Jessica Calarco

Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences IU Bloomington

Office phone:

Areas of Expertise

Education, schools, teachers, family, parents, children, inequality, help-seeking, homework, parent involvement, PTOs, digital divide, health, decision-making, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, vaccines, screen time (children's media use), social networks.

Expert Bio

Jessica Calarco is an associate professor of sociology at IU Bloomington. Her current research examines challenges families face in following medical recommendations. The Pandemic Parenting Study, with Amy Knopf at the IU School of Nursing, uses longitudinal surveys, daily diaries and interviews to understand how families with young children are responding to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and recommendations for social distancing. The Social Networks and Parenting Study, with Elaine Hernandez in the Department of Sociology, uses longitudinal surveys and interviews to identify factors shaping decisions about vaccines, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and screen time.

Calarco's previous research discusses how inequalities impact families, students and schools. "Negotiating Opportunities" (Oxford 2018) reveals how affluent white children and parents leverage their privilege to secure unfair advantages in schools. In other work, she shows how digital divides among college students contribute to unequal academic and health outcomes. Her "A Field Guide to Grad School" (Princeton 2020) uncovers the hidden curriculum of grad school, teaching students what they're expected to know that isn't taught in class.

Calarco is active on Twitter and has written for The Atlantic, The Conversation and Inside Higher Ed. Her research has been featured in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, and she has been interviewed on NPR, BBC and CNN.

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Additional Information

Twitter: @JessicaCalarco

Non-IU web page:

Parenting in academia and academia on parenting:

Articles by Calarco in The Atlantic:

Inside Higher Ed: When Their Kids Don't Make the Cut:

The Upshot: The Relentlessness of Modern Parenting:

EdSurge: How One Professor Uses Podcasts to Teach Empathy and Social Justice:

Council on Contemporary Families:

Google Scholars:

Updated on: May 11, 2021