When I published my first scholarly article about single people in 2005, “Singles in society and in science,” with Wendy Morris, there were hardly any other scholars who identified as scholars of single life.
Sure, there were lots of relevant studies – Wendy and I wrote a very long overview, and it was published along with 10 commentaries – but the vast majority of studies were really about marriage. Single people were included as a comparison group, to make the point that married people are so much better than they are. (They aren’t. I’ve been debunking those studies for nearly two decades.)
In 2007, Rachel F. Moran and E. Kay Trimberger and I published a plea in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Make room for singles in teaching and research.” It was mostly ignored.
Now, More Scholars of Single Life and More Singles-Affirming Resources
Now, in 2020, more and more people are identifying as scholars of single life. That means that we are on our way to an understanding of single people and single life that is not solely from the perspective of marriage. We can learn about single people’s strengths and resilience and not just their presumed deficits.
Unfortunately, though, some people do start with the assumption that something is wrong with single people, and they try to figure out how single people can make up for their supposed shortcomings. Maybe I should refrain from mocking them for that. But seriously, can you imagine the outcry if the cottage industry of research on marriage was focused overwhelmingly on all the ways that married people are deficient or want nothing more than to escape their married lives?
This post is a list of scholars of single life. Elsewhere, I put together collections of singles-affirming books, blogs, talks, podcasts, discussion groups, organizations, and advocacy groups.
Now You Can Stop Interviewing Only Marriage Scholars for Your Stories about Single People
Another good thing: Reporters and all the others who write about single people can stop seeking quotes and interviews only from people who study marriage. It is kind of like writing a story about Black Lives Matter and only interviewing white people.
Here Is a List of Scholars of Single Life
In March 2020, I circulated this request on social media:
Are you a scholar studying single people or single life? I would like to start a list and publish it on this blog here on my personal website, and maybe one of my other blogs.
My idea of a “scholar” is very broad. It means that you are engaging thoughtfully with ideas about single life and making your ideas accessible to other people. You don’t have to have a university affiliation or a PhD.”
I listed some questions for them to answer, and also invited nominations of other people.
My list so far is below. First is just a list of all the names. I’ve set in bold the names of the scholars who submitted their information to me. The other names were suggested by other people.
In the next sections are more detailed information about some of the scholars, first from those who submitted their own information, and then the information included with the nominations from others.
I would love to add to this list, so please email me with updates.
Alexandra N. Fisher
Paul John Frewen
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Katherine J. Lehman
Wendy L. Morris
Peter J. Stein
Jennifer L. Taitz
Lina Toth Andronoviene
Information Provided by the Scholars
Federal University of Bahia (UFBA – Universidade Federal da Bahia)
Salvador – Bahia, Brazil.
Psychologist, Lecturer and Researcher on gender and sexuality, specifically on single life, focusing on single adults of middle class that live alone. My interest is to look at the practices and meanings of being single in Brazil, using a feminist approach and mixed methods. Actually, I am interested in explore meanings and practices of singleness among singles in the pandemic, in different countries.
Publications on singleness
- A solteirice na vida adulta: reflexões para estudos e atuação na psicologia. (The singleness in adult life: reflexions to studies and phychology practices). Chapter of the book Gênero na psicologia: saberes e práticas
- A praça do Campo Grande: territórios de lazer e sociabilidade de adolescentes homossexuais em Salvador. (The Campo Grande square: leisure and sociability territory to homossexual teenagers in Salvador) Chapter of the book Territorialidades: dimensões de gênero, desenvolvimento e empoderamento e das mulheres
- Solteiros/as procuram? sobre sexualidade e solteirice em Salvador (Do single people search for? about sexuality and singleness in Salvador)
- Dossiê “Retratos sobre a solteirice e os desafios para os feminismos” (Collection “Portraits about singleness and the challenges for the feminisms”, with English texts about singleness in different countries) https://periodicos.ufba.br/index.php/feminismos/issue/view/1982
- Você está solteira/o porquê, bê? Motivos declarados por solteiras/os em Salvador (Why are you single, baby? Declared reasons for singles in Salvador) https://periodicos.ufba.br/index.php/feminismos/article/view/35750/21195
· Singleness in Salvador: practices and meanings among middle-class adults https://www.academia.edu/43407807/Singleness_in_Salvador_practices_and_meanings_among_middle_class_adults
Dr Ketaki Chowkhani
Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India.
Teaches a first of its kind course called Singles Studies at the postgraduate level to sociology students.
Researches single lives in India and is developing a singlehood standpoint.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sdJAXIQ9T4&t=3560s– Lecture on Singlehood Standpoint
- https://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2019/11/single-women-in-india-organizing-and-supporting-one-other-guest-post-by-ketaki-chowkhani/?fbclid=IwAR1WEwUG9L2V1SAdSC-e42YRVGmRZzdvh1hsBtylDtdj-lV-H3hGt5VVkLw#.XdPCplWqeKc.facebookBlog post on mobilising single women in India
- https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blink/know/table-for-one-please/article31050738.ece?fbclid=IwAR3iAFUdmbERsy2MEj19AIJ3QrK4mU5i4wM6B5V_0391uPF-1agND6L4K7sNewspaper story on Singles Studies course
https://www.instagram.com/singlestudies/ Instagram account run by students in the Singles Studies course
Joan DelFattore, Ph.D.
University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware USA (Professor Emerita of English and Legal Studies)
Writes about living single in a couples-oriented culture, particularly with respect to singlism in health care. In an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine (2019), she shows that patients with cancer are more likely to receive surgery or radiotherapy if they are currently married than if they are divorced, separated, widowed, or always single. Other publications have appeared in the Washington Post, Herald Tribune, Health Psychologist, and KevinMD. She has written guest posts for Bella DePaulo’s blogs on Psychology Today and Psych Central, and they co-authored pieces for Psychology Today, Health Psychologist, and Quartz. Interviews have been published in the Indian Journal of Cancer, Psych Central, and i3 Health News and Perspectives. Links to all of these articles appear on her website.
- Website: http://www.joandelfattore.com/
- TEDx talk: “Sick While Single? Don’t Die of Discrimination“
- NPR, All Things Considered appearance
- Cure podcast, “Fighting Physician Bias Against Unmarried Patients with Cancer“
Before writing about single life, Joan DelFattore published three books about freedom of speech with Yale University Press, as well as dozens of articles. That work won numerous national awards, including the American Library Association’s book of the year award. She also appeared on 20/20, Talk of the Nation, the Diane Rehm Show, Radio Times, and Fresh Air, among others.
Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.
University of California, Santa Barbara, USA (Academic Affiliate, Psychological & Brain Sciences)
Interested in affirming, myth-busting, research-based perspectives on single life. Author of books such as “Singled Out”; blogger at Psychology Today, Psych Central, and Unmarried Equality; social psychologist who has published research on single people and singlism; has written about single people for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, NBC, CNN, and many others.
Bella DePaulo has been described by Atlantic magazine as “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.” Her TEDx talk has been viewed more than a million times. She is currently working on a new book about people who are single at heart.
Paul John Frewen
I work in University College Cork, Ireland as a Supervisor in Applied Social Science. My area of interest is the institute of marriage, relationships and ritual using a critical, foucaultian analysis.
While I have only done one presentation at a Sociology of Ireland Conference on my Master’s Thesis. My thesis is an examination of the institution of marriage through conversations with polyamorous and consensual non-monogamous individuals. It is available at this site: http://criticalideaology.com/uncategorized/is-it-all-for-knotting/
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu lives between New Delhi and Kolkata.
In 2017, she wrote her first non-fiction work, the widely-appreciated and critically acclaimed, Status Single, a narrative drawing from the lives of 3000 urban Indian single women, about the daily struggle of being single in a country where the highest validation for women remains marriage and motherhood. It was featured in the Los Angeles Times and the Guardian London as a groundbreaking work of female identity.
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is also the founder of Single Status, the only community for single women in India, where about 75 million women are single.
She is curating and hosting India’s first ever summit in Bangalore, in 2020, the SWIFT Summit – Single Women of India Forward Together.
Her TEDx talk is “What it means to be a single woman in India.”
Sreemoyee is the recipient of the NDTV L’Oréal Women of Worth award for Excellence in Literature and the United Nations Woman, Young Achiever for Literature.
Status Single Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/statussinglecommunity/
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu: https://www.facebook.com/sreemoyee.kundu
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the Watsapp community.
Erin Lavender-Stott, PhD
South Dakota State University
Dr. Lavender-Stott is a family scholar who studies the intersection of gender, sexuality, age, and singlehood. Her work has focused on LBQ single women as they age and recently has started work on older single women in rural areas with colleagues around the country. As an assistant professor in the School of Counseling, Education, and Human Development and the Human Development and Family Studies program, she teaches courses on adulthood, aging, family theory and policy, in which she incorporates singlehood throughout.
Most relevant publications currently under review. Google cholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=tSgGbg0AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
Erin did her doctoral work with Katherine Allen, one of the early singlehood scholars in family science.
Kris Marsh, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland USA
Currently, Professor Marsh is writing a book for Cambridge University press on the wealth, health, residential choices and dating practices of an emerging Black middle class that is single and living alone.
Facebook: Dr. Kris Marsh
LinkedIn: Kris Marsh
Founder of http://FamilialStatus.org
24-year military veteran (7 years Army, 17 years Air Force)
Dale Nyhus identified unlawful housing discrimination in the United States military. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination (and preference) based on familial status. Military housing policies both discriminate and give preference based on familial status. Furthermore, he revealed that military equal opportunity regulations fail to protect service members from this form of unlawful discrimination. In other words, EO offices refuse to process complaints on this particular form of unlawful discrimination. And finally, he tabulated 20 years’ worth of data on financial entitlements to reveal a $7,000 annual income gap between service members with vs without dependents.
Writer and psychologist, Sydney, Australia
Steph Penny writes survival books for Christians who do not fit the mainstream mould. Steph is interested in writing about singledom, childlessness and illness from a humorous and countercultural perspective. She calls it self-help with a satirical twist. Steph also writes songs about God, church and countercultural living.
Blog: http://stephpenny.com.au. Book Surviving Singledom: http://stephpenny.com.au/?page_id=219, also for sale at Koorong: https://www.koorong.com/product/surviving-singledom-or-hang-in-there-steph-penny_9780646962726
Steph is currently working on book number two in her Survival series, Surviving Childlessness. Steph’s songs can be found on her blog page here: http://stephpenny.com.au/?page_id=32 or on her YouTube channel here: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC5Bl89PMrlf-HZOrTWKJ-Wg. Steph can be reached directly at email@example.com.
Cleo Protogerou, PhD
University of California, Merced, USA.
I am an applied psychologist, interested in promoting health behaviors and wellbeing. As part of my Psychology of Stereotype and Prejudice, I teach about singlism. I have discovered that my students are not only interested in learning more about singlism but have also been personally affected by it. For example, some of my students have reported being denied rent due to their (or their parent’s) single status, or that they had to pay ‘double deposit’ as proof of being financially stable. I wish to raise awareness of singlism and the tangible consequences this ism can have in peoples’ daily lives.
Personal website: https://www.cleoprotogerou.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CleoProtogerou @CleoProtogerou
Ph.D. student in Sociology at National University for Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest, Romania. She has a BA degree in psychology and Master’s degrees in anthropology, gender studies and business. In the last 10 years, she worked in the private sector.
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Interested in reading evidence-based perspective of single life, Learning more from the real life journey of single people.
Guest post: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2020/01/the-challenging-and-fulfilling-life-of-a-single-man-in-india-guest-post-by-bhaumik-shah/?fbclid=IwAR1FcV0D71lwC9A_r1Hj4yhUKeQasWQx3G5sz5mrjCPNtBJEkZqIJDznBPQ
Lina Andronoviene (more recently published under the name of Lina Toth)
Assistant Principal at the Scottish Baptist College, University of the west of Scotland, UK, originally from Lithuania
A theologian writing and speaking on attitudes to singleness and human flourishing in Western Christianity, and particularly in baptistic communities. Author of Transforming the Struggles of Tamars: Single Women and Baptistic Communities (Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2014), in which she explores involuntary singleness in the context of the church which, contrary to its own tradition, has tied its vision of happiness to coupledom and nuclear family.
Sample short article on singleness and myths of happiness: https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/447645/Family_life_in.aspx
Currently working on a new book on Singleness and Marriage After Christendom: New Ways of Being and Doing Family. (After Christendom series, Wipf and Stock, forthcoming).
Craig Wynne, Ph.D.
Research interests include composition pedagogy and Singles Studies. I teach writing. Over the past couple of years, I have integrated Singles Studies into my teaching. Starting in the Spring 2019 semester, I’ve themed by English composition courses around singlehood, and during the Spring 2020 semester, I began teaching a one-credit course called “How to be Single and Happy” at Hampton University.
My blog is thehappybachelor.weebly.com. It links to a number of publications as well, including “Awww, You’re Not Married: Why We Need a Singles’ Rights Movement,” which was published in Spark: a 4C4 Equality Journal.
I am also in the process of writing a book, How to be a Happy Bachelor, slated for publication in Summer or Fall 2020.
Information about Scholars Provided by Other People
People who nominated scholars to be included on this list suggested the information below.
If you are on this list and would like to provide your own information, just let me know.
Amy coined the term Relationship Escalator, and defines its hallmarks on the page linked below. Her book Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator is a collection of anecdotes about how survey participants are defying the Escalator (i.e. living single or single-at-heart) and why they’ve chosen those alternative lifestyles. It’s organized thematically, and some of the “5 Pillars” may be more relevant to your work than others. She maintains a blog at SoloPoly.net
Professor of Philosophy at Rice University, formerly Arizona State University
Elizabeth coined the phrase amatonormativity (which goes hand-in-in-hand with solo stigma) and wrote the book Minimizing Marriage
Professor in the Department of Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University
New York, NY & Chicago, IL
Laura’s book Against Love: A Polemic criticizes society’s assumptions about romantic/sexual attraction and marriage. It’s less a study of single people and more scrutiny of partnership. I had typed up my favorite quotes anyway, so they’re attached here and you can decide if her writing might be relevant!
He’s a stand-up comedian! Wait, give it a chance…
Sloss has two specials on Netflix and one on HBO. He’s famous for his “Jigsaw” bit about his philosophy on enjoying single life and developing his own identity instead of rushing into a relationship. His routine is famous for having caused many people to see the light, precipitating 90,000+ break-ups and 157+ divorces.