Inequality Discussion Group - Celene Reynolds

Event Date

09/20/2021 - 11:45

Celene Reynolds (Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Sociology)

Repurposing Title IX: How Sexual Harassment Became Sex Discrimination in American Universities

Location: In person 423 CC - ILR Conference Center ~ Also available via Zoom - Please email inequality@cornell.edu for Zoom access information

Abstract: Sexual harassment is one of the most important problems facing American higher education today, and Title IX requires schools to address it. Yet Title IX was not created to confront sexual harassment; nor does the statute mention sexual harassment. This talk explains how sexual harassment became illegal sex discrimination in education under Title IX. Triangulating multiple data sources across linked case studies of three universities, I find that the mutual interpenetration of social networks across educational and legal domains stimulated the shift, which exemplifies a more general process that I call the endogenous repurposing of law. Through this concept, I combine institutional theories of law and organizations with social network research on institutional emergence to explain how new applications of law arise from within the organizations that law seeks to regulate.

Bio: Celene Reynolds (PhD Sociology '19, Yale University) is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University with research and teaching interests in law and organizations, comparative and historical sociology, and gender and sexuality. Her book, tentatively titled Remaking Title IX: Students, Lawyers, and Sexual Harassment in American Universities, is under contract with Princeton University Press. The project has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy as well as multiple awards from the American Sociological Association. She has published in Social Problems, Organization, Qualitative Sociology, and Socius.