Faculty: Dr. Lara Descartes

Division of Sociology and Family Studies
Office:  St. James 124
Email: ldescart@uwo.ca
Telephone: 519-432-8353 x28059

 Academic Background

  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ph.D. in Anthropology, April, 2002
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, M.A. in Anthropology, April, 1995
  • University of California, Los Angeles, California, M.S. in Astronomy, June, 1992
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, B.S. in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, May, 1990

Research and Scholarly Interests

  • Gay and lesbian health
  • Mothering
  • Popular culture and family
  • Work and family
  • Support relationships

Work History

  • 2008–present, Associate Professor, Family Studies, Brescia University College
  • 2011–14, Chair, Division of Sociology and Family Studies, Brescia University College
  • 2011–14, Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Sociology,
    University of Western Ontario
  • 2008–11, Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
  • 2002–08, Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut
  • 2002, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for the Ethnography of Everyday Life, University of Michigan

Publications

Peer Reviewed

  • Descartes, L., Asencio, M., & Blank, T. (2011). Paying project participants: Dilemmas in conducting research with poor, marginalized populations. Advances in Social Work, 12(2), 1–9.
  • England, D., Descartes, L., & Collier-Meek, M. (2011). Gender role portrayal and the Disney princesses. Sex Roles, 64, 555-567. DOI 10.1007/s11199-011-9930-7.
  • Asencio, M., Blank, T., Descartes, L., & Crawford, A. (2009). The prospect of prostate cancer: A challenge for gay men’s sexualities as they age. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 6(4), 38–51.
  • Blank, T. O., Asencio, M., Descartes, L., & Griggs, J. (2009). Aging, health, and GLBTQ family and community life. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 5, 9–34.
  • Descartes, L., Kottak, C. P., & Kelly, A. (2007). Chauffeuring and commuting: A story of work, family, class, and community. Community, Work, and Family, 10, 161–178.
  • Descartes, L. (2007). Exchange in adult sibling relationships: Support and tension. International Journal of Sociology of the Family, 22, 303–325.
  • Descartes, L. (2007). Rewards and challenges of using ethnography in family research. Family and Consumer Science Research Journal, 36, 22–39.
  • Descartes, L. (2007). Variations in support exchange by marital status and gender. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 38, 645–650.
  • Descartes, L. (2006). Put your money where your love is: Parental aid to adult children. Journal of Adult Development, 13, 137–147.
  • Thronson, H., Majewski, S., Descartes, L., & Hereld, M. (1990). A subdued interpretation of the visual and infrared emission from merging galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 364, 456–470.

In preparation

  • Descartes, L., & Goldman, J. Desirability of foods depicted in popular children’s literature: A content analysis.

Non-peer reviewed

  • Descartes, L. (2010). Review of Longing and belonging: Parents, children, and consumer culture, by Allison J. Pugh. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 41, 478.
  • Bubriski, A., & Descartes, L. (2007). African American family strategies for moving into and staying in the middle class. Family Focus, National Council on Family Relations Report, FF33, F5-F7.
  • Descartes, L. (2002). A comparative study of informal support networks in Culver City, California. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, Michigan.
  • Descartes, L., Kottak, C. P., & Kelly, A. (2002). Moms and minivans: Maintaining a middle class lifestyle in a small town. University of Michigan CEEL Working Paper 032-02.
  • Descartes, L., & Kottak, C. P. (2001). Media in the middle: Work, family, and media use in a middle class Midwestern town. University of Michigan CEEL Working Paper 023-01.
  • Descartes, L., & Kottak, C. P. (2000). Media and the work/family interface. University of Michigan CEEL Working Paper 007-00.
  • Descartes, L. (1999). Surveying the big city. Anthropology Newsletter, 40(3), 26. An invited piece for the series Anthropological Approaches to Middle-Class Working Families.
  • Thronson, H., Majewski, S., Hereld, M., & Descartes, L. (1990). The stellar and dust emission from NGC 6240. In R. Elston, Ed., Astrophysics with Infrared Arrays (pp. 60-62). San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
  • Descartes, L., Majewski, S., Thronson, H., & Hereld, M. (1989). Near infrared imaging of the merging galaxy NGC 6240. Bulletins of the American Astronomical Society, 22, 999.

Edited Volume

  • Rudd, E., & Descartes, L. (Eds.). (2008). The changing landscape of work and family in the American middle class: Reports from the field. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • Blank, T., Asencio, M., & Descartes, L. (2012). Issues in the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in couple and family therapy. In J. Bigner & J. Wetchler (Eds.), The Handbook of LGBT-Affirmative Couple and Family Therapy (pp. 299–312). New York: Routledge.
  • Blank, T., Asencio, M., Descartes, L., and Griggs, J. (2010). Older GLBT family and community life: Contemporary experiences, realities and future directions. Republished: C. A. Fruhauf & D. Mahoney (Eds.), Older GLBT family and community life. London: Routledge.
  • Descartes, L., & Rudd, E. (2008). Changing landscapes of work and family. In E. Rudd & L. Descartes, Eds., The changing landscape of work and family in the American middle class: Reports from the field (pp. 1–14). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Descartes, L., & Kottak, C. P. (2008). Patrolling the boundaries of childhood in middle class “ruburbia.” In E. Rudd & L. Descartes, Eds., The changing landscape of work and family in the American middle class: Reports from the field (pp. 141-155). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Chapters in Edited Volumes, forthcoming

  • Descartes, L., Asencio, M., Blank, T. O., & Crawford, A. Gay men, prostates, and knowledge about prostate cancer. What every gay man needs to know about prostate cancer. G. Perlman (Ed.). New York: Magnus Books.

Book

  • Descartes, L., & Kottak, C. P. (2009). Media and middle class moms:  Images and realities of work and family. New York: Routledge.

Reviews of Publications

  • Cody-Rydzewski, S. (2010). Review of Rudd, E. & Descartes, L. (2008). The changing landscape of work and family in the American middle class: Reports from the field. Gender & Society, 24, 267–269.
  • Usdansky, M. (2009). Review of Rudd, E. & Descartes, L. (2008). The changing landscape of work and family in the American middle class: Reports from the field. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 1, 170–173.

Professional Memberships

Canadian Sociological Association, Vanier Institute of the Family, National Council on Family Relations, American Anthropological Association

Grants

  • 2011: Brescia University College Research Grant Single Lesbian Mothers. $500.
  • 2010: Brescia University College Research Grant Single Lesbian Mothers—Family Identity, Parenting, Social Support. $1,000.
  • 2007: Marchionne Foundation Gay men and prostate cancer:  Exploring an invisible health issue.  PI Thomas O. Blank (University of Connecticut), Co-PIs Marysol Asencio (University of Connecticut) and Lara Descartes (University of Connecticut).  Qualitative, exploratory research on gay men’s experiences of prostate cancer. $31,214.
  • 2007: University of Connecticut Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention Gay men and prostate cancer:  Exploring an invisible health issue.  PI Thomas O. Blank (University of Connecticut), Co-PIs Marysol Asencio and Lara Descartes (University of Connecticut).  Qualitative, exploratory research on gay men’s experiences of prostate cancer. $5,000.
  • 2004: University of Connecticut Research Foundation Faculty Large Grant  A qualitative study of exchange between parents and adult children and between siblings among middle class African Americans of different wealth statuses. Award to conduct interview-based research on African American family support networks in the Greater Hartford area. $6,278.
  • 2003: Hartford Consortium for Higher Education  Award to sponsor event series entitled Urban politics and urban culture:  Poverty, race, and social action in Hartford, 1969/2003 (co-authors Susan Pennybacker and Luis Figueroa (Trinity College), Robert Fisher (University of Connecticut), John Christie and Peggy Schuler (Capital Community College)). $2,500.
  • 1997: National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant  American families and kinship:  Ideology and practice.  Dissertation research award to implement fieldwork. $11,564.

Teaching Experience

Brescia University College
2008–present | Family Studies Undergraduate Courses:

  • FS 1020 –  Introduction to Family Studies
  • FS 2200E – Current Issues in Family Studies, Essay Course
  • FS 3325B – Diversity and the Canadian Family
  • FS 4220A – Theoretical Perspectives in Family Studies Research
  • FS 4403 – Practicum in Family Studies

University of Connecticut
2002–08 | Human Development and Family Studies Undergraduate Courses:

  • HDFS 201 – Diversity Issues in Human Development and Family Studies
  • HDFS 270 – Low Income Families
  • HDFS 272 – Family and Work
  • HDFS 277 – Issues in Human Sexuality
  • HDFS 278 – Family in Society

Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Courses:

  • HDFS 304 – Qualitative Research Methods
  • HDFS 377 – Human Sexuality

Conference Posters and Presentations,
past 6 years

  • Descartes, L. (2012, Apr.). Single lesbian moms. Presented at Queer Research Day, University of Western Ontario London, ON.
  • Descartes, L. (2012, Apr.). The representation of single lesbian mothers in parenting and family literature. Presented at the annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association, Boston, MA.
  • Descartes, L. (2011, Oct.). Single lesbian moms. Presented at the International Conference on Mothering, Education and Maternal Pedagogies, Toronto, ON.
  • Descartes, L. (2010, Nov.). Media matter: Comparison, connection, and common ground. Presented at the American Anthropological Association for the annual meeting, New Orleans, LA.
  • Descartes, L., & Hart, S. (2010, March). Prostate cancer and gay men.  To be presented at the annual meeting of Rainbow Health Ontario, Toronto, ON. (also with T. Blank, M. Asencio, A. Crawford, D. Latini, D. Coon).
  • Blank, T., Asencio, M., Descartes, L., & Crawford, A. (2009, November). The intersection of aging, sexuality, and the prostate: Gay and bisexual men’s perspectives. Presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Portland, OR.
  • Blank, T., Asencio, M., Descartes, L., & Crawford, A. (2009, April). Men’s knowledge and attitudes about the prostate and prostate cancer. Presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Montreal, QC.
  • Descartes, L., & Bubriski, A. (2007, November). African American family strategies for moving into and staying in the middle class. Presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Descartes, L., & Kottak, C. P. (2006, February). Middle class life in a small town:  Work, family, and gender. Presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston, MA.