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Travis Beaver

Dr. Travis Beaver

Assistant Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, & Social Work

 

About Me

I fell in love with sociology because the discipline gave me the conceptual tools to make sense of my life experiences and the world around me. In Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective, Peter Berger compares taking on a sociological perspective to the “culture shock” that one experiences when traveling to new places. Although sociology is sometimes disparaged as simply being “common sense,” Berger identifies a “debunking motif” that runs through the best sociological thought. My teaching aims at challenging common sense understandings of the world by cultivating a “critical sense” in my students. This cultivation of a critical sense involves encouraging students to ask why and how social structures came into being, whose interests are served by the current structure of society, and how structures that produce inequality can be transformed to create a more just society. Through lecture and class discussion, I help students make connections between the course material and their own life experiences. By making sociology resonate with students, I encourage them to approach their taken-for-granted social worlds with a sense of culture shock.

Research/Creative Interests

Areas of interest: Gender, Men and Masculinities, Sexualities, Theory, Qualitative Methods

For my Master’s thesis, “Roller Derby Revolution: Gender, Sexuality, and Power in an Alternative Sport,” I conducted an ethnographic study of three leagues in the women’s roller derby revival. This research examined the ways that alternative sports can serve as a site for challenging stereotypes about women that contribute to gender inequality. One chapter from the thesis, “‘By the Skaters, for the Skaters’: The DIY Ethos of the Roller Derby Revival” was published in Journal of Sport and Social Issues. Another chapter, "Roller Derby Uniforms: The Pleasures and Dilemmas of Sexualized Attire," was published in International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

My doctoral dissertation, “Johnny Are You Queer?: The Sexual and Gender Politics of Ambiguous Sexual Identity,” examined how the increasing visibility and acceptance of gays and lesbians has impacted heterosexual identities. For this project I conducted life history interviews with straight-identified men who are perceived as gay. These interviews explored how these men manage their heterosexual identity in a cultural context in which people who are not gender normative are assumed to be gay. This project challenges the reified, and normative, connection between gender presentation and sexual orientation by highlighting queer crossings within heterosexuality. A chapter from this research will be published by NYU Press in a forthcoming edited volume called Male Femininities.

In addition to my own research, I support undergraduate research by serving on the Senior Editorial Board of the Journal of Undergraduate Ethnography.

Publications

Beaver, Travis. Forthcoming. "Trapped in the Glass Closet: Feminine Straight Men and the Politics of Coming Out." in Male Femininities, ed. Dana Berkowitz. New York: New York University Press.

Beaver, Travis. 2016. “Roller Derby Uniforms: The Pleasures and Dilemmas of Sexualized Attire.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 51(6):639-57.

Beaver, Travis. 2012. “‘By the skaters, for the skaters’ The DIY Ethos of the Roller Derby Revival." Journal of Sport and Social Issues. 36(1): 25-49.

Contact Information

Travis.Beaver@mcla.edu

Office: Murdock 328

413.662.5190

Office Hours
Spring 2019

Mondays, 11 am-12 pm
Fridays, 11 am-1 pm

Google Scholar

 

Education

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

M.A., University of Texas at Austin

B.A., University of Texas at Austin


Courses Taught

SOCI 201: Social Problems

SOCI 312: Sociological Theory

SOCI 395: Men & Masculinities

SOCI 395: Sociology of Identity