Laurie Essig, Sociology/Anthropology
Laurie Essig is interested in social power, especially as it plays out on different bodies in different places and different times. All of her courses begin with the assumption that social power is messy, with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, geography, and embodiment all tangled up together. In Sociology of Freakishness, the performance of bodily "difference" for fun and profit is explored as the center of American popular culture. In Sociology of Heteorsexuality, the racial and class basis of normative sexuality are placed within the highly racialized and gendered ideology of romance. Her most recent book, American Plastic: Boob Jobs, Credit Cards, and Our Quest for Perfection (Beacon, 2010) looks at the aging, white female body as the battleground for Neoliberal economics and the culture of beauty capitalism. Essig's current research, Love is in the Air, is on romance as an ideology of both Empire and everyday life.