Michaela Simmons

Position title: Assistant Professor of Sociology

8144 Sewell Social Science

Michaela Simmons

Research Interest Statement:

Michaela’s research addresses the enduring consequences of racial inequality in the American welfare state through an examination of social citizenship, family, and childhood. Her dissertation is a study of the racial politics of foster care development in the early twentieth century. Specifically, the dissertation accounts for the vast demographic changes in foster care during the post-WWII decades, and examines how private and public child welfare services struggled to define the contours of racial responsibility during this era.


Ph.D. Sociology, University of California Berkely (2021)

Departmental Areas of Interest:

Family; Race and Ethnic Studies; Comparative-Historical Sociology

Other Campus Affiliations:

Center for Law, Society, and Justice

Institute for Research on Poverty

Selected Publications:

Simmons, M. (2023). The Racial Origins of Foster Home Care: Black Family Responsibility in the Early Welfare State, New York City, 1930s–1960s. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 1-23. doi:10.1017/S1742058X22000248

Simmons, M. C. (2020). Becoming Wards of the State: Race, Crime, and Childhood in the Struggle for Foster Care Integration, 1920s to 1960s. American Sociological Review, 85(2), 199–222. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122420911062