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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 Shola Orloff is Professor of Sociology and Political Science and Board of Lady Managers of the Colombian Exposition Chair at Northwestern University; earlier in her career, she was Professor of Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been a visiting professor at the European University Institute in Florence several times. She holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and an A.B. from Harvard University. Her interests include gender, social policies and feminist politics in historical, comparative and global perspective, and social theory. Orloff is the co-editor of Remaking Modernity: Politics, History and Sociology (with Julia Adams and Elisabeth Clemens; Duke, 2005), 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), the co-author (with Talia Shiff) of “Feminists in Power: Rethinking Gender Equality After the Second Wave,” in Emerging Trends In The Social and Behavioral Sciences, edited by Robert Kosslyn and Robert Scott (John Wiley & Sons, 2015), and a co-editor of “Perverse Politics? Feminism, Anti-Imperialism, Multiplicity,” (with Raka Ray and Evren Savci), a special issue of Political Power and Social Theory (2016), among other works. Her most recent book is Many Hands of the State: Theorizing Political Authority and Social Control, co-edited with Kimberly Morgan (Cambridge University Press, 2017). She is completing a manuscript, Farewell to Maternalism, Toward a Gender-Open Future? Transformations in Gender, Employment and Social Policies, in which she examines changes toward support for maternal employment in welfare and employment policies in the U.S. and Sweden over the last half century. Orloff is past President of the Social Science History Association and of RC 19, the Research Committee on Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy of the International Sociological Association, and was a founder of Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 2014-15; she has also held visiting positions at Sciences Po (Paris), the Institute for Future Studies (Stockholm), and the Australian National University (Canberra) and was a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and the recipient of fellowships from the German Marshall Fund, ACLS and AAUW. At Northwestern, she has served as Director of the Gender Studies Program and Chair of the Department of Sociology; she is active in the Gender & Sexuality Studies Program and the Comparative and Historical Social Science cluster.

Courses Taught

SOCIOL 309/POLI SCI 390: Political Sociology Syllabus

SOCIOL 332/GNDR ST 331: Work and Occupations: Focus on Gender Syllabus

SOCIOL 356/GNDR ST 351: 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.

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