Headshot of Jean Elson

About Dr. Jean Elson

Sociologist - Author - Teacher - Speaker

Dr. Jean Elson is currently Senior Lecturer Emerita in the Sociology Department at the University of New Hampshire. Jean taught classes and lectured on gender, family, women’s health and illness, and sexual behavior for many years. She received several teaching prizes, including the “Vagina Warrior Award” and the “Pink Triangle Award.” Jean was also an appointed member of the UNH President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Jean earned a PhD in Sociology and an M.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Brandeis University. As a graduate student she received academic awards and fellowships, including the Brandeis Graduate Grant Prize for Research in Women’s Studies and the Elizabeth Stanton Michaels Fellowship from the National American Association of University Women.

Jean is the author of Am I Still a Woman? Hysterectomy and Gender Identity (2004) and Gross Misbehavior and Wickedness: A Notorious Divorce in Early Twentieth-Century America (2017). Both books received enthusiastic reviews from the academic and popular press. You can read detailed descriptions, endorsements, and excerpts for these books on this website. Jean was also invited to write the “Sudden and Early Menopause” chapter in the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies Ourselves: Menopause.

Jean’s professional articles have appeared in top sociology and psychology journals including Gender&Society and Sex Roles, medical journal Women’s Health in Primary Care, and in the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. She has presented professional talks for the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Eastern Sociological Association, Sociologists for Women in Society, the American Sociological Association, the National Women’s Health Conference, the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, and the Kinsey Institute University Consortium for Sexuality Research and Training.

In addition, Jean is an active participant in public sociology and general audiences have appraised her presentations as clear, comprehensive, and captivating. She has written invited opinion articles for Newsday, and has been interviewed and quoted by a diverse group of popular media outlets, including The New York Times, The Boston Sunday Globe, USA Today, BBC News, MSNBC.com, Boston Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Women’s Health, and the Houston Chronicle, among many others. Through syndicated news wire services, Jean’s comments regarding an important women’s health issue were cited in over 300 media outlets. She has been an invited guest on NPR programs Weekend Edition and The Front Porch, Canada AM TV, Exeter TV, and SiriusXM Radio. Jean also speaks about her work to community organizations, including historical societies, libraries, book groups, and women’s associations.

Jean is married to Tom Arrington and they have traveled extensively in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. She enjoys spending time with her family: son David and wife Emily, daughter Jessica and husband Dustin, and her grandchildren Max and Romi.