Professor of Sociology and Women's & Gender Studies, Graduate Chair of Sociology Profile Image
Professor of Sociology and Women's & Gender Studies, Graduate Chair of Sociology Sociology 725 Oldfather Hall


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Curriculum Vitae

Current Research

I am interested in the cultural and legal meanings of sexuality, how these meanings change (particularly with regard to increasing recognition of LGBTQ identities and families), and how Americans respond to such changes. My research employs both qualitative and quantitative methods and encompasses a variety of viewpoints, including general public opinion, family members of LGBTQ people, and LGBTQ people themselves.

My current research includes two projects, both of which are funded by the National Science Foundation. The first project examines American public opinion of religious freedom laws that reference LGBTQ people. The second project examines the intergenerational family relationships of LGBQ people.

Student Opportunities

I am interested in working with students who have an interest in sexuality, law, and family. I frequently work with graduate students on research and have published with many students. I have experience working with undergraduate students on USTAR, UCARE projects, and honors theses.

Current Teaching

I teach courses in social theory at the undergraduate and graduate level (SOCI 355 and SOCI 4/864). I teach courses on gender and sexuality as well, including a graduate seminar on LGBTQ families (SOCI 907) and an undergraduate honors seminar about sex, gender, and social change (SOCI 189H).

I also teach in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, including an course in LGBTQ Studies (WMNS 201), and a course on sexuality and law (WMNS 301).

Selected Publications

Kazyak, Emily, Kelsy Burke, Maia Behrendt, and Marissa Oliver. 2023. “Religious Exemption, LGBT Rights, and the Social Construction of Harm and Freedom.” Law & Social Inquiry

Kazyak, Emily, Kelsy Burke, Rosalind Kichler, and Lora McGraw. 2021. “‘Pee in Peace’ or ‘Make Everyone Uncomfortable’: Public Perceptions of Transgender Rights.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World DOI: 10.1177/23780231211055541

Kazyak, Emily, Kelsy Burke, and Mathew Stange. 2018. “Logics of Freedom: Debating Religious Freedom Laws and Gay and Lesbian Rights.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 4: 1-18.

Scherrer, Kristin S., Emily Kazyak, and Rachel Schmitz. 2015. “Getting ‘Bi’ in the Family: Bisexual People’s Disclosure Experiences.” Journal of Marriage and Family 77 (3): 680-696.

Kazyak, Emily. 2012. “Midwest or Lesbian? Gender, Rurality, and Sexuality.” Gender  & Society 26 (6): 825-848.

Recent Grant Activity

National Science Foundation. Build and Broaden. $519,905.

“Navigating Change in Intergenerational Family Relationships: Cohort, Age, Family Role and Social Marginalization”

Other Information

I serve as the coordinator and advisor for the minor in LGBTQ Studies/Sexuality.



Ph.D., University of Michigan

Areas of Specialization:

  • Sexualities
  • Law
  • Family