Holding a joint appointment with the Department of African and African-American Studies, Jennifer Hamer's general area of study is the sociological and interdisciplinary qualitative study of families, especially those within the United States. Within this broad field, her primary research interests are African American fathers, mothers, and families, especially those that are working class.
She has published in varying journals such as the Journal of Marriage and the Family and Journal of Black Studies. In addition, she is the author of What it Means to Be Daddy: Fatherhood for Black Men Living Away from Their Children (Columbia University Press, 2001, <<What it Means to be Daddy). Her most recent book, Abandoned in the Heartland: Work, Family, and Living in East St. Louis (University of California Press, 2011, <<Abandoned in the Heartland), is an analysis of how working class African American men and women negotiate work, kin care, and family in a poor suburb.
She is former Editor of Race and Society, the past official journal of the Association of Black Sociologists; founder and former Editor of Black Women, Gender, and Family; and founding Editor of Women, Gender, and Families of Color a multidisciplinary journal published biannually by the University of Illinois Press, that centers the study of women, gender, families, and communities of color.
She was recently selected to serve as a 2014-2015 Senior Administrative Fellow at the University of Kansas.