Joslyn Brenton

Professional Headshot

Assistant Professor

Specialties:  Health & Illness;  Race/Class/Gender; and Social Psychology

Courses: Introduction to Sociology; Health & Illness in Modern Society;  Health Care Around the Globe 

About Me:  I grew up in a rural town in Maine. I had never heard of sociology until I took a course my first year of college. I soon switched my major! After I finished college, I spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, West Africa.  While there, I became fascinated with how other cultures view the body and medicine. Today I study and teach about health and illness (among other things).  I see the classroom as a transformative space for students and for myself.  In my courses I focus on how multiple inequalities (e.g., race, class, and gender) shape the way people think about and experience health and illness.  I love when students ask questions, as I think this is an essential component of learning.  In my course we examine questions like: Is health a basic human right?  Who has the power to define what health and illness mean?  Is Western medicine better than other health practices that have existed for thousands of years?  I look forward to seeing you in my classroom!


  • Ph.D. (2014) North Carolina State University
  • M.S. (2008) North Carolina State University
  • B.A. (2001) University of Maine


  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology of Health & Illness
  • Health & the Family
  • Global Perspectives on Health 
  • Feminism, Food, and Health
  • Brains, Besties, and Bodies: Being a Woman in College (Ithaca First-Year Seminar)

Research Areas:

  • Health & Illness
  • Intersectionality
  • Family
  • Social Psychology
  • Qualitative Methods


     Book:  Bowen, Sarah, Joslyn Brenton and Sinikka Elliott. (Forthcoming 2018) TITLE TBD. Advance contract Oxford University Press. (This book explores the lives of 150 mothers of small children and their efforts to feed them and keep them healthy).

     Peer-Reviewed Articles:

  • Elliott, Sinikka, Joslyn Brenton, and Rachel Powell. 2017. “Brothermothering: Gender, Power, and the Parenting Strategies of Low-Income Black Single Mothers of Teenagers.” Social Problems XXX
  • Brenton, Joslyn. 2017. “The Limits of Intensive Feeding: Maternal Foodwork at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender.” Sociology of Health & Illness 39(6): 863-877.
  • Elliott, Sinikka, Rachel Powell, and Joslyn Brenton. 2015. “Being a Good Mom: Low-Income Black Single Mothers Negotiate Intensive Mothering.” Journal of Family Issues 36(3): 351:370.
  • Bowen, Sarah, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton. 2014. "The Joy of Cooking?" Contexts.
  • Brenton, Joslyn and Sinikka Elliott. 2014. "Undoing Gender? The Case of Complementary and Alternative Medicine." Sociology of Health and Illness 36(1): 91-107.