Adjunct Faculty and Lecturers

Alec Ian Gershberg, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer

Education: 

Ph.D. Regional Science, University of Pennsylvania 1993
M.A. Regional Science, University of Pennsylvania 1990
B.A. with honors in American Civilization and Literature & Society, Brown University 1986

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Education Policy, School Governance & Accountability, Political Economy of Reform, Comparative & International Education, Systems Thinking, Economics of Education, Education Finance, International Development, Human Development, , School-to-work transition, Education & Labor Markets, Immigrant Education & Immigration Policy, Community & Parental Participation, Public Finance & Financial Management, Budgeting & Fiscal Policy, Inter-governmental Relations & Fiscal Federalism, Capital Markets and Development Finance, Urban & Regional Economics, and Health Care Capital Finance & Health Economics.

Research Description: 

Dr. Gershberg is a specialist in social and education policy, public finance and economic analysis in both developing and OECD countries, with expertise in policy reform processes, institutional analysis, political economy, systems thinking, education finance, accountability, school governance, community participation and decentralization. He is particularly interested in how governments design and implement policies and reform processes to improve education quality. He has done both quantitative and qualitative research and applied policy analysis in Latin America—primarily Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Ecuador. He has also worked in Egypt, Jordan, Romania, Georgia, Tanzania, Spain, and the U.S. and done cross-regional analyses on Latin America, East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. He has been a frequent consultant to the World Bank, the Department for International Development (DfID, U.K.), the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID (and its contractors), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), UNESCO, and The Urban Institute. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and Visiting Professor at the Stanford University School of Education, the Open University of Catalunya (UOC), and El Colégio de Mexico. Most recently, Dr. Gershberg was chosen to lead a five-year research project on the political economy of education reform for the RISE program working with country research teams in Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

He publishes in a range of journals -- including World Development, Comparative Education, Economics of Education Review, the National Tax Journal, Public Budgeting and Finance, The Journal of Education Policy, Urban Education, Latin American Perspectives, and the International Journal of Educational Development -- and he is author of the book Beyond 'Bilingual' Education: New Immigrants and Public School Policies in California (Urban Institute Press, 2004).
He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania's Regional Science Department, and wrote his dissertation on education finance, decentralization, and intergovernmental fiscal relations in Mexico. Prior to returning to PENN, he spent 25 years as a faculty member in the Public and Urban Policy Program at The New School – the last five years as Chair. He previously served as Special Advisor to the Provost for Faculty and Curricular Affairs. In 2006 he was chosen to deliver the New School’s Aims of Education Address at convocation, and in 1999 he received the University Distinguished Teaching Award.

He has been Senior Education Economist at the World Bank and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), where he did work on special authorities and the cost of capital for health care. He spent the 2010-2011 academic year in Barcelona co-directing three research projects at the UOC’s Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), where he is currently a Research Associate in e-learning—work he continues as a founding member of the University of the Future Network. A born and raised New Yorker, he took the opportunity to forget about the New York Mets and passionately follow the best fútbol club in the world, F.C. Barcelona.

Contact Information: 

Mailing address: 3718 Locust Walk 113 McNeil Building, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office location: Solomon Bldg., D15, 3720 Walnut Street
Phone: (215) 573.2801
Fax: (206) 600.6545
E-mail: alecian@sas.upenn.edu
Skype: AlecGershberg
Twitter: @AlecGershberg

Steve Viscelli

Education: 

Ph.D. Sociology, Indiana University, 2010
M.A. Anthropology, Syracuse University, 2002
B.A. Sociology, New York University, 1996

Research Description: 

Steve Viscelli is an economic and political sociologist who studies inequality, organizations, work and labor markets. His primary research focuses on how state policy and informal labor market institutions shape the behavior of workers and firms. Steve's last project, which examined the effects of deregulation on class relations and the labor process in the trucking industry, culminated in a recently released book, The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream (2016, University of California Press). His current research is on the “gig economy,” specifically the ride-sharing businesses of Uber and Lyft. In addition to his academic research, Steve is involved in policy-relevant research in the areas of employment relations and energy efficiency.

Contact Information: 

Vani S. Kulkarni Ph.D.

Education: 

Ph.D. Sociology (with distinction), University of Pennsylvania
M.Phil Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India
B.A. (Honors) Sociology, Miranda House, University of Delhi, India

Curriculum Vitae
 

Research Areas: 

Health (global and international)
Education and inner city schools
Democracy and development
Social inequality
Gender, race, and caste
Globalization and transnational processes

Research Description: 

Vani S. Kulkarni is a lecturer on sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and Senior Fellow in Urban Ethnography Project in sociology at department Yale University and a. She holds a PhD with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania. She has received prestigious awards and has held research fellowships at Penn, Harvard, and Yale. She has also been a consultant for the Asian Development Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development at the United Nations. Her research lies at the intersection of Health (Global and International); Urban Education; Race and Caste; Gender; Identity and Inequality; and Development and Democracy. She has published in the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and in several peer-reviewed journals, has coauthored two books, and her writings have appeared as encyclopedia entries, policy reports for the United Nations, and as Opinion Editorials.

Her current research constitutes of two distinct research streams, in two diverse cultural contexts: health insurance in India and urban education system in the US. Both projects ethnographically examine the implications of formal, top-down policies in the everyday lives of people who are embedded in it. For instance, the health insurance policy project in India aims to explore ethnographically the value of the first National Public Insurance Program, which India adopted just two years before the US adopted expansion of its public health insurance system, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, and which represents the universal healthcare agenda advocated by WHO. The collaborative study, funded by University of Chicago sheds light on the puzzle of why, despite the potential for health insurance to engender better health outcomes for individuals and groups, the uptake remains low. The second ongoing project is an ethnographic study of school choices in inner city Philadelphia. This study seeks to understand the lived reality of school choice policy by exploring its implications for parents, teachers, students, and school administrators, in order to arrive at a critical, nuanced understanding of what it means to be part of an urban school environment in a constrained educational system.

She has taught courses on Introduction to Sociology; Medical Sociology; Global Public Health; Race & Ethnic Relations; Sociological Theory; and Social Capital and Democracy.

Contact Information: 

Demie Kurz, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Women's Studies
Co-Director, The Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Department of Sociology

Education: 

Ph.D., Sociology, Northwestern University

Research Areas: 

Sociology of Gender
Sociology of the Family
Sociology of Adolescence
Contemporary Feminist Thought

Research Description: 

As a sociologist with a position in Women's Studies, my primary research and teaching interests are in contemporary issues of gender, with a specific focus on the family. I am currently writing a book on how parents and teenagers negotiate teens' adolescence and have published several papers on this topic. I have written on the topics of divorce and domestic violence and also have a strong interest in the area of "carework". Along with several others, I am a founding member of the Carework Network, a network of researchers, policy makers, and practitioners who are concerned with promoting research and policy on carework.

Contact Information: 

Women's Studies
411 Cohen Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone: 215.898.8740
Fax: 215.898.1803

Email: dkurz@sas.upenn.edu

Douglas Ewbank, Ph.D.

Research Professor of Sociology

Research Areas: 

Life Course
Longevity
Demography
Population Studies

Research Description: 

Douglas Ewbank’s recent research has focused on longevity and chronic disease at the older ages. This has included research on excess mortality associated with Alzheimer’s disease and co-authoring half a dozen clinical studies on Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

 

Contact Information: 

Office: 245 McNeil
Phone: 215-898-7999
E-mail: ewbank@pop.upenn.edu

Hocine Fetni, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean for Academic Advising, The College, School of Arts and Sciences
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Research Areas: 

Law and Social Change: A Comparative Analysis
Globalization and The Legal Profession: An International Comparison
The Crisis of Democracy and Law in the Middle East and North Africa
Family Law and Social Change in Algeria
The Notion of Social Control and Islamic Law
International Law and Globalization
Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Africa

Research Description: 

Dr. Hocine Fetni is an Assistant Dean for Academic Advising in the College. He is responsible for Study Abroad programs in North Africa, the Middle East (except Israel), Turkey, Greece, Australia and New Zealand. He also advises students interested in the B.A./J.D., a submatriculation program between the College and Penn's Law School, and is an advisor for the senior class. Dr. Fetni holds a law degree from New York University, and a Master of Laws as well as a Ph.D. in International Relations from Penn. As a member of the Sociology Department faculty, he has developed courses on topics such as law and society, law in Africa, law and social change, and the sociology of the legal profession. He also teaches international law and the theory of international relations.

Contact Information: 

560 McNeil Building
University of Pennsylvania, Sociology Department
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6298

Telephone: 215.898.7668
Fax: 215.573.2081

College Office - 120 Logan Hall
Telephone: 215.898.8814

Email: hfetni@sas.upenn.edu

Ross Koppel, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Sociology

Education: 

B.A.   Temple University, Sociology  January 1969
M.A.  Temple University, Sociology  May 1971
Ph.D. Temple University, Sociology  January 1981

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Sociological and Demographic Research
Research Methods
Sociology of Work
Medical Sociology
Sociology of Technology

Research Description: 

Research Interests: Research methods—both qualitative and quantitative, evaluation methods, sociology of work, medical sociology--especially the impact of healthcare information technology on medication errors, policy analysism, social stratification, labor-management relations, public transportation and the disabled, technology in society, disease costs, and ethics in social research. In the past half-dozen years, Koppel has focused primarily on the use of healthcare information technology, use of public transportation by people with disabilities, and union-management relations in the construction industry.

Contact Information: 

553 McNeil Building
Phone: 215.898.7679
Email: rkoppel@sas.upenn.edu

Kristen Harknett, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology

Education: 

Ph.D., Sociology and Demography, Princeton University, 2002
B.A., Sociology, University of Notre Dame, 1992

Curriculum Vitae

Research Areas: 

Social demography
Economic underpinnings of marriage decisions
Racial and ethnic patterns of family formation
Assortative mating
Family structure and child well-being
Social policies, social networks, and poverty
Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

My research is motivated by the sociological contention that a person's social environment influences his or her most personal and important decisions, sometimes in ways that may not be apparent to the individuals involved. I demonstrate this idea by studying the role of context – city of residence, school, or labor market – in shaping romantic relationships. My research shows that male shortages and weak labor markets act as impediments to stable romantic relationships. One innovation in my research is to demonstrate that male shortages matter not only during the process of searching for a romantic partner, but they also influence the dynamics and trajectories of relationships that have already formed. In a second line of research, I investigate the importance of “private safety nets” comprised of supportive family members and friends. In this research, I examine how social support is unevenly distributed across individuals, and the consequences of lacking social support. Some of the topics I explore include the bi-directional relationship between fertility and social support, the correlation between personal and social network disadvantages, and the relationship between social support and psychological and material well-being.

Contact Information: 

Office: 271 McNeil Building
Phone: 215.573.9388
E-mail: harknett@sas.upenn.edu