Sociology in Progress Lecture (Feb 22th) ~ Dr. Doug Holt

Dr. Doug Holt, Associate for the Center for Fair & Alternative Trade (and former professor at Universities of Oxford and Harvard) will give a talk titled “Why Is There No American Climate Change Movement?” The talk is Feb 22th at 2pm in TILT 104.



Sociology in Progress Lecture (Feb 8th) ~ Jennifer Keahey

Jennifer Keahey, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, will be giving a lecture on Feb 8th at 2:30 in Clark B252.  The title of her talk is “Emerging Markets, Sustainable Methods: Political Economy Empowerment in South Africa’s Rooibos Tea Sector”.




Department of Sociology


Laura Raynolds’ “Consumer/Producer Links in Fair Trade Coffee Networks” one of five most read articles in Sociologia Ruralis, a decade after its publication.

Raynolds, Laura T. 2002. “Consumer/Producer Links in Fair Trade Coffee Networks” Sociologia Ruralis 42 (4):404-424 is one of the top five most read articles in this journal in 2011 and has been cited by over 300 publications.

Abstract: This article analyzes the multifaceted connections linking consumers and producers in expanding North/South Fair Trade coffee networks. I develop a commodity network framework that builds on the commodity chain tradition, integrating insights from cultural studies, actor–network theory, and conventions approaches. This framework illuminates how material and ideological relations are negotiated across production and consumption arenas. In the case of Fair Trade, progressive ideas and practices related to trust, equality, and global responsibility are intertwined with traditional commercial and industrial conventions. As I demonstrate, the negotiation of these divergent conventions shortens the social distance between Fair Trade coffee consumers and producers. I conclude that by re–linking consumers and producers, commodity network analysis provides a robust entré for academic inquiry and engagement in alternative food politics.

Jennifer Tobin-Gurley wins first-place of the 2011 Hazards and Disasters Student Paper Competition


The competition is sponsored by the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Her paper “Downward Mobility: Displaced Single Mothers in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” uses in-depth qualitative interviews to examine the experiences of mothers who relocated to Colorado following the devastating disaster. Her paper focuses on the structural mechanisms that contributed to the downward mobility of single mothers as they attempted to rebuild their lives in Colorado.


Jennifer will be awarded $100, her paper will appear on the Natural Hazards Center website and mentioned in an upcoming issue of the Observer, and she will receive an invitation to the Annual Hazards Research and Application Workshop with free registration.


Jennifer was also recently named the first-place winner of the Graduate Student Paper Competition sponsored by the U.S. Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance (GDRA). This competition was created to recognize the interdisciplinary nature of gender, hazards, and disaster research and to showcase up-and-coming scholars and their work in the field. This is not just a competition, but an opportunity to become part of a national forum for discussion, information-sharing, and networking.

Jennifer’s research interests include women’s studies, social vulnerability, and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Double congratulations to Jennifer!


CSU Sociology professors and members of the department’s Center for the Study of Crime and Justice (CSCJ) Tara Shelley and Mike Hogan were among 77 scholars from around the world participating in the inaugural “Environmental Crime and its Victims” conference in Delft, The Netherlands on September 17 and 18th. They were joined by former CSU Sociology professor Paul Stretesky and former graduate student Mike Long (PhD, 2010). Dr. Shelley gave a presentation on wildlife law enforcement in Florida and Drs. Long and Stretesky presented on the deterrent effects of EPA fines on industrial pollution. The overall goal of the conference –which organizers hope to make an annual event—was to call greater attention to the relevance of environmental issues to the discipline of criminology.

Brownbag talk by Dr. Jennifer Harman (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology) on “Power, gender, and intimate relationships: A cultural, social, and interpersonal perspective.”

Please join us in listening to our next Sociology in Progress speaker: Dr. Jennifer Harman (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology). The title of Dr. Harman’s talk is “Power, gender, and intimate relationships: A cultural, social, and interpersonal perspective.”    The talk is scheduled for Friday, September 28, 1-2 pm, in Clark B252.

The Department of Sociology is pleased to welcome Dr. Tara Opsal as the newest member of the faculty

The Department of Sociology is pleased to welcome Dr. Tara Opsal as the newest member of the faculty. Dr. Opsal received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009 and, more recently, was an Assistant Professor at the University of Northern Iowa. Her dissertation research, which was supported by a National Science Foundation Grant and an American Association of University Women Fellowship, examined the post-incarceration experiences of women. More broadly, Dr. Opsal’s research interests focus on the consequences of criminal justice policy, particularly in women’s lives. At CSU Dr. Opsal will teach a number of courses including Gender, Crime, and Criminal Justice, Correctional Organizations, and Introduction to Sociology. In her free time she can be found enjoying the foothills and mountains of Northern Colorado with her dog.

The Institute of Teaching and Learning awarded a service learning mini-grant to Assistant Professor Tara Opsal.

The Institute of Teaching and Learning awarded a service learning mini-grant to Assistant Professor Tara Opsal. The project will engage upper-level undergraduate students enrolled in Gender, Crime, and Criminal Justice (Sociology 450) in service-learning opportunities in the local community. A central goal of the course is to expose students to existing models of violence prevention work. Hence, students will have the option to work with two local agencies directly engaged in this effort: Crossroads Domestic Violence Shelter and the SAVA Center.

Sociology PhD student Michelle Lueck wins 2012 Robert Dentler Award for Student Achievement


Dr. Lori Peek, Michelle Lueck, and Dr. Jeni Cross (from left to right)

Michelle Lueck was recently named the 2012 recipient of the Robert Dentler Award for Outstanding Student Achievement from the American Sociological Association section on Sociological Practice and Public Sociology. Michelle won the award based on her extraordinary record of achievement as a Ph.D. student in Sociology at Colorado State University. She has been a research assistant on multiple projects funded by federal agencies, local non-profits, and other organizations. She has also published extensively in the area of the sociology of disasters and environmental sociology. The committee highlighted her superb paper, “Hope for a Cause as a Cause for Hope: The Need for Hope in Environmental Sociology,” as particularly meritorious in terms of her use of her sociological training and skills to engage with a wide variety of public and private institutions to create social change. Congratulations, Michelle!