Rosanna Hertz

Rosanna Hertz is the 1919-1950 Reunion Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies.

In broad terms, Professor Hertz studies families and how they respond to economic and technological change. Her focus is on how social inequality at home and in the workplace shape the experiences of women and men. For example, she is interested in the pivotal moments that influence the behavior of women as leaders. Another stream of her research looks at the complexity of “modern families” created through the use of donor gametes and embryos and how the Internet is both revolutionizing the choices for people seeking to enter into third-party reproduction arrangements and creating new possibilities for connection. Professor Hertz has written several books and numerous articles on these topics.

Currently on sabbatical, Rosanna is finishing a co-authored book based upon in-depth interviews with donor-conceived children and their parents. In addition, she is completing research on families who cross-borders from various parts of the Europe, the U.K. and related countries to find egg donors and to use advanced reproductive technologies to create a child.

Rosanna considers her signature classes to be her survey course — “Modern Families and Social Inequalities — and her advanced seminar — “Families, Gender, The State and Social Policy.” These courses start by reading works by feminist scholars. Feminist scholarship demonstrates that family life is embedded in race, class, gender, sexuality and other social structures that shape our understanding and experience of the social world. Yet, one of the intriguing questions is whether any of these variables (or their intersections) are reflected in U.S policies in both the private and public sectors. Her students grapple with trying questions, like why the U.S might (or might not) promote gender equality in public and private sectors while social policies are not distributed equally.

Professor Hertz has recently launched a new seminar, “Women Leadership in the Workplace” Questions this course considers include: (1) Why are there so few women leaders in work settings? (2) What can we learn about leadership from women who have achieved it?

Her research is funded by the National Science Foundation (2014-2017). Supported by special funds, she has enjoyed teaching undergraduates qualitative research methods. Students traveled with her to various research sites to conduct interviews. She has also been awarded Fellowships at the Brocher Foundation in Switzerland and the Whiting Foundation in the U.S. In 2016 she was a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, Petrie-Flem Center for Health-Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics.