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Emily Handsman

Area(s) of Interest

Education; Culture; Inequality; Race, Class, Gender; Methods; Social Policy


Emily Handsman's research interests lie at the intersection of education, culture, and inequality. Her dissertation, titled “Level the Playing Field: How Suburban School Districts Plan for an Equitable Future” examines how teachers and administrators conceptualize inequality in their districts and then plan to work toward creating equity. By collecting and analyzing a broad range of data about three school districts, including interviews, ethnography, and documents, she finds that these districts' equity policies are circumscribed by an understanding of inequality that focuses on representational diversity, rather than structural issues. She plans to continue building a research program focused on the meaning and efficacy of equity work in schools. Her work has been published in Qualitative Sociology, and has been supported by Northwestern University and an IES Predoctoral Fellowship in Education Sciences. 

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