Jennifer Utrata

Associate Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology & Anthropology

Jennifer Utrata


M.A., Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
B.A., University of Chicago

Research Interests

I am a sociologist interested in how economic and cultural transformations shape gender and intimate relationships in families. My award-winning book, Women without Men: Single Mothers and Family Change in the New Russia (Cornell, 2015), analyzes how ordinary people, especially single mothers, navigate the transition from state socialism to market capitalism during Russia’s “quiet revolution” in family life. Through in-depth analysis of Russia’s matrifocal families, I challenge several assumptions underlying theories of family life, poverty, and gender. Related to my interest in single-mother families, I have written about nonresident fathers and divorce, the effects of work insecurities and neoliberal capitalism on the self, intergenerational relations between grandmothers and adult children, the intersectionality of gender and age, and the ways in which unpaid care work shapes gender inequality.

My current research examines how “intensive grandmothering” in the United States affects the transition to parenthood, parents’ responses to the child-care crisis, and broader inequalities among families. 

Selected Publications

  • Women without Men: Single Mothers and Family Change in the New Russia (Cornell, 2015)
    *Mirra Komarovsky Distinguished Book Award, 2016, Eastern Sociological Society
  • “Youth Privilege: Doing Age and Gender in Russia’s Single-Mother Families,” Gender & Society (2011)
    *Distinguished Article Award, 2012, American Sociological Association’s Sex and Gender Section
  • “Keeping the Bar Low: Why Russia’s Nonresident Fathers Accept Narrow Fatherhood Ideals,” Journal of Marriage and Family (2008)


  • SOAN 295: Social Theory
  • SOAN 202: Families in Society
  • SOAN 212: Sociology of Gender
  • SOAN 318: Gender, Work, and Globalization
  • SOAN 390: Men and Masculinities
  • SOAN 490: Senior Thesis
  • SOAN 101: Introduction to Sociology