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Jessica Pfaffendorf

Assistant 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

PfaffendorfJessica. Forthcoming. “The Double Disadvantage: Using Status and Stigma Processes to Understand Race, Criminal Record, and Moral Expectations in Employment.” Advances in Group Processes.

​​​​​​​Pfaffendorf, Jessica, Andrew P. Davis, and Alexander Kinney. Forthcoming. “Masculinity, Ritual, and Racialized Status Threat: Examining Mass Shooter Manifestos Using Structural Topic Models.” Sociological Inquiry.

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