Carla A. Pfeffer

Carla A.  Pfeffer
  • Associate Professor
  • School of Social Work
  • PhD, University of Michigan


Carla A. Pfeffer completed her PhD and MA in Sociology, Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, and MSW in Social Policy and Evaluation at the University of Michigan, where she received interdisciplinary, multi-method training in the social sciences and humanities. Her research is at the intersection of critical inquiry into contemporary families, genders, health, sexualities, and bodies considered marginal, as well as social actors’ management of stigma and discrimination processes. Her research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and American Council of Learned Societies. Her book, Queering Families: The Postmodern Partnerships of Cisgender Women and Transgender Men was published by Oxford University Press (2017). Her scholarship has received awards from the National Council on Family Relations and the American Sociological Association sections on Sex and Gender and Sexualities. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses focusing on: race, class, gender, and sexualities; sex, gender, and society; body and embodiment; the family; LGBTQIA+ identities; social problems; feminist theory, methods, and epistemologies; qualitative methods; and social work practice with women. In her previous faculty position at the University of South Carolina, she was Associate Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies and served as Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. In the American Sociological Association, she has served as elected Chair of the section on Sexualities and Secretary-Treasurer of the section on Body and Embodiment. She’s served as an invited reviewer for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Health Research Council of New Zealand, National Science Centre of Poland, American Council of Learned Societies, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, more than seventy journals and academic presses, and on the editorial boards of Fat Studies, Gender & Society, Journal of Homosexuality, Journal of Marriage and Family, Michigan Feminist Studies, Sociological Forum, and Socius. She is currently Director of the Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health, an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Sociology and the Center for Gender in Global Context at Michigan State University.

Curriculum Vitae

Carla A. Pfeffer


Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health

Center for Gender in Global Context



Pfeffer, Carla A. “Fat Activism and Beauty Politics.” (2021). In Maxine B. Craig (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Beauty Politics (pp. 167-175). New York: Routledge Companion.

 Riggs, Damien W., Pfeffer, Carla A., Pearce, Ruth, Hines, Sally, and White, Francis Ray. (2021). “Men, Trans/Masculine, and Non-Binary People Negotiating Conception: Normative Resistance and Inventive Pragmatism.” International Journal of Transgender Health, 22(1-2):6-17.

 Riggs, Damien, Pearce, Ruth, Pfeffer, Carla A., Hines, Sally, White, Francis Ray, and Ruspini, Elisabetta. (2019). “Transnormativity in the Psy Disciplines: Constructing Pathology in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and Standards of Care.” American Psychologist, 74(8):912-924.

Santos, Theo, Mann, Emily, and Pfeffer, Carla A. (2019). “Are University Health Services Meeting the Needs of Transgender College Students? A Qualitative Assessment of a Public University.” Journal of American College Health, 69(1):59-66.

Pfeffer, Carla A. (2017). Queering Families: The Postmodern Partnerships of Cisgender Women and Transgender Men. New York: Oxford University Press.

Augustine, Jennifer March, Aveldanes, Jose Martin, and Pfeffer, Carla A. (2017). “Are the Parents Alright? Time in Self-Care in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Two-Parent Families with Children.” Population Review 56(2):49-77.

 Scherrer, Kristin, and Pfeffer, Carla A. (2017). “None of the Above: Toward Identity and Community-Based Understandings of (A)sexualities.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 46(3):643-646.

Pfeffer, Carla A. (2014). “‘I Don’t Like Passing as a Straight Woman’: Queer Negotiations of Identity and Social Group Membership.” American Journal of Sociology 120(1):1-44.

Pfeffer, Carla A. (2012). “Normative Resistance and Inventive Pragmatism: Negotiating Structure and Agency in Transgender Families.” Gender & Society 26(4):574-602.

Pfeffer, Carla A. (2010). “‘Women’s Work?’: Women Partners of Transgender Men Doing Housework and Emotion Work.” Journal of Marriage and Family 72(1):165-183.