Mary Tuominen


Professor Emerita
Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Denison University 
Granville, Ohio 43023


 My previous employment as a community organizer, a public policy analyst, and a Budget Assistant to the Governor for Children and Family Services in Washington State inform both my teaching and my research interests.

My research and publications focus on care work including the racialized politics and economics of women's care work.  For example, "Speaking and Organizing Across Difference: Multi-Racial Coalitions and the Grassroots Mobilization of Child Care Workers" (in Feminist Formations, 2012) explores the challenges of multi-racial, grassroots coalitions as tools for mobilizing child care workers.

My research-in-progress builds on my previous care work scholarship to include narrative care work – an analysis of the ways in which care workers make meaning of illness, death, and grief.  This work includes a Mellon Foundation Award for a project titled “Writing Grief and Healing: Creative Nonfiction and Narrative Analysis,”  a book-length memoir currently underway and provisionally titled Ghost Dog, and editing a single-authored memoir manuscript titled Our Big Cracked-Open Hearts: Living Life and the End of Life.

Just as I am committed to community-based, collaborative research, I believe the most effective teaching and learning processes must be interactive. To this end I continue to teach one class each year and I employ a variety of approaches to teaching/learning including critical and analytic service learning and teaching in learning communities. Using these and other approaches to teaching/learning, I seek to enable students to engage in the work of active, informed citizenship – the work which I believe to be the primary goal of a liberal arts education.