Catherine Bolzendahl
Associate Professor
4257 Social Science Plaza
cbolzend [at] uci [dot] edu

Research and Teaching

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. However, I am also interested in studying multiple dimensions of stratification and inequality, with more recent work exploring gender and race in the U.S., and patterns of inequality in sub-Saharan African nations. 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. Past work has been  published in a variety of outlets including Social Forces, 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.

Currently I am working on a number of projects, including research with Hilde Coffé (Victoria University, Wellington) examining sources of support for women’s institutional equality in sub-Saharan African nations; solo work testing the influence of  women’s equality on cash and services benefit generosity in 22 Western democracies since 1960and investigating the organizational and institutional creation of gender regimes across German, Swedish and U.S. legislative committee systems since 1970. I enjoy working with graduate and undergraduate students on research, with projects including racial and ethnic group differences in housework hours, the influence of institutionalized religiosity on links between individual religiosity and citizenship, and the gendered construction of collegiate athletic coaching jobs.


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.

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