Wendy Luttrell is a leading authority on how urban American schooling shapes and reinforces beliefs about race, identity, knowledge, and power. Her first book, Schoolsmart and Motherwise: Working-Class Women’s Identity and Schooling (1997), the recipient of the Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award from the American Sociological Association (ASA), was based on first-person accounts of women, both white and African American, who were returning to the classroom as adult learners. The ASA also recognized Luttrell’s 2003 book Pregnant Bodies, Fertile Minds: Gender, Race and the Schooling of Pregnant Teens with an Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship Award for its analysis of how pregnant women and young mothers are educated and the stigmas they face. More recently, she edited the volume Qualitative Educational Research: Readings in Reflexive Methodology and Transformative Practice (2009).
Luttrell is internationally recognized for her use of visual methodology and a practice she has developed called collaborative seeing in her longitudinal research, Children Framing Childhoods and Looking Back. This research traces children’s use of photography and video from ages 10, 12, 16, and 18 as a means to explore the roles that gender, race, class, and immigrant status play in how the young people perceive and portray their family, school, social, and emotional worlds. One of the goals of this research is to challenge deficit-oriented views of young people growing up in urban, low-income families and attending underresourced schools. Luttrell previously taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has won accolades for her abilities as an effective teacher; she is also a highly sought-after lecturer and speaker. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.