Dr. Barber received her Ph.D. from University of Southern California and joined the SIUC faculty in 2011. She has a full appointment in Sociology and is faculty affiliate in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. Her research and teaching focus on issues of gender and social inequalities.
Barber is on the Gender & Society Editorial Board, is an elected member of the American Sociological Association’s council for the section on Sex and Gender —the largest section of the ASA—is past council member for the ASA section on Sociology of the Body & Embodiment, has served as a grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation, and is Culture Editor for Contexts.
Dr. Barber’s book, Styling Masculinity: Gender, Class, and Inequality in the Men’s Grooming Industry (Rutgers University Press, 2016), looks at the social relations involved in selling beauty to men. Drawing from ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews with employees and clients at high-service men’s salons, this book shows how women beauty workers use feelings, touch, and appearance as institutionalized strategies to create a classed and heterosexualized space for men's status-enhancing consumer practices, as well as to navigate the gendered and sexualized constraints of their jobs.