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Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology


Ph.D. Sociology, Middlesex University, UK

MSc. Social Science Research Methods, Middlesex University, UK.

B.A.  Social Anthropology, African and Asian Studies (minor), Sussex University, UK

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Introduction to Microsociology
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Sociology of Childhood

Microsociology, Global Childhoods, Family in Social Context, Identities and Inequalities, Children’s Rights, Play and Playwork, Non-Traditional Education

Current Research

Drs. H. Smith Brennan, and L. Porter. ‘Rejecting the narrative: reasons US families are embracing homeschooling as a viable alternative’.

Drs. H. Smith Brennan, L. Shaw, and J. McCloud ‘Rapid review of existing data and academic literature on playwork practice in the UK and USA’.

Drs. H. Smith Brennan and L. Shaw, ‘Playwork practice in schools: challenging social inequalities, impacting children’s agency, rights, and identities’.


2023   Storyteller and panelist, ‘International Women’s Day: Stories of Redefining Motherhood’, Gates Foundation, WA.

2021-   Storyteller, the Moth Global Program alumni, multiple live performances and radio, USA

2018    Speaker, ‘Don’t Sink the Ship: Navigating Healthy Relationships at JMU and Beyond’, JMuse Café,  James Madison University, VA

2017    Author, ‘Researching children’s play as a playworker-ethnographer’ in King, P. and Newstead, S. (Eds) Researching Play from a Playwork Perspective, Routledge

2016    Presenter, International Play Association (IPA), Rutgers University, paper title: ‘Playwork practice, children’s play and navigating the contradictions’.

2016    Presenter, Playwork/Object of Play interdisciplinary seminar, Institute for Visual Studies, James Madison University

2014    Presenter, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families/Family and Youth Services Bureau Annual Conference, Washington DC, poster presentation: Overcoming Barriers to In-School ‘Draw the Line, Respect the Line’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Delivery, Competitive Personal Responsibility Education Program (C-PREP)-funded initiative

2012    Book review, Children and Social Change: Memories of Diverse Childhoods’, by Dorothy Moss. International Journal of Play, London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.

2011    Author, ‘Playwork, After School Care and Empowering Children’. Playwords, 43

2007    Author, ‘Not Something We’re New To, It’s Something We Grew To: Urban Youth Culture and Social Identity’. Journal of Creative Communications, Vol. 2, 219–244. SAGE

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