Pearlman Hall, 208
DegreesUniversity of California, Berkeley, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley, M.A.
Stanford University, M.A.
University of Oregon, B.A.
ExpertiseMotherhood, Social Psychology of the Self, Gender & Work, Gender & Education
ProfileAna Villalobos’s work introduces new conceptual frameworks to the understanding of family and gender. For example, she conceptualizes mothers not simply as attachment objects whose mothering is geared around the needs of children, but as attachment subjects whose own needs come into play in and through the acts of mothering. This allows her to see mothers’ own stakes in an intensive mother-relationship, something which has not previously been explored. In other work, she shows how young girls’ broader socialization almost perfectly matches models of success in the elementary classroom to create a “strategic alignment” that overly rewards them in early math education (often algorithmic and rules-based). However, she shows how strategic alignment creates obstacles to higher-level math (involving risks and frequently failed methods) which could contribute to female underrepresentation among college math majors and in the technical professions.
Villalobos's recent book, Motherload: Making it All Better in Insecure Times, published by the University of California Press, looks at how families cope with societal insecurity by relying on intensive mothering as their individualistic solution. The book develops her concept of the motherload which is the assumption that “correct mothering” can, in fact, remedy economic, physical and emotional threats. However, Villalobos documents how the pressure of a whole society's worth of security-needs falling on the backs of mothers creates a backfire which paradoxically undermines security within families.
Her new research is an exploration of two-dimensional presentations of self in families. She is particularly interested in how teenagers present themselves in social media, digital photography, and in the college application process. Each of these represents a variant of what she calls the “packaged self,” and she is investigating how these two-dimensional representations affect people’s lives and identities.
Along with her dedication to innovative scholarship, Villalobos is firmly committed to the classroom. She is a multiple award-winning teacher and has garnered top departmental and university teaching honors at U.C. Berkeley, as well as a national teaching award.
|SOC||117a||Sociology of Work and Gender|
|SOC||125b||Self and Society: Who Am I Really?|
|SOC||132b||Social Perspectives on Parenting|
|SOC||138a||Sociology of Gender, Race, and Class|
|SOC||206b||Advanced Topics in Family Studies|
Awards and Honors
Early Career Scholar Award, Work-Family Research Network (2011)
Villalobos, Ana. "Compensatory Connection: Mothers’ Own Stakes in an Intensive Mother-Child Relationship." Journal of Family Issues Prepublished January 21, 2014 as doi:10.1177/0192513X13520157. (2014). (forthcoming)
Villalobos, Ana. "The Free Gift: How U.S. Stay at Home Mothers Sustain Themselves in a Culture of Nonreciprocity." Stay at Home Mothers: An International Perspective. Ed. Elizabeth Reid and Gayle Letherby. Toronto: Demeter Press, 2014 (forthcoming)
Villalobos, Ana. Motherload: "Making it All Better" in Insecure Times. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2014. (forthcoming)
Villalobos, Ana. "The Perils of the ‘Good Mother’ Identity." Eastern Sociological Society conference, invited thematic session on Identity Work, Baltimore, MD. 2/21/2014.
Villalobos, Ana. "Author-Meets-Critic session, organized by Kathleen Gerson." Rev. of For the Family?: How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work, Author-Meets-Critic, by Sarah Damaske. Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting March 2013
Villalobos, Ana. "The Free Gift: How U.S. Stay-Home Mothers Sustain Themselves in a Culture of Nonreciprocity." American Sociological Association annual meeting, New York, NY. 8/10/13.
Villalobos, Ana. "Work-Family Policies in Academia: Causes for Concern and Pathways to Change." Work-Family Research Network Conference. New York, NY. June 2012.
Villalobos, Ana. "“Mothering Without the Ordeal: The Benefits of Not Trying To Impart Ultimate Security in Children”." American Sociological Association annual meeting, Denver, CO. August 2012.
Villalobos, Ana. The Security Backfire: How Overreliance on Motherhood for Security Production Can Cause Security Disturbances. Proc. of Eastern Sociological Society, Miniconference on Security. New York: 2012.
Villalobos, Ana. "Mothering in Fear: How Living in an Insecure-Feeling World Affects Parenting." 21st Century Motherhood: Experience, Identity, Policy, Agency. Ed. Andrea O'Reilly. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010
Villalobos, Ana. "Second Shift/Third Shift." Encyclopedia of Mothering, Sage Press, Thousand Oaks, CA. 2010.
Villalobos, Ana. "The Importance of Breaking Set: Socialized Cognitive Strategies and the Gender Discrepancy in Mathematics." Theory and Research in Education 7. 1 (2009): 27-45.