I am an assistant professor of women’s & gender studies and sociology and coordinator of the LGBTQ studies certificate program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I study queer and trans family issues in Taiwan and in transnational contexts.
Queer Kinship and Family Change in Taiwan (2019, Rutgers)
My first book is an ethnographic study of LGBT family of origin relationships. It is based on fieldwork and interviews with queer and trans people throughout Taiwan and with a subset of their parents and siblings. Read more about the project and order the book here: https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/queer-kinship-and-family-change-in-taiwan/9780813597607
This book received the 2019 Ruth Benedict Prize from the Association for Queer Anthropology.
Queer and Trans Experiences with Family-Based Immigration to the U.S.
This on-going project investigates how family and sexuality are constructed through processes of migration and citizenship. The project follows queer and trans individuals and couples as they navigate family-based immigration to the United States after the end of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
To get more information or participate in this study, see http://amybrainer.com/immigration.
As is true for many scholars, my research and teaching interests have personal origins. I became interested in global and transnational family issues as a result of my own family history of migration between the US and China. My interest in LGBTQ family issues is rooted in my experience coming out to a close-knit and deeply religious family. Sociology provided me with tools for linking my personal biography to larger cultural and social issues. I care about sharing these tools with students and supporting student efforts to build a more just and equitable world. Currently I am the faculty advisor to two student organizations, She’s the First and Pride.
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my parents and four siblings and with my cats Bettie and Page. I also like soap operas, burlesque and drag shows, and getting to know Detroit, my new city and home.