Celene Reynolds

Celene Reynolds

Assistant Professor, Sociology


  • Ph.D. in Sociology (with Distinction), Yale University, 2019
  • M.A. in Sociology, Yale University, 2013
  • M.A. in Social Sciences, University of Chicago, 2011
  • B.A. in Sociology, Wellesley College, 2009

About Celene Reynolds

I am Assistant Professor of Sociology. I earned my PhD in Sociology from Yale University in 2019 and completed postdoctoral fellowships at both Cornell University and the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy at the University at Buffalo School of Law before joining IU. 

I study gender inequality in organizations and the laws designed to reduce it. My forthcoming book (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 creative coalitions 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. 

I am building on this research in two new collaborative projects. The first (with Professor Vida Maralani, Cornell Sociology) examines individual experiences of and institutional responses to sex discrimination in American higher education. We use an original dataset based on information contained in more than 1,300 letters from the U.S. Department of Education to schools that have allegedly violated Title IX. These data provide insight into the longstanding problem of sex discrimination as it unfolds in colleges and universities across the country.  

The second project (with Professor Elizabeth Armstrong and Professor Sandra Levitsky, Michigan Sociology) examines the causes of political backlash against US policies that seek to enhance gender equity in education. We investigate the bipartisan countermovement against enhanced protections for victims of sexual misconduct on campus under Title IX. 

My work appears in the American Journal of Sociology, Organization, Qualitative Sociology, Social Problems, Social Science Research, and Socius. It has received support from the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy and awards from several sections of the American Sociological Association.