Susan J. Ferguson is professor of sociology at Grinnell College, where she has taught for over twenty-two years. Ferguson regularly teaches introduction to sociology courses, and her critically acclaimed anthology, Mapping the Social Landscape: Readings in Sociology (McGraw-Hill, 2013), is used in introductory sociology classes across the country. Ferguson also teaches courses on the family, the Sociology of Health and Illness, and a new seminar on social inequality and identity. Ferguson has published in all of these areas, including the research collection Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic (with co-editor Anne Kasper, Palgrave, 2000) and Shifting the Center: Understanding Contemporary Families (McGraw-Hill, 2011). In addition, Ferguson is general editor for “Contemporary Family Perspectives,” which is a series of research monographs and short texts on the family (SAGE Publications). Ferguson’s current work concentrates on the sociology curriculum in higher education, and she is co-author of the “Measuring College Learning White Paper in Sociology” (Jossey-Bass, 2016), and co-chair of the American Sociological Association’s Task Force on Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, Edition 3 (ASA, 2017).
Ferguson, who grew up in a working-class family in Colorado, still considers the Rocky Mountains her spiritual home. A first-generation college student, Ferguson was able to attend college with the help of scholarships, work study, and financial loans. She majored in political science and Spanish and completed certificates of study in women’s studies and Latin American studies. After working for a large research grant sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Ferguson entered graduate school and completed her master’s degree in sociology at Colorado State University and her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her areas of study are gender, family, women’s health, and pedagogy, but her primary enthusiasm is for teaching.