Penn Sociology News

May 7, 2015

Registration is open for the Summer Session 1 course: Sociology of Gender [SOCI 122-910], which will be taught by Ph.D candidate Tugce Ellialti.  

The course will run from May 26 - July 1, 2015, and will help students "seek to understand how gender as an axis of social differentiation works in society, and to develop critical tools to analyze how society is organized around gender." This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity and Society Sector requirements.

For more information email Tugce at or click on the flyer below.

Sociology of Gender Summer Course Information

May 6, 2015

Sociology major and senior Chloe Sigal was recently awarded a 2015 Rose Undergraduate Research Award for her project, "Cashing in Versus Being Dangerous: The Class-Mediated Nature of Social Movement Coalition Identity." Chloe's project was selected by Penn's Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) and the Rose Award Faculty Selection Committee. 

May 4, 2015

Melissa Wilde has been awarded the 2015 American Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Distinguished Article Award.  The award is for her article, “Fewer and Better Children: Race, Class, Religion and Birth Control Reform in America" (with Sabrina Danielsen) which was published in the American Journal of Sociology in 2014.

May 1, 2015

Ross Koppel recently participated in a TV broadcast panel discussion on Electronic Health Records. The broadcast was produced by Politico, and the video is available on their website:

Here is a write-up on the panel from the Politico website:

ANELISTS: LIABILITY, USABILITY ISSUES WITH EHRS MUST BE SORTED OUT : Electronic health records and health IT have greatly improved care, but there are great strides to be made before the systems are highly usable, experts said at POLITICO's "Outside: In" event yesterday. The shift to EHRs have made care safer and more efficient, experts agreed. "But is it good enough? Is it as good as it should be, given the cost and effort? The answer is no, resoundingly," said Ross Koppel of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, a leading critic of the technology. Jacob Reider, chief strategy officer of health IT company Kyron and formerly of the ONC, said he doesn't disagree with Koppel, but said the industry and government have made great progress in setting standards and rules for making EHRs more usable. EHRs have improved care, but they're not perfect "in any way," said Bernadette Loftus, associate executive director of Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser docs have had the ability to fine-tune and code their EHR to their liking - something not every hospital has the ability or resources to do, Reider and Koppel pointed out. Human error and liability are major unresolved issues, but government regulators have taken an industry-friendly approach, said Koppel. Harold Thimbleby, a professor of computer science at the University of New South Wales, said the blame for EHR errors will be an ongoing debate until liability issues are sorted out."



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.