Benja Kromash, M.A. student, captured this campus sunset on September, 21, 2021.
From the Chair
I’m pleased and grateful that as 2021 comes to a close, we in Sociology can look back on a remarkably successful year despite its ongoing uncertainties. In the fall, we returned to mostly in-person teaching and learning made possible by strong student, faculty, and staff commitment to University health & safety protocols.
Happily, we also returned to in-person Department gatherings, now with hybrid meeting technology support for remote participants. These events included a productive faculty strategic planning retreat in August; a Sociology-in-Progress presentation by visiting scholar Xiaopeng Pang from China; multiple Community Gatherings to share skills for handling difficult classroom conversations, research updates, and celebratory coffee and cookies; three faculty job talks; a RamWelcome meeting for new undergrads; and a reception for incoming Graduate Students. I’m especially looking forward to our first fully in-person Commencement in two years, an awesome event that allows sharing of a hundreds-of-years-old academic tradition with thousands of joyful students and family members.
Please read below about the amazing work our faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates have done in 2021, including Michael Carolan’s new book; Pat Hastings’, Stephanie Malin’s, and KuoRay Mao’s new research grants; Joshua Sbicca’s new Prison Agriculture Lab; grad students Azmal Hossan learning to drive a tractor as an Extension Intern and Yue Xu winning a Flash Talk competition at the Rural Sociological Society annual meeting; and undergraduate Lily Gary completing her Honors thesis on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.
Many thanks to all who have made possible a successful 2021. We look forward to an even better 2022!
Professor and Chair
Andrew Goldsmith, Assistant Professor, CLA Sport Management Program
Xiaopeng Pang, Visiting Scholar from the School of Agriculture and Rural Development at Renmin University of China
Incoming M.A. Students:
Incoming Ph.D. Students:
Ken Berry entered a new stage of his long and productive career July 15 when he transitioned to Emeritus Professor in order to pursue opportunities beyond CSU. "Thank you, Ken, for your wonderful critical contributions over many years to making this Department the strong disciplinary leader that it is, as well as a great place to learn and work. Thank you also for all you’ve taught me professionally and personally since that memorable dinner with the Search Committee at Bisetti’s in March of 1995." – Pete Taylor
Susanna Klassen, Visiting Scholar from the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at The University of British Columbia
Matt Greife, alum and instructor, accepted a position this fall as Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the Community and Criminal Justice Studies Department at Bemidji State University, the North Woods branch of Minnesota State. We wish Matt and Leia the best in their new adventures – hopefully she still dons her green bandana once in awhile for office breaks!
Our Return to Collective Effervescence
Sociology's Faculty Strategic Planning Retreat was held August 17 at CSU Online's Drake Hall and on Zoom.
Our annual fall gathering was a Picnic Potluck held September 10 at Rolland Moore Park. Department members kindly brought their partners, families, children, babies, pets, and fabulous fall fare.
Dr. Xiaopeng Pang, Visiting Scholar from the School of Agriculture and Rural Development at Renmin University of China, presented “Women in Rural Governance: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) and Action Research in China" on September 10 at the LSC and on Zoom. Dr. Pang will be on campus through early February.
SOCIOLOGY COMMUNITY GATHERINGS
Jessie Luna led a group workshop “Navigating Difficult Classroom Conversations” September 20 at the LSC and on Zoom.
Many Department members shared their current projects during our Research, Outreach & Engagement Roundtable held October 18 at the LSC and on Zoom. Elena Windsong kindly facilitated the event.
To celebrate the semester and last week of classes, our final gathering was a Coffee & Cookies Open House held December 10 in Sociology's seminar room and on Zoom.
JOB CANDIDATE TALKS FOR SOCIOLOGY ASSISTANT PROFESSOR – CRIMINOLOGY
Jace Valcore, Associate Professor, University of Houston Downtown, visited November 8 & 9 and presented his research “The more things change, the more they stay the same: Gender in policing from the perspective of LGBTQ officers.”
Katelyn P. Hancock, ABD, Instructor/Research Assistant, Georgia State University, visited November 11 & 12 and presented her research "Polyvictimization and Academic Performance among College Students."
Stephanie Bonnes, Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, University of New Haven, visited November 15 & 16 and presented her research “Femininity Anchors: Heterosexual relationships and pregnancy as sites of harassment for U.S. Service Women.”
Stephanie Bonnes has accepted our offer to join our faculty next fall as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. Many thanks to Prabha Unnithan, Search Committee Chair; Mike Hogan, Jessie Luna and Benja Kromash, Search Committee members; Julie Pinkston, Search Committee Administrative Support Person; and Sara Gill and Carmen Ruyle Hardy who provided additional support.
Thanks to all Department members for participating in these events and elevating Sociology’s collective effervescence this semester!
Sociology's Ram Welcome Department Meeting was held in person on August 20. Thanks to Sara Gill, Jessie Luna, Pat Mahoney, Tara Opsal, Julie Pinkston, Carmen Ruyle Hardy, Mark Shuey, and Pete Taylor who engaged with our incoming students and helped with logistics. "The significant number of students who stayed afterward to ask follow up questions and meet professors whose classes they’ll be in starting next week was a strong indication of a positive first impression of the Department and major." – Pete Taylor, Chair
AKD hosted Considering Graduate School? in person October 6. Many thanks to the students who attended and to Tony Roberts and Jeff Nowacki for facilitating the event.
On-campus prospective family visits and recruitment events resumed this fall. Thanks to Pete Taylor who hosted Sociology's table at the Choose CSU weekend event in December.
The Department of Ethnic Studies, the School of Social Work, and several community partners and sponsors held an Foro Migratorio/Immigration Town Hall on campus in early October. Maira Oliva shared her experiences as a first-generation college student and as one of about 200 undocumented students on campus. Maira will graduate this spring as an Ethnic Studies and Sociology double major, with a concentration in Criminology & Criminal Justice.
SOC 100 General Sociology and SOC 220 Global Environmental Issues courses discuss privilege poverty and related issues. Students can write a paper for extra credit, or they can help organize Jason Downing's annual food drive benefiting the Food Bank of Larimer County.
This fall, CSU SOC 100 and SOC 220 students raised $6,317 which will provide over 12,500 meals (based on the National Grocer Index). CSU Sociology is the largest non-corporate donor in Larimer County.
In spring 2021, Jason Downing, Sociology students and the Food Bank for Larimer County were recognized as the Celebrate! Colorado State Service-Learning Award winners.
Congratulations & Best Wishes
CSU's Fall Commencement will be held at Moby Arena and via webcasts. The College of Liberal Arts ceremony is Saturday, December 18 at 9am.
Many thanks to each of you who have written cards to graduating seniors!
This new tradition was launched during the pandemic, and faculty members have since received very positive feedback.
"I received your congratulation note in the mail recently, and I wanted to thank you for taking the time out of your day to do so. It was very thoughtful, kind, and truly made my day. Frankly, I was surprised that you even remembered me from the single class I took with you, yet that made the note all the more special. Furthermore, I wanted to reach out to say thank you for the impact you had on my academic career. There's no way you could have known, but the one class I took with you changed my outlook on school and life itself tremendously. For years, I was attending CSU with no direction or ambition whatsoever. I truly didn't even give a shit about school; I was just there for a diploma. But your class was the first course I took that made me actually care. It was so interesting, thought provoking, and inspiring, it made me WANT to learn for the first time in years. After taking your class, I improved tremendously as a student because I started to truly enjoy learning again. Had I not been impacted by your wonderful teaching, who knows if I would have even cared enough to finish my degree. Once again, I want to thank you for your very kind note, but more importantly, I wanted to let you know how amazing you were as a professor and that your hard work certainly does not go unappreciated. Hope all is well, sir." – spring graduate who reached out to KuoRay Mao
I am happy to inform you that Chris Moloney successfully defended his PhD dissertation entitled, "Exploring the Cybercrime Capacity and Capability of Local Law Enforcement Agencies in the United States" yesterday, October 4, 2021. The following colleagues served as other members of his Advisory Committee; KuoRay Mao, Mike Lacy, and Brad MacDonald (Department of Political Science). During his time at CSU, Chris published three books and three peer-reviewed articles among other publications. He also served as Journal Manager for The Sociological Quarterly when it was housed in our Department between 2016 and 2020. Thanks to KuoRay, Mike and Brad for their outstanding support. Congratulations, Chris! – Prabha Unnithan, Advisor, October 5
I am so pleased to announce that Taylor Ellis successfully defended her Sociology MA thesis, “A Qualitative Case Study of Community Corrections Case Managers’ Experiences with TGNC Clients”. Thank you to all those in Sociology who have contributed to Taylor’s development as a scholar and spectacular being. Much gratitude, too, to the big group of students and family members who attended today’s defense—I am fairly certain it was our first department defense since “The Before Times” and it was lovely to have so many together in support of Taylor. Indeed, to complete a MA project under any circumstances is a major accomplishment—and completing a qualitative project during a pandemic take a lot of perseverance, resilience, as well as community support. A special thanks to Taylor’s committee members: Dr. Jeff Nowacki and Dr. Tobi Jacobi (English). Please join me in congratulating Taylor as she continues her work as a data analyst at the Boulder County District Attorney’s office. Congratulations, Taylor – Tara Opsal, Committee Chair, Supporter, and Big Fan, November 19
Fellowships & Internships
CSU Engagement and Extension featured Azmal Hossan and his "Agricultural Water Use in the Upper Colorado Basin” summer internship work in this video. As Perry Cabot, Research Scientist and Extension Water Resources Specialist, Colorado Water Institute and CSU Extension, told Pete Taylor and Extension, “[Azmal] enthusiastically jumped into the many technical aspects of the internship…his help advanced the construction of the system by an entire year. He was involved in every aspect of the farming process…also – he thrust our social media presence in to hyper-drive, which we needed.” In July, President McConnell visited Azmal at the Orchard Mesa Research Center.
Azmal Hossan's Agents of Change in Environmental Justice Fellowship continues to evolve. In July, Environmental Health News featured him and his colleagues in "Agents of Change: New fellows focused on justice and diversity in science." In September, Azmal was the guest for a podcast "LISTEN: Azmal Hossan on the sociology of climate crises in South Asia."
Azmal Hossan and his National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) Graduate Pursuit cohort also continue to be productive. In their summer blogpost "One Year Later: Climate gentrification Graduate Pursuit reflects on professional and personal growth", they shared what they've learned during their first year of working together on an interdisciplinary, synthesis project. In December, they were guests for a Future Cities podcast "Climate Gentrification in Coastal Cities".
Please join me, and her department committee members KuoRay Mao and Tony Roberts, in congratulating Nefratiri Weeks who has earned a High Pass on her Social Change exam. In her exam Nefratiri demonstrated her expertise in the areas of Classical Sociological Theory, Political Economy, Political Sociology, Economic Sociology, and Institutional Analysis. We are excited that Nefratiri is moving on to preparing her dissertation proposal. Congratulations Nefratiri! – Laura Raynolds, August 11
I am excited to share the news that, after lots of hard work, Kellie Alexander completed and passed her social change exam. She focused her efforts on advancing her expertise in three areas: the work of feminist criminologists, the recent theoretical and empirical development of collegiate hazing, and the comparative case study methodological approach. Thank you to each of Kellie’s committee members who provided valuable input and support throughout the process: Dr. Prabha Unnithan, Dr. Jeff Nowacki, and Dr. Jody Donovan. Congratulations, Kellie! ABD!! – Tara Opsal, October 13
I am excited to share the news that, after lots of hard and innovative work, Austin Luzbetak completed and passed her social change exam with a “high pass”. She focused her efforts on advancing her expertise in environmental justice, green criminology, and punishment & society. Thank you to both of Austin’s department committee members who provided very valuable support throughout the process: Dr. Stephanie Malin and Dr. KuoRay Mao. Congratulations, Austin! – Tara Opsal, December 7
Please join me and the Methods Comprehensive Exam committee in congratulating Bria Willert and Becca Chalit-Hernandez for passing the Methods Comprehensive Exam. Becca earned a high pass on the Exam. Outstanding work to both of you! – Jeff Nowacki, December 17
The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) recognized PhD student Yue Xu as winner of the 4 Minute Flash Talk at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Society. Yue presented "Rise of Social Network Based Seafood Industrial Cluster and Rural Community Transformation in Zhoushan Islands of China."
RSS judges said, "Yue Xu in this talk explores the historical, political, and cultural contexts for the establishment of the growing seafood industry in the Zhousan Islands in China. Using in-depth qualitative methods she looks at how inequalities are created and reproduced through the development of this industry and how this development has affected the structure of rural communities. The judges found this talk marked by strong theorization and methodology. It addresses interesting questions that speak to core concerns within rural sociology, including public policy and uneven development, social networks structures and reproduction of inequalities, community embeddedness. Her approach brings to mind the work of James Scott in its attention to the contradictory outcomes of state policy and how those policies are undone and/or subverted by informal practices and local social structures. We are pleased to recognize Yue Xu with this award!"
Azmal Hossan's essay "Weaponization of water in South Asia" was published by Environmental Health News on September 15, 2021.
Azmal Hossan's article "Thirst for Energy: Where does Bangladesh go?" has been accepted for publication by Himal Southasians, a Colombo, Sri Lanka based non-fiction magazine covering politics, culture, ecology of South Asia. After reading his essay on water injustice in South Asia, they invited Azmal to write about the ecology of Bangladesh for their special issue celebrating the country's 50 years of independence this December.
Emilia Ravetta published “Mixed-status Families in Northern Arizona: An Inductive Analysis of Legal Clinic Participation and the Gendered Dynamics of Emotional Care Work” in Humanity & Society on September 16, 2021. Her and her co-author’s research was from Emilia’s master’s thesis that she did at Northern Arizona University.
Becca Chalit Hernandez and Austin Luzbetak published "Fat in food & environment justice: lessons from fat studies scholarship" in Fat Studies on October 25, 2021.
Kellie Alexander, Becca Chalit Hernandez, India Luxton, and Jebadiha Potter each published with faculty this fall. Please see that section below.
Awards & Funding
Michael Carolan received the 2020 Rural Sociology Best Paper Award for his paper “The Rural Problem: Justice in the Countryside” during the Rural Sociological Society’s (RSS) Virtual Awards Ceremony in August.
Pat Hastings received a grant from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to conduct a project entitled "Explaining Investments in Children in Cohabiting Families: Social Parents, Relationship Duration, and Economic Resources” using longitudinal data to examine how family structure shapes parenting practices. In September, Pat presented his findings at the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Annual User Conference 2021.
Stephanie Malin is co-PI on “The Suncor Refinery: A Comprehensive, Community-directed Health and Environmental Evaluation" in collaboration with community partner Cultivando. In September, they received a $1.7M grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for work through 2024.
KuoRay Mao was awarded an American Region Scholar Grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for his sabbatical research project “Environmental Social Control & Regulatory Pluralism: A Green Criminology Approach to the Generation and Transference of Hazardous Wastes in Taiwan" and his book manuscript on environmental governance.
Michael Carolan’s latest book, A Decent Meal: Building Empathy in a Divided America was published by Stanford Stanford University Press in October.
Edited Volumes & Book Chapters
Stephanie Malin, Joshua Sbicca and Center for Environmnetal Justice colleagues co-edited Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene: From (Un)Just Presents to Just Futures. Stephanie wrote a few chapters as well.
Stephanie Malin and five co-editors published The Springer Handbook for Environmental Sociology. She wrote the chapter "The Sociology of Energy," and co-wrote the Introduction and Conclusion.
Joshua Sbicca and co-editors Alison Alkon and Yuki Kato received an Honorable Mention Edited Volume Award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society for A Recipe for Gentrification: Food, Power, and Resistance in the City.
Prabha Unnithan was invited to give the plenary address to the British Society of Criminology in July. His address has been included as the chapter "Black Lives Matter and Police Reform: Global Echoes of an American Social Movement" in a new edited book, No Justice, No Police? The Politics of Protest and Social Change.
In the Media
Based on his current work on prison agriculture, Joshua Sbicca was interviewed and quoted in two articles by Clare Brown in The Counter, “How corporations buy—and sell—food made with prison labor” and “Essential” and exploitable: Prison factories stayed open during the pandemic. People got sick”.
Joshua Sbicca was interviewed and quoted in an article by Lisa Held in Civil Eats, “Is the Pork Industry Using Food Justice to Stall California’s New Animal Welfare Law?”
Pete Taylor and Prabha Unnithan were asked to contribute to CSU Source's "Remembering 9/11: CSU community recalls a day that changed the world".
Prabha Unnithan was interviewed by The Denver Channel 7 News for their segment "Recent events spotlight vigilantism and self-defense nationwide and in Colorado: Experts cite Arvada case in June as most tragic" that aired December following the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case.
Ph.D. student Kellie Alexander and Dr. Jeff Nowacki's research "Women in power? Examining gender and promotion in policing through an organizational perspective" is in press with Feminist Criminology.
Pat Hastings and co-author Daniel Schneider published "Family Structure and Inequalities in Parents' Financial Investments in Children" in Journal of Marriage and Family.
Serena Stein (Wageningen University) and Jessie Luna published “Toxic Sensorium: Agrochemicals in the African Anthropocene" in Environment and Society.
Jessie Luna and Ph.D. student Becca Chalit Hernandez, and Abdoulaye Sawadogo (Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo/ Ouagadougou) published “The paradoxes of purity in organic agriculture in Burkina Faso” in Geoforum.
PhD student India Luxton and Joshua Sbicca published “Mapping Movements: A Call for Qualitative Social Network Analysis" in Qualitative Research.
Stephanie Malin published “Environmental justice, health and extractivism” in One Earth.
Adam Mayer, Ph.D. ’17 (Michigan State University), Stephanie Malin, and colleagues published "Understanding self-rated health and unconventional oil and gas development in three Colorado communities" in Society & Natural Resources.
Jeff Nowacki and colleagues published "Gender Diversification in Police Agencies: Is it a Zero-Sum Game?" in Policing: An International Journal.
Ph.D. student Jebadiha Potter and Dr. Prabha Unnithan published “Post-Legalization Drug Communication: Examining a Colorado Cannabis Campaign” in Journal of Substance Use and Misuse.
Stephanie Malin contributed the essay “Uranium Production’s History of Environmental Injustice – and Why it Matters Today" to the People’s Atlas of Nuclear Colorado. She was an invited panelist for their virtual launch event hosted by Georgetown and Northeastern universities and partners in September.
Joshua Sbicca launched the Prison Agriculture Lab. The Prison Agriculture Lab is a collaborative space for inquiry and action that focuses on agricultural practices within the criminal punishment system. Our research and advocacy focus on place, power, inequality, and resistance. We are informed by scholarship, art, and activism that challenges racial capitalism and advances food justice and abolition. Given the social and ecological reach of the agricarceral industrial complex into many sectors of society, the Prison Agriculture Lab supports and works with post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduate students with a range of interests, methodological skills, and topical interests. The lab also provides a platform for connecting with members of the public who share our commitments and passions. We work to articulate research silences, share data and findings, and support transformations. Ph.D. students Azmal Hossan and Becca Chalit Hernandez are involved as well as Julia Kovacs, '21 M.A.
Sociology's Social Justice & Equity (SJE) Working Group continued its efforts to raise awareness of valuable contributions made by colleagues near and far representing marginalized communities. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, SJE highlighted sociologists of Chicano/Chicana, Mexican Americans, and other Latinx communities on social media and our Call for Racial Justice webpage.
Contributing Near & Far
Stephanie Malin gave the keynote address “Social Science Research & Social Justice" at the STEMM Research Series hosted by the Academic Advancement Center STEM Unit at CSU in April.
Stephanie Malin was the keynote speaker at the Environmental Justice Symposium hosted by The Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara and held virtually in May. Her talk was titled “Extractivism and Environmental Injustice: Chronic stress and procedural inequity in oil, gas, and uranium production.”
Prabha Unnithan was invited to give the plenary address to the British Society of Criminology in July. His address has been included as a chapter in a new book and published as mentioned above.
Stephanie Malin presented “Environmental Justice and Just Transitions in Colorado” at the Summer Institute for Climate Change Education co-hosted by Climate Generation, NOAA’s Climate Program Office, and The Wild Center in July.
Stephanie Malin was an invited panelist for the virtual Full Body Burden Extended Trailer Premiere Event hosted by author Kristen Iversen and HaveyPro Cinema in September.
In October, Jessie Luna gave the keynote address at a conference in Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa) on Pesticides and Public Policies in the Global South. Her talk was in French: “Réguler l'invisible: les compromis et paradoxes au sein des politiques relatives aux pesticides en Afrique.” She also took part in a panel discussion on pesticides at a large radio station in Bouaké, the second biggest city in Côte d’Ivoire. She underscored the importance of holding pesticide manufacturers accountable rather than blaming farmers for their “unsafe practices.”
In November, Stephanie Malin presented “Extractivism and Environmental Injustice: Negative mental health outcomes amid oil and gas production” virtually for the Public Health Program on Climate, Boston University.
Building Connections for Student Success
In support of Tara Opsal's continued efforts to build mentoring modules and increase opportunities for students, Sara Gill and Carmen Ruyle Hardy are helping the Department re-connect with alumni and find out how they'd like to be involved with our program. Thanks to many Department members who’ve already helped make these connections! Please continue to let us know as alumni reach out to you with updates.
More details to come this spring about our collection of alumni and interests. In the meantime, here are a few responses we've received so far to Sara's kind and inviting email:
"Thanks so much for reaching out and considering me for this initiative! It sounds like really important work and it’s great to hear that the department is working diligently to support its students." – Leah Eyob, '18, Deputy Project Manager and Research Analyst, U.S. Trade and Development Agency
"I am honored and grateful for the chance to connect with Sociology students. Please count me in and I will participate in any way possible...I have some fantastic insights in Government Administration and with the Criminology emphasis I have been able to develop my career into an Emergency Management field as well." – Dasha Grant, '11, Assistant Facility Manager at USDA-APHIS MRPBS
"Thank you so much for connecting with me. I still miss Colorado and had a great time at the Sociology Department in the years I was there. For sure I will be keen to engage with the students and faculty...Currently I am working in areas of youth unemployment, skills development, political economy and racial inequality in South Africa." – Siphelo Unathi Ngcwangu, '07 M.A., Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Johannesburg
"This is a really great thing…My days at CSU were some of the best days ever and I’m very fond of the Sociology Department. I had absolutely great professors." – Jared Redulla, '94, Chief Law Enforcement Officer and Administrator, Hawaii Department of Public Safety, Narcotics Enforcement Division
Many thanks to Teagan Kavanagh, '15, a detective with Parker Police Department, and Edna Munoz, '13, a detective with Longmont Police Department, who kindly agreed to connect with students this semester.