I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Alicia Walker has take over as the new editor of this blog. Dr. Walker is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Missouri State University, and author of two books: The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism and Pleasure in Women’s Infidelity (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and Chasing Masculinity: Men, Validation and Infidelity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). More broadly her research focuses on concealed sexual practices, and I have been lucky enough to coauthor two articles with her – one on self-described heterosexual college students who hookup with same sex partners, and a forthcoming article on patterns of entry into BDSM. Below I interview Dr. Walker:
AK: Your research has been discussed widely in the media, and you have worked to help CCF in various capacities before now. Can you tell us about your experience with and commitment to Public Sociology?
AM: In order for our research to have a wider impact, it must reach a wider audience. We don’t just research for the benefit of other scholars. Yes, we research to answer our own questions, but we hope others have those questions as well. Having other scholars read and engage with your work is terrific. But I hope to produce scholarship that helps folks outside the academy as well.
Because I’ve been lucky enough to have my work discussed in the media, people sometimes reach out to let me know that they saw themselves in my work, or that my findings helped them make sense of their situation. Nothing moves me more than knowing that my work has touched someone, made their life easier, or helped them process their feelings. And that cannot happen if my work is only ever read by other scholars doing similar work.
When I published my first book, The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women’s Infidelity, I was just a couple years out of graduate school. But thankfully, someone involved with CCF took an interest in me and my work, which helped me engage with a wider audience. I have even written some blog posts for CCF about previous research.
I later entered the Twitterverse, which has also connected me with a wider audience as well. I’ve met such amazing people on Twitter.
Publication can’t be the final step in our research. We have to make sure our work reaches beyond other scholars in our field. Writing about it for blogs, tweeting about it, sharing our findings with journalists are all ways we can reach out and share what we’ve learned.
AK: What are your favorite sociology blogs and/or twitters to follow?
AM: There are so many terrific scholars on Twitter. I follow lists of nonbinary scholars, female scholars, and academic moms. I also maintain lists of scholars: sociologists, sex researchers, and other researchers. Twitter is a terrific place to meet new scholars and find out about newly published work. I follow a variety of scholars who study a wide range of topics and disciplines. As a result, I get exposed to research I wouldn’t otherwise see.
AK: What topics are you hoping to feature more on the CCF blog?
AM: I am excited to showcase researchers doing interesting work on topics of family, relationships, sexuality, childhood, race, non-heterosexual families and relationships, and the ways that gender comes to bear on those dynamics.
I’d love to showcase junior scholars as well as more senior researchers. I’m excited to connect with more scholars.
Arielle Kuperberg is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the chair of the Council of Contemporary Families and was editor of this blog from 2017-2021. Follow her on Twitter at @ATKuperberg.