Sasha Shen Johfre

Graduation Year
Dissertation Title
The Construction of Nature and Social Categories
Assistant Professor of Sociology and the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences at the University of Washington

Sasha Johfre is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the social construction of social knowledge, including the ways that ideas of human difference (e.g. based on gender, race, or age) are made to be seen as real and essential. Her dissertation interrogates appeals to nature, and the belief that because something is more “natural” it is therefore better. The dissertation uses multiple methods (content analysis, nationally representative surveys and experiments, and in-depth qualitative interviews) to identify social consequences of multiple types of appeals to nature, including in product marketing, moral arguments, and political beliefs.

Sasha’s past research has examined the role of genetic ancestry tests in the way that Americans self-identify their race on demographic surveys (with Aliya Saperstein, Demography); the extent to which first names tend to signal age, race, gender, and class category membership (Sociological Science); how to reduce structural barriers to meaningful mixed-age relationships (in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity); and the most responsible ways for social science researchers to use reference categories in quantitative modeling (with Jeremy Freese, Sociological Methodology). In addition to her dissertation, she is currently working on additional projects about the social construction of age (in a review paper in collaboration with Aliya Saperstein, and two sole-authored empirical papers) and the way that co-ed sports rules encode and use gender stereotypes (in collaboration with Jeremy Freese and an undergrad RA).