My research focuses on inequality with an emphasis on globalization and place. The times and places I find most interesting occur in the American South. A recurring theme in my work is that tensions between global processes and local practices create paradoxes. These paradoxes challenge commonly accepted sociological explanations and suggest theoretical and policy implications for research on education, economic development, community, civil society, and democracy. My research has been awarded the Distinguished Research Award and a Dunavant University Professorship at the University of Memphis. In 2016, I received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Tennessee Department of Sociology.
I teach graduate and undergraduate classes at the University of Memphis, including Urban Theory, Racial and Social Inequality, Black and White Women in the South, and others.
I am a past Director of Women's and Gender Studies, and a faculty affiliate with the Center for Research on Women. I am currently serving as President of Sociologists for Women in Society.