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.


November 29, 2018
Stephan Fuchs
Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia
Location: Robertson Hall Room 227, *reception to follow in Randall Hall 212

Stephan Fuchs received his M.A. in History in 1985 from Bremen University, and then received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Riverside in 1989. From 1989 until 1991, he was Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire, and then moved to the University of Virginia, where he is now Professor of Sociology. His main interests are in social theory, sociology of culture and science, and complex organizations.