Kara Takasaki

PRC Graduate Student TraineeM.A., The University of Chicago

Kara Takasaki



Race and Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality, Social Stratification of Paid and Unpaid labor, Economic Sociology, Sociology of Emotions, Family Violence, Asian America


Kara is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a graduate fellow in the Ethnography Lab, and a graduate student affiliate of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. 

Kara studies how paid and unpaid labor is stratified by gender and race.  For her dissertation research, she will study socioeconomic and ethnic variation in how Asian, and Asian and white couples, with children, make household and financial decisions, and whether a spouse’s income affects how these decisions are made, within the context of living in Austin or Honolulu. She argues that Asian families are a theoretically useful population to study the gendered and racialized demands of work and family in Capitalism because of discourses that present Asians as “ideal” Capitalist workers and families. She hopes that her research will support arguments for progressive work and family policies that can regulate employer entitlement and improve labor conditions for workers across socioeconomic locations and citizenship status. She uses qualitative and quantitative methods in her research, although most of her current research experience has used in-depth interviews and observational fieldwork.

Kara also works as a research assistant for an NSF grant in the PRC, studying the transition experiences and different attrition rates of men and women STEM graduates out of STEM careers. She has worked at the community, non-profit, city, and state level in urban policy and health and human services. In the future, she would like to study how work-related stress, experiences, expectations, and demands may lead to family violence, especially in middle and upper-middle class Asian families. 

Originally born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Kara is a 4th generation Japanese-American. Before coming to UT Austin’s doctoral program in sociology, she attended Tufts University for her BA in sociology and English, and received her MA from the University of Chicago in the social sciences.

At the University of Chicago, Kara wrote her qualitative M.A. thesis, Follow the leader: The reproduction and persistence of gender roles in salsa schools. She investigated why students invest in the reproduction of scripted heteronormative dance roles in for-pay salsa schools. 

At Tufts University, Kara did her B.A. in sociology and English and received high thesis honors for her qualitative senior honors thesis in sociology, The Value of Friendship: Social Validation and Support for the Individual. She studied intimacy in relationships outside of marriage and family, and how these non-kinship relationships provide diverse intimacies and resources over an increasingly unstable life course. 

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