Laura Backstrom received her BA in Sociology from Fordham University in 2006 and her MA in Sociology from Indiana University in 2008. Her research centers on social problems related to gender, sexuality, and the body. Her dissertation focuses on how childhood obesity is constructed as a social problem that links controlling children’s body weight to self-actualization and the social order. Using ethnographic methods, she examines how childhood obesity prevention programs problematize everyday life and how resocialization processes take place within these programs.
With co-authors Elizabeth Armstrong and Jennifer Puentes, she has published on how young women navigate changing sexual norms in hook ups and relationships (Journal of Sex Research 2012). Her latest article in Sociological Forum (September 2012) traces the presentation of extreme body sizes from the historical freak show to contemporary reality television shows and asks whether cultural representations dwarfism and obesity have changed over time. In addition to her research, she enjoys teaching Sexual Diversity, Deviant Behavior & Social Control, and Social Problems. She was honored to receive the Sutherland Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Sociology Department in 2011.