- Culture & Identity
- Health, Aging & Environment
- Political Economy, Power & Movements
- Social Control & Deviance
- Social Inequalities
Culture and identity are terms packed with meaning. The faculty in this program area represent varying theoretical and methodological orientations in the debates regarding these terms. Interest extends to cultural institutions, language and social interaction, personal and collective identity construction, and related discursive processes. Contexts of application range from everyday life to cultural contact and hegemony in global perspective. Particular emphasis is placed on the ways in which identity, culture, social institutions, and the organization of mass media intersect with issues of social inequality, social control, social change, and the everyday production of subjectivities.
This program area centers on the relationships between health, aging, and the environment. Issues of interest include health disparities, the body, constructions of aging and nature, environmental inequalities, the human-nonhuman divide, medical technologies, and public health policies. These span both micro-level processes and the global context to highlight analytic connectivity, processes, and change. Theoretical interests and research methodologies are diverse. Faculty focus on a wide range of institutions, nations, and regions.
This program area deals primarily with states, economies, the social movements shaping these institutions, and the policy formation process. The area is centrally concerned with power in and around the institutions and processes, and with the cultures of institutions and movements that shape the exercise of power. Representative research and theoretical concerns within the area include power structures and administrative arrangements within state bureaucracies, comparative institutional arrangements, comparative frameworks shaping institutions and social movements, comparative studies of revolutions, and the emergence and structure of social movements.
Faculty members Eric Brown and Rebecca Scott have been awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor. Brown’s research on the Black professional middle class and his comparative work on racialized class formation add significantly to the Department’s social inequality program. Scott’s studies of Appalachian mining and masculinity and her research on the relationships between culture, identity, and materiality are important ingredients of the Department’s culture and identity program.
Professor Tola Pearce is the 2013 recipient of the Provost’s Award for Leadership in International Education. Her studies for the United Nations and her many research projects in Africa on women, work, and family issues attest to the prominence of her contributions.
Doctoral candidates Guðmundur Oddsson, Joshua Olsberg, and Mike Sickels are the 2013 recipients of the Department’s Robert Habenstein Dissertation Fellowship. Oddsson’s dissertation research is titled “Classlessness as Doxa: Change, Crisis, and How Icelanders Think about Class;” Olsberg’s research is titled “Landscapes of Belonging: Cuban Ethnicity, Class, and Community;” and Sickels’s research is titled “Postwork Retail and the Politics of Belonging.”