About Spencer

Spencer is a first-year doctoral student in Sociology at the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor. He received a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Creative Writing from the University of Washington — Seattle in 2010.

Broadly, my research tends to concern questions of how different relational contexts–whether bounded by network structure, organizational characteristics, or particular configurations of physical space–transform, break down, and reproduce particular constellations of identities. These concerns lend themselves well to research in a variety of different environments, and with a broad spectrum of populations–in this regard, I am grateful for Michigan’s highly interdisciplinary program, which has enabled me to establish strong working relationships not only within the Department of Sociology, but also in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), the Department of Women’s Studies, and the University of Michigan Medical School.  I am also affiliated with the University of Michigan’s Graduate Certificate Program in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies.

I am a member of Dr. Jason Owen-Smith’s research team, participating as a research assistant on the M-Cubed Project–more information about M-Cubed is available via my research page.

Prior to undertaking graduate study at Michigan, I worked for several years in the consumer technology repair sector, and I have a continually developing interest in the sociology of technology and communications; this interest has manifested itself most recently in a research project concerning the role that digital community networks have played in the development of what is currently being called the neurodiversity movement.  Another current project considers issues of physicality and embodiment in transgender and gender-variant populations, and how variations in the embodiment and enactment of trans* identity may work to influence gendered social development preceding (and following) biomedical transition.  Full abstracts for the work mentioned above, as well as working abstracts for other current and prior projects, are accessible via my research page. Other research interests include sex and gender, sexualities (broadly defined), bodies and embodiment, digital anthropology, critical geographies and the sociology of space, narrative and memory, collective action and social movements, dis/ability, qualitative and ethnographic methods, queer and trans* identity “work,” and the sociology of education.

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