PhD Students in Sociology
Before entering academia, Lauren worked as a social science and art educator in public and private schools. Lauren currently researches and writes about racial capitalism, property, and racial inequality with a strong historical focus. She also has a strong interest in activism and pedagogy, and always looks for new ways to build students' sociological analysis through music, art and political theory and practice.
BA (Psychology and Sociology), St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, India
MBA (Communications), MICA, Ahmedabad, India
MA (Social Sciences), University of Chicago
Before pursuing a career in academia, Sanchita worked in Indian advertising as a strategic planner for five years. Primarily a qualitative methodologist, her research interests revolve around gender, race, social movements and caste dynamics in South Asia. In particular, she is interested in the field of critical caste studies and draws theoretical inspiration from whiteness studies.
Korey's interests include sustainability, development, consumption, culture, qualitative coding and mixed methods. His previous work looked at sustainable development efforts in Sikkim, India, to further explore how actors in the region navigate the complex intersection of economic growth and the environment.
Zachary's thesis work was on media framing of Antifa. In a content analysis of top U.S. newspapers, Zachary found that reports of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the Unite the Right rally in 2017 played a major role in the framing of counter-protesters as members of Antifa absent any self-identification as such. In other words, publications were effectively creating their own Antifa. Zachary's research interests include media framing, societal unrest, social movements, social theory and mechanisms of social change.
Stephanie is interested broadly in inequality, poverty, and mobility, and specifically in labor market decisions and geographic mobility. Before coming to Brandeis, she worked at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, where she served as a senior editor of Pathways Magazine and helped direct the American Voices Project.
Kwame is from Jamaica and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with a concentration in African Studies from Macalester College, a master's degree in International Training and Education from American University and an education specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Secondary Education from Worcester State University. After completing his master's degree, Kwame was an assistant director of admission at St. Mark's School, a private boarding school in Massachusetts; then was the Manager of Secondary School Admissions Counseling at Due West Education, an education consulting company based in Beijing, China. Kwame is also TEFL certified and has taught in ESL in Japan, Myanmar, Jamaica and the USA. Often described as a jovial and positive individual who brings a ray of light into any room he enters, Kwame loves traveling, the performing arts, and eating good food.
Before attending Brandeis, Rachel worked in northern Thailand with an NGO advocating for the release of political prisoners in Burma. Her research interests include cultural sociology, race/ethnicity, gender relations, and sexuality, particularly in Southeast and East Asia.
MA (Sociology), Brandeis University
MA (Individualized Study), New York University
BA (Liberal Arts), New School University
Sarah's research interests include social movements, media, and culture. Prior to arriving at Brandeis, she worked closely with the Center for Artistic Activism as a research fellow and has completed research projects for the British Council and the Urban Democracy Lab. Her current research focuses on anti-5G resistance groups, with special attention to the relationships between narratives, group identity, and personal influence.
Jing specializes in the sociology of culture, and economic sociology with a focus on consumer and consumption. Her research is centered on understanding the relationships between culture, the economy, and the state. This interest has led to studies that examine consumer cultural implications of state-market relations in China. She has also created original instruments to identify and operationalize consumer cultures in different contexts, such as new media.
Her dissertation traces the evolution of consumer cultures in China, where the state plays a prominent role in directing economic activities and status construction. With a focus on economically disadvantaged county-level towns, this dissertation examines how small-town consumers’ material experiences and consumer aspirations are influenced by institutional changes in the political economy, which shape the status hierarchy and landscape of cultural legitimacy that fosters distinct consumer cultural expressions. Jing employs mixed methods in her research, using a combination of observation, online ethnography, interview, archival, and survey data.
Danielle is an incoming sociology PhD student with broad interests including community and environmental sociology, political economy, globalization, inequality, mobility, culture, consumption, and food systems. As an undergrad, she researched the impact of U.S. trade policy on organic agriculture and subsistence farming in Cuba. For her master’s thesis, she spent 10 months conducting ethnographic research in rural Bulgaria, studying heritage narratives, rural agency, and the social construction of place as a Fulbright student researcher. She has also worked on farms, for food justice organizations, and as a cheesemonger.
Ersie is a graduate student at Brandeis University, where she is pursuing a PhD in sociology. She grew up in a working-class, immigrant family, which inspires and guides her research on labor. Her research interests also focus on gender, race, class, and care work. Ersie earned her MA at UMass Boston, where she explored how workers in the hospitality industry negotiate interactions in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lijun's research interests include religion, transnational migration, China and Chinese diaspora, gender and family. Her previous work focused on Christianity among Chinese immigrants in Italy. Before coming to Brandeis, Lijun was a visiting researcher at Boston University for one semester, and worked as a Chinese language teacher at the University of Bologna for four years
Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati
Master of Arts (Sociology and Social Anthropology) Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati
Basil's research interests include caste, neighbourhood, modernity, christianity, nationalism in India. His previous work looked at the consolidation of Hindu identity and Hindutva nationalism in Assam, India.
PhD Students in Sociology and Heller School for Social Policy
Sneha is from all over the map, with the United States being her second country of residence and Boston being her fifth home in a decade. For her doctoral work, she is interested in looking at how/what social, symbolic and physical boundaries intersect in the concept of citizenship.
Jonathan Jacob is a doctoral student pursuing a joint degree in Sociology and Social Policy at the Heller School. His research interests include issues of labor, social inequality and culture. Jacob’s current research examines the inverse relationship between the usefulness of certain jobs and their pay in capitalist societies, and focuses on developing a metric to assess the social value of work. Before joining the Heller School, Jacob worked as a high school educator in Los Angeles County. He holds a MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago and a BA in business from Brandeis University.
BA, African/African American studies and educational studies (Carleton College)
EdM, education policy (Harvard University)
Jenny's research seeks to apply critical geography to analyses of social problems and social policy, and considers how the spatial distribution of social and economic resources shapes opportunities for historically underserved groups. Additionally, she is interested in how market fundamentalist policy interacts with economic and racial residential segregation to shape outcomes for children and families. Her current and recent research examines how: private school vouchers impact educational opportunity for low income students and students of color; residential segregation influences children's exposure to disease and chronic health conditions; the parents of Black and Latinx students view inter-district school desegregation programs; and the impact of neighborhood contexts and resources on outcomes for public school students with disabilities.
Manning's interests include culture, creative arts, media, technology, health, migration and urbanization. Her previous work looked at the opinions on land conversion among different generations of farmers during the urbanization of a village in East China. She is currently working on a collaborative project that examines the social process behind individual eating disorders.
MA Students in Sociology and WGS
Rachel graduated from Cornell University in 2015 with a BA in Spanish and minors in international relations and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. She currently works as a Brandeis staff member at the International Students and Scholars Office. Her research interests include marginalized immigrant communities (especially LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers), cultural integration, and the intersection of race, gender and culture.
Emma graduated from Montana State University in 2020 with a BS in sociology. During her undergraduate career, her academic interests included human trafficking in the rural West, queer theory, and reproductive healthcare for marginalized populations. As a joint MA student in aociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emma is passionate about continuing her interests in sociological and queer theory, as well as pursuing research on the intersection of medicine, institutional inequality and vulnerable populations.