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2011 Newsletter

2011 Newsletter

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Published by: Salvador Vidal-Ortiz on Aug 06, 2011
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ContentsFrom the Chair.................................1Dr. Esther Chow NamedProfessor Emerita of Sociology..........................................2Sociology Legacy FundEstablished to Honor RetiredFaculty and Staff..............................2CHRS Expands AU’s Capacity forHealth Research...............................3Department News and Notes....4-7Newest Alumni................................7  Transitions.........................................8
From the Chair
newsletter column after joining the faculty of  American University almost a year ago. The yearhas been a busy one, not just for me as I have triedto learn all of the responsibilities of being a chair,but for the department as a whole as we moveforward with implementing our strategic plan todevelop a new research focus on health and society.In the fall we were busy conducting two successfulsearches, resulting in the hiring of Michael Bader, who will develop a program of research onresidence, mobility, and health, and Randa Serhan, who will take over as director of the Arab Studiesprogram. We launched the new Center on Health,Risk, and Society (CHRS), aimed at building aninterdisciplinary group of scholars at AU interestedin the social aspects of health and facilitating thedevelopment of related collaborative researchprojects. The department also participated in thedevelopment of an innovative BA/BS program inpublic health that will be launched in the fall. TheDepartment of Sociology will collaborate with theDepartment of Biology in overseeing the major.We are proud of our 30 minors and 76 majors,26 of whom graduated with a BA this spring. Asin the past, our majors held a very strong presenceat the Robyn Rafferty Mathias Student ResearchConference within the College of Arts and Sciences.Students presented papers on topics as diverse as thechallenges facing the partners of individuals in thearmed services to an analysis of gender norms asrevealed in Czech magazine advertisements. Nineteenstudents were inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta,the international sociological honor society, and
Sociology Day in April. Our graduate studentshave excelled as well. A number of our 21 master’sstudents are entering PhD programs in the fallsupported by scholarships. Most of our remaining doctoral students have completed or will completetheir degrees over the summer.
 American UniversityDepartment of Sociology
4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW  Washington, D.C. 20016-8029202-885-2475202-885-2477 (fax)socio@american.edu www.american.edu/cas/sociology In the pages that follow, you will see that ourfaculty have contributed extensively to the discipline,publishing books as well as articles in some of the
for grants and contracts, presenting at professionalmeetings, taking leadership positions in professionalorganizations, excelling in the classroom, mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, working diligently to serve local, national, and internationalcommunities, and winning awards for their work. Withmixed feelings, we celebrate two faculty milestones,Esther Chow’s retirement and transition to emeritusfaculty after 37 years of scholarship, teaching, andservice in the department and the discipline, and John Drysdale’s retirement after providing threeyears of vision and leadership as chair and serving an additional year on the faculty, among other things,helping to ease my transition to the position. While weare sad to see them go, you will see that we are setting up a legacy fund to honor them and many of our pastcolleagues who over the years have given so much tothe department and to our students.Finally, I would like to thank each and every oneof my colleagues for their support, guidance, andextraordinary commitment to the department, in waysbig and small. A very special thanks, as well, to Sandy Linden, whose knowledge of the department anduniversity and ability to multi-task has been invaluableto me.
-Kim Blankenship
 American University Department of Sociology Newsletter2
Sociology Legacy FundEstablished to HonorRetired Faculty and Staff 
With the retirements of Esther Ngan-ling Chow and RussellStone, the sociology department established the Sociology Legacy Fund to honor the contributions to a sociological community --within and outside our institution--of our past and recent seniorfaculty members and staff. Other fund honorees include JohnDrysdale, Samih Farsoun, Susan Hoecker-Drysdale, Ken Kusterer,Gert Mueller, Karen Petersen, John Scott, Jurg Siegenthaler, and Austin Van der Slice. The fund will support AU sociology students in a variety of endeavors related to learning and scholarship. Our faculty has already contributed to this fund, and we are encouraging alumni, currentstudents, and friends to join us in launching this important effort.In addition to the Sociology Legacy Fund, there are two otherfunds dedicated to supporting the Department of Sociology. The Kianda Bell Award supports graduate student research andscholarship in the area of social justice. This award was establishedin honor of Kianda Bell, a doctoral student in the department, who passed away unexpectedly. The second is the Sociology Department’s General Fund, which is a discretionary fund that canbe used for a wide range of activities. You can make a gift to the fund by clipping the giving couponon the back of this newsletter and returning it in the enclosedpostage-paid envelope.
Dr. Esther Chow Named ProfessorEmerita of Sociology
Esther Ngan-lingChow 
has retired and isnow Professor Emeritaof Sociology. She hasbeen a member of ourfaculty for the past 37years. A feminist scholar,researcher, teacher,and activist, her work and scholarship onmigration and citizenship,globalized researchon intersectionality,participatory actionresearch, gender anddevelopment, andtransnational feministpractices is recognized worldwide. She is also recognized as an early pioneer in scholarship on the intersectionality of race, class, andgender, particularly in the case of Asian American women.Her scholarship has been recognized with numerous awardsincluding the Fulbright New Century Scholar award in 2004-2005,the Stuart Rice Award for Career Achievement (2006), and theMorris Rosenberg Award for Recent Achievement (2002) from theDistrict of Columbia Sociological Society. Dr. Chow’s renownedscholarship is matched by a passion for teaching, mentoring,and activism. The Distinguished Faculty Award (2002) from the
at American University and the Outstanding Teaching Award(2007) from the Asia and Asian America Section of the AmericanSociological Association recognize her teaching abilities. Overthe course of her career, Dr. Chow has served on master’s andPhD committees, mentoring over 100 graduate students. Hermentorship has been recognized by the Mentoring Award (2000)and the Feminist Activism Award (2008) from the Sociologistsfor Women in Society. Perhaps most notably, the Sociologists for Women in Society recently named a Dissertation Scholarship afterDr. Chow and Mary Joyce Green.Dr. Chow has also served in positions of leadership in many of the discipline’s professional associations. Her elected positionsinclude member-at-large on the Council of the AmericanSociological Association, Chair of the Asia and Asian AmericaSection (ASA), and Vice President of the Eastern SociologicalSociety. She was the copresident of the Research Committee 32,“Women in Society” of the International Sociological Association.Dr. Chow has also served as an editorial board member for
Gender & Society 
International Sociology 
Teaching Sociology 
, and the
 ASA Rose  Monograph Series 
on sociology and social policy.Beyond the academy, she has worked tirelessly to establish the True Light Foundation for poverty reduction and educationalempowerment for children in rural China.Her publications include more than 40 journal articles, book chapters, and several books including 
Women, the Family, and Policy:  A Global Perspective 
Race, Class and Gender: Common Bonds and Difference Voices 
Transforming Gender and Development in East  Asia 
(2002), to name a few. The Department of Sociology’s longstanding recognition asa location for scholarship on intersectionality of race, class andgender, social inequality, migration, family and work, gender anddevelopment, globalization, and policy studies has much to do with Dr. Chow’s presence over these years.
CHRS Expands AU’s Capacityfor Health Research
By Sarah Okorie 
 The Center on Health, Risk, and Society (CHRS) was launchedin August 2010 under the leadership of 
Kim Blankenship
Monica Biradavolu
. The center’s mission is to build aninterdisciplinary community of scholars interested in conducting research on the social dimensions of health and health-relatedrisks, especially on their roots in social inequality, and on structuralinterventions aimed at addressing them.Currently, the center supports over $5 million in externally funded research mostly related to HIV/AIDS. Two researchprojects are supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.One project examines the implementation and impact of community led structural interventions to address HIV risk among female sex workers in India, and the other project compilesand synthesizes a range of data to analyze the impact of HIV prevention programming in India. On the latter project, AmericanUniversity is the coordinating institution in a consortium with theLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Centre
is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) andfocuses on the impact of movement between the criminal justicesystem and the community on HIV risk and the extent to which itaccounts for race disparities in HIV/AIDS.
expanded its staff in the past year.
Nimesh Dhungana
was hired asResearch Manager and
 Amanda Nothaft
joined CHRS as Scholar inResidence. In addition, the center supports several research assistantsincluding sociology graduate students
Sarah Okorie
, and
 Alex Shaheen
; and in summer 2011, undergraduatestudents from institutions across the US will serve as CHRS internsas part of a NIDA funded summer research program.To build an interdisciplinary community at AU and fostercollaborative scholarship on health-related issues, CHRS held weekly “Getting to Know Your Colleagues” seminars at whichfaculty from across the various schools and departments at AUpresented their research. The seminars were also a forum todiscuss strategies for grant development, keep abreast of debatesin different disciplines, and brainstorm on ongoing health researchscholarship needs at the university and beyond. The center alsoorganized workshops for two ongoing projects, Project Parivartan,the India sex worker project (February 2011) and SHARRPP, thecriminal justice project (May 2011). The seminars and retreatsattracted faculty and students across disciplines and schools within AU (Department of Sociology, Department of Economics, Schoolof International Service, School of Public Affairs, the KogodSchool of Business, and the Washington College of Law), fromother universities (George Washington University, Howard, Yale,and Duke), as well as health institutions in the larger DC metroarea. Many new ideas for analyses and collaborative researchprojects were generated. The center also sponsored (or cosponsored) guest speakers.
Dr. Alan Greenberg
, Director of the DC Developmental Centerfor AIDS Research (DC D-CFAR) spoke in September 2010. TheDC D-CFAR promotes DC-based HIV/AIDS research and aimsto develop the next generation of HIV/AIDS investigators in Washington, DC. His talk covered DC D-FAR’s upcoming goals,mission, and ideas for future research. In October 2010, Dr.
(SPA/MS ’91; CAS/PHD ’95), Associate Professor of Sociology at Fordham University, read excerpts from her book 
Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America 
 and facilitated a discussion on reproductive justice. Her book wonthe 2010 Sex and Gender Section Distinguished Book Award fromthe American Sociological Association.
Dr. Amy Best
, AssociateProfessor of Sociology at George Mason University gave a talk titled “Fast Food Kids, Troubling Inequalities: Bodies, Space andFood Consumption in the lives of Young People,” which wascosponsored by Alpha Kappa Delta: the International Sociology Honor Society.In the coming year, CHRS hopes to develop additional resourcesin support of research on the social dimensions of health, including an extensive Web site, a library of software, internships, andbibliographic resources. It will also continue to organize a seminarseries and bring guest speakers to AU. To learn more about thecenter and its activities, or to become involved, please visit theCHRS Web site atamerican.edu/cas/sociology/chrs.

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