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Jennifer M. Silva is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Saguaro Seminar. She received a PhD in Sociology from the University of Virginia in 2010 and a BA in Sociology and French from Wellesley College in 2004. As a qualitative researcher, Jen spent the last year traveling across the United States, interviewing young adults and their parents about the challenges of growing up today. Her work documents growing class gaps in a wide range of practices including parenting, romantic relationships, civic and political engagement, college preparation, and trust.
From 2010-2012, Jen was a National Science Foundation and American Sociological Association Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. Her book, Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty, examines how working-class young men and women navigate the transition to adulthood in a climate of job insecurity, family instability, and deepening inequality. Through in-depth interviews, she finds that working-class adulthood is being dramatically re-imagined along lines of work, family, commitment, trust, and dignity. This book will be published by Oxford University Press in August 2013.
Jen's research and teaching interests include inequality, gender and family, culture, the transition to adulthood, and qualitative methods. Her previous work has explored the transition to adulthood for working-class youth (American Sociological Review, 2012), gender negotiation in the military (Social Forces, 2008), and working-class parenting (Sociological Inquiry, 2010). She recently enjoyed teaching a junior tutorial called "Coming of Age in the 21st Century" in the Sociology Department at Harvard.