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Department of Sociology PhDs on the Market
Valerie Adrian 

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interests

Families, Labor Markets, Inequalities, Gender

Dissertation Title & Chair

Are the Kids All Right? Intensive Parenting and its Role in Recession-Era Job Searching Among College Graduates

Chair: Dr. Julie Kmec, Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts, Department of Sociology

Research Statement

Over the past 30 years, parents have embraced a more intensive parenting style compared with previous generations. Through surveys of recent college graduates and interviews with parents of recent college graduates, I determine whether parental involvement continues as their children mature into adulthood. I also examine college graduates’ job search strategies as they embark upon their careers and I consider whether parents help or even manage their child’s post-college job searches My findings will be able to discuss how recent college graduates are getting career-track jobs, whether their parents are helping in the job search and if so, what that help looks like and why.

 

 

Sarah A. N. Akers

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interest

Sociology of the Family: Couple Dynamics, Family Organization and Roles; Gender: Gender Roles, Ideologies and Performance; Work: As Related to Gender and Family

Dissertation Title & Chair

Breadwinner Wives: Gender Roles and Identities in Marriages with Non-traditional Earner Structures

Chair: Dr. Jennifer Sherman, Associate Professor and Co-director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology

Research Statement

For my dissertation project, I am using separate, in-depth interviews with both partners to investigate the gender roles and ideologies in heterosexual marriages in which the wife out-earns her husband. I hope to see the impacts of recent economic trends, (i.e., the Great Recession, the loss of male-typical jobs, the increase of jobs in the service sector) on the family life narratives of couples. The topics of particular interest are the partners’ reports of the household division of labor, their perceptions of fairness, and the perceived importance of both partners’ jobs. As this type of relationship becomes more common, it is important to hear, in the respondents’ own words, how these economic arrangements impact their daily lives and relationships.

 

 

Sarah Blake

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interests

Environment, Sustainability, Urban-Rural Relationships, Water, Power

Dissertation Title:

New York City’s Water Supply: A Case for a Sustainable Growth Machine

Chair: Dr. Scott Frickel, Associate Professor of Sociology and the Institute for the Study of Environment and Society, Brown University

Research Statement

My dissertation provides a comparative-historical analysis of New York City’s water supply and its impacts on the environment and growth patterns of NY State.  I demonstrate that the same political and economic actors that were able to create and maintain NYC as a powerful growth machine helped to extend NYC’s extraterritorial power through the creation of their water supply.  An internal comparison of the rural, unfiltered West of the Hudson watershed and the suburbanized, filtered East of the Hudson watershed demonstrates the role of NYC growth coalitions in hinterland development.  This comparison shows how adaptive governance strategies shaped the environment in each region and expands upon previous literature by suggesting that the power generated by growth coalitions can lead to preservation and sustainable land/water management.

 

 

Michael Lengefeld

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interest:

Environmental Sociology, Political Sociology, Globalization and Development, Sociology of Sport

Dissertation Title and Chair:

“Pathways to Nuclear Development: Ecological Modernization and the Treadmill of Destruction Mechanisms during the Cold War.”

Chair: Dr. Gregory Hooks, Professor and Chair of Sociology, McMaster University

Research Statement

My dissertation is a comparative historical analysis of the environmental consequences of nuclear development in the United States and Soviet Union. A key theoretical debate centers on the radical conflict between ecological limits and the needs of capitalism. Ecological Modernization theory posits that economic development centered on technological innovation and institutional restructuring will result in a sustainable society in which ecological risks are decoupled from economic development. In contrast, complementary political economy approaches invoke images of a treadmill to highlight human activities that stress – and may surpass- the capacity of the environment. The Treadmill of Destruction argues that the structural dynamics of militarism and arms races drive the acceleration of negative environmental practices and inequalities in a qualitatively distinct way. Nuclear development during the Cold War and the post-Cold War eras provide an ideal context to test these mechanisms, and to identify evidence of the dynamics hospitable to their emergence or absence.

 

Rebekah Torcasso Sanchez

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interests

Environment, Political Economy, Decolonization, Social Movements, Sociology of Ag and Food Systems

Dissertation Title & Chair

The Peasant’s Way or the American Way? Resisting the social reorganization of agriculture within the U.S. context.

Chair: Dr. Jennifer Sherman, Associate Professor and Co-director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology

Research Statement

My doctoral research examines the structure and social politics of campesin@-led food sovereignty organizing in the US context. Specifically, I explore how US based members of La Via Campesina, and their allies embrace and/or engage the politics and ideology of the global movement.

 

Jonathan Schreiner

Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interests

The intersection of race, ethnicity, technology and environment. Genetic ancestry testing and racial/ethnic identity. Environmental Justice. Research Methodology.

Dissertation Title & Chair

The Impact of DNA Ancestry Testing on Racial Identity Formation

Chair: Dr. Don A. Dillman, Regents Professor, the Department of Sociology and Social and Economic Sciences Research Center

Research Statement

My dissertation analyzes participant engagement in DNA ancestry testing – a technology that uses advancements in genetic science to link an individual’s DNA to genetic markers commonly found in populations around the world. By presenting “scientifically verified” ancestry in commonly understood racialized language, genetic ancestry tests allow participants to develop new conceptions of “desired” and “expected” identity. Probability and case-based (Qualitative Comparative Analysis) tools were used to analyze multi-method data collected from 500+ participants to determine patterns of desired and expected ancestry and the impact of confirming/disproving desires and expectations on participant self-identification and attitudes. My findings suggest that white participants exhibit the ability to form “optional ancestries” in a process similar to “optional ethnicities” identified by Mary C. Waters over two decades ago.