Deegan, Mary Jo 1946–

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Deegan, Mary Jo 1946–

PERSONAL: Born November 27, 1946, in Chicago, IL; daughter of William James (a firefighter) and Ida May (a clerical worker; maiden name, Scott) Deegan; partner of Michael Ray Hill (a geographer and sociologist) beginning May 1, 1982. Ethnicity: "Irish-American." Education: Lake Michigan College, A.S., 1966; Western Michigan University, B.S., 1969, M.A., 1971; University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1975. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Antiques, book collecting, photography.

ADDRESSES: Office—University of Nebraska, Department of Sociology, Lincoln, NE 68588.

CAREER: Writer. Kay Foods Corporation, Millburg, MI, food chemist, 1966; Laboratory Equipment Company, St. Joseph, MI, 1969; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, teaching and research assistant, sociology department, 1969–71; University of Nebraska, Lincoln, assistant professor of sociology, 1976–81, associate professor of sociology, 1981–90, professor of sociology, 1990–, women's studies committee, founding and continuing member, 1976–, graduate faculty member, 1976–78, graduate faculty fellow, 1978–. Kent County Mental Health Study, field director, 1971; Centennial College, fellow, 1980–81.

MEMBER: American Sociological Association, Harriet Martineau Sociological Society, Charlotte Perkins Gilman Society, International Wizard of Oz Club, Phi Kappa Theta.

AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1981; Outstanding Academic Book Award, Choice, 1988–89, for Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892–1918;Distinguished Scholarly Career Award, American Sociological Association, 2002; Distinguished Scholarly Book Award, American Sociological Association, 2003, for Race, Hull-House, and the University of Chicago: A New Conscience against Ancient Evils.


Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892–1918, Transaction Books (New Brunswick, NJ), 1988.

American Ritual Dreams: Social Rules and Cultural Meanings, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1989.

Race, Hull-House, and the University of Chicago: A New Conscience against Ancient Evils, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2002.


(With Nancy A. Brooks) Women and Disability: The Double Handicap, Transaction Books (New Brunswick, NJ), 1985.

(With Michael R. Hill) Women and Symbolic Interaction, Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1987.

(With others) A Feminist Ethic for Social Science Research, Edwin Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 1988.

Women in Sociology: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, With Her in Ourland, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1997.

The American Ritual Tapestry: Social Rules and Cultural Meanings, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1998.

George Herbert Mead, Play, School, and Society, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1999.

George Herbert Mead, Essays in Social Psychology, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2001.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Dress of Women: A Critical Introduction to the Symbolism and Sociology of Clothing, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2002.

The New Woman of Color: The Collected Works of Fannie Barrier Williams, Northern Illinois Press (DeKalb, IL), 2002.

Ellen Gates Starr, On Art, Labor, and Religion, Transaction Books (New Brunswick, NJ), 2003.

Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, and Alice Hamilton, Women at the Hague: The International Peace Congress of 1915, Prometheus Press (Amherst, NY), 2003.

Mary Roberts Coolidge, Why Women Are So, Humanity Books (Amherst, NY), 2004.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Social Ethics: Sociology and the Future of Society, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2004.

Contributor of articles to books, including Eros in the Mind's Eye: Sexuality and the Fantastic in Art and Film, edited by Donald Palumbo, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1986; On the Problem of Surrogate Parenthood: Analyzing the Baby M Case, edited by Herbert Richardson, Edwin Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 1987; Women's Power and Roles as Portrayed in Visual Images of Women in the Arts and Mass Media, edited by Valerie Bentz and Philip E.F. Mayes, Edwin Mellen Press, 1993; A Second Chicago School? The Development of a Postwar American Sociology, edited by Gary Alan Fine, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1995; Identities and Issues in Literature, edited by David R. Peck, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1997; Social Change for Women and Children, edited by Vasilike Demos and Marcia Texler Segal, JAI Press (Greenwich, CT), 2000; and Harriet Martineau: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives, edited by Michael R. Hill and Susan Hoecker-Drysdale, Routledge (New York, NY), 2001.

Contributor of articles to scholarly journals, including Sociological Theory, Sociological Origins, American Sociologist, Disability Studies Quarterly, Environmental Ethics, ASA Footnotes, Teaching Sociology, Gender & Society, Journal of Women's History, Midwest Feminist Papers, Humanity and Society, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Clinical Sociology, Women's Studies, Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, Journal of the History of Sociology, Sociological Quarterly, Qualitative Sociology, International Journal of Symbology, and Sociology and Social Welfare.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Multiple books on feminist pragmatism.

SIDELIGHTS: Mary Jo Deegan told CA: "I loved reading immediately. I spent my childhood in a small town, St. Joseph, Michigan, where I read the entire library of books available to young adults before I entered high school. When I turned eleven, the children's librarian took me 'upstairs' to the adult library so I could continue to read new books. I always knew I would be a writer because in my world they had the most important and glamorous job anyone could have. Although these childhood expectations have not led to fame, wealth, or glamour, I still believe writing is the most vital activity I could ever do. I have traveled widely in Europe and hold dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland, so I have experienced a number of cultures outside of America.

"I am a theorist who explains the ideas and activities of other intellectuals. I have written or introduced books about many significant American writers and leaders: Jane Addams, Emily Green Balch, Mary Roberts Coolidge, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, George Herbert Mead, and Fannie Barrier Williams. I also analyze American rituals, such as parades and sports, and the mass media, including films and television shows such as the Wizard of Oz and Star Trek. I find these rituals often enjoyable but incorporating social inequality and injustice into their very fabric. I also specialize in the analysis of physical disability and its social construction.

"All my work is part of the struggle of creating a more just society and a fulfillment of the ideals found in the documents shaping American life: the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. I focus on the injustice created by racism, sexism, ablebodyism, and capitalism.

"I have been influenced by many teachers at Western Michigan University, where I earned bachelor's and master's degrees, and at the University of Chicago, where I earned a doctorate. The theorists Talcott Parsons and Victor Turner were especially important teachers and role models.

"I engage in extensive library research, including archival collections, for each book or essay. I try to write two pages a day every day. Sometimes this is on particular topics, but often I write bits and pieces on widely scattered ideas. I find that over time I have completed essays or books that require bringing all these parts together and I spend a lot of time making the connections between these smaller pieces of writing.

"My most productive writing is done during the periods I spend at our cottage near Lake Michigan, usually a month in the winter and the summertime. The lakeside gives me the serenity and inspiration I need to pull together my ideas and see the long vision of what I am saying about American values, lives, and leadership. This whole process is aided by my life partner, who is also an author and theorist, who supports my work continuously."



Feagin, Joe R., and Hernán Vera, Liberation Sociology, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 2001.


Gender & Society, October, 1998, Beth B. Hess, review of With Her in Ourland, p. 605.

Social Forces, December, 1999, Penny Long Marler, review of The American Ritual Tapestry: Social Rules and Cultural Meanings, p. 848.

Utopian Studies, spring, 1998, Carol F. Kessler, review of With Her in Ourland, p. 225.