Current Colloquia

Colloquium Seminar on Sociological Issues - Fall 2018

Fall 2018 Colloquia

All Colloquia are held 3:30-5:00 pm with Reception to follow unless otherwise noted*. Locations listed below. 

Schedule subject to change.

View more info on our Events page.


September 27, 2018
Martin Ruef
Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Entrepreneurship, Department of Sociology, Duke University
Location: Robertson Hall Room 227, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Martin Ruef is the Department of Sociology's Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Entrepreneurship at Duke University.  His research considers the social context of entrepreneurship from both a contemporary and historical perspective. He draws on large-scale surveys of entrepreneurs in the United States to explore processes of team formation, innovation, exchange, and boundary maintenance in nascent business startups. His historical analyses addresses entrepreneurial activity and constraint during periods of profound institutional change. This work has considered a diverse range of sectors, including the organizational transformation of Southern agriculture and industry after the Civil War, African American entrepreneurship under Jim Crow, the transition of the U.S. healthcare system from professional monopoly to managed care, and the character of entrepreneurship during early mercantile and industrial capitalism.

Title:  “Jim Crow and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis” 

A robust body of social science research has investigated the spatial mismatch hypothesis (SMH), considering the consequences of geographic disparities between black residential locations and potential opportunities for employment. Focusing on U.S. urban areas between the 1970s and the present, studies have produced equivocal evidence on the implications of spatial mismatch for black employment. In this paper, we argue that the mixed evidence may result from a misspecification in both the historical time period and mechanisms whereby spatial mismatch affects black employment opportunities. We show that national declines in black employment and labor force participation, particularly among black women, were especially pronounced in the Jim Crow era (1880s-mid 1960s), rather than the post-industrial era (1970s to present) in which the SMH has generally been tested. We then investigate the extent to which the SMH should be formulated as a commuting problem, involving the difficulties that blacks face in reaching non-residential sites of employment, or a problem of residential ecology, in which blacks who do not live near entrepreneurs or white neighbors are less likely to obtain jobs. Analysis of census micro-data between 1910 and 1970 suggests that residential segregation provides the most consistent account of black-white employment gaps, insofar as employment under Jim Crow suffered when black housing was separated from the homes of business owners and work opportunities in residential locales.


October 11, 2018
Margo Mahan
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan
Location: Robertson Hall Room 227, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Margo Mahan is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan. She is broadly interested in how tensions within male and masculine hierarchies get articulated through law, crime, and punishment. To that end, in her dissertation she examined the extent to which the racial domination of minority men motivated the criminalization of wife-beating in the U.S. Historical in scope, this project was centered on the late 19th-century South. In a previous project, she investigated the conspicuous inattention to male batterers in contemporary domestic violence debates, and the effects of their peripheral location in state domestic violence policy. Her earlier research on how sexual stigmas affect performances of masculinity had informed both projects.

Title: The Racial Origins of Domestic Violence Law

Conventional accounts attribute the historical origins of U.S. domestic violence laws to 19th-century feminist activism and assume that the laws were intended to protect women. Feminist activism, however, was concentrated in the North. The first state to rescind the legality of “wife-beating” was Alabama in 1871. With the exception of Massachusetts, the subsequent legal development of anti-wife-beating laws proliferated in the South where, like Alabama, there was neither a feminist movement, nor female collective action against wife-beating. My research question is thus two-fold: What were the social conditions in which anti-wife-beating laws emerged in the 19th-century South? And what do these conditions reveal about the primary intentions of these laws? Based on analysis of 19th-century Southern case records, periodicals, and Freedman’s Bureau documents, I argue that U.S. domestic violence laws originated as a white supremacist response to the legal recognition of emancipated black families. Their primary intention was to control the labor of black families, degrade the status of black masculinity, and keep black women vulnerable to white men’s interpersonal and state-based violence.


November 15, 2018
Nitsan Chorev
Harmon Family Professor of Sociology and International Studies, Brown University
Location: Robertson Hall Room 227, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Nitsan Chorev is the Harmon Family Professor of Sociology and International & Public Affairs and the Director of the Graduate Program in Development (GPD). She is the author of The World Health Organization between North and South (Cornell University Press, 2012), Remaking U.S. Trade Policy: From Protectionism to Globalization (Cornell University Press, 2007), and numerous other publications. She was formerly a member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a fellow at the UCLA International Institute. 

Chorev’s current research is on foreign aid and industrial development, which she studies by looking at the role of international assistance in the emergence and upgrading of pharmaceutical production in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Her interest in global health and international influences also shapes another current project, on the pharmacy profession in Kenya.

Title: Making Medicines in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in the AIDS Era: Toward a Sociology of Developmental Foreign Aid 


November 29, 2018
Alexandre White
Provost Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
Location:  Robertson Hall Room 221, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Alexandre White is a Provost Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Title: Epidemics and Orientalized Visions of Threat: Divergent Responses to Plague and Smallpox in 1901 Cape Town


December 3, 2018
Natalie Aviles
Yale Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, and Co-Convener for the Center for Cultural Sociology
Location:  Robertson Hall Room 221, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Natalie Aviles is a Yale Presidental Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Co-Convener for the Center for Cultural Sociology 

Title: Governing an Ungovernable Foe: Vaccine Innovation and Public Health Policy in the U.S. National Cancer Institute


December 10, 2018
Patricia Louie
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto
Location:  Robertson Hall Room 223, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Patricia Louie is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto

Title: Reconsidering The Black-White Paradox in Mental Health: The Role of Counterbalancing Mechanisms


December 12, 2018
Priya Fielding-Singh
Sociologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine
Location:  Robertson Hall Room 223, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Priya Fielding-Singh is a Sociology and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Stanford University Shcool of Medicine

Title: The Taste of Inequality: Food and the Reproduction of Social Class