is featured in a chapter in Families As They Really Are, 2nd Ed. 

My ongoing work focuses on better understanding the institutionalization of gender withing political organizations and legislative institutions, with a recent publication in Gender & Society. With colleagues (Amy Alexander and Farida Jalalzai) I am identifying way of building up the examination of women’s global political empowerment, having recently convened an international conference funded by and held at the Fritz Thyssen Foundation in Cologne, Germany. Other ongoing projects include an examination of comparative support for same-sex parents, and the comparative role of religiosity and institutionalized religion in shaping notions of good citizenship and political involvement.

thyssen(The Thyssen Group, 2015)


I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in Sociology with a concentration in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service. I went on to receive my M.A. (2002) and Ph.D. (2006) in Sociology from Indiana University.