New Faculty Focus: Chloe Grace Hart
Editor’s Note: UW–Madison again is introducing new faculty members through New Faculty Focus. To be featured, contact Mike Klein at email@example.com.
Name: Chloe Grace Hart
Title: Assistant Professor of Sociology
Hometown: Ithaca, NY
Educational/professional background: B.A., Cornell University; M.A. and Ph.D., Stanford University.
How did you get into your field? I remember growing fascinated in middle school by how people sorted into social groups and hierarchies – who could sit with whom in the school cafeteria and so forth – and how that shaped the way others treated them. A few years later someone told me what sociology was, and I realized it was the tool I had been looking for to systematically understand the social dynamics I was observing. The rest is history.
What attracted you to UW–Madison? Most of my family is from the Midwest, so coming to UW–Madison feels like coming home.
What was your first visit to campus like? I only visited campus for the first time this summer after I’d been hired because I interviewed virtually, so it would have been a bummer if I didn’t like it. Luckily, I did! It’s very lush in the summertime.
Favorite place on campus? I love the unexpected serenity of the lakeshore path.
This is a unique point in time, as we’re returning after more than a year of pandemic. What do you most look forward to? I didn’t appreciate how much I value bumping into colleagues in the hallway and sharing snap reactions to research ideas until everything went remote. I’m looking forward to being able to crowdsource ideas that way again.
Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? The Wisconsin Idea is intuitive to me, and aligns closely with my values – I want my research to concretely impact people’s lives. I’m always looking for ways to bring my research to the public, whether that’s writing op-eds or advising policymakers.
What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties, now that we can attend them again? Our current gender norms are so familiar to us that it’s hard to imagine them any other way, but if you look across cultures or over time, what is perceived as feminine or masculine turns out to be pretty fluid. For example, people today often think of high heels as a symbol of femininity, but if you go back several centuries, high heels were actually considered very masculine – a shoe for warriors.
Hobbies/other interests: I rediscovered my fondness for novels during the pandemic. A recent favorite was Sharks in the Time of Saviors, by Kawai Strong Washburn.