PhD, Yale University (Sociology)
JD, Yale Law School
AB, University of Chicago (Sociology)
Michael W. Yarbrough is an interdisciplinary social scientist working at the intersection of law, culture, and family. His current book manuscript explores these themes through comparative ethnographic research among two groups recently incorporated into South African marriage law: people living in communities that observe African customary law; and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender. As the world's only jurisdiction that has recently extended its marriage laws to multiple social groups, South Africa makes possible a novel comparison Yarbrough uses to re-theorize the production of marital status as a fundamental category of social life. His article on how these legal expansions came to be was recently published in Social Politics, and another piece from this project that explores the persistent authority of bridewealth is forthcoming in Law & Social Inquiry. He has published other work in the South African Review of Sociology, Qualitative Sociology Review and the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism. In its dissertation form, his current project was awarded a Fulbright-Hays fellowship and the Marvin B. Sussman Dissertation Prize from the Yale Sociology Department.
marriage and family; race, gender, and sexuality; LGBT communities and politics; law in everyday life; post-colonialism; political and cultural sociology; qualitative and ethnographic methods; South Africa; the United States