Standing Faculty

Benjamin Shestakofsky, Ph.D.

Lecturer in Sociology
Assistant Professor of Sociology, effective July 1, 2019

Education: 

Ph.D. Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 2018
M.A. Sociology, University of California, Berkeley 2014
B.A. Sociology and American Studies, Wesleyan University, 2005

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Sociology of Work
Technology and Society
Economic Sociology
Qualitative Research Methods
Organizations
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

Benjamin Shestakofsky’s research centers on how digital technologies are affecting work and employment, organizations, and economic exchange. His book project, Working Algorithms, draws on 19 months of participant-observation research at a high-tech startup company to investigate how relations between workers and technology evolved over three phases of the firm's development. The findings show how the dynamism of the globalized organizations in which software algorithms are produced and implemented will contribute to human labor’s enduring relevance in the digital age. An article based on this project has been published in Work and Occupations; another was awarded the James D. Thompson Award for an Outstanding Graduate Student Paper by the ASA's Section on Organizations, Occupations, and Work. Manuscripts in progress examine the social construction of online markets; how diverse sets of users are brought in line with—and challenge—a digital platform’s design; and the relationship between venture capital, organizational cultures, and organizational change.

Benjamin’s research has been supported by the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy and the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. His work has been featured in the Financial Times and in a publication of the World Economic Forum. Benjamin is a member of the international editorial board of Work and Occupations.

Contact Information: 

E-mail: bshesta@upenn.edu
Office: McNeil 228

Pilar Gonalons-Pons, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Education: 
Ph.D., Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014
 M.A., International Migration, University of Deutso, 2008
 B.A., Sociology, University of Barcelona, 2006

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Gender
Family
Social stratification
Social policy
Quantitative Methodology
Cross-national comparative studies
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

My research examines how work, families, and public policies structure economic inequalities, with a particular focus on how inequalities change over time and over the life course. I employ quantitative techniques and longitudinal datasets from multiple countries along with content analyses of documents and interview data.

My studies contribute to debates about the uneven change in gender inequalities, the role of family processes in exacerbating inequalities across families, and the relevance of public policies in mediating these processes.

My current projects focus on the impact of changes in wives' earnings on income inequality in 8 countries 1975-2015, the effects of the Great Recession on workers' career mobility and family formation in 30 countries, and changes in couples' work and earnings after childbirth in the US 1970-2010.

My research has been published in Demography, Social Science Research, and the RSF: Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences.

Contact Information: 

Office: McNeil 217
Phone: 215.573.9196
Website: www.pilargonalons.com
E-mail: pgonalon@sas.upenn.edu


 

Courtney Boen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Education: 

Ph.D., Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2017
M.A., Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2013
M.P.H., Health Services Management and Policy, Tufts University, 2007
B.A., Sociology and Community Health, Tufts University, 2006

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Social Determinants of Health
Racial Health Inequities
Aging and the Life Course
Social Demography
Medical Sociology
Racial and Ethnic Inequality
Quantitative Methods
Curriculum Vitae

 

Research Description: 

My research focuses primarily on the social determinants of population health inequality, with particular attention to the social factors producing racial and socioeconomic health inequities. Utilizing biomarkers of physiological functioning and cellular aging and a variety of analytic techniques, my work aims to improve scientific understanding how macro-level social inequality “gets under the skin” to produce health disparities from birth through late life. Currently, I am engaged in several projects that examine how exposure to racism-related stress in various domains of social life (e.g., in neighborhoods, in contacts with the criminal justice system, and in interpersonal interactions) contributes to racial disparities in pre-disease biological markers of health and aging. My other ongoing and previous studies further investigate the social factors producing racial and socioeconomic health disparities. I have examined how disparities in socioeconomic conditions—including differential access to wealth and exposure to early-life socioeconomic disadvantage—contribute to population health inequality. I have also collaborated on projects that assess how access to social relationships and exposure to relationship strain contribute to disparities in health and disease risk. My research has been published in Social Science and Medicine, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Biodemography and Social Biology, and the Journal of Aging and Health.

Contact Information: 

Office: McNeil 232
Phone: 215.573.0656
Email: cboen@upenn.edu

Daniel Aldana Cohen, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Education: 
Ph.D. Sociology, New York University, 2016
B.A. Intellectual History and International Development Studies, McGill University, 2005
 
Research Areas: 

Climate Change
Critical Urban Studies
Critical Theory
Social Movements
Political Economy
Historical Sociology
Latin America

Research Description: 

Daniel Aldana Cohen is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)². Aldana Cohen is also a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey (2018-19).  

Daniel works on the politics of climate change, investigating the intersections of climate change, political economy, inequalities of race and social class, and political projects of elites and social movements in global cities of the North and South. He's working on a book about housing, inequality, and climate politics in New York and São Paulo, tentatively titled Street Fight: Climate Change and Inequality in the 21st Century City.

Select recent publications:
(Note: More frequently updated publications, as well as writing for a non-specialist audience, available here.)

Journal articles:

Rice, Jennifer, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Joshua Long, Jason Jurjevich. 2019. Contradictions of the Climate‐Friendly City: New Perspectives on Eco‐Gentrification and Housing JusticeInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Online first. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12740

Cohen, Daniel Aldana. 2018. Water Crisis and Eco-Apartheid in São Paulo: Beyond Naive Optimism About Climate-Linked Disasters. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. “Spotlight on Parched Cities, Parched People” series. November.

Wachsmuth, David, Daniel Aldana Cohen, and Hillary Angelo. 2016. Expand the frontiers of urban sustainability. Nature, 536:7618, 391-393. DOI: 10.1038/536391a

Cohen, Daniel Aldana. 2016. The Rationed City: The politics of water, housing, and land use in drought-parched São Paulo. Public Culture, 28:2, 261-289.

Cohen, Daniel Aldana and Max Liboiron. 2016. New York’s Two Sandys. Metropolics. 20 October 2014.

Book chapters:

Cohen, Daniel Aldana
. In press, out June 2019. Working-Class Environmentalism. In Klinenberg, Eric, Caitlin Zaloom, and Sharon Marcus eds. Antidemocracy in America: Truth, Power, and the Republic at Risk, New York: Columbia University Press.

Cohen, Daniel Aldana. 2017. The Other Low-Carbon Protagonists: Poor People’s Movements and Climate Politics in São Paulo. Pp 140-157. In Miriam Greenberg and Penny Luce eds. The City is the Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Strategies in an Urban Age. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Cohen, Daniel Aldana. 2017. Urban Policy and Planning for Climate Change. In Alison Bain and Linda Peake eds. Urbanization In A Global Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 155-169.

Cohen, Daniel Aldana. 2016. Petro-Gotham, People’s Gotham. In Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Shapiro eds. Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. Berkeley: University of California Press, 47-54.

White papers and other scholarly writing:

Paprocki, Kasia, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Rebecca Elliott and Liz Koslov. 2019. The Useful Discomfort of Critical Climate Social Science. In SSRC Items. May 7.

Cohen, Daniel Aldana. 2018. Climate Justice and the Right to the City. White Paper. Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Penn Institute for Urban Research, and Perry World House, at the University of Pennsylvania. <penniur.upenn.edu/uploads/media/Cohen.pdf>

Bergren, Erin, Jessica Coffey, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Ned Crowley, Liz Koslow, Max Liboiron, Alexis Merdjanoff, Adam Murphree, and David Wachsmuth. 2013. “A Tale of Two Sandys.” White paper. Superstorm Research Lab. New York. <http://superstormresearchlab.org/white-paper>

Contact Information: 

E-mail: dacoh@sas.upenn.edu
Office: McNeil 251
Phone: 215.898.5614
Personal website: aldanacohen.com

Regina Smalls Baker, MSW, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website:
 www.reginasmallsbaker.com/


Education: 

Ph.D. Sociology, Duke University 2015
M.A. Sociology, Duke University, 2012
M.S.W. Social Work, University of Georgia, 2009
B.A. Sociology, Program in Leadership & Community Service, Mercer University, 2007

Research Areas: 

Poverty 
Social Stratification/ Inequality
Family
Social Demography
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

My research is fundamentally concerned with how micro- and macro- contexts create, maintain, and reproduce poverty and inequality. Motivating my research agenda is the question: how do demographic, structural, and institutional factors shape socio-economic conditions and disparities across individuals, time, and place? Accordingly, my current research focuses on three areas: 1) poverty and poverty risks, particularly among mothers and children; 2) the roles of power resources and historical racism in understanding inequalities across place (e.g. high poverty in the South); 3) cumulative (dis)advantage and mobility. While my current work primarily involves the use of quantitative techniques to analyze large scale and often multi-level datasets, I also have training in qualitative methods.

I have published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, American Sociological Review, and American Behavioral Scientist. My research (with Linda Burton) on the socioeconomic mobility aspirations and barriers of low-income mothers of children with disabilities was recently published in Marginalized Mothers: Mothering from the Margins.
 

Contact Information: 
Office: 218 McNeil Building
Phone:  215.898.7990
E-mail: regbaker@sas.upenn.edu

Penn Affiliations: 

Population Studies Center
Center of Africana Studies

 

Guobin Yang, Ph.D.

Grace Lee Boggs Professor of Sociology and Communication

Education: 

Ph.D., Sociology, New York University, 2000
Ph.D., English Literature, Beijing Foreign Studies University, 1993

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Social Movements
Online Activism and Internet Studies
Cultural Sociology
Media Sociology
Collective Memory
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

Guobin Yang is the Grace Lee Boggs Professor of Communication and Sociology at the Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also a faculty member in the Graduate Group of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and a faculty member of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China and Center for East Asian Studies. His research areas cover social movements, cultural sociology, political sociology, digital media and critical social theory, global communication, environmental sociology, and modern China.

Yang's 2009 book The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online (Best Book Award of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association, 2010), offers a multi-institutional analysis of the origins, cultural forms, and impact of internet activism in China. His 2016 book The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China develops a performance theory to explain Red Guard factional violence while analyzing the transformation of the Red Guard generation and Chinese political culture as a ritual process. His 2-volume Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind (2003), an annotated English translation of the 6th-century Chinese classic of rhetoric and literary theory Wenxin Diaolong, is an exemplary text in literary translation studies in China.

In addition, Yang is the editor or co-editor of four books, including Media Activism in the Digital Age (with Victor Pickard, 2017), China's Contested Internet (2015), The Internet, Social Media, and a Changing China (with Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein, 2016), and Re-Envisioning the Chinese Revolution: The Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Reform China (with Ching-Kwan Lee, 2007). 

Professor Yang is a co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Communication and the Public. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of Public Culture, Social Media + Society, The International Journal of Press/Politics, International Journal of Communication, Global Media and China, The China Quarterly, Chinese Journal of Sociology, China Information: A Journal on Contemporary China Studies; the "Asian Cultural Studies: Transnational and Dialogic Approaches" book series, the "Global Asia" book series of the Amsterdam University Press, and on the advisory boards of Asiascape: Digital Asia and Critical Perspectives on Citizen Media. He received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Writing and Research Grant" (2003) and was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. (2003-2004). Previously he taught as an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and as an associate professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College of Columbia University. He has a Ph.D. in English Literature with a specialty in Literary Translation from Beijing Foreign Studies University and a second Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University.

Yang tweets at @Yangguobin.

Contact Information: 

Office: 394 McNeil Building
Email: gyang@asc.upenn.edu

Dorothy Roberts, J.D.

George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights
Professor of Africana Studies

Director, Program on Race, Science and Society

Education: 

J.D., Harvard Law School, 1980
B.A. Yale College, 1977

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Gender and Race
Family
Criminal Justice
Bioethics
Sociology of Science
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

Dorothy Roberts, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law, joined the University of Pennsylvania as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the Law School where she also holds the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mosell Alexander chair. Her pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health, social justice, and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans. Her major books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997). She is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law and women and the law.

Contact Information: 

Office: 361 McNeil Building
Email: dorothyroberts@law.upenn.edu

Onoso Imoagene, Ph.D.

 Assistant Professor of Sociology

Education: 

Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University, 2011
M.A. Sociology, Harvard University, 2008
M.Phil. Modern Society and Global Transformations, Cambridge University, 2002
B.Sc., Sociology, University of Ibadan, 1999

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Immigration
Inter-ethnic group relations
First and Second Generation Africans in the U.S. and U.K.
Race and Ethnicity
Migration and Development
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

My research is in the areas of International Migration and Immigrant Incorporation with a special focus on first and second generation African immigrants in the British and American Diasporas; Inter-ethnic group (black-on-black) relations; the intersection of race, ethnicity, and class in assimilation outcomes of the African second generation; Impact of National Factors on Assimilation Outcomes; Immigration and Education; and Migration and Development.  I take a comparative approach in my research. The findings from my just concluded research project on the identity formation processes of the adult Nigerian second generation is forthcoming in a book published by University of California Press titled Beyond Expectations: Second Generation Nigerians in the United States and Britain. My current research project--The Dreams Project--is a multi-site study on Ghanaian and Nigerian Diversity Visa Lottery Winners in the United States and their families back home.

 

 

Contact Information: 

Office: 291 McNeil Building
Phone: 215-898-4428
Emailimoagene@sas.upenn.edu

 

 

Photo credit: Marcus T. Wright

Tukufu Zuberi, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology 
The Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations
Professor of Africana Studies

Education: 

Ph.D. Sociology, University of Chicago, 1989
M.A. Sociology, California State University, Sacramento, 1985
B.A. Sociology, San Jose State University, 1981

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Sociology
Population Studies
Africana Studies
Filmmaking
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

Dr. Tukufu Zuberi is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is dedicated to bringing a fresh view of culture and society to the public through various platforms such as guest lecturing at universities, television programs, and interactive social media. Currently, he works on human rights initiatives by participating in public speaking engagements, international collaborations with transnational organizations, and individuals dedicated to human equality. 

Dr. Zuberi’s research focuses on Race, African and African Diaspora populations. He has been a visiting professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. He currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as the Chair of the Graduate Group in Demography, the Director of the African Studies Program, and the Director of the Afro-American Studies Program. In 2002, he became the founding Director of the Center for Africana Studies, and he has also served as the Faculty Associate Director of the Center for Africana Studies.

Dr. Zuberi is the writer and producer for African Independence, an award-winning feature-length documentary film that highlights the birth, realization, and problems confronted by the movement to win independence in Africa. The story is told by channeling the voices of freedom fighters and leaders who achieved independence, liberty and justice for African people. With this and other documentary film projects, Dr. Zuberi is dedicated to bringing a critical, creative vision not typically seen or heard on the big and small screen

Born Antonio McDaniel to Willie and Annie McDaniel, and raised in the housing projects of Oakland, California in the 1970s, he embraced the name Tukufu Zuberi - Swahili for "beyond praise" and "strength." He “took the name because of a desire to make and have a connection with an important period where people were challenging what it means to be a human being."

For more information on his current and past projects, please check out www.sas.upenn.edu/tukufu-zuberi

Current Projects:

- African Independence (documentary)
- Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster
- Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River

Contact Information: 

Office: 246 McNeil Building
Phone: 215.573.5169
E-mail: tukufu@pop.upenn.edu

Michel Guillot, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology

Education: 

Ph.D., Demography and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 2000
M.A., Demography, Institut de Démographie de l’Université de Paris I-Sorbonne, 1996
B.A., History, Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne, 1992

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Social and Formal Demography
Medical Sociology
Health of Populations
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

My research is organized primarily around two main areas: (1) formal demography; and (2) understanding health disparities across and within populations. In the area of formal demography, I have designed new methodologies for better understanding mortality levels and trends, and for studying their impact on population growth and aging. I have also made contributions in the area of model age patterns of mortality and indirect estimation methods. In the area of health disparities, I have examined the burden of disease among the global poor. I have also studied the health of vulnerable ethnic, religious, and migrant groups in a range of populations, including India. A related interest has been the analysis of the health crisis in the former Soviet Union, with a special focus on the Central Asia region.

Contact Information: 

Office: 242 McNeil Building
Phone: 215.573.3655
Email: miguillo@sas.upenn.edu