Maxine Craig is Professor in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies program at the University of California, Davis. She received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She studies social formations of gender and race through qualitative studies of everyday embodied practices. Her book, Sorry I Don’t Dance: Why Men Refuse to Move (Oxford University Press), was awarded the 2014 Best Publication Award given by the American Sociological Association’s section on Body and Embodiment. Her book, Ain’t I a Beauty Queen? Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race. (Oxford University Press) won the Best Book of 2002 award on the Political History of Ethnic and Racial Minorities in the U.S by the Section on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics of the American Political Science Association. She is the Chair Elect of the Body and Embodiment Section of the American Sociological Association. She is affiliated with the Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, and Sociology graduate groups.
This paper considers the human body as a part of human culture that cannot be contained by neat divisions between the symbolic and the material. The body’s appearance and actions are symbolic and material, natural and cultural. Maxine Craig's research, which has focused on the twenty- and twenty-first century United States, asks how cultural change becomes embodied, a question she has investigated via studies of the relationship between social movements and beauty standards, the place of dance in the lives of men who do not dance, and the formation of norms for middle-class appearance. Studying the body in everyday life as lived, symbolic matter opens questions regarding fundamental categories used in Humanities research.