Natalie Jolly, Ph.D.

Lecturer ; Graduate Faculty

Specialty: Women's Studies, Childbirth, Motherhood

Jolly, Natalie

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: JOY 214E
Phone: 253-692-4680


  • Ph.D., Women's Studies and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, 2007.
  • M.A., Geography & Urban Analysis, California State University, Los Angeles, 2001.
  • B.A., Environmental Studies and Philosophy, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1998.


I am a feminist sociologist interested in pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. My curiosity has led me to study birth in a variety of contexts, ranging from Amish homebirth to scheduled cesarean deliveries. My courses consider how we learn to be a woman or a man in our society, and what that means for other aspects of our lives, such as our careers, our relationships, our sexuality, and our entertainment.


In my research, I use birth as a point of entry into a discussion of women and gender in society and am interested to investigate how the birthing process can be read as a reflection of cultural patterns within social life. More specifically, I am concerned with the ways in which women birth, and want to figure out how womens birth experiences may be shaped by various social forces.

For many women, birth marks a transformative female experience and is laden with great social significance. Looking into womens birth choices offer us unique insights into how womens relationships to their own bodies are mediated by various cultural pressures.

My research is interdisciplinary and draws strength from the variety of innovative work happening within the fields of Sociology, Feminist Theory, Nursing, Anthropology and Geography. Research that investigates childbirth not only makes an important contribution to the disciplines of Womens Studies, Sociology, Geography and Cultural Studies, it also critically engages popular trends in current birth practices and offers a much needed critique of medicalized practices that are increasingly characterizing modern birth.


I teach a range of courses that share a focus on making power visible. From introductory courses to those at the upper division, my course content asks students to consider their everyday world as a site for investigating what they know, how they know it and exploring the consequences of that knowledge. I am excited when students bring popular culture into our analysis, and encourage students to find ways to make these socio-cultural critiques relevant to their own daily lives.

My courses include:

  • TSOC 165 An Introduction to Sociology
  • TSOC 455 The Sociology of Gender
  • TWOMN 100 An Introduction to Women's Studies
  • TWOMN 250 A Seminar in Service Learning: A Feminist Approach
  • TWOMN 251 Gender and Popular Culture
  • TWOMN 302 Feminist Research Methods
  • TAMST 440 Gender and American Childhood

Selected Publications

  • Natalie Jolly (forthcoming) "In This World, But Not Of It: Midwives on the Margin of Amish Society." Sociological Research Online.
  • Natalie Jolly (2010) Childbirth. Encyclopedia of Motherhood. Sage Publications. p 183-189.
  • Natalie Jolly (2007) Feminism tastes Using Social Bookmarking in the Womens Studies Classroom. Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Womens Studies Resources. 28(2)
  • Natalie Jolly (2007). Cesarean, Celebrity and Childbirth: Students Encounter Modern Birth and the Question of Female Embodiment. In Springgay, Stephanie and Deb Freedman (Eds.) Curriculum and the cultural body. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Group.
  • Natalie Jolly (2007). Service in Womens Studies: Seven Simple Strategies to setting up a Service Learning Project. In A Handbook on Service Learning in Womens Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies and the Disciplines. The Institute for Teaching and Research on Women.
  • Natalie Jolly (2006) To Join the Feminist Blogosphere, Click Here! Blogging and the Womens Studies Curriculum. Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Womens Studies Resources. 27(2)


In Tacoma, I have partnered with:

  • Boys and Girls Club - Al Davies Branch (
  • OASIS Youth Center for GLBT Youth (
  • Planned Parenthood (
  • RAINBOW Center (
  • Washington Women's Employment and Education (
  • YWCA Downtown Tacoma (
  • Pierce County AIDS Foundation (
  • Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities (

I am a professional member of the following organizations:

  • American Sociological Association
  • American Association of Geographers
  • National Women's Studies Association
  • Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement

Professional Service

I enjoy bringing my perspective to current issues and have been invited to serve on a number of community panels to discuss issues ranging from depiction of girls and women in the media to sexual violence and assault on campus to how global poverty impacts women.