Penn Sociology News

April 22, 2015

Aliya Rao has been awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) Grant from the National Science Foundation Sociology Program for her dissertation on how families experience unemployment. The Sociology Program DDRI Grant supports "the conduct of doctoral dissertation projects undertaken by doctoral students enrolled in U.S. universities when the dissertation research is conducted in a scientifically sound manner and it offers strong potential for enhancing more general scientific knowledge."

April 2, 2015

George Bridges, who received his doctoral degree in Sociology at Penn in 1979, has been selected as the next president of The Evergreen State College (Olymipa, WA). He has been the president of Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) for the past decade.

Full Story

March 31, 2015

Guobin Yang was recently quoted in an article in the New Yorker that discusses the rise of Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China and the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

Full Article

March 17, 2015

Penn Sociology Alumni Spotlight:
Kristin Turney, Ph.D ('09)
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of California-Irvine

Kristin Turney, who will be our colloquium speaker on March 25, earned her doctorate from Penn Sociology in 2009. We had a chance to catch up with her to learn more about her current research and the next steps.

Tell us a bit about your current research.

Kristin: My research investigates the complex and dynamic role of families in creating, sustaining, and exacerbating social inequalities. My current projects include the collateral consequences of incarceration for family life, the effects of depression on individuals and children, and the causes and consequences of childhood health inequalities. 

What is the next significant step in your research?
Kristin: I am beginning a longitudinal qualitative study of romantic partners and children connected to the incarcerated; the goal of this project is to generate a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the intra- and  inter-generational consequences of incarceration, and to inform effective policy and practice interventions to alleviate inequality. 

What motivates you to do the research that you are doing?
Kristen: Incarceration is one of the most pressing social problems in the United States today. Individuals who are incarcerated, and those connected to them, tend to experience a multitude of disadvantages even before they're incarcerated. Thinking about how incarceration can then reinforce and exacerbate already existing inequalities is important for understanding the future of inequality in this country. 

Kristin will present her talk, "The Unequal Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children," on Wednesday March 25th in McNeil 286-287 as part of the Penn Sociology Colloquium Series.

March 11, 2015

Ph.D Candidate Rachel Ellis has just had her article, “Outreach and Exclusion: Jewish Denominational Marketing in the Early 20th Century” published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Using historical methods, she investigates how religious denominations cultivate a market niche based on organizational identity with respect to ethnicity, nativity, and social class.

February 26, 2015

Sociology Ph.D student Andrea Kauffman-Berry talked to the Penn Current about Women Who Write, a dissertation writing program "open to any doctoral student at Penn who identifies as a woman and who is actively working on her dissertation."

Complete interview and story

Women Who Write is an intense dissertation writing program that meets daily throughout the calendar year at the Penn Women's Center. The group offers a quiet environment conducive to effective writing, a mutually-motivated team spirit, and accountability to meeting regular writing goals. Further, the group provides opportunities to talk with other Ph.D. students as well as women leaders at Penn about preparing for the job market and transitioning to life as a professor or leader in one's field. For more information, contact Andrea Kauffman-Berry:

February 20, 2015

Dorothy Roberts has been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowship for her book project, Interracial Marriage and Racial Equality in Chicago. ACLS has been providing fellowships for scholars in the humanities and related social sciences for nearly 90 years.

ACLS Website

February 19, 2015

Melissa Wilde provided a public comment at Wednesday evening's Philadelphia School Reform Commission Hearings.  The hearings regarded the approval of five charter school applications for the Philadelphia School District. Prof. Wilde's comment is quoted in an article on the Philly Voice website:

Full Article

February 9, 2015

Randall Collins was recently interviewed in The Daily Texan to discuss the future of capitalism.

Full Interview

February 6, 2015

Renee Fox's book, Doctors without Borders: Humanitarian Quests, Impossible Dreams of Medicins Sans Frontieres, has earned the 2015 PROSE (Professional and Scholarly Excellence) award for Sociology & Social Work.

The PROSE Awards, as described on its website, "annually recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in over 40 categories."

For a complete list of winners, visit the PROSE Awards website.

February 5, 2015
The final program for the Sociologists for Women in Society Winter Meetings has been posted on the SWS website.

The theme for this year's conference, organized by Jerry Jacobs and Kathleen Gerson, is "Feminism in Theory, Practice and Policy." The meetings, to be held in Washington DC from February 19-22, include presentations by a number of prominent scholars and a day-long workshop that focuses on the work and family policies included in President Obama's State of the Union address. 


February 5, 2015

Ross Koppel was recently quoted in USA Today in an article discussing the debate on the safety of electronic health records.

Full Article

February 3, 2015

Hyunjoon Park and Herbert L. Smith, with support from the Population Studies Center, Penn Sociology, and other organizations at Penn, are organizing the International Sociological Association Research Committee 28 (RC28) meeting on Social Stratification and Mobility.  The conference will take place August 17-19 2015 at Penn, with the theme "Demographic Perspectives on Inequality." The official website for the conference can be found here:

We had a chance to talk to Professor Park to find out more about the upcoming conference.

Professor Hyunjoon Park

The RC28 meetings have been held all over the world.  How does it feel to bring this esteemed meeting to Philadelphia?

Hyunjoon Park:
 The Research Committee 28 on Social Stratification and Mobility (RC28) of the International Sociological Association is a community of international scholars who are interested in various issues in the field of social Stratification and inequality.  Every year the RC28 organizes two international conferences on different continents where scholars share their latest projects and discuss urgent theoretical and empirical issues of social inequality.  We are so excited to host the 2015 RC28 Summer Conference here at the University of Pennsylvania with support from the Population Studies Center, Department of Sociology, and other Penn organizations.  Along with growing concerns for economic inequality in the United States and other societies, our international conference will provide a timely and important opportunity to discuss social inequality and mobility in global and comparative perspectives. 

Why was the theme "Demographic Perspectives on Inequality" selected?

HP: We hope that our conference can bring together scholars of population studies and social stratification to advance our understanding of complexities of inequality.  We believe that incorporating demographic perspectives to stratification research can be very productive to address causes and consequences of inequality.  At the same time, demographers can greatly benefit from stratification research in their focus on socioeconomic differentials in demographic behaviors and their consequences.  Note that our Population Studies Center at Penn, which supports the RC28 Conference in Philadelphia, is a renowned center for demographic research with the tradition of more than 50 years.  Therefore, Penn is a great place where we can discuss demographic perspectives on inequality.

What do you hope to accomplish with this 3-day event?

HP: We expect about 200 scholars to come to Penn from various parts of the world.  The conference will be structured with multiple parallel regular sessions (and possibly a poster session) during the three days of conference.  These regular sessions will be composed of papers selected for presentation among those submitted.  The conference will begin with a plenary session where all participants gather together to discuss the thematic topic of demographic perspectives on inequality.  The plenary session will feature a few presentations that showcase how linking demographic processes to inequality can be productive.  Then we will conclude the conference with another plenary session where presenters will discuss complexities of inequality by juxtaposing inequalities of different social and economic outcomes in interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives. 

In addition to lively and serious academic engagement, our conference will offer various opportunities for participants to get to know each other.  Specifically, in the second day of the conference, we will have a banquet dinner for all participants to attend.  Before dinner, we plan to feature Penn’s beautiful campus on a group walking tour.  This way, conference participants from various countries will get to know about the rich history of the University of Pennsylvania, its urban environments and enjoy the hospitality and academic atmosphere of the university.

How will this Summer's meeting differ from previous meetings?

HP: Our conference will continue the great tradition of RC28 meetings, which have served as a convention for exchanges of innovative research agendas and opportunities for collaborations among scholars of social stratification.  Our conference at Penn will be the first meeting in the United States since the summer meeting in 2012.  Moreover, with its rich American history accompanied by great art museums and interesting restaurants, the city of Philadelphia is an attractive place to visit.  Therefore, we look forward to having many participants both domestically and internationally. 

Importantly, inequality is a pressing issue globally.  We hope that our conference can be relevant not only for academic community but also for public policy by stimulating conservations on international experiences of effective policies and interventions to address growing inequality across many countries.  Finally, we will use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to effectively provide the latest news on the conference.  We also hope that our social media platforms can enable people to continue discussion about inequality beyond the conference site.


Visit the RC28 conference website

February 2, 2015

Annette Lareau's article, "Cultural Knowledge and Social Inequality," was recently published in the American Sociological Review. Focusing on qualitative longitudinal and interview data 20 years after the study for her book, Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Lareau focuses on "how cultural knowledge matters when white and African American young adults of differing class backgrounds navigate key institutions."

Full Article

January 26, 2015

Clayton S. Rose, who earned his Ph.D (with distinction) in Sociology from Penn in 2007, has been elected as the 15th President of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, effective July 1, 2015.  Rose is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Business School 

For the complete story visit:

January 23, 2015

Dorothy Roberts has been selected by the American Psychiatric Association to receive the 2015 Solomon Carter Fuller Award.  The APA website states, "Since 1975, the APA has honored Black pioneers providing significant benefit to the quality of life for Black people with the Solomon Carter Fuller Award."

Roberts will receive the honor and give the Solomon Carter Fuller Award Lecture at the APA's annual meeting in Toronto in May 2015.

January 23, 2015

Randall Collins' book (with Immanuel Wallerstein and several others), Does Capitalism Have a Future? was recently published in French, Russian, Finnish, and Korean.  The book had already been translated in Chinese and German

The launch of the French edition, in November 2014, was also discussed in a half-hour interview in French on Radio France.

January 14, 2015

The International Sociological Association will hold the meetings of the Research Committee 28 (RC28) on Social Stratification and Mobility on August 17-19, 2015 at Penn. The conference is being organized by Hyunjoon Park and Herb Smith, with support from Penn Sociology and the Population Studies Center.  The theme is "Demographic Perspectives on Inequality."

For more information on the confernece, and the Call for Papers, please visit the Penn RC28 Official Website.

January 8, 2015

Penn Sociology receives accolades in a USA TODAY College article in a recent ranking from College Factual that lists the top 10 colleges for a Sociology Degree.  Penn ranks #10 on the list.

Full Article and List

January 8, 2015

Guobin Yang was recently interviewed by The Inquiry on BBC Radio to discuss how the Chinese government channels Internet expression as a form of censorship.

Link to Interview (Guobin Yang's segment begins at approximately 15:00)