Featured Faculty: Ali Hendley

ali-website-pic Dr. Alexandra “Ali” Hendley joined the Department of Political Science and Sociology in 2014 after earning her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Dr. Hendley is a dynamic new faculty member, an excellent teacher, and an active researcher.


Since arriving at Murray State, she has taught a variety of courses including Sociology of Gender, Sociology of Work, Sociology of Food, and Qualitative Research Methods.

This semester, she is having fun with a small (but excellent) group of students in her “Home Cultures” course. They are examining the sociological literature on the ideology of separate spheres, along with research on domestic consumption, labor, and leisure. Later this semester, they will visit the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY,  to apply what they’ve learned. Dr. Hendley is looking forward to contributing in the spring to a team-taught Gender & Diversity Studies course titled “Identity/Crisis?”.img_0331


Dr. Hendley’s research interests center primarily around the areas of gender and inequalities in work.  Her most recent research focuses on private and personal chefs, workers precariously employed and ambiguously positioned between high- and low-status, male- and female-dominated work. This research, now (or soon to be) published in Cultural Sociology, Advances in Gender Research, and Food & Foodways, examines how the chefs negotiate their identity and status, and in doing so both challenge and reproduce existing occupational and societal hierarchies.

Dr. Hendley is currently in the early stages of a new project examining speeches given by women awardees of the Nobel Prize (who make up only about five percent of laureates). She and her collaborator are interested to see how these women explain their success and if and how they use their visibility to speak to gender inequities in their areas of work or in society at large.

Additional activities and service:

Aside from her work as a teacher and scholar, Dr. Hendley is active in service to the university and community. She has enjoyed helping students move into Clark College during Great Beginnings every August, and she also is a supporting faculty member for the Students of Sociology Club and Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society. She has chaired a CHFA task force on improving the professionalization of our students, and she has also volunteered at the Gentry House, Murray’s non-profit transitional shelter.



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