Workshops at Penn are offered as part of the cluster system, established around 1990 to identify the strengths of the department for both internal and external audiences. Cluster groups evolve according to faculty and student interests, with the establishment and closing of clusters approved by the Chair. Currently, Penn clusters include Culture and Interaction; Demography; Family and Gender; Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; Education and Inequality; Urban Ethnography, and Economic Sociology. Clusters sponsor one or more ongoing workshops. Workshops offer opportunities for students to participate, as audience members and as speakers, in presentations of cutting edge research in cluster areas, by scholars at Penn and visitors.

Fall 2015 Schedule (all workshops held at 12PM in McNeil Building Room 169):
9/4/15      Family & Gender: Sarah Spell, Ph.D. Candidate, Penn Sociology

9/11/15    Culture & Interaction: Isaac Martin, Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego

9/18/15    Education & Inequality: Phoebe Ho, Ph.D. Student, Penn Sociology

10/2/15    Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: Radha Modi, Ph.D. Candidate, Penn Sociology

10/16/15  Culture & Interaction: Rachel Ellis, Ph.D. Candidate, Penn Sociology

10/23/15  Family & Gender: Aliya Rao, Ph.D. Candidate, Penn Sociology

10/30/15  Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: Eunbi Kim, Ph.D. Candidate, Penn Sociology

11/6/15    Education & Inequality: Yi-Lin Chiang, Ph.D. Candidate, Penn Sociology

11/13/15  Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: Heidy Sarabia, Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn Sociology

11/20/15  Urban Ethnography: Chad Broughton, Senior Lecturer, Public Policy Studies Program, University of Chicago

Spring 2016 Schedule (all workshops held at 12PM in McNeil Building Room 169):

1/15/16    Family & Gender: Peter Harvey, Ph.D. Student, Penn Sociology

1/22/16    Culture & Interaction: Sarah Adeyinka and David Sorge, Ph.D. Students, Penn Sociology

1/29/16    Education & Inequality: Soo-yong Byun, Assistant Professor of Educational Theory and Policy, The Pennsylvania State University

2/5/16      Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: TBA

2/12/16    Urban Ethnography: Ruth Braunstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut

2/19/16    Family & Gender: Miliann Kang, Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

2/26/16    Culture & Interaction: Blair Sackett & Lindsay Wood, Ph.D. Students, Penn Sociology

3/18/16    Education & Inequality: TBA

3/25/16    Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: Andrea Kauffman-Berry, Ph.D Student, Penn Sociology

4/1/16      Urban Ethnography: Betsie Garner, Ph.D. Student, Penn Sociology

4/15/16    Urban Ethnography: Gordon Douglas, Associate Director of Institute of Public Knowledge and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, New York University


Culture & Interaction

OrganizerMelissa Wilde

Culture is largely instantiated and reproduced through face-to-face interaction. At the same time, culture can be created and transformed in such encounters, when new ideas are infused with significance and old ones are found to be inadequate to the interactional challenges at hand. This workshop brings together faculty and students from several Penn and other Philadelphia-area colleges and universities for informal talks and discussion about culture and interaction. Some speakers present polished work, but the workshop aims to be useful to early-stage research, so most sessions center on research proposals and early drafts of papers. 

Family & Gender

Organizer:  Kristen Harknett

The family is an important institution through which a host of social processes get played out. Thus, understanding family formation and functioning is especially important, particularly given the dramatic demographic changes of the last five decades. This workshop gives faculty members from various departments across the university, as well as graduate students in the Sociology and Demography graduate groups, the opportunity to present ongoing research on families and gender. Occasionally, individuals from outside of the university are invited to present their research. The workshop presentations are generally informal, and presenters are encouraged to leave time for feedback. 

Education & Inequality

Organizer: Emily Hannum

The Education and Inequality workshop focuses on issues of inequality in educational opportunity. These issues have long been central to the field of sociology. Penn Sociology has a broad representation of faculty working in this area, with particular strengths in the areas of race, ethnicity, gender, and comparative international research. Faculty members affiliated with this cluster are listed below, along with a brief summary of their areas of expertise. We have had a number of accomplished graduates in recent years. In addition to the faculty based in the Sociology Department, students interested in this area of study have access to faculty located in Penn’s nearby Graduate School of Education. A joint-degree Ph. D. program in Sociology and Education is available for those who are interested in scholarship at the intersection of sociology and education. Graduate students from Penn’s Graduate School of Education are often enrolled in sociology graduate courses, and sociology graduate students avail themselves of expertise available in GSE.

Population Studies  

The population studies workshop provides a direct link between the Sociology Department and the Population Studies Center. In its original incarnation, population studies mainly concerned demography: the study of the growth and structure of human populations, primarily in terms of fertility, mortality, and migration. As the field of population studies has evolved, so too has the PSC at Penn, which is a major national resource for our understanding of the dynamics of human populations, including health and well-being, human resources, networks, and policy evaluation. For additional information, please visit the Population Studies Center. For a full list of presenters please visit the PSC colloquium.

Race, Ethnicity & Immigration

Organizer: Chenoa Flippen

Scholars have come to appreciate the complex, dynamic, and fluid nature of the concepts of race and ethnicity and the process of immigration—leaving a field that can seem disjointed, confusing, and at odds with itself. The race, ethnicity, and immigration workshop brings together interested graduate students and faculty to discuss and consider the critical sociological questions with which research continues to grapple in these fields. Through both formal presentations and informal discussion, the workshop strives to challenge assumptions, highlight important work, and engage theory and empirical work from both within and outside the academy on these topics. The workshop hopes to both offer members of the group the chance to present early-stage research and to bring in outside speakers to offer fresh insight from outside the workshop's membership. 

Urban Ethnography

Organizer: David Grazian

The broad mission of this workshop is to promote and support social science research on urban affairs using participant observation and other ethnographic methods and techniques. This workshop brings together faculty and students from the entire University community as well as neighboring institutions in the Philadelphia area to present and discuss current research on a variety of issues relevant to contemporary urban life and the culture of cities. Past presentation and discussion topics include the religious diversity of urban neighborhoods; the political economy of civic arts and cultural festivals; the social lives of heroin users; and the relationship between community-based organizations and the urban poor. The workshop attracts an interdisciplinary group of regular participants not only from Sociology but also Anthropology, City Planning, Communication, Criminology, Family and Community Medicine, Folklore, History, Social Policy and Practice, Urban Studies, and Women’s Studies. For more information and schedule visit the Urban Ethnography page.