Ann Shola Orloff Professor of Sociology and
 Board of Lady Managers of the Columbian Exposition Chair

Area(s) of Interest:  Comparative Historical Sociology; Global and Transnational Sociology; Inequality/Stratification; Political Sociology; Race, Gender, and Class; Sex and Gender; Social Policy; Theory

Relevant Links

Comparative-Historical Workshop

Gender and Sexuality Studies Program

Research Committee on Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy RC19

Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies

Social Science History Association

Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society


Ann Orloff is Professor of Sociology and Political Science, and Board of Lady Managers of the Columbian Exposition Chair at Northwestern University.  She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985, and her B.A. from Harvard University in 1975.

Orloff's areas of interest include political sociology, social policy, sociology of gender, historical and comparative sociology, and social and feminist theory. Her research focuses on gendered social policies and feminist politics in the global north.

Orloff is, most recently, the co-editor of Remaking Modernity: Politics, History and Sociology (with Julia Adams and Elisabeth Clemens; Duke, 2005) and the author of States, Markets, Families: Gender, Liberalism and Social Policy in Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the United States (with Julia O'Connor and Sheila Shaver; Cambridge, 1999). She is at work on a manuscript, Toward a Gender-Open Future? Transformations in Gender, Global Capitalism and Systems of Social Provision and Regulation, which aims to describe and explain transformations in global capitalism, gender and social policy – most centrally the increasing support for mothers’ paid employment -- over the last half-century, in the US and Sweden, and the implications of those shifts for feminism.

Orloff continues to co-edit the journal she helped to found, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society. Orloff has held visiting positions at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy), Sciences Po (Paris), and the Australian National University; she was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and has been the recipient of several fellowships, including from the German Marshall Fund, ACLS and AAUW.

At Northwestern, she works with the cluster in Historical and Comparative Social Science and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Courses Taught

SOCIOL 356 / POL SCI 309: Sociology of Gender Syllabus

SOCIOL 439: Comparative and Historical Sociology Syllabus

SOCIOL 476: Comparative and Historical Approaches to Political Analysis Focus: The Many Hands of the State Syllabus



Remaking Modernity: Politics, History, and Sociology (with Julia Adams and Elisabeth Clemens), Duke University Press 2005. Subject of review symposium in International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

States, Markets, Families: Gender, Liberalism and Social Policy in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States (with Julia O'Connor and Sheila Shaver) Cambridge University Press 1999.

The Politics of Pensions: A Comparative Analysis of Britain, Canada and the United States, 1880s-1940. University of Wisconsin Press 1993.

The Politics of Social Policy in the United States (with Margaret Weir and Theda Skocpol) Princeton University Press, 1988.

Articles and Book Chapters

Rethinking Power and Politics, Social Science History 36(2012):1-21    

"Gender," The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Welfare States, ed. S. Liebfried et al. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, pp.252-264.

“Should Feminists Aim for Gender Symmetry?:  Why the Dual-Earner/Dual-Carer Model May Not Be Every Feminist’s Utopia,” pp.129-160 in Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor, edited by Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers.  New York:  Verso, 2009.    

The Power of Gender Perspectives: Feminist Influence on Policy Paradigms, Social Science, and Social Politics (with B. Palier), Social Politics 16(2009):405-412.

Gendering the Comparative Analysis of Welfare States: An Unfinished Agenda. In Sociological Theory 27(2009):317-343.

“Time and Tide...:” Rejoinder to Abbott, Charrad, Goldstone, Mahoney, Riley, Roy, Sewell, Wingrove and Zerilli (with J. Adams and E. S. Clemens), International Journal of Comparative Sociology 47(2006):419-31.

From Maternalism to “employment for all:” State policies to promote women’s employment across the affluent democracies. In The State after Statism, ed. J. Levy, 230-68. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006. Available online as an IPR working paper.