Celene Reynolds

Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow


I am a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University with research and teaching interests in law and organizations, comparative and historical sociology, gender and sexuality, and higher education. I am also an affiliate of the Center for the Study of Inequality and a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Organizational Behavior.

My research centers on understanding inequality in organizations and the laws designed to reduce it. My book manuscript (under advanced contract with Princeton University Press) examines the case of Title IX, the 1972 US civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools. Today, Title IX is well-known for outlawing sexual harassment on college campuses. But Title IX was not created to confront sexual harassment, nor does the statute even mention sexual harassment. Drawing on new data and multiple methods, I explain this striking change. I argue that interactions between feminist students and feminist lawyers produced a new use for the law as well as a broader shift in the meaning of equal educational opportunity. The project clarifies how people within the organizations regulated by law not only creatively define the meaning of compliance. They also introduce innovative interpretations of law that stimulate cultural changes in norms of behavior and material shifts in the balance of rights and powers in society at large.

A related article is conditionally accepted at the American Journal of Sociology. I have also published in Social Problems, Organization, Qualitative Sociology, and Socius. My research has received support from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy and won multiple awards from ASA sections.