Department of Sociology

Caitlin Carroll

M.A., Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Caitlin Carroll



gender and violence; sexual violence; gender and sexuality; feminist criminology


My dissertation investigates what has been called the "Nordic paradox," or the high rate of gender-based violence in countries with high levels of gender equality. Using Sweden as a case, I interrogate the meaning, causes, and consequences of high rates of sexual violence in the country. Through in-depth interviews with anti-violence activists, state bureaucrats, social service providers, and criminal justice professionals, my dissertation challenges the ways in which sexual violence is understood from a socio-legal perspective. My findings suggest that the high rate of sexual violence in Sweden is not necessarily a paradox, but rather a precondition to gender equality: Swedish women are able to not only name their experiences of sexual violence as such, they are also more likely to disclose and report to official state institutions. My research contributes to a better understanding of how rape is defined by the state and how state institutions envision and implement their role in addressing the problem and finding justice for victim-survivors.

My dissertation fieldwork was funded by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and a grant from the Swedish Excellence Endowment at UT-Austin. I am also a 2019-20 recipient of the P.E.O. International Scholar Award. I am currently a visiting PhD researcher at the Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University. 

You can read more about my research, teaching, and publications here:


SOC 307K • Fertility And Reproduction

44748 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM JES A121A
CDGC SB (also listed as WGS 301)


Why do birth rates rise and fall?  How can the U.S. have both record rates of childlessness as well as the highest rates of teen childbearing and unwanted pregnancy in the industrialized world?  Why does educating women lower birth rates faster than any population control program in the Third World?  This course will explore when, why, how, and with whom Americans bear children, and how we compare to other developed and developing countries in the world.  We will explore infertility and its treatments, the ethics of surrogacy, voluntary childlessness, the rapid rise of nonmarital childbearing in the U.S. and other countries, the politics of childbirth and risks of maternal mortality in developed and developing countries, and the declining populations and rapid aging  of  rich countries including Japan, Italy, and Spain where women have basically stopped having children. 

Texts:  Available at Coop

Liza Mundy, Everything Conceivable, NY: Anchor Books, 2007

Michelle Goldberg, Means of Reproduction , NY: Penguin Bookds, 2010

Grading and Rrequirements:

Two opinion essays: 30%

Midterm exam:       40%

Final exam:             20%

Class participation: 10%

Curriculum Vitae

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External Links

  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086