CSA logo 2017The Canadian Sociological Associationis meeting this year in Toronto (hosted by Ryerson University) in conjunction with the Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences from May 27 – June 2.

The Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciencesis an annual multidisciplinary gathering of scholars in Canada. It brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to share findings and learn from each other. This year’s congress is organized around the theme, “From Far & Wide: The Next 150.” The CSA is one of more than 70 other organizations that will be holding their conferences in conjunction with the congress. 2017 marks the 52nd annual conference of the CSA. More...


Melissa Milkie 2016 Neda Maghbouleh 2016 Ito Peng 2016

With fully 60 percent of Canada’s recent influx of Syrian refugees being under the age of 15, this group is largely composed of children and the adults who care for them. The parents or primary caregivers of these children face both the enormous tasks involved in acclimatizing themselves to a new culture and environment and the strains linked to the financial support, schooling, and care of children. Funded by SSHRC as part of a special call for research into the experiences of the Syrian refugees, research by Professors Melissa Milkie, Neda Maghbouleh and Ito Peng seeks to understand the parenting stress that these new Canadians experience.

The three professors recently presented some of the early findings at the Metropolis conference in Montreal. Reporting on 43 wave 1 interviews, preliminary findings show three major stressors that Syrian refugee mothers experience. First, a major stressor for most Syrian refugee mothers upon resettlement is the crystallization of deep losses – such as the separation from close family members like their own parents, who are unable, unwilling or are not chosen to be resettled in Canada.

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jchun

Congratulations to Professor Jennifer Chun, recently named a University of Toronto, Scarborough Research Excellence Faculty Scholar. This award recognizes Professor Chun as an “outstanding and innovative world class researcher whose accomplishments have made a major impact in (her) field.” It is UTSC’s highest faculty research honour and she will hold the title for three years.

Professor Chun received this award based on her ground-breaking contributions to the field of global labour studies. Under her pioneering work, the field of labour studies has moved from a sub-discipline focused primarily on industrial trade unions and their conflicts with management structures to one that explores local and global issues surrounding a wide range of work and employment systems. She has brought powerful new insights to the ways in which protest functions – into the role of symbolic power and the significance of affect and emotions in worker struggles. Her research has also advanced knowledge on the importance of grassroots community organizations and intersectional organizing around race, class, gender and migration. More...


Lorne Tepperman 2017

Professor Lorne Tepperman has decided that it is time to bring academic, university-level sociology to a new audience: namely, to community college students. Doing so requires new writing strategies that include collaboration with community college instructors, easier-to-read writing, and the extensive use of visual aids to communicate complicated sociological ideas in simple ways.

Already, this initiative is starting to bear fruit: last summer, Tepperman's new book on social inequality (co-authored by Humber College Professor Jennifer Ball) The Stacked Deck, came out. A second book, this one on social problems and co-authored with two University of Toronto graduate students (Cinthya Guzman and Ioana Sendriou), titled Picturing Society, has just come back from review and is being prepared for production. A third book, this one a general introduction to sociology co-authored with Sara Cumming (Professor of Sociology at Sheridan College) and provisionally titled Puzzlebox, is going into revision with a 2018 publication date. All of these books are under contract to Oxford University Press. More...

Tony ZhangDoctoral Candidate Tony Zhang recently published an article looking at the effects of weather on the likelihood of social movements and how people's sensitivity to weather conditions reflects the macro political opportunity context. Tony is currently completing his dissertation entitled Contextual Effects and Support for Liberalism: A Comparative Analysis. The article came out in 2016 in the Weather, Climate and Society, a journal of the American Meteorological Society. Below is the citation and abstract.

Tony Huiquan Zhang (2016) “Weather and Social Movement: Evidence from New York City and Washington D.C., 1960-1995”, Weather, Climate and Society., 8(3), 299-311. DOI:10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0072.1.

LINK: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0072.1
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Anna Korteweg 2017TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paiken recently invited Professor Anna Korteweg on the show to discuss the results of the recent election in the Netherlands. Professor Korteweg is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. She has research expertise on gender, Islam and immigrant integration in the Netherlands, Germany and Canada. Watch the video of the

interview here.

Irene Boeckmann 2016Melissa Milkie 2016Toronto’s Metro News recently interviewed both Professor Irene Boeckmann and Professor Melissa Milkie in a story about working at home. The story starts with a reference to a recent viral video of a dad being interrupted by his children during a BBC skype interview and goes on to discuss working from home. 

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Rachel la Touche 2016

The Faculty of Arts and Science News recently profiled Professor Rachel La Touche in their series on “Rising Stars.” The piece discusses Professor La Touche’s innovations in teaching undergraduates, including her use of OK Cupid data to help students understand sociological concepts.

Read the article here.

Professor La Touche joined the Department of Sociology in the fall of 2016. Her research looks at racial and gender biases in higher education…more


Salina AbjiCongratulations to Salina Abji, whose dissertation was recently awarded the Department’s 2016 Dennis William Magill Canada Research Award for best dissertation or published paper on Canadian society by a PhD student. Salina defended her dissertation, entitled Emerging Logics of Citizenship: Activism in Response to Precarious Migration and Gendered Violence in an Era of Securitization, in the fall of 2016. Her dissertation investigated changing understandings of citizenship among activists in Toronto, Canada, in response to deportation and removal of ‘undocumented’ migrants from schools and women’s shelters.
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Sida LiuProfessor Sida Liu's new book shows how defense lawyers in China interweave politics and practice in their everyday work.

Sida Liu is a faculty member at the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, teaching at the Mississauga campus. Currently he is also a Member of the Institute for Advanced Studyin Princeton, a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and a Fellow of the Public Intellectuals Programat the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. Professor Liu's empirical research focuses on the legal profession in China. Late this fall he and co-author Terence C. Halliday, published a book with Cambridge University Press entitled Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work
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Neda Maghbouleh 2016Professor Neda Maghbouleh is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga who specializes in race, racism and immigration. She spoke today (February 1) on CTV in the wake of the shooting in a Quebec City mosque on Sunday, January 29th.

Watch the interview here

Clayton ChildressBook prizes play a monumental role in contemporary literary culture. Not only do they boost sales for winning and short-listed authors, they also help to define what is seen as "quality" in literature. If the effects of the prize are long lasting, book prize judges wield a tremendous amount of power over culture and literary trends.

To learn about the lasting impact of book prizes, Professor Clayton Childress has recently embarked on a new research project studying the effects of the Booker Prize. Funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, this project will compile and analyze a dataset of all books submitted to the Booker Prize between 1983-1996 and compare the characteristics of the books that were shortlisted with those that weren’t, and which books remained important in terms of their prestige among literary elites, and their popularity among regular readers. More...


Lives and Legacies logoTeaching the skills needed for qualitative interviewing poses particular challenges. Students need to learn how to frame and ask questions, how to practice reflexivity, and how to analyze interview data. Such skills cannot be learned simply by reading about them in a textbook.

Recognizing that practice provides the best way to learn the skills involved in qualitative interviewing, in 2010, Professor Ping-Chun Hsiung developed an interactive on-line guide to provide help for those seeking to teach (and learn) qualitative interviewing. Drawing on a dataset of original interviews conducted in 1993 under the supervision of Professor Nancy Howell, Professor Hsiung worked with a web developer to prepareLives and Legacies, an open-access piece of courseware designed as a resource for learning or improving qualitative research skills. More...


Scott Schieman 2014aProfessor Scott Schieman was recently interviewed by the Business News Network on a segment about Work-Life Balance. In the segment, Professor Schieman draws on findings from his CIHR-funded national study into work-life stress among Canadians. Professor Schieman is currently the Chair of the St. George Campus Department of Sociology and he is a Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health. You can

watch the full interview here.BNN also includes a summary on their website.

From the BNN Website:

Traditional approach to work-life balance isn’t ‘realistic’, warns U of T researcher

As many Canadians prepare to change their routines with New Year’s resolutions, some will shift their sights to achieving a greater work-life balance.

However, a researcher from the University of Toronto told BNN on Tuesday that the idea of work-life balance itself may be unattainable. More...


Kim Pernell 2016Congratulations to Professor Kim Pernell whose PhD dissertation was recently awarded the Richard J. Herrnstein Prize from Harvard University. Professor Pernell finished her dissertation in the spring of 2016 before joining us at the University of Toronto (St. George) this summer. The Richard J. Herrnstein Prize is awarded annually by the Graduate School of Arts and Science at Harvard to the dissertation produced that year that best exhibits “excellent scholarship, originality and breadth of thought, and a commitment to intellectual independence.” It honours the memory of Richard J. Hernstein and the academic values he espoused.

Professor Pernell’s dissertation is called The Causes of the Divergent Development of Banking Regulation in the U.S., Canada, and Spain. In it, she answers the question, “why did different countries develop different systems of banking regulation in the years leading up to the credit crisis of the late 2000s, despite adhering to a common transnational regulatory agreement (the 1988 Basel Capital Accord)?” American banks suffered massive losses, while Canadian banks emerged relatively unscathed. More...


Theoretical CriminolgyCongratulations to Doctoral Candidate Amy Lynn Klassen who recently published an article about the governance of non-compliant psychiatric patients under the law, and its implications for understanding capability and risk. She thanks SSHRC for funding the research that resulted in this publication. The full article is currently behind a paywall. For those with access, it is available online ahead of print

here. Below is the citation and abstract.

Amy Lynn Klassen (2016) Spinning the Revolving Door: The Governance of Non-Compliant Psychiatric Subjects on Community Treatment Orders. Theoretical Criminology: Published Online Before Print, May 2016 DOI: 0.1177/1362480616646623
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Ito Peng 2016Congratulations to Professor Peng, named Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy

This honour recognizes Professor Peng’s academic achievements and her contributions to the emerging field of global social policy. The Canada Research Chair program recognizes scholars in Canada who are “outstanding, world-class researchers whose accomplishments have made a major impact in their fields,” who are recognized internationally as leaders in their fields, who have strong track records training students and who are currently planning innovative original research.

Professor Peng merits the honour as a leader in the field of global social policy. This emerging field seeks to understand how changes in globalization and modes of governance impact social and economic policies and individual citizenship rights at local, national and global levels. It draws its knowledge base from welfare state, political economy, public policy and development studies scholarship, and employs comparative and multi-scalar analysis methods in its analyses.  More...


Professor Erik Schneiderhan’s new research asks how we include all voices in political deliberation.

sshrcImagine a political discussion that involves in-depth reasoned discussion and has the potential to move people with entrenched positions to considering alternative viewpoints.

In light of the recent US election, such a scenario might seem utopian. Even so, participation in political communication is one of the cornerstones of democracy. Robust democratic involvement asks that citizens deliberate on issues – that they think deeply and engage with each other on issues of public importance. More...


Hae Yeon ChooProfessor Hae Yeon Choo is a faculty member in Sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. She recently published a book – Decentering Citizenship – and she wrote about the experience on the blog, Gender & Society. Gender & Society is a peer-reviewed journal, focused on “the study of gender in society across global and transnational spaces.” The blog consists of short discussions of published research and response pieces to current events. The piece appeared on October 24, 2016 and the complete article isavailable online. The following is an excerpt of the longer article.

Go Back to Your Country!: Migrant Women Challenging Migrant Containment in South Korea

By Hae Yeon Choo

She seemed to come out of nowhere, and walked fast towards us. It was two weeks ago, and we—three Asian and Asian-Canadian women faculty members—had just come out of a meeting. As we were continuing our discussion on the sidewalk on campus, the stranger, a middle-aged white woman, shouted at us: “Do you not speak English?!” She then walked away, mumbling something about “thieves” and “stealing.”  More...


Every student in the Sociology PhD program at the University of Toronto completes the Research Practicum course in their second year. This course involves each student working directly on a research project with a faculty member through the various stages of research and writing while also meeting with other graduate students in the course to tackle the hurdles of clarifying, strengthening, and sharpening one’s ideas in a journal-length research article. In this series, we highlight the practicum papers that went on to become published articles, and the students who wrote them.

Oleschuk, Merin. “Foodies of Colour: Authenticity and Exoticism in Omnivorous Food Culture”. Cultural Sociology. 2016 doi: 10.1177/1749975516668709

Merin OleschuckMerin entered the PhD program knowing that she wanted to work with Professors Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann on research related to the sociology of food. Intrigued by their research on Foodies (2007; 2015) which builds on omnivorous cultural theory and highlights the persistence of inequalities within gourmet food culture despite its increasing democratization, Merin was curious about the ethno-racial inequalities that are embedded in foods being seen as “authentic” and/or “exotic.” This curiosity marked the genesis of her practicum paper.

Merin enrolled in the Research Practicum in 2013 and immediately set out to collect the data she needed for the paper. Her background in anthropology, working within the areas of ethnicity and food, provided her with the substantive knowledge and methodological skills needed to carry out the research. The data collection consisted of conducting 20 semi-structured qualitative interviews with foodies of colour in Toronto. She then analyzed these interviews alongside five additional interviews with foodies of colour that were shared with her from work done for one of Professor Johnston’s related research projects.
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Athena EngmanCynthia CranfordCongratulations to Doctoral Candidate Athena Engman and Professor Cynthia Cranford who recently published an article on the role of physical capacity in habit formation. Thanks to SSHRC for funding the research that resulted in this publication. The article was recently

highlighted by the American Sociological Associationas a journal highlight when it appeared earlier this year. You can see the full article here. Below is the citation and abstract.

Athena Engman and Cynthia Cranford (2016) Habit and the Body: Lessons for Social Theories of Habit from the Experiences of People with Physical Disabilities. Sociological Theory: 34 (1): 27-44 DOI: 0.1177/0735275116632555
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BJS certificateCongratulations to Professor Robert Brym and graduate students Melissa Godbout, Andreas Hoffbauer, Gabe Menard and Tony Huiquan Zhang who recently received the

British Journal of Sociology 2016 Prizefor their co-authored article, Social Media in the 2011 Egyptian Uprising.

Established in 2009, the BJS award is presented bi-annually to the authors of an article published in the past 24 months that “in the opinion of the judges, makes an outstanding contribution to increasing sociological knowledge.” The article by Brym, Godbout, Hoffbauer, Menard and Zhang was published in May 2014. Professor Brym recently attended the BJS Annual Lecture at the London School of Economics and accepted the prize on behalf of the team. While there, he recorded a short podcastabout the paper and the experience writing, publishing and receiving the honour. Congratulations to all five authors! More...


Randol ContrerasThe Toronto Star recently published a feature article discussing Professor Randol Contreras’ research and its connections to his own life.

Professor Contreras is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Mississauga with a specialization in crime and gangs. His Book, The Stickup Kids: Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream, has been highly acclaimed and has won a number of awards. The Toronto Star piece was published on October 2, 2016 and is available online in its entirety . The following is an except of the longer article:

From failed Bronx drug dealer to U of T sociologist

Randol Contreras grew up in the South Bronx, dropping out of school to sell cocaine. So how did he end up as a published author, PhD and professor at the University of Toronto?

By Sandro Contenta

Randol Contreras has been looking frail ever since gastritis started eating at his gut. Sitting at his desk, at the University of Toronto’s sociology department, nothing about him suggests the hard streets. He looks like he might fade into the bare walls of his office.

He grew up in a poor Dominican enclave of the South Bronx in New York City. It was the height of the crack cocaine market and local drug dealers were swimming in cash, splashing it on convertibles, flashy clothes and hot women.

For many in Contreras’s marginalized neighbourhood, the dealers had achieved the only version of the American dream available. “These men were kings,” he says. Some were his relatives, some his close friends. He wanted to be them.

“I failed miserably,” he says, laughing. “I was a really bad drug dealer.”

The experience wasn’t a complete loss. It made him intimately qualified, after joining U of T in the fall of 2014, to teach a sociology course on “drugs in the city.” This fall, at the age of 45, he launches another on street gangs, informed by extensive field research he’s conducting with aging members of the Maravillas, the Mexican neighbourhood gangs of East Los Angeles. More...


Ron Levi 2016Congratulations to Professor Ron Levi who has been named the
Scholar in Residence for the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre’s 2016 Holocaust Education Week.

Professor Leviis an Associate Professor of Global Affairs and Sociology and holds the George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies. His research examines justice system responses to violence, crime and human rights violations, and he directs the Global Justice Lab that focuses on justice systems under pressure . As scholar in residence for Holocaust Education Week, Professor Levi will participate in the Opening Night presentation on November 2nd, a “Lunch ‘n Learn” session on November 4th and a panel discussion on November 9th. More...


anelyse weilerAnelyse Weiler is a PhD student in Sociology with research focusing on migrant farm workers in Canada. With two medical co-authors, Anelyse recently published an article on the BC Medical Journal’s blog. The BC Medical Journal is a general publication for the continuing education of physicians in British Columbia. The blog consists of “short timely pieces for online publication…on any health-related topic.” The piece appeared on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 and the complete article is available online . The following is an excerpt of the longer article.

Coming to Grips with Health Barriers and Structural Violence for Migrant Farmworkers: A role for BC physicians

“In Kelowna I walked around all the time with a headache, and I covered my mouth with something so I wouldn’t absorb all of the [pesticide] dust coming out of the cherries. And I mentioned it to the boss . . . from what I have seen. . . . If you get worse, the boss sends you back to Mexico, and the following year he won’t request you [as an employee]. And just like that he has gotten rid of his problems. That’s the issue; I’ve seen bosses discard their best workers simply because they became ill, fell, broke a hand, or fractured part of their body.”
—Felipe, from an interview on 29 September 2013


Spencer UnderwoodS.W. Underwood is a PhD student in Sociology with a specialization in gender, family, and critical cultural studies. The recipient of a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier doctoral scholarship, his current research examines gender and family formation among gay men in the transition to parenthood.
With Ben Vincent, a PhD student at the University of Leeds, Underwood recently published an Op Ed in the Torontoist discussing trans rights at the University of Toronto. The piece appeared on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 and the complete article is available online . The following is an excerpt of the longer article.

Why We Should Stand Up For Trans Rights and Recognition at the University of Toronto

Non-binary students deserve support from U of T faculty, not professors who cast aspersions.

Being transgender is often difficult. In 2015, Ontario researchers found that more than half of trans people have clinical depression, while 43 per cent had a history of attempting suicide [PDF]. Twenty-eight per cent of trans Ontarians could not get employment references with their current name or pronoun, and 58 per cent could not get academic transcripts with the correct name or gender, severely limiting their success on the job market. More...


Dan Silver Scenescapes Book coverCongratulations to Professor Dan Silver for his new publication Scenescapes: How Qualities of Place Shape Social Life co-authored with Terry Nichols Clark. The book is available for purchase at Amazon.ca which also provides a brief description.

Here are several editorial reviews:

“Scenescapes proposes new tools for measuring social facts and new ways to analyze this data. The result is an excellent book—masterfully executed, clearly written, and peppered with interesting and convincing anecdotes and examples.”

(Howard S. Becker, author of Becoming a Marihuana User) More...


New Faculty 2016smlThis year the Department of Sociology welcomes ten new faculty members into our community of scholars. This is the largest cohort of new faculty members we have seen in decades. They cover research and teaching interests ranging from classical theory to criminology and immigration studies and will help shape the character of the department in the years to come. Though housed across the three campuses, all faculty join together in contributing to the tri-campus graduate department. More...

Guang Ying MoCongratulations to Guang Ying Mo and her coauthors who were recently awarded one of the Emerald Literati Networks Award for Excellence, 2016!

Mo and her co-authors, Zach Hayat and Barry Wellman, received an Outstanding Author Contribution Awardin the Book Series, Studies in Media and Communications. Their award-winning book chapter is: "How Far Can Scholarly Networks Go? Examining the Relationships between Disciplines, Motivations, and Clusters."

Presented by The Emerald Publishing Group, this award honours the top contributions within the current year’s volume of a book series. According to the award's literature, the winning chapters demonstrate: "a contribution of something new to the body of knowledge, either in terms of approach or subject matter; excellent structure and presentation and well-written text; rigour in terms of argument or analysis; relevance – to practice and further research, in most cases; up-to-date – demonstrating that the latest/key works in the field have been cited; a work which is clearly within the editorial scope and remit of the book series." In choosing the outstanding contribution, the editors are, moreover, recognizing it as "of notable outstanding quality." More...


Ellen Berrey 2016We are pleased to welcome Professor Ellen Berrey to the Department of Sociology. Professor Berrey is teaching undergraduate courses at the University of Toronto, Mississauga and is a member of the graduate faculty of the tri-campus Sociology Department.

We are also very happy to congratulate Professor Berrey on the awards and accolades that her first book, The Enigma of Diversity, has recently been receiving.

In The Enigma of Diversity: The Language of Race and the Limits of Racial Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Professor Berrey probes the meaning of "diversity" in the United States. This book has been described by leading scholars as "vibrant, vital and incisive," (Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University), "keen" and "compelling" (Michèle Lamont, Harvard University), and "a remarkable contribution" (Osagie Obasogie, Univesrity of California- Berkeley). It has recently received the 2016 Herbert Jacob Book Prize of the Law & Society Association; the 2016 Distinguished Book Award of the Sociology of Law section of the American Sociological Association (ASA); and the 2016 Mary Douglas Book Prize Honorable Mention of the Sociology of Culture section of the ASA. It also had the distinction of being featured in an Author-Meets-Critics session at the 2016 meetings of the ASA.
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Bernd Baldus Book 2016

The Department of Sociology congratulates Professor Bernd Baldus on the publication of his book Origins of Inequality in Human Societies. For a detailed outline of the content see chapter one at Google Books. For backgrounds information check https://www.routledge.com/authors.

Publisher's summary:

Since the beginning of social life human societies have faced the problem how to distribute the results of collaborative activities among the participants. The solutions they found ranged from egalitarian to unequal but caused more dissension and conflict than just about any other social structure in human history. Social inequality also dominated the agenda of the new field of sociology in the 19th century. The theories developed during that time still inform academic and public debates, and inequality continues to be the subject of much current controversy

Origins of Inequality begins with a critical assessment of classical explanations of inequality in the social sciences and of the political and economic environment in which they arose. The book then offers a new theory of the evolution of distributive and relational inequality structures in human societies. It examines the interaction of chance, intent and unforeseen consequences in the emergence of social inequality, traces its irregular historical path in different societies, and analyses processes of social control which consolidated inequality even when it was costly or harmful for most participants. .More...


Ali Rodney 2016

University of Toronto PhD Candidate Alexandra Rodney recently published a blog post on the site Sociological Images. The blog, created and edited by Professor Lisa Wade of Occidental College in Los Angeles, provides short sociological discussions of "compelling and timely imagery that spans the breadth of sociological inquiry." It is widely used by instructors of sociology and by people just interested in exploring contemporary issues through a sociological lens.

Alexandra published a discussion about Totem Vodka, a vodka that was produced for a short time in the Vancouver area in June and July, 2016 before being pulled from the market in response to objections. The piece introduces the concept of Cultural Appropriation and then uses Totem Vodka to illustrate the concept.

The post begins:

Totem Vodka and Indigenous Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation generally refers to the adoption of traditional practices, objects, or images by a person or group that is not part of the originating culture. Cultural appropriation can become problematic when it is done without permission, serves to benefit the dominant group, and erases or further marginalizes the oppressed group. In this way, cultural appropriation can recreate larger structures of inequality. More...


Neda Maghbouleh 2016Professor Neda Maghbouleh conducting new research on Mothers’ Groups in Toronto

What happens when first-time mothers take maternity leave?

For one thing, they begin to socialize with each other. With months or years away from the workforce and a whole new identity as a parent, women often seek out groups where they share parenting-related knowledge and, in many cases, gain emotional and social support. The women benefit in obvious ways – they feel less isolated, they share knowledge and insights, and they experience mental and physical health benefits.

But the benefits may also reach beyond the individual.

A new research project undertaken by Professor Neda Maghbouleh will study the ways in which involvement in mothers’ groups affects civic engagement, and how this varies in different parts of the city and by different axes of inequality. More...


Jenna VallerianiJenna Valleriani is a PhD candidate in Sociology and the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies. Her research looks at social movements, entrepeurship and the emergence of new industries. Her dissertation is titled, “ ‘The Green Rush’: Social Movements, Entrepreneurship and the Emerging Medical Cannabis Industry in Canada. Jenna recently published an Op Ed in the Globe and Mail discussing the proposed age restrictions on legal access to marijuana. The piece appeared on Thursday, June 30, 2016 and the complete article is
available online. The following is an excerpt of the longer article.

Prohibit marijuana for Canadians under 25? How about a hit of reality

The federal government announced Thursday that it would create a task force to handle marijuana legalization. Led by former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan, the task force will feature nine individuals with varying expertise. In the announcement, Health Minister Jane Philpott declared the legalization of cannabis will be “comprehensive and evidence-based”, and yet in the same breath, reminded Canadians “marijuana has negative effects on young brains and brain development in adolescence”. More...


Gabe Menard Every student in the Sociology PhD program at the University of Toronto completes the Research Practicum course in their second year. This course involves each student working directly on a research project with a faculty member through the various stages of research and writing while also meeting with other graduate students in the course to tackle the hurdles of clarifying, strengthening, and sharpening one’s ideas in a journal-length research article. In this series, we highlight the practicum papers that went on to become published articles, and the students who wrote them.

Menard, Gabriel. "Copyright, Digital Sharing, and the Liberal Order: Sociolegal Constructions of Intellectual Property in the Era of Mass Digitization." Information, Communication & Society, ISSN 1369-118X, 08/2016, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp. 1061 - 16

One of the defining features of our age is the ability to share information, ideas, knowledge, and entertainment in ways never before imaginable. Gabriel Menard began the PhD program with an interest in the social and political implications of the internet and instant communications technology. For him, the practicum was an opportunity to explore some ideas he had about the tension between access to information and regulation.
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Akwasi Owusu-BempehProfessor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga with expertise in the area of race and policing. This piece, published in The Walrus, draws on his dissertation research. The complete piece is available
online . The following is an excerpt of the longer article:

Teaching Police that Black Lives Matter

Black officers on how police and black communities can get along.

In 2011 and 2012, I interviewed fifty-one black male police officers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as part of a wide-ranging academic project aimed at surveying black attitudes toward the police. They spoke to me candidly but confidentially. I agreed not to publish their names or identifying details. More...


Hae Yeon Choo

Hae Yeon Choo’s new book Decentering Citizenship examines the varying claims to citizenship rights of Filipina migrants in South Korea.

Stanford Press provides the following synopsis:

Decentering Citizenship follows three groups of Filipina migrants' struggles to belong in South Korea: factory workers claiming rights as workers, wives of South Korean men claiming rights as mothers, and hostesses at American military clubs who are excluded from claims—unless they claim to be victims of trafficking. Moving beyond laws and policies, Hae Yeon Choo examines how rights are enacted, translated, and challenged in daily life and ultimately interrogates the concept of citizenship. More...


david pettinicchioProfessor David Pettinicchio is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga with expertise in the area of social movements and public policy. For this Op Ed, he collaborated with Professor Jennifer Carlson who was also a faculty member at the University of Toronto and has recently taken a position at the University of Arizona. The Op Ed was published in the Washington Post. The complete piece is available online.

The following is an excerpt of the longer article:

The gay rights movement could take on the NRA — and actually win

The gay rights movement knows how to change the culture, not just the law.

It’s an all-too-familiar routine for Americans: mass shooting, dramatic calls for change, inaction. It happened when 20 schoolchildren were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. When a dozen people were killed in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater. When almost three dozen were slaughtered at Virginia Tech.

But this time, things might be different. Not because of the record number of people killed in Orlando or because this heinous act was a terrorist attack, a hate crime and a mass shooting. It’s because the victims were part of a social movement with infrastructure and political know-how largely unmatched within the gun-control movement. It’s because the attack targeted gays — and their community is organized. More...


Jeff Reitz 2016Professor Jeffrey Reitz was recently profiled forResearch2Reality. Research2Reality is a groundbreaking initiative dedicated to “shining a spotlight on world-class scientists engaged in innovative and leading edge research in Canada.” It operates in partnership with several leading universities in Canada. A video of the interview with Professor Reitz will be released shortly. Currently, you can read his “Researchers in Reality” interview online. The “Researchers in Reality” feature is a weekly Q & A with highlighted prominent researchers to provide a glimpse at the person behind the research.

Jeffrey Reitz, Sociologist

Jeffrey Reitz is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto and the Director of Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies. We asked him everything from what is on his playlist to what advice he would give to young researchers in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about your work?
What the social sciences can contribute, I think, is analytically-strategic facts. I try to take an important public issue, and identify the key factual questions that I think would make a difference in public debate. I want to find a way to produce answers to those factual questions, and then the challenge is to introduce them in the discourse in a way which actually has an impact. In the social sciences this is a huge challenge, because so much of what people say is that they want to believe — quite apart from facts. And there is sometimes even a disregard for facts, both on the political left and the political right. More...


Chris Tatham 2016

Chris Tatham is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology and Sexual Diversity Studies. Chris’s current research examines the intersection of sexuality, law and human rights. His dissertation project is entitled, “Sexuality, Human Rights, Prevention and the Criminalization of Non-Disclosure of HIV in Canada.” Chris recently published an Op Ed in the Toronto Star reflecting on the mass shooting in Orlando. The piece appeared on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 and the complete article is available online. The following is an excerpt of the longer article.

No Simple Cause, or Cure, for Mass Killings

We desire to find a single thing to blame – and a single thing to fix – but life is complex and meaningful social change takes time, care and deliberate action

On Sunday, the world watched the story of one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history unfold: 49 shot dead, and 53 injured at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This is one of those rare moments when together we pause and wonder why things like this continue to happen.

When terror strikes, we cling to our devices in search for answers from social media and news outlets. We find solace in our shared disbelief and pain, yet no clear answers. This is because there are none. Gun violence and mass killings are complex social issues with no simple cause or cure.

Is Orlando about homophobia? Yes. Terrorism? Yes. Gun laws? Yes. Access to assault weapons? Yes. Cultures of hate and violence (be they American or of Radical Islam)? Yes.

Yet, are mass shootings also about mental health and poor social support? Yes. Race, ethnicity and gender? Yes. Economic inequality, education and class? Yes. Politics and the power of the gun lobby? Yes.

Is our response about media sensationalism and ratings? Yes. Islamophobia and racism? Yes. Domestic and international politics? Yes. Nationalism and moral panics? Yes. Immigration and refugees? Yes. Fear, horror and control? Yes. Love, empathy and hope? Thankfully, also, yes.

Our desire to find a single thing to blame — and a single thing to fix — is an emotional one. Life is blissfully (and irritatingly) complex. Gun violence and mass killings are multi-faceted issues. There is no button to press or pill to buy that will make this go away. There is no news bite that will make this all make sense. This reality is at odds with the on-demand approach that pervades our daily lives. More...


CSA logo

The Canadian Sociological Association meets May 30th-June 3rd this year in conjunction with the Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities in Calgary. Our faculty and graduate students will be well-represented. We’re participating in a wide range of panels that represent the academic diversity of the Department.

Also note that Monica Boyd, who received the Outstanding Contribution Award in 2015, will be presenting a keynote address and Holly Campeau will receive an award for the Best Student Paper at the banquet on Tuesday night.

Finally, we welcome everyone with a connection to the University of Toronto connection to join us for a reception on Wednesday evening.

U of T Faculty and Graduate Students at the CSA

Monday, May 30th

9:00-10:30

Panel: Empirical Studies in the Sociology of Education: Post-Secondary

Presenter: Emily Cheung, Graduate Student

10:45-12:15

Panel: Feminist Methodological Approaches

Presenter: Elise Maiolino, Graduate Student

10:45-12:15

Panel: Empirical Studies in the Sociology of Education

Presenter: Geoff Wodtke, Professor

1:45-3:15

Panel: Theorizing Culture and Collective Representations I

Presenter: Gordon Brett, Graduate Student

3:30-5:00

Panel: Theorizing Culture and Collective Representations II

Presenter: Ioana Vladescu, Graduate Student; Ron Levi, Professor

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Jooyoung Lee 2Professor Jooyoung Lee’s recently published book Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central sheds light on South Central L.A.’s underground rap culture. Professor Lee’s research on this subject has taken him deep into the core of South Central’s hip hop scene to a community workshop called Project Blowed. For years, Project Blowed has supported young aspiring rap artists by providing them with a safe space to work on their craft. In Professor Lee’s book, various rap artists share their experiences with the challenges they face growing up in South central trying to make a name for themselves.

The
University of Chicago Press has this to say about the book:

Dr. Dre. Snoop Dogg. Ice Cube. Some of the biggest stars in hip hop made their careers in Los Angeles. And today there is a new generation of young, mostly black, men busting out rhymes and hoping to one day find themselves "blowin’ up"—getting signed to a record label and becoming famous. Many of these aspiring rappers get their start in Leimart Park, home to the legendary hip hop open-mic workshop Project Blowed. In Blowin’ Up, Jooyoung Lee takes us deep inside Project Blowed and the surrounding music industry, offering an unparalleled look at hip hop in the making.

While most books on rap are written from the perspective of listeners and the market, Blowin’ Up looks specifically at the creative side of rappers. As Lee shows, learning how to rap involves a great deal of discipline, and it takes practice to acquire the necessary skills to put on a good show. Along with Lee—who is himself a pop-locker—we watch as the rappers at Project Blowed learn the basics, from how to hold a microphone to how to control their breath amid all those words. And we meet rappers like E. Crimsin, Nocando, VerBS, and Flawliss as they freestyle and battle with each other. For the men at Project Blowed, hip hop offers a creative alternative to the gang lifestyle, substituting verbal competition for physical violence, and provides an outlet for setting goals and working toward them.
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Congratulations to Sociology PhD student Miranda Craig Doff whose paper was selected as one of two 2016 winners of the Oriana Josseau Kalant Award. Awarded annually, the prize recognizes academic excellence in papers written by graduate students in courses that are part of the

Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies (CoPAS). Sociology is one of ten participating graduate programs that come together to train graduate students in the various facets of addiction studies through CoPAS. Miranda received the award for a paper she wrote for one of the core CoPAS courses: Multidisciplinary Aspects of Addictions.

Miranda’s paper provided a review of the most recent literature addressing the minimum legal drinking age in Ontario. While most studies focus on morbidity and mortality in proximal circumstances (e.g., automobile accidents), Miranda’s paper calls for greater attention to investigating distal harm factors associated with young person alcohol consumption. As adolescents and young adults are more likely to engage in high-risk drinking behaviours and early onset drinking increases one’s chances of problematic use and dependence later in life, the re-evaluation of current policy is crucial in terms of addressing how to reduce alcohol-related harms and associated public health costs. In an attempt to reduce alcohol-related harms, renewed population-based policy debates regarding the efficacy of Minimum Legal Drinking Age legislation are underway in Ontario. These debates seek to answer the question: what is an appropriate age for young people to begin drinking? More...


Spencer Underwood

Spencer Underwood is a PhD student in Sociology with a specialization in gender, family, and critical cultural studies. The recipient of a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier doctoral scholarship, his current research examines gender and family formation among gay men in the transition to parenthood. Spencer recently published an Op Ed in the Toronto Star discussing the gender categories in the Canadian Census. The piece appeared on Friday, May 6, 2016 and the complete article is
available online. The following is an excerpt of the longer article.

Census needs to reflect modern reality about gender

Ongoing belief in only ‘females’ and ‘males’ obscures variation among us – perpetuating delusions about gender that have consequences, including the gender wage gap, unequal parental leave policies and violence towards women

After 10 years, the long-form Canadian census is back. Young Canadians, primed by a decade of digital media saturation, flocked online in droves so large we took down the website.

It makes sense — and it’s not just false enthusiasm as we collectively do our duty because “it’s the law.” A generation used to sharing its descriptive statistics online (finding friends, networking, dating) would intuitively understand the benefit of the census. Understanding the sociodemographic landscape helps us know and better service ourselves. And after all, that’s what millennials want: a fairer and more representative social democracy. More...


Diana MillerdsilverCongratulations to Doctoral Candidate Diana Miller and Professor Dan Silver who recently published an article on the importance of spatial cultural scenes for understanding political attitudes. Thanks to SSHRC for funding the research that resulted in this publication. The article is currently behind a paywall but here is the citation and abstract:

Diana L. Miller and Daniel Silver (2016) Cultural Scenes and Contextual Effects on Political Attitudes. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology: 2 (3-4): 241-266 DOI: 10.1080/23254823.2016.1144480. 

Spatial variation in voting is well documented, but substantively meaningful explanations of how places shape individuals’ politics are lacking. This paper suggests that local cultural ‘scenes’ exert a contextual effect – a spatial effect not driven by demographic differences between individuals in different places – on political attitudes and sensibilities. We measure the local ‘scene’ of Canadian electoral districts (EDs) through an original, national database of amenities, which we code qualitatively to describe those amenities’ cultural attributes.  More...


ASA logo

Relationships change over time and ties that were once significant sometimes fade or disappear from sight. Having once existed, however, these ties still hold the potential to re-emerge at a later time, mobilized like sleeper cells when circumstances or needs change.

This year, Professor Alexandra Marin received a grant from the American Sociological Association’s Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline to study the particular ways in which personal relationships change. This fund supports “small, ground breaking research initiatives…that (have) the potential for challenging the discipline, (and/or) stimulating new lines of research...”

This project asks whether people are really gone from a social network when researchers think they are gone. It posits that people play different functions in our social lives and might shift from one function to another. For instance, we might not share important details about our lives with some people who would, nonetheless, be there with a pot of soup if we were ever really in need. Circumstances might have drawn apart people who were once close; but circumstances could also draw them together again. More...


PathwaysA Sociology PhD can lead down many pathways. While PhD programs and the academic culture that supports them have traditionally focused on training students for careers as tenure-track faculty members, the Sociology Department at the University of Toronto is starting to think more broadly about its students’ futures. This shift involves intentionally recognizing the successes of our alumni who find careers outside of the traditional tenure stream, encouraging discussion around diverse career opportunities, and supporting professional development opportunities that help graduate students take advantage of opportunities ‘beyond academia’.

As part of this effort, the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto was pleased to host a student-led two-day mini-conference event entitled Beyond Academia: Alternative PhD Pathways. This event explored the increasingly diverse fields and occupations in which Sociology PhDs are employed and consisted of two main events: a Parallel Planning Workshop and an Alumni Panel.

When PhD students begin to plan for their post-graduation careers, they may want to engage in "parallel planning" – anticipating the skills and strategies needed for success in a career as a professor and/or for a career outside of the professoriate. Our Parallel Planning Workshop focused on identifying and translating skills accrued during the PhD, as well as uncovering the fields and occupations in which social science PhDs work and recognizing accompanying job search strategies appropriate for different fields. Led by Jonathan Turner from the University of Toronto Career Centre, the workshop highlighted concrete steps for graduate students and provided information about the resources available at the University of Toronto. Concrete steps and strategies include, for example, developing advanced and transferable research, communication, and teaching skills through general U of T resources such as the Graduate Professional Skills Program and the Teaching Assistant Training Program, and leveraging specific Career Centre Resources such as the Flexible Futures for Graduate Students Workshop to learn how to build a professional network and conduct non-academic or alternative-academic career exploration while completing the PhD. More...


The Geopolitics of Deep OceansProfessor John Hannigan has recently published a new book investigating the narratives around which the geopolitics of the deep oceans have been constructed.

The publisher has this to say about Professor Hannigan’s book:

Long regarded as an empty and inhospitable environment, the deep ocean is rapidly emerging as an ecological hot spot with a remarkable diversity of biological life. Yet, the world’s oceans are on a dangerous trajectory of decline, threatened by acidification, oil and gas drilling, overfishing and, in the long term, deep-sea mining. Bio-prospecting and geo-engineering. More...

 


sshrcThrough much of human history, meat has enjoyed an exceptionally prominent position in our diet. It is both an important source of protein and a cultural product with deep significance. Nonetheless, current and projected levels of meat consumption over the next several decades promise to overtax the food distribution system, push agriculture to more and greater reliance on industrial meat production practices, and exhaust valuable environmental resources.

Professor Josée Johnston and Professor Shyon Baumann have recently begun a new research project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, to study the ideas, beliefs and practices around meat consumption in North America.

They have noted that concerns around industrial-raised meat have coincided with something of a renaissance of meat as a cultural product. Even as tainted meat scandals shock consumers and firms work to allay public fears, meat plays a dominant role on upscale food menus, and butchery skills continue to confer status for chefs and home-cooks alike. Nor has the overall consumption of meat declined. More...


Pat Erickson

Professor Pat Erickson’s research was recently highlighted in an in-depth article in the Varsity Magazine discussing marijuana regulation in Canada. Professor Erickson is a retired senior scientist at CAMH and a Professor (status-only) at the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Crime and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include illicit drug use and drug policy; youth, violence, mental health and addictions. The Varsity article discusses Professor Erickson’s research into the cultural acceptance of cannabis.

A Perfect Storm: Marijuana regulation is on the horizon

By Teodora Pasca April 1, 2016

It only takes a brief walk around campus to realize how thoroughly marijuana has worked its way into university life. Flyers that advertise cannabis culture events are stapled to soft boards, vaporizers peek out of pockets and backpacks, and the unmistakable smell of pot smoke seeps from alleyways and the windows of fraternities. More...


Christian CaronCongratulations to Professor Christian Caron who was recently awarded a University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award. This award recognizes faculty members who are effective teachers and demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement and teaching innovation, and who are Assistant Professors or clinical faculty within the first five years of their teaching at the University of Toronto.

Professor Caron was given the award based on his exceptional achievements as a teacher of sociology and as a leader in the Department. Since coming to the Department in 2013, Professor Caron has taught Introduction to Sociology, and courses in Crime and Deviance, Social Control, and the Philosophy of Social Science. His students appreciate his enthusiastic and engaging teaching style, and the strength of the skills that they develop in his courses. All of his courses are designed to actively engage students in their learning and to empower students by providing them with opportunities to steer their own learning. More...


Holly CampeauCongratulations to Ph.D. Candidate Holly Campeau, recipient of the 2016 The Dennis William Magill Canada Research Award. The Dennis William Magill Canada Research Award is awarded annually to a student in the Department of Sociology for a PhD dissertation or journal article of exceptional merit that focuses on an aspect of Canadian society. Preference is given to macro-sociological works.

Holly was awarded the honour based on her article, 'Police culture' at work: Making sense of police oversight, British Journal of Criminology (55: 2015) 669-87. Within police studies, ‘police culture’ is often represented as an “ideal-type” and depicted according to a series of values (e.g. conservatism, solidarity, machismo, mission, etc.). This article argues in favour of an alternative, more nuanced conceptualization of police ‘culture’ which draws on concepts from the sociology of culture. Police culture is viewed as a resource, which actors deploy within particular institutional constraints.
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The Department of Sociology will be holding its First Annual Sociology Research Practicum Conference On Friday, April 8, 2016 in Rm 240 of 725 Spadina Ave.

This conference is an opportunity for the University of Toronto Sociology community to learn about the research being conducted by graduate students currently enrolled in the Sociology Research Practicum. Each student will present in a conference-style format with faculty discussants after each paper, and a time for open discussion and feedback for each panel.

This is a great opportunity to get to know some of the exciting in-progress research occurring in our Department. It’s also a great forum for faculty and graduate students to offer support, insight, and to share ideas with graduate students currently enrolled in the practicum. More...


Every student in the Sociology PhD program at the University of Toronto completes the Research Practicum course in their second year. This course involves each student working directly on a research project with a faculty member through the various stages of research and writing while also meeting with other graduate students in the course to tackle the hurdles of clarifying, strengthening, and sharpening one’s ideas in a journal-length research article. In this series, we highlight the practicum papers that went on to become published articles, and the students who wrote them.


Atsushi NarisadaNarisada, Atsushi and Scott Schieman. 2016. “Underpaid But Satisfied: The Protective Functions of Security.” Work and Occupations. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0730888415625332

Atsushi came to the Research Practicum with an interest in work and justice. In an ideal world, workers would be paid appropriately for their inputs—but the reality is quite different. Researchers estimate that roughly half of American workers feel underpaid, and note that the perception of under-reward is an important element of chronic stress. Atsushi focused his time in the Research Practicum on answering the questions: What are the consequences of perceived under-reward for employee well-being; and what are the conditions that may neutralize its harmful effects? To address these questions, Atsushi analyzed data from Professor Scott Schieman’s Work, Stress, and Health study. The resulting paper has recently been published online ahead of print in the journal Work and Occupations. More...

ipengEstablished in 2013, The Centre for Global Social Policy 
functions as a hub supporting collaborative work that takes a global perspective to social policy research. The Centre is housed in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto; Professor Ito Peng is the Centre’s director.

The Centre’s work is currently dominated by a major project on gender, migration and the work of care. Funded by a SSHRC partnership grant, this multi-institutional project is investigating the ways in which the policies, practice, and the meanings of care are changing in the twenty-first century. Both migration patterns and shifting gender norms play a role in this even as cultural expectations and regulatory frameworks channel and shape the way people around the world perform the work of caring for each other. More...


Bob Brym Tunisia

March 20th is Independence Day in Tunisia, the only democracy that emerged from the Arab Spring and therefore a model for other countries in the region. It is also less than two weeks after an ISIS attack on Ben Gardane, a town on Tunisia’s border with Libya — the fourth such attack in the country in just over a year, bringing the cumulative death toll to 91, excluding the attackers. Tunisians form the largest national contingent of ISIS recruits. Coalescing on the Libyan side of the border, they represent a serious challenge to the fledgling democracy.

Yet little is known about Tunisians’ attitudes toward democracy. To shed light on this issue, University of Toronto sociologist Robert Brym and Western University sociologist Robert Andersen conducted a nationally representative poll of 1,580 Tunisian adults in late February and early March 2015. More...


Ping Chun Hsiung Book

Professor Ping-Chun Hsiung recently served as the guest editor for a Special Issue of Qualitative Inquiry called “Teaching Qualitative Research as Transgressive Practices” (February 2016: 22 (2). This issue breaks new ground by recognizing teaching as an essential means for the production and reproduction of Qualitative Research. It sees the teaching of Qualitative Research as involving a set of transgressive practices that sustain and realize critical perspectives and practices. More...


Jooyoung Lee 2

Sociology Professor Jooyoung Lee will be speaking this month at the TEDxUofT talks. The TEDxUofT is an annual event “designed to gather the brightest minds in the University of Toronto community to spark conversation and connection.”

Professor Lee, who has been with the Department of Sociology since 2011, studies Hip Hop, health and gun violence in urban communities. For the TEDxUofT talk, Professor Lee will draw from a decade of research on gun violence in places like South Central LA and Philadelphia. Lee will be discussing what he sees as a paradox in US healthcare. The number of deaths from gunshot has declined because doctors have become better at saving the lives of gunshot victims, but many survivors have been doomed to a slow, painful death following recovery because they lack the long-term and comprehensive health care coverage that would lead them to live fulfilled and productive lives. More...


Eric Fong

Congratulations to Professor Eric Fong who was recently named a Changjiang Scholar by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. Also known as the Yangtze River award, this is the highest academic honour presented to individuals in the field of education.
Professor Fong has established himself as an expert in international migration and immigrant integration. He has made important contributions to the field through his work on residential patterns, entrepreneurship among immigrant, and the locational patterns of ethnic businesses. While he focused for many years on immigration in Canada, his most recent research agendas are examining migration patterns in China. Because China is undergoing a period of unprecedented migration, especially but not limited to rural Chinese moving to cities, Fong’s research has great resonance there and the potential to help solve pressing policy issues. More...


Candace KruttschnittCongratulations to Professor Candace Kruttschnitt on completing her term as president of The
American Society of Criminology. I sat down and spoke with Professor Kruttschnitt about her experience and insights.
Professor Kruttschnitt has a long attachment to the ASC, having been a devoted member of the organization since receiving her doctorate in 1979. She has always been fascinated by the panels at ASC meetings and has enjoyed the tremendously collegial atmosphere at the meetings. The ASC includes academics, students and practitioners and seeks to "foster criminological scholarship, and to serve as a forum for the dissemination of criminological knowledge." It speaks to a broad range of issues such as criminal justice policy, juvenile delinquency, and trends in crime statistics. More...

ES Book CoverProfessor Erik Schneiderhan has recently published a new book studying the tension that exists in American society between the ideals of individualism and the goal of helping others.

The publisher has this to say about Professor Schneiderhan’s book:

Americans have a fierce spirit of individualism. We pride ourselves on self-reliance, on bootstrapping our way to success. Yet, we also believe in helping those in need, and we turn to our neighbors in times of crisis. The tension between these competing values is evident, and how we balance between these competing values holds real consequences for community health and well-being. In his new book, The Size of Others' Burdens, Erik Schneiderhan asks how people can act in the face of competing pressures, and explores the stories of two famous Americans to develop present-day lessons for improving our communities. More...


undergraduate award 2016St. George Campus Sociology Undergraduate Awards 2015 – 2016

The Sociology Department for the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus is proud of our many outstanding undergraduate students. On Wednesday January, 27th, the department held a reception and awards ceremony to celebrate the hard work and achievements of 16 of our many fantastic students.

Congratulations go to the seven students who received the Max Weber Award for achieving the highest final grade in SOC101. This year, these students were: Victoria Bazak, Labiba Chowdhury, Sheridan Cunningham, Aaron Lo, James Regan, Kimia Veisi Nezhad, and Jeffrey Wang. Among students exhibiting excellence in second-year courses was Daniel Dyonisius who received both the Charles Tilly Award and the Irving Zeitlin Award for his excellent work that brought him the highest grades in SOC200, SOC201 and SOC203. More...


Every student in the Sociology PhD program at the University of Toronto completes the Research Practicum course in their second year. This course involves each student working directly on a research project with a faculty member through the various stages of research and writing while also meeting with other graduate students in the course to tackle the hurdles of clarifying, strengthening, and sharpening one’s ideas in a journal-length research article. In this series, we highlight the practicum papers that went on to become published articles, and the students who wrote them.


Jenna VallerianiGreen, A. I., Valleriani, J. and Adam, B. (2015), Marital Monogamy as Ideal and Practice: The Detraditionalization Thesis in Contemporary Marriages. Journal of Marriage and Family. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12277


Jenna was a Master’s student when she began working with Professor Adam Green as a Research Assistant on his SSHRC-funded project studying how heterosexual and same-sex spouses conceive of and structure their marriages. The next year, when she enrolled in the research practicum, she asked Professor Green if she could work with this marriage data, and if he would advise her on the project. She had already learned some of the skills she would need while she was a Research Assistant but the practicum honed the skills further. Professor Green agreed and they began what would become a three-year odyssey exploring the changing meanings of marriage and monogamy. The resulting paper was published in December 2015 in Journal of Marriage and Family. More...


gwodtkeProfessor Geoffrey Wodtke studies the contextual and individual-level determinants of inter-group relations. His research studying the connections between racism and intelligence was published this month in Social Problems and has been featured in the media, including in The National Post, Yahoo News and the Washington Post. The original article is Geoffrey T. Wodtke Soc Probl (2016) 63 (1): 21-45 DOI:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socpro/spv028First published online: 8 January 2016 (25 pages). The Washington Post piece is excerpted here:

Are Smarter People Actually Less Racist?

By Max Ehrenfreind

Bernie Sanders isn't the first presidential candidate to oppose reparations for slavery. All the same, the Vermont senator running for the Democratic presidential nomination has been criticized for his position over the past few days. Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic noted that Sanders promises his liberal supporters their dreams on all kinds of other issues, even if those dreams are controversial and politically infeasible. The issue of race should be no different, Coates argued. More...


markus schaferSocial networks have a powerful impact on well-being -- an impact that only increases with age. Changes in health status in old age, however, can limit older adults’ ability to maintain a broad and supportive pool of social resources.

Professor Markus Schafer’s new research program, recently funded by the Province of Ontario’s Early Research Award program, seeks to understand how various aspects of older adults’ social networks shape their health and how different facets of physical and mental health shape different properties of their social networks. Though global in scope, the project also gives special attention to how social networks can help older adults in Toronto retain a high quality of life.
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jjohnstonProfessor Josée Johnston was recently interviewed for “The Food Chain,” a program on BBC World Service on an episode about food and social class. Professor Johnston and her co-author Professor Shyon Baumann published a book on Foodies
in 2010 (second edition released in 2015). In the interview, Professor Johnston discusses the definition and meanings attached to the “foodie” identity. Professor Johnston is currently working with Dr. Baumann to research the place of meat in the today’s cultural landscape. More...

blair wheatonCongratulations to Professor Blair Wheaton, recently named Distinguished Professor of Sociology. Professor Wheaton ranks among Canada’s top sociologists and among the world’s top stress researchers. His career, spanning almost forty years, has been marked by outstanding scholarly contributions to the Sociology of Health and by equally impressive work as an institution builder in Sociology and at the University of Toronto. More...

ut feminist strongThe beginning of term was overshadowed this year by online threats that targeted female faculty and students in Sociology and Women’s Studies. These threats were disturbing and, as acts of violence themselves, they did damage. Though both the threats and the heightened security that followed them cast a pall over the beginning of term, we also witnessed a truly wonderful outpouring of support. More...

VLeshziner New BookProfessor Vanina Leschziner has recently published a new book exploring the world of high cuisine. The book follows years of research during which Professor Leschziner interviewed chefs and observed the practices in the kitchens of top restaurants in New York and San Francisco. More...

david pettinicchioEarlier this year, the Americans with Disabilities Act celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Professor David Pettinicchio, whose dissertation research studied the ADA, wrote a number of Opinion pieces for the media to coincide with this anniversary. The following piece was published in Talking Points Memo on July 29th. Other pieces appeared in USA Todayand the Globe and Mail. More...

monica boyd smlCongratulations to Professor Monica Boyd on receiving the 2015 Outstanding Contribution Award from the Canadian Sociological Association. This award honours Professor Boyd’s exceptional scholarly merit and her impact within the Canadian sociological community.More...

anelyse weilerAnelyse Weiler, a second year PhD student in Sociology at the University of Toronto, was recently awarded a prestigious Trudeau Scholarship to support her doctoral work.

Every year, The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation offers scholarships to outstanding doctoral candidates addressing themes of particular relevance to Canadian society.

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jchunIn January 2011, Kim Jin-Suk a former welder and union activist, climbed atop Crane 85 located 35 meters above ground at a Hanjin shipyard near the Korean port city of Busan. There, he lived without running water and endured subzero temperatures and monsoon rains for ten consecutive months (309 days) to protest the layoff of 400 shipyard workers.

This year, Professor Jennifer Chun received received a SSHRC Insight Grant to study people like Kim Jin-Suk. The project asks:Why do people engage in the kinds of public protest that involve exceptional sacrifice and a high level of social suffering?
More...