Graduate Students

Shayna Alexander

sma99@pitt.edu
Preliminary Phase
Admitted:
Fall 2016

Interests: I am interested in the ideologies of and member experiences within radical right organizations and charismatic new religious movements. I am also interested in how one’s self-development process, or lack thereof, impacts decisions to join and exit these groups.

Ayse Alniacik

aya21@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2013

Interests: I am interested in studying urban poverty and politics in Turkey around the axis of economic inequality, ethnicity and citizenship. My main question is how politics constitutes the experience of poverty at both the material and the symbolic levels.
Assisted: Global Society, Societies

Daniel Burridge​

dpb36@pitt.edu
Overview Phase
Admitted: Fall 2013

Interests: I am interested in Latin American social movements and their relationship to the state within the context of the crisis of capitalist globalization. Specifically, I intend to compare anti-systemic movements in different countries in Latin America in order to understand why some attempt to capture state power while others seek autonomy from the state, and how this question relates to community and transnational organizing dimensions.
Assisted: Global Society
Taught: Social Change, Global Society, Social Theory

Alannah Sheri Caisey

asc84@pitt.edu
Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2017

Interests: I am interested in researching the ways in which race, class, and gender intersect to create specific educational outcomes in the United States for black women. Other research interests include the "feminization of poverty", Black Feminist Thought, intersectionality, the African diaspora and gender-based violence.
Assisted: Deviance and Social Control

Benjamin Case

bsc28@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2013

Interests: I am coming to sociology from the perspective of an activist and political organizer, and I am interested in studying social movements. My current research is on civil resistance, and the grey area in between "nonviolent" action and "violent" armed struggle. In particular I am examining the role riots play in civil resistance movements. Other interests of mine include organizing strategy, intersectionality, and anarchism.
Assisted: Deviance and Social Control, Statistics
Taught: Political Sociology, Societies

Gabriel Chouhy

gac27@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted:  Fall 2010

Interests: I’m interested in broader historical processes of contemporary Latin America, such as democratization, neoliberalization, class inequalities, and state formation. For my MA thesis, I studied the statistical relations between social structure and consumption, determining the extent to which class differences account for variation in a set of consumption patterns inferred from the National Survey of Household Expenditures and Incomes conducted in Uruguay. I framed this analysis in the context of the advance of neoliberalism in the last quarter of the twentieth century, which transformed the material culture of Latin American societies in such a way that patterns of class differentiation are expected to revolve, increasingly, around consumption. For my Comps / PhD dissertation project, I focus on the trajectory of leftist parties and its interaction with waves of social protests, democratization and neoliberalization. In particular, I plan to develop a comprehensive comparative analysis of the long-run legacies of the democratic transitions and the process of neoliberalization in the post-Washington consensus era in Chile and Uruguay. More than twenty years after the formal end of authoritarian rule, the reminiscences of such legacies on contemporary Latin American democracies are of paramount importance, especially now that the neoliberal consensus is (supposedly) under frank decline throughout the continent and claims for more socially inclusive political systems are at the top of the agenda. The historical process that leads to the recent student uprising in Chile serves as point of departure.
Assisted: Societies, Sociology of the Family
Taught: Political Sociology, Revolutionary Social Movements, Societies

John Cuda

jrc87@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted:  Fall 2010

Interests: My research is concentrated mainly within the sociology of religion. I am interested in studying alternative spirituality culture, specifically aspects of religiosity emphasizing ritual practices and self-making processes. This involves an examination of how individuals practice highly personalized and subjective forms of religiosity in a modern context. I argue that due to social processes such as individualization, pluralization, and cultural multiplicity, modern individuals are actively engaged in constructing unique spiritual identities, or creative mythologies, that consist of synthetic composites drawn from various religious traditions. Major questions that concern me include: what happens to religion as it undergoes transformations involving the mixing of diverse traditions, how alternative and self-oriented forms of religiosity reproduce themselves, and where the locus of authority is situated among groups and individuals. I am also interested in how anarchy theory may be applied to the study of alternative forms of spirituality, and in what ways art making is connected to ritual practices within this cultural milieu.
Assisted: Introduction to Sociology, Societies, Sociology of Everyday Life, Statistics
Taught: Sociology of Religion, Introduction to Sociology, Science in Society, Society and the Environment, Urban Sociology

Sebastian Cuellar​

sec108@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2013

Interests: I am interested in cultural trauma, social movements and violent conflicts in Latin American societies. I am currently working in peace building process and its impacts in civil societies.

Natalia Duarte

natalia.duarte@pitt.edu
Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2017

Assisted: Societies  

Brittany Duncan

bjd42@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase|
Admitted: Fall 2009

Interests: My broad areas of interest are political and global sociology, especially women in politics, food politics, and feminist and anti-corporate movements.  My current research examines women's political leadership, with a cross-national study of legislative committees.
Assisted: Introduction to Sociology
Taught: Introduction to Sociology

Ellen Eckert

eme30@pitt.edu
Overview Phase
Admitted: Fall 2014

Interests: My dissertation research focuses on the social construction of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Assisted: Societies, Sociology of Everyday Life, Statistics
Taught: Introduction to Sociology, Social Theory, Mass Media

Stephanie Eckstrom

sae102@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Phase
Admitted:  Fall 2010

Interests: I am very interested in the intersections of race, class, and gender; social movements, particularly the impact of technology on current and future functioning and infrastructure; gender studies; and feminist theory, particularly as applied towards sexuality and violence.

Suzanna Eddyono

sue2@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2009

Interests: My comprehensive paper focuses on citizenship education. At this point I see education as national instrument for forging new citizens in Indonesia, a Muslims country that is in transition from the authoritarian regime to a more democratic one. Particularly I am interested in the way democracy and citizenship are presented in schools’ text books, what values citizenship textbooks emphasize, and how this emphasizing can be useful as an entry point to understand Indonesian cultural and political change.

Alana Fields

adf45@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Phase
Admitted: Fall 2014

Interests: I am interested in studying the social, cultural and environmental factors that impact gendered violence in the African American community. I am interested as well in the ways that the intersection of race, class and gender shape the experience of violence in this community. I also hope to evaluate the significance of collectivism, black feminism, black masculinity, sexuality and the black church as they relate to violence in the African American community.
Assisted: Statistics, Introduction to Sociology
Taught: Sociology of Gender

Basak Gemici

bag56@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Phase
Admitted: Fall 2014

Interests: I am interested in studying social change, governmentality, gender-based policing/self-policing in public spaces and everyday life in authoritarian settings. Previously, I examined social movement theories and conducted my Master's research on the formation of collective action in high-risk environments, particularly in the military prisons of Turkey by the Kurdish and Turkish political prisoners.
Assisted: Sociology of the Family, Societies, Statistics
Taught: Ideologies and Social Change, Introduction to Sociology

Hatem Hassan

hmh33@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2012

Interests: My research and teaching interests include urban ethnography, governmentality, vernacular security, critical discourse analysis, everyday policing, and social movement theory. My past work has examined everyday, spontaneous movements such as the 2011 lijan-sha’biyya (popular committees) in Cairo and the ambiguity within their policing practices. Most recently, I have been involved in mapping out the discursive and social construction of the Egyptian baltagiyya (thugs) and the role played by ordinary people, state-funded newspapers, popular film, and television in contributing to this narrative. I continue to be heavily influenced by the theoretical frameworks and ethno-methodologies presented within the works of Farha Ghannam's Live and Die Like a Man (2013), Salwa Ismail’s Political Life in Cairo's New Quarters (2006), Asef Bayat’s Life as Politics (2010), Lisa Wedeen's Ambiguities of Domination (1999), and Sawsan El Messiri's Ibn Al Balad (1978).
Assisted: Introduction to Sociology, Deviance and Social Control, Statistics

Mitchell Kiefer

mtk36@pitt.edu
Overview Phase
Admitted: Fall 2015

Interests: My research interests fall under cultural and political sociology. I am interested in the reproduction and reification of dominant ideologies, specifically how these relate to understandings of blame and punishment. Additionally, I am interested in peace movements and how they are connected to conceptions of ideal democracy or other forms of government.
Assisted: Medical Sociology, Introduction to Sociology
Taught: Deviance and Social Control, Introduction to Sociology

Sarah Langman

sll65@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Phase
Admitted: Fall 2014

Interests: Musical resistance, spatial potential & dissent, political sociology, power dynamics and the public sphere.
Assisted: Statistics, Societies, Deviance and Social Control
Taught: Sociology of the Family

Hillary Lazar

hal62@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2012

Interests: I am interested in power, resistance, and social change. In particular, I focus on anarchist and other horizontal/de-centralized forms of organizing in contemporary mobilizations and the role of emotion in collective action. I also ground my work in transnational historical analysis and draw on feminist methodologies as well as intersectional and decolonial frameworks. My MA thesis looked at political love as a motivational frame and driving ideological praxis across different fronts of struggle. My dissertation explores the role of personal transformation in prefigurative spaces and its relationship with broader-scale movement outcomes. Research Areas: Social Movements; Revolutions; Political Emotions; Anarchism and Prefiguration; Gender Theory; Power and Inequality; Deviance and Social Control; World-Systems; Historical Sociology; Qualitative Methodology; Public Sociology; and Popular Education.
Assisted: Deviance and Social Control, Introduction to Sociology, Societies, Sociology of Gender, Wealth and Power, Statistics
Taught: Sociology of Gender, Deviance and Social Control, Social Movements

TiMar Long

til55@pitt.edu
Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2017

Daniel McClymonds

dam256@pitt.edu
Preliminary Phase
Admitted:
Fall 2016

I have broad interests in social theory, political sociology, and civic participation. In particular, I’m interested in the ways in which social and economic inequalities affect politics and political participation.
Assisted: Societies, Wealth and Power, Deviance and Social Control

Joshua McDermott

jlm417@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Phase
Admitted
: Fall 2016

I'm interested in global political economy, specifically the role of extreme poverty within the global capitalist system and the dynamics of global labor. Specifically, I'm interested in the anti-capitalist dimensions of social movements within the growing phenomenon of mega slums. I'm also interested in how workers and the unemployed challenge the current global political economic system. This involves a comparative approach to movements in both West Africa and Central America, as well as an interest in transnationalism and the role of the nation-state in globalization.
Assisted: Introduction to Sociology, Societies, Globalization

Corinne Ogrodnik

​cro9@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted:  Fall 2010

Interests: My research focuses on the political strategies of environmental organizations, with an emphasis on the dynamics of coalition building and collaborative processes. My dissertation explores an unlikely alliance of environmental organizations and industry groups working to address the ecological impacts of Marcellus shale gas development in the Appalachian region. Central questions of my study include the organizational motivations for and against participation, the costs and benefits of joining the collaborative, and the ability for participating organizations to sustain alliances with environmental groups that pursue alternative strategies. I also investigate key factors associated with the collaborative process, such as brokerage, trust building, and negotiation.
Assisted: Sociology of Gender, Sociology of Everyday Life, Statistics
Taught: Societies, Sociology and the Environment

Christina Ong

cno4@pitt.edu
Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2017

Interests: I am broadly interested in analyzing contemporary narratives of womxn of color, including refugee womxn and girls, in the United States.  In particular, I am interested in how womxn of color across ethnic groups work as allies to uplift, and simultaneously undercut, one another in U.S. racial justice movements. My research also looks at how alternative media, such as podcasting and short-form videos, informs the public about social justice movements, while also giving voice to historically disenfranchised groups.

Samantha Plummer

ssp19@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2011

Interests: I am interested in religion and culture, specifically the religious and cultural dimensions of social cognition. Additionally, I am interested in the intersection of culture, politics and mental health treatment, particularly in the context of social and economic inequality.
Assisted: Sociology of Everyday Life, Sociology of Gender, Statistics
Taught: Topics in Mental Health & Illness, Social Theory

Candice Robinson

ccr26@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Stage
Admitted: Fall 2015

Interests: I am interested in the broad areas of race, class, and civic engagement. Specifically I am interested in examining the volunteering behaviors of Middle-Class Black Americans and the reasons behind their volunteering choices.
Assisted: Societies
Taught: Social Theory, Introduction to Sociology

Caitlin Schroering

chs203@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Stage
Admitted: Fall 2015

Interests: I am interested in environmental sociology, social movements, and the political economy of the world-system. My current research is focused on environmental social movements around resource conflicts (and water specifically) in the United States and Brazil.
Assisted: Sociology of the Family
Taught:  Globalization

Chie Togami

​clt57@pitt.edu
Preliminary Stage
Admitted: Fall 2015

Interests: In broad strokes, my research has been driven by diverse attempts to envision and actualize alternative social arrangements. I am interested in how various communities have understood themselves as exercising utopian ideals through communal living, free love, shared income, and a small environmental footprint. The fundamental question that continues to animate my research is: how do modern intentional communities sustain themselves - economically, spiritually, socially - while attempting to work outside of the global capitalist paradigm? Building upon past field work conducted in a series of ecovillages and intentional communities found in Japan, New Zealand, Germany and Scotland, I hope to pursue a further investigation of the factors (internal and external) which may predict the longevity and stability of such communities.
Assisted: Sociology of Gender, Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems

Suzanne Wagner

sew61@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2011

Interests: I am interested in examining the apparent analogy between the social movement phenomenon and the groups of actors involved in civil war and other regional international conflicts.
Assisted: Deviance and Social Control, Global Issues and the United Nations, Statistics
Taught: Global Change in Modern Life

George Weddington

gtw10@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2014

Interests: My areas of interest are in social networks, contentious behavior, and racial justice. Specific questions that I seek to answer are when and how do people and organizations withdraw support for racial justice movements. I am interested not in oppositional movements, but more strictly on dynamics of supporting movements and then choosing to disengage with them. I want to examine such questions in terms of movement and supporter goals, racial identity, political identity, and the nature of movement support.
Assisted: Wealth and Power, Statistics
Taught: Global Society, Wealth and Power

Elizabeth Yates

eay15@pitt.edu
Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2012

Interests: Social movements, gender in social movements, conservative social movements, the US and Latin America
Assisted: Sociology of the Family, Statistics
Taught: Political Sociology, Deviance and Social Control

Weijun Yuan

wey39@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Phase
Admitted
: Fall 2016

Interests: My research interests include social movements, democratization, social stratification, and gender, with a regional specialization in Latin America and China. I am particularly interested in exploring which lines of social cleavage come to be the basis for mobilization, how the movements initiated by different social groups interact with each other, and what factors condition inter-organization and inter-movement relationships.