Jennifer Girouard




B.A. Marlboro College, 2001
Ph.D. Brandeis University, 2016

At Marlboro Since


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Headshot of Jennifer Girouard

As a first-generation college student from a working-class family, I have first-hand experience with the transformative power of a Marlboro College education: I graduated in 2001 with a degree in Sociology. Since then, I’ve trained broadly in sociology and developed interests in political sociology, sociology of culture, law and society, and qualitative methods. My Marlboro experience taught me the value of intensive class discussions, cross-disciplinary thinking, and individualized attention, lessons that form the backbone of my teaching.

Teaching Philosophy

I strive to foster tensile minds. “Tensile” connotes both strength and flexibility. A strong and flexible mind can think critically and rigorously, and adapt to new situations. My courses emphasize open dialogue, collaborative and peer-to-peer learning, and applying concepts to contemporary issues. I find that the most exciting moments are when students are spurred by a class to inquire about new ideas and think across disciplines.

My pedagogical approach was formed by teaching at Wheaton College, Tufts University, and Brandeis University, and while working at a homeless shelter in western Massachusetts and for Head Start in Appalachian Ohio. These experiences challenged and immersed me in new social and cultural milieu, which honed my sociological viewpoint.

Scholarly Activities

I am eager to provide opportunities for students to participate in my research, which uses local land-use conflicts to explore competing institutional logics and cultural discourse. My doctoral dissertation, “When Law Comes to Town: Participation and Discourse in Fair-Share Affordable Housing Hearings,” was based on a study of four towns’ implementation of a state law designed to increase affordable housing in the suburbs. My research agenda on land-use conflicts and housing inequalities includes comparisons of other state fair-share and inclusionary zoning approaches.

My current scholarly work includes an article examining the embedding of experiential components in the classroom, and another on collaborative silences around race and class.


Varieties of Civic Innovation: Deliberative, Collaborative, Network, and Narrative Approaches, co-edited with Carmen Sirianni. Vanderbilt Press, 2014.

“Uncertainty in Clergy’s Perspectives on Homosexuality: A Research Note.” Review of Religious Research, with Wendy Cadge, Laura R. Olson, and Madison Lyleroehr (2012).

“The Civics of Urban Planning.” In The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning, Rachel Weber and Randall Crane (eds.), with Carmen Siriannai. (Oxford University Press, 2011).

“Teaching Graduate and Undergraduate Research Methods: A Multi-Pronged Departmental Initiative.” Teaching Sociology, with Wendy Cadge, David Cunningham, and Sara Shostak. (2010)

Sponsored Plans


Marlboro Students Present at ESS Meeting

Four students join Jennifer Girouard, sociology professor, at the annual conference of the Eastern Sociological Society in Philadelphia.