Katherine Johnson Associate Professor Department of Sociology Tulane University

Katherine Johnson

Director of Gender & Sexuality Studies
220E Newcomb Hall


Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University


Research Interests

Sociology of Reproduction; Sociology of Health, Illness, and Healthcare; Family Sociology; Sociology of Gender; Feminist Theory

My primary research interests are in sociology of reproduction, which lies at the intersections of the sociology of gender, family, and health/healthcare. My work addresses various reproductive health issues (e.g., infertility, abortion, childbirth, breastfeeding) as well as specific reproductive technologies (e.g., gamete donation, IVF, surrogacy) and the potential implications for (re)defining gender and family norms.

Current Research Projects

Currently, I have three major, ongoing research projects: 1) The first project addresses women’s experiences with and attitudes toward childbirth interventions (using the Listening to Mothers Data collected by Childbirth Connection); 2) The second project analyzes the new reproductive technologies (NRTs) and the US fertility industry as a way to understand the interplay between reproductive medicine and social norms about human reproduction; 3) The third project analyzes women and men’s experiences of fertility barriers (broadly defined), focusing on gender dynamics, medical helpseeking, and psychosocial responses, among other issues (using the National Survey of Fertility Barriers).

I also have a new project in the beginning stages that will address breastfeeding experiences of women at Tulane. We will be interviewing staff, students, and faculty in fall 2013 to better understand how women combine working and nursing, contingent on their status at the university.

Selected Publications

Johnson, K.M. Forthcoming. “Protecting Women, Saving the Fetus: Symbolic Politics and Mandated Abortion Counseling.” In Women’s Studies International Forum.

Johnson, K.M. 2013. “Making Families: Organizational Boundary Work in US Egg and Sperm Donation.” Social Science & Medicine 99: 64–71.

Johnson, K.M., J. McQuillan, A.L. Greil, & K.M. Shreffler. Forthcoming. “Towards a More Inclusive Framework for Understanding Fertility Barriers.” In Reframing Reproduction: Conceiving Gendered Experiences in Late Modernity, M. Nash (ed). Palgrave MacMillan.

Johnson, K.M. 2012. “Excluding Lesbian and Single Women? An Analysis of U.S. Fertility Clinic Websites.” Women’s Studies International Forum. 35(5): 394–402. Embodiment, Self-Identification, and Distress.” Social Science & Medicine. 75(5): 883–891.

Johnson, K.M. & J. Fledderjohann. 2012. “Revisiting “Her” Infertility: Medicalized
Embodiment, Self-Identification, and Distress.” Social Science & Medicine. 75(5): 883–891.

Johnson, K.M. & R.M. Simon. 2012. “Women’s Attitudes toward Biomedical Technology for Infertility: The Case for Technological Salience.” Gender & Society 26(2): 261-289.

Johnson, K.M. 2011. “Fertility Clinic, Egg Donation Agency, and Sperm Bank Policies.” Fertility & Sterility 96(4): 877-879.

Johnson, K.M. & D.R. Johnson. 2009. “Partnered Decisions? Infertility and Help-seeking in U.S. Couples.” Family Relations 58: 431-44.


  • Gender and Society (SOCI 1040)
  • Family Sociology (SOCI 1030)
  • Sociology of Reproduction (SOCI 2100)