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/Identity, Gender
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 focus on mothers’ own subjectivities and longings allows her to explore aspects of the mothering relationship that have been previously underdeveloped. For example, prior research on intensive mothering frames mothers’ increasing involvement, scheduling, or advocacy for their children as women’s attempts to protect their children from physical and emotional harm, or to give their children a competitive edge through this intense involvement. Villalobos adds to this a thorough investigation of women’s own stakes in an intensive mother-child relationship and how such intensity often serves the mother as well.
Villalobos’s recent book, Motherload: Making it All Better in Insecure Times, published by the University of California Press in 2014, develops that theme, and more broadly examines how families cope with societal insecurity by relying on intensive mothering as their individualistic solutions. The book introduces her concept of the motherload, defined as the assumption that “correct mothering” can, in fact, remedy economic, physical and emotional threats for mothers or children. However, Villalobos documents how the pressure of a whole society’s worth of security-needs falling on the backs of this one relationship creates a backfire that paradoxically undermines security within families.
Villalobos is now pursuing a new line of research exploring how teenagers present themselves in social media, digital photography, and in the college application process. She calls these two-dimensional self-presentations variants of the “packaged self,” and is currently in the process of interviewing teens in order to learn how the process of two-dimensional self-packaging affects not only how they present themselves, but also—as she is finding—how they live their lives in order to be able to present themselves in these platforms. Furthermore, she is exploring the effects on self-understanding of having abundant time to edit one’s social media posts, tweek photos, or send one’s college application essays through multitudinous hands. While teens may initially stand at a distance and recognize the instrumental purposes of this pre-launch work of deliberately crafting a 2-D self to deploy, she is finding the ability to look back over the final product weaves itself into young people’s narrative understanding of their own lives and in turn affects their evolving sense of self.
Along with her dedication to innovative scholarship, Villalobos is firmly committed to teaching and learning. She is a multiple award-winning teacher (and is herself fueled and enlivened by the learning communities she finds in her classrooms).
Villalobos won the 2014 Wellington Prize at Brandeis in which the prize money is intended merely to create joy. Here, in the thank you song she wrote for the guitar she purchased with the money, one also gets a glimpse of how she feels about being a part of the sociological discipline at Brandeis:
|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. "Review of Mothers, Mothering and Motherhood Across Cultural Differences." Rev. of Mothers, Mothering and Motherhood Across Cultural Differences, by Andrea O’Reilly (ed.). Gender & Society vol. Pre-published on-line as DOI: 10.1177/0891243214559518 November 10, 2014 (forthcoming)
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. "“Mothers Out in the Cold: The Human Face of U.S. Work, Family and Immigration Policies"." Rev. of “Motherhood Manifesto” and “La Americana”, by Laura Pacheco & Nicholas Bruckman. Films for the Feminist Classroom vol. 5(2) 2015
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
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. Motherload: "Making it All Better" in Insecure Times. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 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.