Michael Carolan, Department of Sociology, publishes book titled “Society and the Environment: Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues” (Westview Press)

Description (from http://www.westviewpress.com/book.php?isbn=9780813345949)

Talking about global environmental issues need not be an exercise in gloom, doom, and individual sacrifice—as Michael Carolan ably demonstrates in this introduction to environmental sociology.
Society and the Environment examines today’s environmental controversies within a socio-organizational context. After outlining the contours of “pragmatic environmentalism,” Carolan explores the material world: air, water, biodiversity, and trash. He considers the pressures that exist where ecology and society collide, such as population growth and its associated increased demands for food and energy. Finally, he drills into the social/structural dynamics—including political economy and the international legal system—that create ongoing momentum for environmental ills.
This interdisciplinary text features a three-part structure in each chapter that covers “fast facts” about the issue at hand, examines its wide-ranging implications, and offers pragmatic consideration of possible real-world solutions. Bolstering the analysis, a variety of boxes highlight relevant case studies as well as the value judgments which lurk everywhere in talk about environmental phenomena. Discussion questions and key terms enhance the text’s usefulness, making Society and the Environment the perfect learning tool for courses on environmental sociology.

Eisenhower Fellow Visits Sociology Faculty Member and CDRA Co-Director, Lori Peek

Shashanka Saadi, a 2012 Eisenhower Fellow, and his partner, Farhana Saadi, visited Lori Peek, CDRA Co-Director and Associate Professor of Sociology, recently in New York City. Shashanka and Farhana gave a lecture at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, where Dr. Peek is spending her sabbatical year. Shashanka and Farhana have worked extensively in the areas of disaster riskreduction and recovery in Bangladesh, which is one of the world’s most vulnerable places in terms of hazards risk.

Visiting Scholar Meets with CDRA Faculty and Research Assistants in a Cross-U.S. Journey

Salman Algarni, a master’s student at the University of Newcastle in Australia, has always been fascinated by disaster research. He also has had a longstanding desire to visit the United States. In the fall of 2012, Salman took time off of his schooling to travel to the U.S. to visit research centers specializing in disaster across the country.


Starting out in New York City, Mr. Algarni was able to tour the Big Apple and meet up with both CDRA Co-Directors (Lori Peek is currently a Visiting Research Scientist at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) and Sammy Zahran is a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University). While in New York, Salman presented his research at the NCDP. After this, he visited the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University to learn about research being conducted there. While in the city, Salman toured areas of the region impacted by Hurricane Sandy to see the response and recovery processes unfolding.


After about four weeks in New York, Salman flew to Colorado and drove to Fort Collins to visit the faculty and students affiliated with CDRA. Specifically, Salman had the opportunity to meet with Professors Suren Chen, Hussam Mahmoud, and John van de Lindt in the College of Engineering; and with Mostafa Khattab, Head of the Department of Construction Management. Toward the end of his visit, Salman presented to CDRA students on the recent flooding disaster in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.


After nearly two weeks in Colorado, Salman boarded a plane and flew to the West Coast. His first stop there was California State University, Northridge, which was heavily damaged in the 1994 earthquake. He then continued to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was able to meet with students and take a tour of the campus.


It was a pleasure having Salman as a visiting scholar at CDRA, and we look forward to his next visit!

Congratulations to Dr. Andy Prelog on the New Position at Sam Houston State University

Dr. Andy Prelog recently began a new tenure track position in the Department of Sociology at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.


While a doctoral student in Sociology at CSU, Andy was a graduate research assistant for the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis and the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice. His dissertation, Longitudinal and Geographic Analysis of the Relationships Between Natural Disasters and Crime in the United States, merged his interests in crime and disasters.

Using both longitudinal and geographic analytical methods, Andy examined 14 years of secondary data on crime and disaster impacts. This work drew upon three diverse sociological theories to inform the examination of his research results, including—therapeutic community hypothesis, social disorganization theory, and routine activity theory. Andy’s findings revealed general trends, such as higher crime rates accompanying disasters of greater magnitudes, but also highlighted distinctions in terms of how different crime types seem to be influenced by different disaster types.  Dr. Lori Peek, who served as Andy’s dissertation co-chair, noted that his dissertation was one of the most “theoretically novel and methodologically rigorous” pieces of scholarship that she has read in a very long time.


Please join us in congratulating Andy on this wonderful accomplishment!

Criminology students and faculty cited in amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court

Faculty and graduate students in sociology were recently cited in amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The research cited refers to a 2009 Cold Case study for the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation).  See the brief here: Brief US Supreme Court

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.    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-9523

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!