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Cheryl Souza

Cheryl Najarian Souza, Ph.D. Associate Professor


Interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches to women and work; gender studies; qualitative research methods; sociology of disability

Research Interest

Educational Background

Ph.D., Sociology, Certificate of University Teaching, Certificate of Advanced Studies in Disability Studies, and Certificate of Advanced Studies in Women’s Studies,
Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
M.A., Sociology, Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
M.A., Higher Education Administration, University of Arizona
B.A., English, Boston College


Cheryl Najarian Souza's research involves doing an intersectional analysis, which includes looking at social phenomena while considering race, class, gender, and ability. In her book, "Between Worlds: Deaf Women, Work, and Intersections of Gender and Ability" (Routledge, 2006) she investigated how Deaf women experience their lives in their educations, paid work, and in their unpaid work as mothers. Currently, she is collecting data on her new research project, "Moms and Dads on the Hill: How Men and Women Politicians Balance Work and Family," where she is exploring how both men and women politicians experience their lives as public officials and how they negotiate this experience with their private family lives. Through the use of interviews and observations of respondents, she is investigating how these individuals create, manage, implement, and use public policies. As with her previous research, she is exploring this topic while using sociological, gender studies, and disability studies frameworks.

She is a Faculty Affiliate in the Center for Women and Work and a former Director of the Gender Studies Program. She is also a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy at UMass Boston. Her courses include Introduction to Sociology, the Sociology of Gender, Sociological Research II, Sociology of Disability, and Feminist Methodologies.


  • Introduction to Sociology (Honors)
  • Sociological Research II
  • Sociology of Disability
  • Sociology of Gender
  • Feminist Methodologies

Selected Publications

  • Najarian Souza, Cheryl. “Deaf Mothers: Communication, Activism, and the Family.” Disability Studies Quarterly Fall 2010 30 (3/4).
  • Najarian Souza, Cheryl. “Deaf Women’s Work Experiences: Negotiating Gender Ability, and Theories of Resistance.” Research in Social Science and Disability: Disability as a Fluid State volume 5: 231 - 252. Edited by Barbara Altman and Sharon Barnartt. Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Najarian, Cheryl G. “Feminist Disability Theory.” In O’Brien, Jodi and Shapiro, Eve (Eds), Encyclopedia of Gender and Society volume 2: 305 - 307. Sage Publications.
  • Najarian, Cheryl G. “Deaf Women: Educational Experiences and Self Identity.” Disability & Society 23 (2): 117 - 128.
  • Najarian, Cheryl G. “Between Worlds” Deaf Women, Work, and Intersections of Gender and Ability. New York: Routledge.
  • Najarian, Cheryl G. “Deaf Mothers, Maternal Thinking, and Intersections of Gender and Ability.” Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research 8 (2-3): 99 - 119.