Penn Sociology News

October 20, 2014

Dorothy Roberts was recently featured in Penn Current in an interview discussing her career trajectory, research, the influence her parents had on her life, and more.

Full Article


October 9, 2014

The Media Activism Research Collective (MARC) is a new, joint endeavor between the Annenberg School for Communication and Penn Sociology.  It is  student-driven, collaborative, and interdisciplinary group that offers a space for graduate students working at the intersection of media studies and social movement theory.

Innovative research on the dynamic relationship between media and social movements requires methodologies and frameworks that defy disciplinary boundaries. In the spirit of the field’s rich diversity, MARC brings together graduate students and faculty from around the Penn campus to establish a supportive network for research that might not lend itself to a traditional laboratory setting, but nonetheless benefits from collective thinking and creative experimentation.

MARC links students with peers, leading scholars, and resources so as to institutionalize the formation of generative ties that foster deep learning and insightful research. In a field more typically pursued through individual paths that sometimes cross, MARC is committed to the type of synergetic research required to explore the complex realities of activism, social movements, and media systems. 

We will have our first business meeting on Monday, October 20, at noon, in ASC room 224. Lunch will be served.  Please RSVP to by October 15.  

To join MARC's mailing-list, please email with a blank subject line, and in the body of the email, type “subscribe MediaActivismResearch” 

For further questions, please contact Rosemary Clark at or Guobin Yang at


October 3, 2014

Ross Koppel was recently quoted in a Modern Healthcare article that discusses the perceived lack of interoperability between Epic Systems' electronic health-record systems and other systems.

Full Article

September 23, 2014

Larry Liu, Class of '15
Sociology Major & Online Ambassador

The opinions on this blog are Larry's personal views based on his experiences, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Sociology at Penn.

The Undergraduate's Graduate Seminar Experience

I am Larry Liu, and I have studied at Penn since 2012. I’d like to share one of my fondest memories since becoming a Sociology major.  

I enjoyed the courses that I had taken in Sociology, and was very satisfied with the major. In order to broaden my intellectual experience, I decided that I wanted to look for even further opportunities to exchange ideas with professors.  I spoke with the Undergraduate Coordinator, Nancy, about the possibility of taking a graduate course for the fall of 2013, and she strongly recommended it to me. 

I discovered a course titled “Proseminar in Classical Sociology,” which was taught every year in the fall by Professor Randall Collins.  Professor Collins’ book, Four Sociological Theories (1994) was a very profound introduction to the discipline for me. In order to get into the course, I had to get his permission.  I decided that instead of using electronic means such as e-mail, it would be best to try to talk to Professor Collins directly. I did not know what would be the best way to accomplish this, but luckily, one day I saw him on his way walking out of the McNeil building. I made a case for why I should take his course, and he said yes.  I immediately e-mailed Nancy, and a few days later I was enrolled in the graduate course!

 truly enjoyed the course. There was quite a bit more reading than I was used to (1-2 books a week), and a 10-20 page final paper at the end of the semester (my paper applied Marxian and Weberian insights of primitive accumulation and state power to the market reforms in post-1970s China). Additionally, there was a lot more discussion in the seminar than I was accustomed to. 

I was grateful for the intellectual experience and challenge this course provided me. I learned much about Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Goffman and many others. Additionally, we had engaging discussions about the research subjects the PhD students were working on, along with our observations from the media, newspaper, books, and daily lives.  The structure of this course was unlike anything I experienced before, which was both jarring and empowering.

Collins noted to us in the last class that knowledge production happens best in a conversational setting such as this seminar. He also said that knowledge production was always the result of collective effort. I experienced this first-hand in each class, and this sociological insight left a lasting impact on me. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I was afforded to take this graduate course; an opportunity that definitely pushed me beyond my horizons.


You can follow Larry Liu on Twitter:

September 19, 2014

Tukufu Zuberi discusses what it means to have a name in the second of his three-part blog series for the Huffington Post inspired by his Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River exhibition at the Independence Seaport Museum.

Full Blog Post

September 19, 2014

Renee Fox, Professor Emerita of Sociology and Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences, was recently interviewed by to discuss her new book, Doctors Without Borders: Humanitarian Quests, Impossible Dreams of Medecins Sans Frontieres (John Hopkins University Press).

Full Article

September 18, 2014

Linda Aiken, the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, was recently awarded an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Nursing Research for her study, "Panel Study of Effects of Changes in Nursing on Patient Outcomes." Herb Smith serves as one of the co-investigators. 

The study's overarching aim is "to determine points of comparatively low-cost organizational leverage of nursing inputs to improve patient outcomes."

September 16, 2014

Sociology at Penn Spotlight: Dr. Emilio Parrado, Professor and Chair of Sociology
By Faith Memmo (Class of '16), Penn Sociology Online Ambassador

Today's Sociology at Penn Spotlight is on Dr. Emilio Parrado, Professor and Chair of Sociology and Director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program (LALS) at Penn.


His research focuses on migration and how it is related with other aspects of society, with a specific interest in the Hispanic population in the U.S.  I caught up with Dr. Parrado to find out more about the motivation behind his studies, the importance of Sociology, and his current research.

Faith: Coming from Argentina, why did you decide to focus on migration specifically in the United States?
Emilio: I came to the U.S. with the idea of studying social change from the perspective of people actually doing it, and how social change expresses itself in the lives of individuals. Argentina has a long history of immigration, so I was familiar with the issue of immigration. When you talk to people in Argentina about immigration, they think about Europeans; I was interested in Bolivians and Paraguayans, so I brought that interest with me. Immigration is an action that produces social change, and for the individuals who are changing their lives it is very exciting and different. It connects with macro level problems, issues that have to do with regulating immigration, concerns with immigrants and problems of race and ethnicity, so there was a natural emerging of my concern with social change and immigration.

FM: Being the chair of the department, why do you think that Sociology is an important field of study?

EP: Sociology is good at connecting people with history, placing people in historical time, and understanding both individual decisions and how macro forces affect those decisions. [It is] very historical, very empirical. We learn a lot from experiences, and we understand what happens in these transitions. Not just individualistic and not just cultural, we connect particular periods with how people behave. Sociology is great for studying immigration because it is historical and provides a comprehensive account of what happens in transition. Sociology connects those transitions with other transitions. Sociological approaches are very insightful in explaining immigrant experiences.

FM: Recently you were given a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to research immigration and fertility. Why is this important?
EP: Every single developed society receives immigrants; declining fertility and lower mortality is affecting the age structure of these populations. Immigrants affect both the age structure of the population, fertility of the population, and the mortality of the population. We don’t quite understand demographically how that happens. Some of the models do not quite reflect how immigrants affect those things.

If we want to know the future of Social Security, we need to know what’s happening with the US population. If we want to know the size of our labor force, we need to understand how immigration affects these things. If we want to know how many children will go to school, we need to do these things. So the proposal is about that, trying to create better models that in a different way incorporate immigration into our demographic equation. 



For more on Dr. Emilio Parrado, visit his webpage.

September 15, 2014

Dorothy Roberts (with Jonathan M. Metzl, MD, PhD.) recently published "Structural Competency Meets Structural Racism: Race, Politics, and the Structure of Medical Knowledge" in Virtual Mentor. The essay looks at three case studies "to illustrate how extraclinical stigma, socioeconomic factors, and politics can shape diagnostic and treatment disparities" in clinical settings.

Full Essay


September 12, 2014

The exciting Penn Sociology 2014-2015 Colloquium series begins next Wednesday, 9/17 at Noon in McNeil 103!

Get ready for the series by downloading our new app (on the Yapp platform for iOS and Android) for the weekly schedule, speaker bios, Twitter feeds, and more.

The new Sociology Colloquium Series App is now available!

September 12, 2014

Save the Date(s)
August 17-19, 2015
International Sociological Association
Research Committee 28 (Social Stratification and Mobility) Conference
University of Pennsylvania
Organized by Hyunjoon Park and Herbert L. Smith 

Mark your calendar for the International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committee 28 (Social Stratification and Mobility) Conference at the University of Pennsylvania. Hyunjoon Park and Herbert L. Smith are organizing this scholarly exchange with support from the Population Studies Center and other organizations at Penn.

The call for papers will be out this winter; for updates, visit the Population Studies Center website.
To receive information directly, please email to be added to their list. 

September 8, 2014

Sam Preston, Ph.D Alum Andrew Stokes ('14), and Demography Ph.D student Ezra Fishman recently posted a working paper for the Population Studies Center Working Paper Series titled, "Lifetime Probability of Developing Diabetes in the United States."  The paper uses values derived from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to estimate the lifetime probability of developing diabetes in the United States.

Link to Article

September 8, 2014

Hyunjoon Park recently posted a working paper (w/ Jae Kyung Lee) for the Population Studies Center Working Paper Series titled:  "Growing Educational Differentials in the Retreat from Marriage among Korean Men." The paper explores "how men’s education affects their transition to first marriage, and how the relationship between education and marriage has changed across three 10-year birth cohorts of Korean men born from 1946 to 1975."  

Link to Working Paper

September 5, 2014

Meet our new Penn Sociology Online Ambassadors for the 2014-2015 academic year!

Sociology majors Faith Memmo (Class of '16) & Larry Liu (Class of '15)

The Online Ambassadors will blog throughtout the year on our website about their experiences as Sociology majors and the opportunities available to Sociology students.

Visit our previous student blogs

August 29, 2014

Emilio A. Parrado has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the interaction between immigration and fertility. The project is in collaboration with Sam Preston (Penn) and Phil Morgan (UNC-Chapel Hill).

August 28, 2014

The Chinese and German translations of Randall Collins' book, Does Capitalism Have a Future? have just been published.


Does Capitalism Have a Future? was co-written with Immanuel Wallerstein, Michael Mann, Georgi Derluguian, and Craig Calhoun, and was originally published in English in late 2013 by Oxford University Press. Besides Chinese and German, it is also appearing in Spanish, Russian, Korean, Turkish, Farsi, Slovenian, Czech, Polish, Portuguese, French, and Arabic. 

August 27, 2014

Penn Sociology has an exciting lineup set for our 2014-2015 Colloquium Series!  Download our new Sociology Colloquium Series App (courtesy of the Yapp platform) for iOS or Android to check out speaker bios, schedule, Twitter feeds, and more! Downdload Instructions are below:



1. Go to the App Store or Google Play and download Yapp (it's free):
Yapp Photo
Yapp for iOS
Yapp for Android 

2. Click the green plus (+) sign in the top right-hand corner
3. Select "I've been invited to a Yapp"
4. Put any username in the name box
5. Put the following 6-letter code in the box that says "":  GJGFTC

The app "Colloquium Series 2014-2015" will download.  Enjoy!


August 21, 2014

Sociology Ph.D. alumna (2013) Julia E. Szymczak was recently awarded the sole honorable mention for the 2014 Roberta G. Simmons Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. Julia’s dissertation is titled “The Complexity of Simple Things: An Ethnographic Study of the Challenge of Preventing Hospital-Acquired Infections.” The selection committee “agreed unanimously that her research is outstanding and deserving of recognition.” The chair of Julia’s dissertation was Professor Charles L. Bosk.

August 20, 2014

Grace Kao & Hyunjoon Park have been appointed as Series Editors of Research in the Sociology of Education. Research in the Sociology of Education highlights "new and engaging work on various educational issues facing schools, families, and their communities." The first volume to be published with them as the editors is scheduled for early 2015.

Full Article

August 18, 2014

Jerry A. Jacobs was quoted in an August 11 story in Time Magazine that critically assessed popular advice on work-family issues.

Full article: