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Emily K. Carian

Emily K. Carian
B.A., Dartmouth College, 2011
M.A., Loyola Marymount University, 2013
M.A., Stanford University, 2017


My research contributes to our understanding of why progress toward gender equality has slowed despite significant improvements in women's legal rights. While many lines of research demonstrate how differential power and resources contribute to persistent gender inequality, much can be learned from social psychological theories on identity and status. In diverse contexts, both identity and status have been found to motivate attitudes and behaviors. Using qualitative and experimental methods, my dissertation research asks: how do identity and status motivate those attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate gender inequality? The first component of my dissertation compares men who are men’s rights activists and men who are feminists using in-depth semi-structured interviews. I examine how participants understand their identities and how these identity meanings shape their mobilization into two distinct social movements with disparate understandings of and approaches to gender inequality. The second component of my dissertation empirically tests the social psychological processes theorized to underlie backlash, such as system justification and threat to group position, in the context of work organizations. Using an original experimental design and incorporating theories from diverse fields, I investigate which social psychological mechanisms, chief among them status, cause backlash and which factors can override them.

I design and teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses, including on the sociology of gender and statistical methods in sociology. As a consultant for the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, I counsel other Stanford teaching assistants on how to improve their teaching practice.

More information about my research and teaching (including syllabi, assignments, and activities) can be found on my website.