All events were sponsored by the Department of Sociology (co-sponsors are noted).


Gender Replay: Barrie Thorne, Brandeis Sociology, and the Making and Legacy of Gender Play

March 23, 2023

CJ PascoeFreen OeurFreeden Blume Oeur and C.J. Pascoe
Thursday, March 23rd
Room 113, Pearlman Lounge
3:30 - 5:00pm


This year marks the 30th anniversary of Barrie Thorne’s book Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School, a landmark study of the social worlds of primary school children that sparked a paradigm shift in our understanding of how kids and the adults around them contest and reinforce gender boundaries. In our talk, we share highlights from our new edited volume, Gender Replay: On Kids, Schools, and Feminism, which reflects on the 30 years since the publication of this classic. We also chronicle the 30 years before the book, which saw the early years of the Brandeis Sociology graduate program--and the broader radical political movements taking hold in the Boston area and beyond--as foundational in shaping Thorne's thinking on and commitments to feminist practice and the worlds of kids.

Flier for Dr. Hordge-Freeman's Book Talk
Second-Class Daughters: Black Brazilian Women and Informal Adoption as Modern Slavery

February 7, 2023

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman

3:30-5 p.m. Feb. 7

Pearlman Rm 202

A legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, Brazil is home to the largest number of African descendants outside Africa and the greatest number of domestic workers in the world. Drawing on ten years of interviews and ethnographic research, the author examines the lives of marginalized informal domestic workers who are called "adopted daughters" but who live in slave-like conditions in the homes of their adoptive families. She traces a nuanced and, at times, disturbing account of how adopted daughters, who are trapped in a system of racial, gender, and class oppression, live with the coexistence of extreme forms of exploitation and seemingly loving familial interactions and affective relationships. Highlighting the humanity of her respondents, Hordge-Freeman examines how filhas de criação (raised daughters) navigate the realities of their structural constraints and in the context of pervasive norms of morality, gratitude, and kinship. In all, the author clarifies the link between contemporary and colonial forms of exploitation, while highlighting the resistance and agency of informal domestic workers.


After Genocide: Memory and Reconciliation in Rwanda

April 13, 2022

Nicole Fox HeadshotNicole Fox's Book Cover, titled After Genocide: Memory and Reconciliation in Rwanda

Nicole Fox, Brandeis Alum

12-1:30 p.m. | Schwartz 103

In the wake of unthinkable atrocities, it is reasonable to ask how any population can move on from the experience of genocide. Simply remembering the past can, in the shadow of mass death, be retraumatizing. So how can such momentous events be memorialized in a way that is productive and even healing for survivors? Nicole Fox’s 2021 book "After Genocide: Memory and Reconciliation in Rwanda: (University of Wisconsin Press) investigates such questions through extensive interviews with survivors’ decades after mass violence has ended. After Genocide reveals the relationship survivors have to memorial spaces and uncovers those voices silenced by the dominant narrative — arguing that the erasure of such stories is an act of violence itself.

Flier for Choi's Colloquia
Race and Transnational Stratified Mobility: From South Korean Cities to Western Farmlands

April 8, 2022

Dr. Carolyn Choi, Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian American Studies at Dartmouth College

9:30-10:50 a.m. April 8 | Zoom

This talk explores the experiences of South Korean migrant workers on working holiday programs in Australia — as an accessible, affordable opportunity to learn English abroad. Despite aspirations for middle class worldliness, in Australia, South Korean migrants find themselves racialized and downwardly positioned as part of the low-wage migrant worker class that segregates them largely to farm labor in rural regions. Such experiences challenge the picture of South Korea’s ascension in the global imaginary and how economic power does not offer post-racial status. Instead, their experiences illuminate an important dimension of what I refer to as “transnational stratified mobility” and how forces such as race, nation, gender, and class intersect in extending homegrown inequalities across a global terrain, upending larger narratives of Asian ascendance.

Meet the Major Flier
Meet the Major

March 16, 2022

3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 16 | Pearlman Lounge

Sociology Undergraduate Departmental Representatives:

Meet the Majors — Spilling the Beans on Sociology

Come meet us! We want to meet you!

Coffee and tea will be served

Internships? Careers? Thesis? Research? Classes? Any questions?

Book Launch

February 11, 2022

Joint Virtual Book Celebration hosted by Professor Siri Suh and Professor Gowri Vijayakumar

book cover, At Risk

Book Cover, Dying to Count

In conversation with Professor Zine Magubane, Boston College, and Professor Nitsan Chorev, Brown University.

12-2 p.m. Feb. 11, 2022

Moderated by Professor Sarah Mayorga, Brandeis University.

Brandeis Sociology is celebrating the release of two new faculty books:

  • Professor Gowri Vijayakumar's "At Risk: Indian Sexual Politics and the Global AIDS Crisis"
  • Professor Siri Suh's "Dying to Count: Post-Abortion Care and Global Reproductive Health Politics in Senegal"


7:30-9 p.m. Oct. 26, 2021

Virtual Event via Zoom

This program will include a panel discussion about the strike and its bank robbery-murder aftermath. Panelists will include activists from the 1970s anti-war strike: Robbie Baer (Brandeis student alum), Barry Elkin (Brandeis student alum), Susan Townsend (Brandeis student alum), Jerry Zerkin (Brandeis student alum), Kathy Power (activist), Bob Weiser (activist), Professor Gordie Fellman (Brandeis sociologist), and Professor Bob Lange (retired physicist). A dedicated website has been created for this event which contains:

  • Overview of the program and the panelists
  • A comprehensive overview of the strike, including articles
  • "From Rebellion to Revolution" — a video of a play written and performed by students in an American Studies course taught by retired Brandeis Professor Joyce Antler
  • A special Strike edition of the Waltham Watch, a student publication from that era

This program is co-sponsored by: The School of Arts and Sciences; Department of Sociology; Social Justice and Social Policy (SJSP) program; and Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies (PAX) program

For more details on this event, please contact Professor Gordie Fellman

Victor Ray

March 10, 2021

"Racialized Organizations and Higher Education"

Victor Ray

6-7:30 p.m. March 10, 2021

Victor Ray’s research applies critical race theory to classic sociological questions. He is currently working on two book manuscripts: a project focused on race and organizational theory and an edited volume (co-edited with Jennifer Mueller) on race and sociological theory writ large. His work has been published in the American Sociological Review, American Behavioral Scientist, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Contexts, Ethnic and Racial Studies, The Journal of Marriage and Family, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity and Sociological Theory. In addition to this research, Victor is also an active public scholar, publishing commentary in outlets such as The Washington Post, Newsweek, and Boston Review. Victor’s work has been funded by the Ford Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, among others.

His talk will be about higher education institutions as racialized organizations.

Melissa Brown

April 28, 2021

"The Virtual Sojourner - Black Feminist Activism and Culture in the Digital Age"

Melissa Brown sitting on a bench

2-3:30 p.m. April 28, 2021

On May 25, 2020, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier took out her smartphone and started to record. While most teenagers use their smartphone cameras to shoot dances for Tik Tok, Darnella used her camera for bearing witness. How Darnella used her smartphone camera to witness the injustice of George Floyd's killing demonstrates the complex positionality of Black people in the digital age. Darnella reported that witnessing George's death had traumatized her. The video's circulation online had led to internet harassment from people who questioned her choice to record George's last moments.

Thus, while information and communication technologies enable Black people to document and amplify state violence to mobilize people to demand social change and systemic reform, the visibility social media affords these technology users also comes with harmful effects. I refer to these technology users as virtual sojourners — outsiders within of the digital age who leverage digital tools and innovate digital practices to create new avenues for visibility within a sociotechnical system that also endows members of dominant groups to use the same tools to perpetuate marginalization through digital practices that facilitate co-optation, erasure, and appropriation. To elaborate on the concept of a virtual sojourner in this talk, I center Black women and LGBTQ digital technology users because their experience arises from a complex positionality rooted in the social construction of Black womanhood and queerness marginal to mainstream standards of gender and sexuality. I argue Black women and LGBTQ people act as virtual sojourners by creating and maintaining virtual counterpublics and digital enclaves where they self-author, self-define, and self-determine a Black feminist and queer forms of culture and activism. Nevertheless, virtual sojourners remain an understated phenomenon due to how the features of information and communication technologies serve the dual function of facilitating both visibility and erasure. To magnify this tension, I analyze the digital practices of members of these groups to examine how they navigate the power relations that arise from the virtual public sphere as shaped by the matrix of domination — how domains of power function together to produce a complex constellation of inequalities and potentialities for people on the margins.

Co-sponsored by Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and African and African American Studies

Whitney Pirtle

April 29, 2021

"COVID-19 Death Gaps: Understanding How Race, Class, and Gendered Systems Unequally Shape Pandemic Health Outcomes"

Whitney Pirtle

12-1:30 p.m. April 29, 2021

Health sociologists have long explained how socioeconomic status, and later racism, are basic root causes of health disparities. I extend this work to argue that racial capitalism, or the idea that racialized exploitation and capital accumulation are mutually reinformed systems, structure health inequities. Furthermore, these intersecting systems are exacerbated in the face of additional forms of oppression, such as patriarchy, and in times of health crises. Synthesizing early reports and preliminary empirical studies, I demonstrate how multiple, overlapping mechanisms shape the excess deaths in COVID-19 across and between racial lines. This analysis demonstrates that health inequities will continue to be replicated unless we can fundamentally change our unequal system.

The 2021 Academic Fair
UDRs pointing to a Sociology poster.Representatives from academic departments are available to answer your questions regarding course selection, departmental offerings, student services, and more. This year, Sociology UDRs Rachel Judson, Mariah Lewis, and Ali Hagani attended the fair.
Sociologists watch movies, too!

What do you know about the Black Panther Party? What lessons can the BPP offer us today? Join us for our first “Sociologists watch movies, too!” event to discuss The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015). This is a two-part event.

Part 1 (asynchronous viewing): students will watch the (excellent!) documentary on their own time, when it’s convenient for them. Want to host a Zoom watch party with your friends? Go for it! The film we’re watching, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution documentary, is available for FREE via Brandeis Kanopy.

Part 2 (synchronous conversation): Join Professor Vijayakumar, Professor Mayorga, & your peers to discuss the film! We’ll build community and learn together, connecting this important chapter in US history to what’s happening in 2021. The discussion will be Wednesday, 3/31 from 2-3:30pm via Zoom during Professor Vijayakumar’s “Protest, Politics, and Change: Social Movements” class session.

Let's talk about...white supremacy

What is white supremacy? What is its relationship to white nationalism? What does all this have to do with the events of January 6th at the Capitol? Join Professor Mayorga from the Sociology Department and your peers to discuss these important questions and more on Friday, February 19 from 12:30-1:30pm. This is the first in the Sociology Department's new "Let's talk about..." series, where students and faculty come together to discuss current events through a sociological lens.

If you have time, you may want to check out this podcast episode on the symbols of white nationalism that were present during the Capitol insurrection. Have questions or specific topics you want to discuss? Share them with Professor Mayorga in advance here.


Ellen Berrey

April 23, 2020

"Rights on Trial: How Workplace Discrimination Law Perpetuates Inequality (or Why #MeToo Can’t Win in Court"

Ellen Berrey book cover

Dr. Ellen Berrey’s research engages multiple sociological subfields, particularly law, inequality, race and diversity, culture, and organizations, with an emerging interest in environmental sociology. Her work is centrally focused on the politics and paradoxes of solving social problems. She asks: how do organizations interpret and implement policies aimed at addressing social problems, such as racial discrimination and environmental devastation? How do they navigate legal constraints and political opposition? She has a particular interest in how cultural ideals—such as diversity, fairness, and sustainability—get mobilized, institutionalized, and contested by decision-makers, organizational actors, and activists. 
Thursday, April 23rd
Pearlman 113
Overcoming Whiteness in Higher Education
Manya Whitaker,  Associate Professor and Chair of Education at Colorado College


Strangers in Their Own Land: The Sequel for Some White Blue-Collar Men

Arlie Hochschild, Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of California, Berkley

Governance and the Reversal of Women's Rights: The Case of Abortion in El Salvador
Jocelyn Viterna, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.
The Class Ceiling: Why It Pays To Be Privileged
Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College


Crowded table of students registering to vote
Voter Registration Drive
The SOC, SJSP, and PAX UDRs organized a voter registration and absentee ballot drive in the SCC Atrium. With the incredible turnout, they hosted two more drives throughout the month.  With the help of some great volunteers, they were able to register over 100 people to vote or get absentee ballots. Read an article by the Justice to learn more about the event.
The Zero Trimester: Risk and Reproduction at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

Miranda Waggoner, Assistant Professor at Florida State University

Race, Rape, and Respectability: Understanding Campus Sexual Assault Through the Racialized Veil of Hegemonic Masculinity
Saida Grundy, Assistant Professor of Sociology & African American Studies at Boston University 
Social Position and the Complexity of Schemas for Cultural Objects
Omar Lizardo, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame
Beneath the China Boom: Citizenship, Welfare, and the Making of a Rural Land Market
Julia Chuang, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston College


Genetic Options: The Impact of Genetic Ancestry Testing on Ethnic and Racial Identities

Wendy Roth, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia

Beyond Expectations: Second Generation Nigerians in the United States and Britain

Onoso Imoagene, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania


When Protection becomes Punishment: Policing the Public (Schools) in an Unequal City

Carla Shedd, Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Columbia University

The Tumbleweed Society

Allison Pugh, Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Virginia

Natasha Warikoo, Associate Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education

The Contentious Public Sphere in China: Law, Media and the Dilemma of Authoritarian Rule

Ya-Wen Lei, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Harvard University

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Arlie Hochschild, Emerita Professor of Sociology at UC Berekely

Summoned: Identification and Religious Life in a Jewish Neighborhood

Iddo Tavory, Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University

Two Pluralisms: Toward a New Paradigm for Modernity and Religion

Peter Berger, University Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at Boston University and the founder and Senior Research Fellow of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs

Cooking Your 'Self': Emotions, Identities, and Collective Boundaries in Contemporary Israeli Culinary Culture

Rafi Grosglik, Post Doc Visiting Scholar in the Sociology Department

Cultural Rights: The New Human Rights Frontier?

Helle Porsdam, Professor of American Studies at the University of Copenhagen


Tianamen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China

Rowena He, Lecturer, Department of Government, Harvard University

Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work

Kimberly Hoang, Assistant Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Boston College


Racial Formation Theory Today

Howard Winant, Professor of Sociology at the University of California and founding director of the University of California Center for New Racial Studies (UCCNRS)

1914-1918: The War Within the War

Adam Hochschild, Acclaimed Author, Journalist, and Lecturer, UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism

2013 and earlier

Governing Immigration in Advanced Welfare States: The Scandinavian Case

Grete Brochmann, Professor of Sociology, University of Oslo

Co-sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies, Department of Politics, International Global Studies, Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Unemployment Experiences: Why Americans Blame Themselves and Israelis Blame the System

Ofer SharoneSociologist and Assistant Professor, Institute of Work & Employment Relations, MIT Sloan

Day Labor Agencies and The Neoliberal-Parasitic Economy

Gretchen Purser, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Syracuse University

Co-sponsor:The Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturer Fund

The Cultural Foundations of Mental Illness

Liah Greenfeld, Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Anthropology, Boston University

Co-sponsors: The Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturers Fund and the Department of Psychology

How the Right Usurped the Queer Agenda: Frame Co-optation in Political Discourse

Mary Bernstein, Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut at Storrs, Leading Scholar in Queer Politics

Co-sponsors: The Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturers Fund, The Women's and Gender Studies Program

So SoHo So What? Branding, Identity, and the Spatial Structure of Boston's Visual Arts Worlds

Matthew Kaliner, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, Harvard University (Brandeis University ’00)

Co-sponsor: The Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturers Fund

Seeing Society: The Long and Winding Road

Doug Harper PhD ’76, Professor of Sociology, Duquesne University

Pride of Place: Queer Female Identities and Communities in Four Small U.S. Cities

Japonica Brown-Saracino, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Boston University

Co-sponsored with the Interdepartmental Program in Women's and Gender Studies

Sexual Health as Buzzword: Competing Stakes and Proliferating Agendas

Steve Epstein, John C. Shaffer Professor in the Humanities, Northwestern University

Co-author of Three shots at Prevention: The HPV vaccine and the Politics of Medicine's Simple Solutions

Co-sponsored with the Interdepartmental Program in Women's and Gender Studies

Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens and the Culture of Sex

Amy Schalet
, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

So You Think You Can Dance? Lessons on Distorted Public Valuation from the US Private Equity Bubble

Catherine Turco, MIT

Medicalization and the Epidemic of Side Effects from Prescription Drugs: The Risk Proliferation Syndrome

Professor Donald W. Light Rutgers, UDMNJ-SOM

Sponsored by: Department of Sociology, Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturers Fund, and Heller School of Social Policy and Management

Covered: Activists, Journalists, and News in a Shifting Media Landscape

Professor Sarah Sobieraj, Tufts University

Sponsored by Department of Sociology and Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturers Fund

The Bog and the Beast: Museums, the Nation, and the World

Professor Peggy Levitt, Wellesley College, Senior Research Fellow

Sponsored by: Department of Sociology and Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturers Fund

No Family History: Environmental Links to Breast Cancer

Professor Sabrina McCormick, Science and Technology Fellow, AAAS

Sponsored by: Department of Sociology and Martin Weiner Distinguished Lecturers Fund, Environmental Studies Program, and Health: Science, Society, and Policy Program

Big Dreams in Lean Times: How Families Navigate Mobility and Reproduce Inequality

Professor Tom Shapiro

Sex Cells: Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm

Professor Rene Almeling

Responses to Discrimination and Social Resilience under Neo-Liberalism: The Case of Brazil, Israel and the United States

Professor Michele Lamont

Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite

Professor Shamus Khan

Biomedical Markets: An Economic Sociologist’s Perspective

Professor Ayla Guseva

Understanding the Increased Prevalence of Autism

Professor Peter Bearman, Jonathan Cole Professor of Social Sciences Director of Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences at Columbia University

Tell My Story: Racial Appraisals and Black Women’s Experience of Rape

Professor C. Shawn McGuffey

Visualizing Health: A Sociological Analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Professor Kelly Joyce, The College of William and Mary

How Do Different Types of Democracy Cope with Ethnonational Conflicts?

Professor Sammy Smooha, University of Haifa

Disposable Ties and the Urban Poor

Professor Matt Desmond, Harvard University

When and How did Spirituality Become Autonomous

Professor Courtney Bender, Columbia University

Weighing the Motherload: Security Expectations and the Mother-Child Relationship

Dr. Ana Villalobos, PhD, University of California at Berkeley

Visiting Research Associate at the Department of Sociology, Brandeis

Connecting the Personal and the Sociological: Reflections on the '7-UP' Documentary Film Series

Professor Barrie Thorne, PhD’71

The Department of Sociology presents Professor Barrie Thorne, Brandeis Sociology PhD ’71, Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies, UC Berkeley. Professor Thorne is an eminent alum and a first rate ethnographer of children who recently finished fieldwork on "California Childhoods," funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Futures of the Left in an Age of Globalization

Zinner Forum, Heller school

"Left" political parties have been the major pole of opposition in capitalist market societies and the bearers of progressive change since the industrial revolution. They have insisted that governments assume responsibilities for correcting inequality, insecurity, market failures and externalities, and skewed opportunity structures. They have been fundamental in making democracy a mass phenomenon. They have promoted the expansion of rights from civil into political and social realms. They have provided people with visions of alternative social orders.

The collapse of actually existing socialism in the end of the Cold War made market societies the only game on the planet and discredited historical Left transformational utopias once and for all. Globalization has already made permeable many of the borders behind which Lefts felt able to pursue their programs. One consequence of all these changes is that socialist dreams, along with the word socialism itself, have disappeared.

It is deeply significant that in the media and professional political analysis what up until recently was called "the Left" is now widely labeled the "Center-Left." The political space and options of the political parties of the Left and Center Left that seek to govern have been narrowed and they have large new problems of connection with voters and constituents.