Nora Kassner (she/they) is a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies. Her dissertation, titled “Hard to Place: Queer Foster Families and the Remaking of U.S. Family Policy, 1975-1996,” explores the transformation of U.S. family policy in the late 20th century through the experiences of queer foster parents and their foster children.
As the first historical study of queer people in the U.S. foster system, Nora’s dissertation provides a unique lens into the debate over the transformation of the American family. Drawing on original oral history interviews and archival resources, they examine the processes by which shifting notions of race, sexuality, and disability remade American foster care and American family policy more broadly. Nora’s work has been supported by the WW Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies from the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, the ONE Archives Foundation, and the University of California-Santa Barbara.
Prior to attending graduate school, Nora worked as a community organizer, and a commitment to publicly-engaged scholarship remains central to their work. Nora received an MA in history from University of California, Santa Barbara and a BA in Classics from Macalester College.