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Jessica Pfaffendorf

Asst Professor

1911 Bldg NA

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Jessica is a sociologist whose research explores the social reproduction of inequality from a social psychological and cultural perspective. Her work appears in Social Psychology Quarterly, Gender & Society, The Sociological Quarterly, ​​​​​​​Sociological Inquiry, and a number of other public and press outlets. Her work has also received recognition from the American Sociological Association’s sections on Social Psychology and Sex & Gender.

Jessica received her B.A. from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota before moving to the Sonoran Desert to complete a Ph.D. at the University of Arizona. She is a proud McNair Scholar and first-generation college student.

Teaching and Research Interests

Inequality, Social Psychology, Culture, Gender, Qualitative Methods, Experimental Methods

Research Publications

Hill, Terrence, John Bartkowski, Jessica Pfaffendorf, Lacey Ritter, Amy Burdette, and Christopher Ellison. Forthcoming. “Conservative Protestantism, Sexual Insecurity, and Masculine Discrepancy Stress.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Pfaffendorf, Jessica, Andrew P. Davis, and Alexander Kinney. 2021. “Masculinity, Ritual, and Racialized Status Threat: Examining Mass Shooter Manifestos Using Structural Topic Models.” Sociological Inquiry 91(2): 287-312.

Pfaffendorf, Jessica. 2021. “The Double Disadvantage: Using Status and Stigma Processes to Understand Race, Criminal Record, and Moral Expectations in Employment.” Advances in Group Processes 38: 119-142.

Pfaffendorf, Jessica. 2019. “Wayward Elites: From Social Reproduction to Social Restoration at a Therapeutic Boarding School.” Social Psychology Quarterly 82(2): 113-133.

  • Honorable mention, Award for Best Graduate Student PaperAmerican Sociological Association Social Psychology Section, 2018.

Bjorklund, Eric, Andrew P. Davis, and Jessica Pfaffendorf. 2018. “Urine or You’re Out: Racialized Economic Threat and the Determinants of State-Level Drug Testing Requirements for Welfare Applicants in the United States, 2009-2015.” The Sociological Quarterly 59(3): 407-423.

  • Featured in The Society Pages.

Pfaffendorf, Jessica. 2017. “Sensitive Cowboys: Privileged Young Men and the Mobilization of Hybrid Masculinities in a Therapeutic Boarding School.” Gender & Society 31(2): 197-222.

  • Reprinted in Men’s Lives (10th Edition)edited by Michael Kimmel and Michael Messner. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Honorable mention, Sally Hacker Award for Best Graduate Student PaperAmerican Sociological Association Sex and Gender Section, 2018.
  • In the Press: Science Daily, Science Magazine, Psychology Central, MEL Magazine, Healio, UA News

Pfaffendorf, Jessica. 2017. “Reflections on Rehab: Navigating the Disparate System of Substance Abuse Treatment.” In Negotiating the Challenges of Conducting Deeply Personal Research in Health, edited by Alexandra Nowakowski and J.E. Sumerau. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Publishing Group.


B.A. Sociology Augsburg College 2011

M.A. Sociology University of Arizona 2013

Ph.D. Sociology University of Arizona 2019