Barrie Thorne joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1995 as a Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology. She was previously on the faculty of Michigan State University (where she helped create the Women's Studies Program in the early 1970s) and the University of Southern California. Her fields of teaching and research include the sociology of gender; feminist theory; the sociology of age relations, childhood, and families; and ethnographic methods. She is the U.S. Editor of Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research and the outgoing Chair of the American Sociological Association Section on the Sociology of Children and Youth. In 2002 she received the A.S.A. Jessie Bernard Award in recognition of scholarly work that has enlarged the horizons of sociology to encompass the role of women in society. She has also received awards for teaching and mentoring.
From 1998-2002 Barrie Thorne co-directed the Berkeley Center for Working Families, helping to build a feminist intellectual community focused on the themes of "cultures of care" and the changing contours of family life in the context of global economic restructuring. She is the author of Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School (Rutgers, 1993) and co-editor of Feminist Sociology: Life Histories of a Movement (Rutgers, 1997), Rethinking the Family: Some Feminist Questions (Northeastern University Press, 1992); Language, Gender and Society (Newbury House, 1983), and Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance (Newbury House, 1975). Barrie Thorne is currently writing a book, tentatively titled Growing Up in Oakland, based on three years of collaborative fieldwork and interviewing in a mixed-income, ethnically diverse area of the city.
Barrie Thorne regularly teaches Women's Studies 10, Introduction to Women's Studies and courses in feminist theory; in spring 2004 she will teach a special topics undergraduate course, Feminist Perspectives on Children and Childhoods. Her Sociology Department undergraduate and graduate teaching has focused on the sociology of gender, the sociology of families and the life course, and a graduate methods course in participant observation.