Graduate Students

Shayna Alexander

sma99@pitt.edu
Comprehensive 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: My research focuses on the discourses, institutions, and practices characterizing the Turkish state’s response to gendered violence. I use of a variety of data, collected through archival, participant observation, and interview research. I collect and analyze reports produced by feminist activists, official policy papers, legal regulations, and debates in the parliament pertaining to gender-based violence. I conduct participant observation in policy settings, and interviews with policy actors. My study reveals the instability of public policy frameworks, inspired by transnational gender equality norms and institutionalized with the efforts of local feminist activists. The clash between feminist and masculinist politics, the state backlash, and official efforts to naturalize gendered violence and undermine anti-violence policy have repercussions far beyond Turkey. I aim to contribute to understanding sociologically both nation-specific and broader changes in the institutional and normative global order on women’s rights and gender equality.

Assisted: Global Society, Societies

Daniel Burridge​

dpb36@pitt.edu


Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2013

Interests: My scholarship examines the territorialized relationships between rulers and ruled in Latin America to illuminate globally relevant insights regarding social change, conflict, and governance. I am particularly interested in the interactions between social movements and state institutions under leftist governments, such as in El Salvador and Nicaragua, where I have done extensive ethnographic fieldwork for my dissertation. I also research Latin American social movement activity as it relates to democratic innovations and globalization, and have an ongoing project on the prospects for community-based violence prevention amid war-like violence between gangs and state actors in El Salvador.  
Assisted: Global Society
Taught: Social Change, Global Society, Social Movements, Social Theory, Introduction to Sociology

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, Introduction to Sociology

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

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

fnd1@pitt.edu
Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2017

Interests:  I am interested in Latin American social movements and armed conflicts. My current research is on women and feminism in revolutionary movements. I seek to understand how wars and mobilization for peace shape former guerrilla women’s activism after the end of armed revolutions, and how ex-combatants with long experiences of warfare find a place in transitional/peacetimes.
Assisted: Societies, Medical Sociology

Ellen Eckert

eme30@pitt.edu


Overview Phase
Admitted: Fall 2014

Interests: My dissertation research focuses on changes in media representations of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) between 2004 and 2017. Building on social movement approaches, I develop a theoretical framework which argues that improvements in media portrayals of ASD are caused by the pressure that self-advocates, parent organizations, and other activists exert on the media
Assisted: Societies, Sociology of Everyday Life, Statistics
Taught: Introduction to Sociology, Social Theory, Mass Media

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

Jesse Fulkerson

JLF154@pitt.edu

 

Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2018

Interests: I am interested in the study of social movements; particularly the environmental and labor movements in the world-system. I also am interested in inequalities, political sociology, historical sociology, and revolutions.

Basak Gemici

bag56@pitt.edu


Dissertation 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. In my dissertation, I am studying everyday life through a gender lens during the authoritarian shift in Turkey. 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, Sociology of Everyday Life
Taught: Ideologies and Social Change, Introduction to Sociology

Carolina Hernandez

crh83@pitt.edu

Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2019

Interests:I am interested in studying progressive and radical-left social movements. I would like to focus on indigenous, black, and latinx struggles and organizations. I am also interested in doing research around labor movements, environmental movements, and anti-colonial movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Within these, I am interested in the role of identity (especially the intersection of race, gender, and class) and ideology in shaping movement dynamics, mobilization efforts, and goals. I am especially interested in the way women of color influence and shape movements. I am also interested in how the institutionalization of movements through recognition from social and political elites changes movement goals and methods. That is to say, I am interested in theory and research that explores the role of states in enacting (or inhibiting) social change. I am also interested in exploring how movements adapt to changes in national/global political and economic climates.

Nathanael Joseph

ngj2@pitt.edu


Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2019

Interests:My research interests broadly concern processes of revolutionary social change in the Global South. In particular, I am interested in the social practice and organization of revolutionary left-wing movements in Southern Africa - those which historically engaged in anti-colonial struggle and have attained state power, as well as emergent social/labor movements which have grown to contest the hegemony of the former in the pursuit of further social transformation. I hold intersecting interests in movement internationalism, political economy, development, and Marxist and post-colonial theory.

 

Kanoko Kamata

kak375@pitt.edu


Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2019

Interests:My research interest is what has made Japanese people politically passive, particularly in recent decades, and what motivates Japanese people to take action and to be a part of social movements. My research interests originated from my own challenges as an organizer. Before starting the PhD program, I had been an activist/organizer on gender issues, especially gender-based violence, and also trained Japanese people based on community-organizing frameworks through a nonprofit organization in Tokyo.

 

Mitchell Kiefer

mtk36@pitt.edu


Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2015

Interests: My research interests revolve around issues of power, place, and risk. I'm interested in how people make sense of environmental threats and problems, how people attempt to govern them, and why and how dominant regimes such as resilience are locally constructed and situated. As social processes, I'm particularly concerned with how threats are known, whose knowledge and expertise drives the framing of the problem and determining of solutions, and the ways in which innovative approaches are either fostered or barred. Relatedly, I am interested in the idea of of risk and uncertainty as possible enablers of new politics and power relations. My current research project is a comparative study of how people in South Florida and South Holland are making sense of and managing sea level rise and its accompanying risks and hazards. Through qualitative methods, I am attempting to understand how these problems are known, whose authority and sensibilities drive solutions (and whose do not), and how these expert-driven processes might look different in locales with different political and cultural contexts.
Assisted: Medical Sociology, Introduction to Sociology
Taught: Deviance and Social Control, Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of Sports

Sarah Langman

sll65@pitt.edu


Comprehensive Phase
Admitted: Fall 2014

Interests: ethnography, social networks, southern culture, mobility and social capital
Assisted: Statistics, Societies, Deviance and Social Control, Sociology of Everyday Life
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


Comprehensive Phase
Admitted:
Fall 2016

Interests: I have interests in civic engagement, politics, and labor in the United States. My current projects include a historical case study that asks how social stratification impacts civic engagement. Using archival records and theoretically guided event-structure analysis, I examine how Pittsburgh’s professionals, philanthropists, and leaders of industry worked to channel an activist movement based in low-income mixed-race neighborhoods into a non-profit organization in the late 1960s. My upcoming projects focus on labor, recent changes in labor processes, and how these changes redistribute power and conflict within the workplace.
Assisted: Introduction to Sociology, Societies, Wealth and Power, Deviance and Social Control

Joshua McDermott

jlm417@pitt.edu
Comprehensive Phase
Admitted
: Fall 2016

Interests: I study social movements amongst informal laborers with a focus on the Mano River Region of West Africa. This involves the study of global political economy, especially labor markets and global value chains. With a strong theoretical background in development and labor studies, I also focus on the role of the state in development and on state-labor relations. I'm also interested in cities and in the process of urbanization in the global South. As such, my research has also involved analyses of gentrification and policing within Mexico.
Assisted: Introduction to Sociology, Societies, Globalization
Taught:  Societies, Globalization

Lynette Moran

LSM46@pitt.edu

Preliminary Phase
Admitted:  Fall 2018

Interests: My research interests broadly include grief and loss, death and dying, religion, gender, and social movements. I hope to better understand how grief impacts group identity and the role grief plays in how we define social problems (and vice versa). As we process unmet expectations, I look to better understand how we individually and collectively utilize our grief toward action, if at all.
Assisted:  Medical Sociology

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 women of color, including refugee women and girls, in the United States.  In particular, I am interested in how women of color across ethnic groups work as allies to uplift, and simultaneously undercut, one another in U.S. racial justice movements. My current research examines how relationships in New York's Basement Workshop contributed to the development of Asian American identity in the 1970s and 1980s.

Kathryn Ariella Pataki

KAP207@pitt.edu

Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2018

Interests: The sex industry, sex work, sex trafficking, feminist politics, and Europe

Candice Robinson

ccr26@pitt.edu


Overview Phase
Admitted: Fall 2015

Interests: My broad research interests are race, class, civic engagement, and mixed methods. Specifically, my dissertation project seeks to answer the question “how are members of the Black Middle Class civically engaged” through analyses of large scale survey level data and an ethnography on the National Urban League Young Professionals.
Assisted: Societies
Taught: Social Theory, Introduction to Sociology
Website: www.candicecrobinson.com

Caitlin Schroering

chs203@pitt.edu


Dissertation Phase
Admitted: Fall 2015

Interests: My broad research interests include environmental sociology, social movements, and political economy. Specifically, my dissertation compares transnational right to water movements in the United States and in Brazil. I examine how the movements are organizing, how they learn from one another, and what this might mean for their effectiveness. I am also interested in feminist and decolonial research methodologies.
Assisted: Sociology of the Family
Taught:  Globalization

Chie Togami

​clt57@pitt.edu


Preliminary Phase
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

Sarah Torrico

sat152@pitt.edu

Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2019

My current research interests can most neatly be described in two parts. Firstly I am interested in the systems that govern social relations today and their tensions. Many of my questions concern issues such as the role of the modern nation-state; neoliberal interests and limitations; and post-colonial global relations. I am interested in how these systems have evolved historically, and what tensions have arisen in modern times. Secondly, I am interested in responses to these systems and their contradictions from the ground level. These responses range from surges in white supremacist organizing, and nativist violence, to community-based survival programs, and advances made by such revolutionary struggles as the Zapatistas and the people of Rojava.

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

Hanning Wang

haw105@pitt.edu

Preliminary Phase
Admitted: Fall 2018

Interests: My research interests are in the areas of social movements and collective action, civil resistance and political psychology, with a particular emphasis on the motivational dynamics of political participation. The three main questions driving my research ask: Why do people participate in social movements? Who are professional protesters with long-lasting activist careers? And how do we understand individuals’ political behavior in the macro socio-political context they are embedded in? In my PhD study, I propose to explore 1) the micro- and macro- level factors that account for individual’s different patterns of political engagement and 2) the mobilization strategies employed to mobilize different kinds of protesters in mass demonstrations in a comparative perspective.

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