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!

Associate Professor Jennifer Cross is awarded service-learning mini-grant

Monies from this award will support community-based participatory research conducted with and for Douglas County School District (DCSD) on behavioral engagement strategies for energy conservation in schools. Working with Energy Manager, Lee Smit, students in Soc 462 (Applied Social Change) will be conducting case studies of 6 schools in DCSD that have achieved varying levels of energy conservation through behavioral engagement. Douglas County School District has developed a highly successful behavioral engagement program for schools, but not all schools are implementing it at the same level. The goals of the community-based research project are:

1) for students to learn first-hand about strategies used to create behavior change,

2) to assist DCSD improve their behavior change strategies by documenting differences in implementation, and

3) to develop a PowerPoint presentation on components of successful behavioral engagement strategies for energy conservation in schools (to be disseminated of through USGBC Center for Green Schools).

Dr. Phil McMichael (Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University) to give lecture on the global land grab on August 21st


Title of talk: The Global Land Grab: Hunger Games Prequel?

Date: Tuesday, August 21

Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM,

Location: Lory Student Center, Room 211E


Philip McMichael is a Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University. His research concentrates on food regimes, the politics of globalization, and agrarian movements. He has edited The Global Restructuring of Agro-Food Systems (1994), New Directions in the Sociology of Global Development (2005, with F. H. Buttel), Contesting Development: Critical Struggles for Social Change (2010), and Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change (2011, with J. Borras & I. Scoones). He has worked with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Research Institute for Social Development, FoodFirst, and the international peasant coalitions Vía Campesina and the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty, and recently authored the 5th edition of Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective (2012)

Position Announcement: Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Environmental Sociology


Assistant Professor, tenure track, entry-level, nine-month position beginning August 15, 2013. Competitive salary. The Department offers undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. The successful candidate must be able to contribute across these program areas.

Required Qualifications

Ph.D. in Sociology or related social science by August 15, 2013 and the ability to teach a combination of courses related to sociology and environmental and natural resource sociology.

Preferred Qualifications

The Department seeks an individual who specializes in environmental and/or natural resource sociology and can teach a combination of courses in sociology and environmental/natural resource sociology. The candidate should demonstrate an ability and willingness to teach a large section of lower division introductory sociology or social problems. The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong research record and agenda in environmental and natural resource sociology. Experience and interest in teaching courses that contribute to our undergraduate concentration in Environmental Sociology would strengthen the candidate’s application. All department faculty are expected to participate in instruction, to develop a program of research and publication, to be engaged in the graduate program and to be active in service.

In addition to exhibiting expertise in environmental and natural resource sociology, candidates who demonstrate an ability to contribute to other departmental areas of strength are especially encouraged to apply. Candidates are sought who can work effectively and collegially with a professionally diverse faculty and in an interdisciplinary university setting.

The Department seeks applicants with the ability to advance the department’s commitment to diversity and multiculturalism through research, teaching and outreach with relevant programs, goals and activities


The Department consists of fourteen tenured and tenure-track faculty and offers B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology. At the undergraduate level, the Department offers concentrations in General Sociology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Environmental Sociology. At the graduate level, which includes a focus on Social Change, departmental areas of strength include Environment and Natural Resources; Food, Agriculture, and Development; Crime, Law, and Deviance; and Social Inequality, Social Justice, and Governance. The department supports three research centers: the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice, the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis, and the Center for Fair and Alternative Trade. There are more than 500 undergraduate majors and about 40 active graduate students.

Fort Collins

Fort Collins is located at the northern end of Colorado’s Front Range. The view west of campus is of the Rocky Mountains, while the eastern view is of the high plains. The climate is semi-arid with an annual precipitation of about 13 inches and an annual average of 300+ days of sunshine. With a population of 144,000, Fort Collins is located 65 miles north of Denver. This is a community recognized for the high quality of its schools and its physical and cultural environment.


Applications and nominations will be considered until the position is filled; however, applicants should submit complete applications by September 28, 2012 for full consideration. Application materials, including letters of recommendation, of semifinalist candidates will be made available for review by the entire faculty of the Department of Sociology. Interested candidates should send as email attachments (1) a letter of interest outlining research agenda and teaching interests, (2) a Curriculum Vitae, (3) if available, evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g., syllabi and teaching evaluations), and (4) three letters of reference to: cla-soc_faculty_search@mail.colostate.edu

Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Colorado State University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce and complies with all Federal and Colorado State laws, regulations, and executive orders regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action. The Office of Equal Opportunity is located in 101 Student Services.

Colorado State University is committed to providing a safe and productive learning and living community. To achieve that goal, we conduct background investigations for all final candidates being considered for employment. Background checks may include, but are not limited to, criminal history, national sex offender search and motor vehicle history.

Lori Peek awarded Midwest Sociological Society Distinguished Book Award for Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11

Lori Peek of Colorado State University was awarded the 2012 MSS Distinguished Book Award for Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11, published by Temple University Press.


Behind the Backlash draws on longitudinal hate crime data and ethnographic interviews with 140 Muslim American men and women. Peek’s work presents moving accounts of prejudice and exclusion as Muslim Americans were caught up in an unprecedented wave of post-9/11 backlash violence.


Muslims speak of being subjected to harassment before the terrorist attacks, and recount the discrimination they encountered afterwards. Public discussion reveals that widespread misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Islam persists, despite the striking diversity of the Muslim community. Behind the Backlash seeks to explain why blame and scapegoating occur after a catastrophe. Peek sets the twenty-first century experience of Muslim Americans, who were vilified and victimized, within the context of larger sociological and psychological processes.


A long-time MSS member, Lori Peek is Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis at Colorado State University. She has published widely on vulnerable populations in disaster and is coeditor of Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora. Lori rarely misses an MSS meeting, but she was unable to be present in Minneapolis because of a research commitment to an earthquake risk reduction study in Italy.


She wrote, “Words are never enough in a moment like this, but I hope you can accept my most profound gratitude for the honor that you have bestowed upon me. I am deeply committed to the Midwest as a region and to the MSS as a professional organization. It means the world to me to be recognized in this way. Thank you so much.”

Lori Peek’s new book, Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora published by University of Texas Press

Hurricane Katrina forced the largest and most abrupt displacement in U.S. history. About 1.5 million people evacuated from the Gulf Coast preceding Katrina’s landfall. New Orleans, a city of 500,000, was nearly emptied of life after the hurricane and flooding. Katrina survivors eventually scattered across all fifty states, and tens of thousands still remain displaced. Some are desperate to return to the Gulf Coast but cannot find the means. Others have chosen to make their homes elsewhere. Still others found a way to return home but were unable to stay due to the limited availability of social services, educational opportunities, health care options, and affordable housing.

The contributors to Displaced have been following the lives of Katrina evacuees since 2005. In this illuminating book, they offer the first comprehensive analysis of the experiences of the displaced. Drawing on research in thirteen communities in seven states across the country, the contributors describe the struggles that evacuees have faced in securing life-sustaining resources and rebuilding their lives. They also recount the impact that the displaced have had on communities that initially welcomed them and then later experienced “Katrina fatigue” as the ongoing needs of evacuees strained local resources. Displaced reveals that Katrina took a particularly heavy toll on households headed by low-income African American women who lost the support provided by local networks of family and friends. It also shows the resilience and resourcefulness of Katrina evacuees who have built new networks and partnered with community organizations and religious institutions to create new lives in the diaspora