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Department of Sociology Newsletter

Issue 9: January 19, 2021


Welcome Back!

Faculty Spotlight
Lei Lei joined us in September 2018.  We are thrilled to have her as a member of our faculty! You can learn more about Lei and her research interests in this issue's Faculty Spotlight.
Tell us a little bit about your research.
One line of my research seeks to understand how social factors, such as residential context, working conditions, family dynamics, and gender roles, get under the skin to produce and perpetuate health inequalities. I have published several articles examining the impact of community environments on children’s health, nutritional status, and cognitive skills in China. Currently, I employ longitudinal data from India to analyze how male outmigration influences the health of left-behind wives and children.
I also study contemporary changes in family behaviors related to intergenerational relationships and life course transitions. I have examined the factors influencing the timing of young adults’ home leaving and home returning in the U.S. and the racial-ethnic differences in the boomerang behavior. More recently, I begin to investigate recent trends in young adults’ demographic behaviors, linking the increased intergenerational coresidence to the decline in residential mobility and sexual behaviors among young adults.
How did you become interested in sociology?
I was intrigued by sociology after taking the Introduction to Sociology course. Zhejiang province has one of the largest concentrations of rural-to-urban migrant workers in China. During my undergraduate study at Zhejiang University, I got interested in studying the working conditions of migrant workers and the roles of the official labor union and grassroots migrant workers’ associations. These early interests continue to inspire my current research on migrant workers’ health and the well-being of left-behind family members using quantitative methods.
Tell us about your teaching interests and your plans for any new courses.
I have taught courses on Global Health, Statistics (at both undergraduate and graduate levels), and Multilevel and Longitudinal Data Analysis. I plan to offer a graduate seminar on “Health and Social Inequality” in the future.
What book do you wish everyone would read?
“The Book of Why” by Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie. This book is about causal thinking – how to imagine the consequences of what could but did not happen. It will worth your time if you care about making causal claims in your research.
And finally, what do you like to do in your free time?
I like drawing, watercolor painting, and cooking spicy food.
Dissertation Defenses
Congratulations to Niina Vuolajarvi, who defended her dissertation this fall and will start a post-doctoral fellowship at the New School this month!  She presented her work entitled "Governing in the Name of Caring" - Migration, Sex Work and the Nordic Model" at the second annual Jason B. Phillips Memorial Lecture.
Student Awards

Congratulations to Tsai-Yen Han, who was awarded a fellowship for writing her dissertation.
Tsai-Yen Han is an awardee under the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwanese Overseas Pioneers Grants for Ph.D. candidates in 2020-2021.


Fred Traylor was selected as a winner of the Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning award – one of two hundred nationwide.

Master's Panels    
We were delighted to host the inaugural Masters Day Panel this fall semester.  All students who have recently completed their Masters Thesis are invited to present their work to the department. The panel provided excellent exposure for our first and second year students to successful models of a qualifying paper and an opportunity to ask questions. Our presenters all gave outstanding and fascinating presentations. Well-deserved congratulations to them all!  We were sorry not to be able to celebrate the presentations afterwards with a party, but it will happen once we are all able to be together again!  
Our 1st Master's Panel: Congratulations to Tali, Jomaira, and Hannah!!
Our 2nd Master's Panel: Congratulations to Endia, Sirine, and Allegra!!
Stephanie Alves
  • 2020. Review of Adam B. Seligman and Robert P. Weller’s “How Things Count as the Same: Memory, Mimesis, and Metaphor.” Contemporary Sociology 49(5):465–466.
  • Mandal, Soumik, Shah, Chirag, Peña-Alves, Stephanie, Hecht, Michael L, Glenn, Shannon D, Ray, Anne Elizabeth, and Greene, Kathryn. Forthcoming. “Understanding the Spread of Prevention and Cessation Messages on Social Media for Substance Use in Youth.” Aslib Journal of Information Management.
Chaudhary, Ali and Quan Mai. “Educational Place and Civic Participation in (Asian) Immigrant America” Forthcoming in RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. 

Lee Clarke published an op-ed in the Star Ledger on COVID.

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the University of Chicago Press has released Lee Clarke's Worst Cases: Terror and Catastrophe in the Popular Imagination. It will be published as an e-book in April 2021.

Haruki Eda. 2020. "Archipelagic Feeling: Counter-Mapping Indigeneity and Diaspora in the Trans-Pacific." In Stephens, Michelle and Martínez-San Miguel, Yolanda (Eds.). 2020. Contemporary Archipelagic Thinking: Toward Comparative Methodologies and Disciplinary Formations. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Pp. 337-360. 
This publication is a result of his fellowship at the Rutgers Center for Cultural Analysis in 2015-16.

Friedman, Brittany. 2021. "Unveiling the Necrocapitalist Dimensions of the Shadow Carceral State: On Pay-to-Stay to Recoup the Cost of Incarceration." Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 37(1): 66-87. First published online 10.21.20.

Kirk, Gabriela, April D. Fernandes, and Brittany Friedman. 2020. "Who Pays for the Welfare State? Austerity Politics and the Origin of Pay-to-Stay Fees as Revenue Generation." Sociological Perspectives 63(6): 921-938.

Hayes, Endia, Ashley Hollingshead, Jomaira Salas, and Brooklynn K. Hitchens.
  • "Nothing About Us, Without Us: Reinscribing Black Feminism in Sociology." Black Feminist Sociology: Perspectives and Praxis, edited by Z. Luna and W. Pirtle. New York: Routledge Press. (accepted)
Paul Hirschfield (2020). Policing the Police: U.S. and European Models. Journal of Democracy, 31(4): 166-181. 

Poling, Jessica.

  • 2021. “Art in the Time of Frugality: Scarcity, Cooperation, and Change in American Art Museums”, Sociological Forum (forthcoming).  
  • Rosenthal, Marsha, Jessica Poling, Aleksandra Wec, Elizabeth Connolly, Beth Angell, Stephen Crystal. 2020. “’Medication is Just One Piece of the Whole Puzzle’: How Nursing Homes Change Their Use of Antipsychotic Medications”, Journal of Applied Gerontology (forthcoming). 
Jomaira Salas
Hana Shepherd. The Washington Center for Equitable Growth released a report co-authored by Hana Shepherd on the potential effects of the pandemic and related economic recession on wage theft and implications for the enforcement of labor standards. The report was also shared in the New York Times.

Eviatar Zerubavel's new book, Generally Speaking: An Invitation to Concept-Driven Sociology, has been published by Oxford University Press.
Congratulations to our Graduate Program Coordinator,
Marie Ferguson!

Marie Ferguson completed her Master of Music (MM) in Voice Performance this fall and will receive her degree in January. Congratulations on this wonderful achievement, Marie!  While she could not share her degree recital with a live audience, a recording is available online.

Congratulations Jomaira!

Jomaira Salas Pujols accepted a tenure-track, assistant professor position, Department of Sociology, Bard College,  Annandale-on-the Hudon, NY. She'll start her new position in Fall 2021.  
Scenes from the Virtual Holiday Toast
Hoping for a brighter 2021 for all!

Shirley Smoyak, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Rutgers who received her PhD from our program in 1970, is now 85 and officially retired.  She doesn't have professional news to share but thought we'd enjoy a few excerpts from her holiday letter.


Just be careful because people are going crazy from being in lockdown. Actually, I’ve just been talking about this with the microwave and the toaster, while drinking Pinot Grigio wine. We all agreed that things are getting pretty bad.

I didn’t mention anything to the washing machine, since she puts a different spin on everything. Certainly not to the fridge, either, as he is acting cold and distant.

In the end, the iron calmed me down, as she said everything will be fine. “No situation is too pressing.”

The vacuum cleaner was very unsympathetic and told me to just “suck it up.”

The fan was much more optimistic and hoped it would soon all blow over.

The toilet looked a bit flushed when I asked its opinion and said nothing. But the doorknob told me to get a grip.

The front door said I was unhinged. Hearing this, the curtains told me to... (yes, you guessed it) pull myself together.

Stay safe, be well, and cope with the rest of 2020. Predict 2021, if the mood moves you.

Undergraduate News
Mark the date!  The Sociology Commencement Ceremony will be held via zoom on May 12 at 11 am.  We look forward to celebrating with you then and marking your terrific accomplishments and tremendous resilience as you complete your degrees during this challenging time.
Alumni News
A. Aneesh was selected as a 2020-2021 Berggruen Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life this year. Recently, he was featured in CNN’s series on Y2K: Also, his article “Citizenship is a Myth” was published in Noema magazine.

Brittany Battle has been awarded the Sociologists for Women in Society 2021 Feminist Activism Award and the Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice of the American Society of Criminology's 2020 Praxis Award. She received a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Foundation to study the eviction crisis and the impact of the Centers for Disease Control's moratorium on evictions in North Carolina in collaboration with the Wake Forest University Law School, Winston Salem State University, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and Housing Justice Now (grassroots organization).


Shawna Hudson's research group received $5 million NIH grant to promote COVID testing in underserved populations. The New Jersey Healthcare Essential WoRker Outreach and Education Study - Testing Overlooked Occupations, or NJ HEROES TOO was funded under the NIH’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program. You can learn more here.

William R. Smith (PhD 1984 Rutgers Sociology) stepped down as Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State University on July 1, 2019 after serving as Head for seven years.  He is on a one-year research sabbatical this academic year.  He will return to the ranks of the faculty in the fall semester of 2020.  

Hakim Zainiddinov. 2021. “Responses of US-Based Muslim Organizations to Being Stereotyped as ‘Terrorists.’” Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression 

Ali Chaudhary was featured in a virtual symposium organized by the journal International Migration Review and the Center for Migration Studies of New York. He presented a paper entitled "The Role of Migration Scholarship at a Time of Multiple Crises."

Professor Pat Carr's widow, Maria Kefalas' book entitled Harnessing Grief will be released on January 19th.  All proceeds will go to the Calliope Joy Foundation.

Dr. Stephen Crystal, Distinguished Research Professor, School of Social Work, Director of the Center for Health Services Research, and affiliated faculty in the Sociology department
  • appeared in a recent CBS news piece exploring the coronavirus vaccine and its impact on nursing home residents and their families.
  • On October 16, 2020, the Center for State Health Policy convened a virtual meeting titled “Covid-19’s Impact on SUD Treatment and Services.”  The webinar, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, presented information on the opioid epidemic in New Jersey, and how federal and state policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic have changed the delivery of SUD services to New Jerseyans and featured Dr. Stephen Crystal as a panelist. 
Brittany Friedman
Brittany Friedman had two articles reprinted in Money and Punishment, Circa 2020. Edited by Anna VanCleave, Brian Highsmith, Judith Resnik, Jeff Selbin, and Lisa Foster. The Aurthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law at Yale Law School, Fines & Fees Justice Center, and Policy Advocacy Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law.
Paul Hirschfield's expertise on police violence and accountability has been featured recently in the following media outlets: 
Allan Horwitz's DSM: A History of Psychiatry's Bible will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in summer 2021.

Catherine Lee was interviewed for an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about what a Biden Administration will mean for immigration: an end to demonization of immigrants and their families. She notes: “The conversation has been about ‘them’ draining what ‘we’ have, not coming and contributing vibrantly, economically, socially,” said Rutgers University sociologist Catherine Lee, who looks to Biden to reset the national narrative, to celebrate anew the country’s historic role as a beacon. “It’s about highlighting what we already know: Immigrants are your neighbors, your teachers, your doctors, your kids' soccer coach.”

Faculty member Laurie Krivo's research was discussed in a recent article in the New York Times on American's Refusal to Address the Root Causes of Violence.  

Arlene Stein's work on transgender was featured by the ASA in a recent video

Chaim I. Waxman (Prof. Emeritus, Rutgers Univ.) received the Marshall Sklare Award at the annual meeting of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ), which took place in December at the Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies.

Helene R. White, Distinguished Professor Emerita, recently published “Changes in alcohol consumption among college students due to COVID-19: Effects of campus closure and residential change,” which was selected as a feature article by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. In addition, she was co-author on 10 articles published in 2020 from her study on simultaneous alcohol and marijuana use among college students.
Congratulations to Lior Yohanani and his family on the birth of their son- Baby Yuval was born on October 10th.
Congratulations to Tali Jaffe-Dax and her family on the birth of their daughter - Baby Robin was born on October 28th.
We are very sad to share the news that Professor Emeritus John Leggett passed away due to COVID complications in Seattle, Washington at the age of 90.  You may be interested in this interview that John conducted with Malcolm X in 1963 while at Berkeley. We will share the formal obituary when it is printed in ASA Footnotes but in the meantime, the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, people make a contribution to the Sociology Gift Fund in memory of John. Funds will be used to support graduate and undergraduate students who best represent the kind of work that John engaged in.
January 22         
1-2:30pm                    Panel: Best Practices in Online Teaching                   
February 10        
11:30am-1pm             Colloquium: Abigail Saguy, UCLA
                                   “Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are”
 1-3pm                        Professionalization Workshop: Kathleen Marker
                                   “Careers using Qualitative Research Skills”
February 24              
11:30am-1pm             Colloquium: Ann Morning, NYU
                                   "Rethinking Race in Italy"
March 17                    
Happy Spring Break!
March 24                  
11:30am-1pm             Colloquium: Dana Fisher, University of Maryland
                                    “American Resistance”
1-3pm                          Professionalization Workshop: Triveni Kuchi
                                    “Academic Librarianship and Careers”

March 31                  
11am–12:30pm          Colloquium: Faculty/Student Panel
1pm                             Department Open House
April 14                     
11:30am-1pm             Colloquium: Vesla Weaver, Johns Hopkins
                                    “The State From Below”     
April 21                     
10am – 11:30am        Undergraduate Honors Presentations
April 28                     
12pm – 4pm                TA Training Session run by UPD
May 12                      
11am                           Undergraduate Major Graduation Ceremony

*    All gatherings to take place on Zoom with invitations to follow
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