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 California State University, Fullerton

Carrie M. Lane, PhD

Associate Professor of American Studies

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new series on the Anthropology of Contemporary North America that I will be co-editing with James Bielo for University of Nebraska Press. To read more about the series, visit the series website here


2005, Ph.D, American Studies, Yale University

1997, BA, Cultural Anthropology, Princeton University

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Research Areas

The Changing Nature of Work and Careers in the United States; Anthropology of the United States; Ethnographic Research and Writing; American Community Studies; American Business and Labor History; U.S. Women's History; Theories and Methods of American Studies

Courses Regularly Taught

AMST 201: Introduction to American Studies

AMST 301: American Character

AMST 320: Women in American Society

AMST 350: Seminar in Theory and Method of American Studies

AMST 390: Disability and American Culture

AMST 401T: American Culture through Ethnography

AMST 410: The Office: White-Collar Work in American Culture

AMST 423: The Search for Community

AMST 425: Americans at Work

AMST 502T: Ethnography and American Culture




A Company of One: Insecurity, Independence, and the New World of White-Collar Unemployment. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011. (Winner of the 2012 Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Award; Finalist for the 2012 Book Award of the Society for Economic Anthropology)

Edited Volume

Co-Editor with Jong Bum Kwon, Anthropologies of Unemployment: The Changing Study of Work and Its Absence (in preparation)

Journal Articles

“‘If The Shoe Ain’t Your Size, It Ain’t Gonna Fit’: Ideologies of Professional and Marital Instability among US White-Collar Workers,” Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 12/13 (2010): 37-54.

“Man Enough to Let My Wife Support Me: How Changing Models of Career and Gender Are Reshaping the Experience of Unemployment,” American Ethnologist 36.4 (2009): 681-692.

“Like Exporting Baseball to Japan: U.S. Tech Workers Respond to Offshoring,” Anthropology of Work Review 25.3-4 (November 2005): 18-26.

Book Chapters

“Unemployed Tech Workers’ Ambivalent Embrace of the Flexible Ideal,” Beyond the Cubicle: Insecurity Culture and the Flexible Self, Allison Pugh, ed. (Oxford University Press; TK 2015)

"How To Be a Professional Organizer in the United States," A World of Work: How To Be A..., Ilana Gershon, ed. (Cornell University Press; TK 2015)

“The Limits of Liminality: Anthropological Approaches to Unemployment in the United States,”  Anthropologies of Unemployment: The Changing Nature of Work and Its Absence, Jong Bum Kwon and Carrie Lane, eds. (in preparation)

Co-authored with Jong Bum Kwon, “Introduction,” Anthropologies of Unemployment: The Changing Nature of Work and Its Absence, Jong Bum Kwon and Carrie Lane, eds. (in preparation)

Solicited Articles

"What I've Learned from Professional Organizers." Orange County Register, CSU Fullerton Section, Living Textbook Series (September 11, 2013): 2. 

"Finding the Fit in Organizing." Orange County Register, CSU Fullerton Section, Living Textbook Series (September 4, 2013): 3. 

"What's Driving the Demand for Professional Organizers?" Orange County Register, CSU Fullerton Section, Living Textbook Series (August 28, 2013): 3. 

“Work and Unemployment in the Global Labor Market,” Anthropology News 46.3 (March 2005): 21.

“Teaching Work to Workers,” Anthropology News 46.9 (December 2005): 59.

Book Reviews

Good Jobs America: Making Work Better for Everyone by Paul Osterman and Beth Shulman Contemporary Sociology 42.3 (2013): 410-11.

Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress by Candacy Taylor, Anthropology of Work Review (2012): 49-51.    

The Managed Hand: Race, Gender, and the Body in Beauty Service Work by Miliann Kang, American Ethnologist 39.2 (2012): 462-3.

Headhunters: Matchmaking in the Labor Market by William Finlay and James E. Coverdill, Anthropology of Work Review24.1-2 (2003): 35-36

Minding the Store and Quest for the Best by Stanley Marcus, Journal of South Texas 16.1 (2003): 119-121.

Temps: The Many Faces of the Changing Workplace by Jackie Krasas Rogers, Anthropology of Work Review 22.2 (2001): 32-33.

Other Scholarly Work

Current research project: Professor Lane is currently researching the growing field of professional organizing, in which individuals and organizations hire organizers for tasks as diverse as cleaning out closets and garages, organizing paperwork, and reworking family schedules and workflow processes. In addition to interviewing organizers and their clients in cities across the country (but especially in Los Angeles and Orange County), as part of her research Lane is attending professional meetings and industry conferences and assisting on organizing jobs. This study considers what this fascinating and fast-growing industry can tell us about the changing nature of work and entrepreneurship, especially in the high-end service sector, and engages broader discussions around consumerism, gender, and quality of life in the contemporary United States. 

Office Hours

MW: 10-11am & by appointment

W: 9:00-10:00am (online students only)

Course Schedule

American Character 15117: MW 11:30-12:45am / EC-011

American Character 21426: ONLINE /

Seminar In Theory & Method of American Studies 15119: MW 1:00-2:15pm / HUM 326B