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October 28, 2021

Professor Claire Herbert’s new book: “A Detroit Story”

Bringing to the fore a wealth of original research, A Detroit Story examines how the informal reclamation of abandoned property has been shaping Detroit for decades. Claire Herbert lived in the city for almost five years to get a ground-view sense of how this process molds urban areas. She participated in community meetings and tax foreclosure protests, interviewed various groups, followed scrappers through abandoned buildings, and visited squatted houses and gardens. Herbert found that new residents with more privilege often have their back-to-the-earth practices formalized by local policies, whereas longtime, more disempowered residents, usually representing communities of color, have their practices labeled as illegal and illegitimate. She teases out how these divergent treatments reproduce long-standing inequalities in race, class, and property ownership.

Read more and buy the book on the UC Press website.

October 14, 2021

UO Sociology alum & instructor quoted in New York Times forest fire article

Dr. Tim Ingalsbee (PhD, ’95) was quoted in The New York Times for his critiques of industrialized fire suppression and promotion of ecologically and ethically more sound methods for forest fire mitigation. The interactive article is a fascinating multimedia exploration of sociological and environmental reflections on fires, climate change, and history.

Timothy Ingalsbee, who co-founded Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology, a group that pushes for stronger land management practices, has argued that over the long term many of the tactics employed by emergency crews hurt forest land, which benefits from periodic controlled fires.

“We’re fighting fires under the worst conditions rather than lighting fires under the best conditions,” Mr. Ingalsbee added. “There are 10,000 firefighters on the line in California, trying to keep people safe. What would those 10,000 be able to do to apply fire in the winter or spring to yield the best ecological effects — and a very different set of costs?”

The full article can be seen on the New York Times website.

September 23, 2021

UO Sociology alumna mentioned in Around the O

Shawna Heurgue, UO Sociology alumna and former Peer Leader, was featured in Around the O this week in a story about the surprisingly positive impact the pandemic had on her educational career:

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to mostly remote instruction gave many students pause about starting, or returning, to college. Not Shawna Heurgue.

The Springfield mother of three had been struggling to transition into a new career after leaving her longtime job as an emergency room nurse. But the thought of returning to a college campus, surrounded by people 20 years younger than her, always felt daunting, Heurgue said.

So, when COVID arrived and the UO switched to remote learning, Heurgue jumped at the opportunity to kickstart her education, fully online, from the more comfortable setting of her bedroom.

“I thought, ‘This is my opportunity and I’m going to take it. I’m going to finally get my bachelor’s degree and I’m going to do it in a year,’” she said. “It just felt perfect.”

The full article is available on the Around the O website. Congratulations, Shawna, on all your accomplishments!

September 13, 2021

Congratulations on grad student accomplishments

UO Sociology is happy to share the news that Lola Loustaunau and Mauricio Betancourt’s paper titled “Worse than Slavery”?: Chinese Contract Labor, the Corporeal Rift, and Ecological Imperialism in Peru’s Nineteenth-Century Guano Boom, coauthored with John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark, was accepted for publication in the Journal of Peasant Studies.  This paper was the product of a Marquina Award supporting grad student and faculty collaboration. Congratulations everyone!

Other exciting news includes awards for Haisu Huang and Jinsun Yang by the Division of Graduate Studies, sponsoring their involvement in the Write Now Fall Writing Program offered by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD).  Congratulations Haisu and Jinsun!

September 1, 2021

UO Sociology professor receives Fulbright award

Congratulations to Professor Emerita Marion “Mimi” Goldman, who has received a Fulbright Specialist Program Award for work in the United Kingdom. This award recognizes her earlier work in Sociology and with other UO faculty in the Folklore and Religious Studies departments.

Lancaster University’s Institute for Social Futures and Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion will be her hosts, and she will also lecture at King’s College London.  Mimi will help develop curricula integrating recent approaches to the vibrant spiritual life that unfolds outside or at the margins of formally institutionalized religions. This project builds on her recent research about Finnish paganism. Entitled “Vernacular Practices and Religious Futures,” the project also adds to our department’s faculty and graduate students’ established international visibility and impact.

This innovative interdisciplinary project extends the Sociology Department’s sustained commitment to global and collaborative research. It is one of many recent Sociology faculty’s achievements and awards recognizing our long-standing support of international collaborations with academics and activists on every continent.

August 27, 2021

New book by UO Soc prof: “Tasting Coffee: An Inquiry into Objectivity”

Professor Emeritus Ken Liberman has completed his study of coffee and the results will be published in his upcoming book, due out this fall, titled Tasting Coffee: An Inquiry into Objectivity (SUNY Press). This work promises to add another excellent contribution to his productive and meaningful career, and we are delighted to congratulate him on this accomplishment!

A summary of the book is provided below:

Based upon a decade of research in 14 countries, the 500-page study presents a non-essentialist ontology of coffee, its history and its production, that undermines fetishized reifications of coffee that facilitate profit-making in the global coffee industry. It is at once ethnographic and phenomenological; however, it provides not one ethnography but a dozen (including growers, processors, exporters, buyers, professional tasters, importers, blenders, roasters, marketers, baristas, sensory scientists, and consumers). Coffee tasting is investigated by tracing the global chain of coffee production “from seed to cup,” stopping at every stage along the way and describing the tasting and thinking practices of each of these stakeholders in the purveying of coffee. Particular attention is devoted to how tasters convert what is subjective experience into objective knowledge that can be shared and made reliable.

Tasting Coffee is a study in the sociological tradition of Simmel (The Philosophy of Money), Benjamin (The Arcades Project), and the situated studies of Garfinkel (Ethnomethodology’s Program), all of who examined just how local parties produce live social structures. A series of naturally occurring ethnographic case studies provide specifications of postmodern humanity, and the world of coffee becomes a microcosm in which current societal dilemmas are exposed and interrogated.

August 18, 2021

UO Sociologists’ appearances in recent media

How does increased consumption of poultry and fish affect beef consumption? According to Dr. Richard York, Professor of Sociology, it does not lead to the decrease one might expect. Dr. York discussed his latest publication with Brigham Young University Radio (BYUradio) on their daily program Top of Mind, and you can listen to the full interview on their website.


Dr. Krystale Littlejohn, Associate Professor of Sociology, has been busy with the release of her new book, titled “Just Get on The Pill: The Uneven Burden of Reproductive Politics” (UC Press 2021), due out this August, but found time to speak with NPR’s 1A about the history of birth control in America. The full interview is available on their website, and Dr. Littlejohn’s interview features in their follow-up story about birth control’s status today, also available on their website.

Dr. Littlejohn’s work was also featured on Jefferson Public Radio this week; the full interview is available on their website.

Dr. Littlejohn’s book release will also be celebrated on August 31st with a virtual book launch. She’ll be joined by Alicia Bonaparte (Department of Sociology, Pitzer College), Katrina Kimport (Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, UC San Francisco), and our own CJ Pascoe for what promises to be an engaging and enlightening conversation. If you are interested in attending this FREE online event, please register online.

July 12, 2021

UO Sociology Professor featured on Around the O website

UO Sociology Associate Professor Raoul Liévanos and his research on environmental and urban sociology were profiled in a recent piece on the Around the O website:

As an environmental sociologist, Liévanos studies spatial and institutional factors—segregation and governmental policies, for example—that create inequality in how people experience their environments. It’s the difference between the experiences of privileged and disadvantaged neighborhoods regarding, say, toxic exposures, flood protection, or access to healthy, affordable food.

Research and public debate have historically focused on the role that racial and class discrimination played in the concentration of lead exposure in specific parts of the city. But findings by Liévanos and his colleagues highlight the importance of race, gender, and family structure as factors at the finer scale of the neighborhood block level.

“If we develop policies geared toward one particular understanding of a problem but the policies are very broad,” Liévanos says, “they may not address other aspects of the problem that need attention.”

See the full story on Around the O. Congratulations, Raoul!

June 16, 2021

UO Soc professor wins award for recent article

UO Sociology Professor Jessica Vasquez-Tokos’ recent article (coauthored with Priscilla Yamin, Professor of Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UO) “The Racialization of Privacy:  Racial Formation as a Family Affair” (Theory & Society), has been selected as co-winner of American Sociological Association (ASA) Race, Gender, and Class Section Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Article Award.  This paper carefully and clearly lays out the theory and cases to show how myriad forms of state action get entangled with and emerge from hegemonic racial ideologies and relations to differentially value Whiteness and devalue non-Whiteness specifically in the context of restrictions on family privacy. This is a powerful clarification and application of racial formation theory. Congratulations Jessica and Priscilla!


A right to family privacy is considered a cornerstone of American life, and yet access to it is apportioned by race. Our notion of the “racialization of privacy” refers to the phenomenon that family privacy, including the freedom to create a family uninhibited by law, pressure, and custom, is delimited by race. Building upon racial formation theory, this article examines three examples: the Native American boarding school system (1870s to 1970s), eugenic laws and practices (early/mid 1900s), and contemporary deportation. Analysis reveals that state-sponsored limitations on family privacy is a racial project that shapes the racial state. Performing an ideological genealogy with our cases, this article makes three contributions: it illustrates how the state leverages policies affecting families to define national belonging; it reveals how access to family privacy is patterned by race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and national origin; and it distills how Whiteness and a national racial hierarchy are socially constructed and maintained over time. With the racialization of privacy, we identify how the state seeks to reproduce institutionalized White supremacy and the effects this has on families. We argue that families are the linchpin in state-sponsored racial projects that construct the nation and that the racialization of privacy, as a form of inequality, is a defining characteristic of the color-line.

May 3, 2021

Professor Richard York publishes new article in Nature Sustainability

Congratulations to Dr. Richard York on the publication of his article, “Poultry and fish and aquatic invertebrates have not displaced other meat sources,” in the high-impact journal Nature Sustainability! In this paper, Dr. York identifies an empirical puzzle of global environmental consequence regarding the production and consumption of animal meats and applies the “displacement paradox” – a concept he identified with energy use nearly a decade ago – to this puzzle of meat consumption. The Academic Times describes Dr. York’s analysis in their recent write-up:

Chicken, fish and aquatic invertebrate foods such as mussels and scallops produce relatively less carbon and are relatively less resource-intensive in the food production system than beef, mutton, goat, buffalo, and pork. But even though the consumption of pigs, fish and aquatic invertebrates doubled over the study period, and chicken consumption increased fivefold, other meat consumption remained steady. “Consumption,” notably, means foods produced and sold for human food, and thus include the 17% of food the U.N. says is wasted. Notably, food waste also drives the climate crisis.

In his statistical analysis, York said he measured consumption per capita, “so we take care of population growth, which will of course lead to more food consumption. I control for gross domestic product, affluence – you know, people get richer, they change their diet – urbanization. I control for a variety of things, and then I look at, if you have a rise in poultry consumption in nations, does that have an effect on how much consumption of other meat is happening? The finding is, it doesn’t.”

These results are sure to stimulate ongoing research and public consideration. If you would like to read more about this engaging and important work, check out Dr. York’s Behind the Paper piece with Springer Nature.

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