Kristen Barber, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and affiliated faculty with the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Her research uncovers the social mechanisms allowing for the continuity of gender inequality and under what circumstances we might cultivate progressive change. Having published on the men's grooming industry, men's participation in feminist movements, men in sex work, and gender in disaster, Professor Barber's work unpacks how privilege and disadvantage are co-constituted.
All of Barber's research and teaching consider gender inequality as it is shaped by class privilege, sexuality, racism, and other systems of power. Her book, Styled Masculinity: Gender, Class, and Inequality in the Men's Grooming Industry, is a study of what she refers to as "the labor of consumption," whereby service work is a symbolic process with social consequences--here, how well-to-do men's sense of selves and social entitlements are upheld by the organization of women's labor.
She is also co-author of the textbook, Gendered Worlds, 4th Edition, and her work appears in peer-reviewed journals like Gender & Society and Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, in several edited books, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Houston Chronicle, and The Conversation, among others. She has also spoken on National Public Radio.
Professor Barber is Co-Editor of the journal, Men and Masculinities, and serves on the Editorial Board of Contemporary Sociology. She is past-Chair of the American Sociological Association's section on Race, Class, and Gender, and is recipient of the 2020 inaugural Emerging Leader Award for commitment to diversity and inclusion from the Network Empowering Women at Southern Illinois University.
Barber has a Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Southern California and teaches courses in gender and research methods.