Phyllis L Baker Ph.D.

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Teaching Professor of Sociology

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Biography

Phyllis Baker is a Teaching Professor of Sociology and Special Assistant to the President,  Office of the President, University of Illinois System.  She arrived at UIUC Fall 2015.  Dr. Baker hails from the University of Northern Iowa where she was most recently the Department Head of theDepartment of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology.  Professor Baker has also been Director of theWomen’s and Gender Studies and Associate Dean in the College of Social and BehavioralSciences.  She was an American Council ofEducation Fellow 2011-2012 placed in the Office of the Provost at theUniversity of Iowa.  She is an alumnus ofthe Office of Women in Higher Education Regional Women’s Leadership Forum andthe Higher Education Resource Services Denver Summer Institute.  Professor Baker received her Ph.D. in Sociologyfrom the University of California, San Diego. 

Professor Baker’s scholarship andteaching frame her concerns about inequalities. One of her most recent publications uses survey data to explore genderdifferences in sexual socialization as a determinant of hooking up by collegestudents.  Another is an ethnographicanalysis of high school wrestling.  Sheand her co-author found that the behavior of high school wrestlers fell along agender continuum between an orthodox masculinity and an orthodox femininity makingit necessary to understand men’s sporting behavior within framework of gender,not just masculinity. 

Along with her collaborator ProfessorLeicht, Professor Baker is currently involved in cross national research on therelationship between growing economic inequality among men and women’swell-being.  Observers, policy analystsand NGO’s around the world point to the importance of increasing the autonomyand status of women as the key to creating more just and viable societies. Yetthis emphasis has come with apparent increases in public, gender-based backlashviolence (public rapes, honor killings, and the rise of violent groups bent onrestoring patriarchy). The research combines observations about growing classinequality among men with theories of male overcompensation andtransaction-cost analyses of path-dependence and sunk costs to explain thegendered violence.

In addition to her research, teaching, and administrativeroles, Dr. Baker is President of the Midwest Sociological Society.

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Gender
  • Qualitative Sociology
  • Cross National Research on Gendered Violence

Research Description

  • Professor Baker's current research explores globalization, development, and public violence against women.  She integrates social psychological and economic sociology to explain public gang rape, honor killings, enslavement, and domestic militias.

Education

  • Ph.D. Sociology, University of California, San Diego

Distinctions / Awards

  • President, Midwest Sociological Society

Courses

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology of Gender