Welcome to the Sociology & Social Work blog! We’ve decided to use our Facebook page to get out news about the department, move into the 21st century and save trees. We are nearing the end of our spring semester, which has been an exciting period of intellectual stimulation, exchange and growth. On January 25th and 26th, we participated in the conference, Fanaticism and the Abolition-Democracy: Critical Theory in the Spirit of Joel Olson. One of our graduating seniors, Nathania García, helped organize the conference and presented a paper with Ethnic Studies lecturer, T. Mark Montoya, “The Abolition of the Citizenship Regime: The Problem of Citizenship in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.” Our current graduate student, Jody Weller, presented her paper, “Justice and Intersectional Violence in Women’s Prisons,” and our recent MA graduate, Abou Touré gave his paper, “Slavery in Mauritania: History, Religion, and the New Forms of Exploitation.” The conference, drawing over 200 participants, was an appropriate tribute to the spirit of Professor Olson, demonstrating that his work continues to inspire a new generation of scholars.

We co-sponsored an impressive group of speakers in the new Social Justice Speaker Series, including John Zerzan, Starhawk, David Schlosberg, David Wilkins, Kelvin Long, Dan Olwan, Dorceta Taylor and Christian Parenti.  Also, Lisa Cacho, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, spoke to us about the racialization of criminality.  We were very excited to see Angela Davis speak just a week ago 

While two of our professors, Michelle Harris and Anne Medill, are on leave, we are fortunate to have several part-time faculty supporting our Mountain campus students. Sara Mertel is a Ph.D. candidate from ASU, teaching our introductory sociology course; Rhonda Barnes, MSW, and Natalie Randolph, MSW, are teaching Social Work 220, People to People. Risa Garelick and Shaleen Seward continue to provide excellent courses to our sociology undergraduates, both in person and online. Check out Risa’s “Let’s Talk Sociology” Facebook page! Risa has also re-established our AKD chapter, the honor society for sociology students. We also have many part-time faculty who provide instruction online to our extended campus students who enroll in NAU from as far away as Boston to as close as Tuba City! Our part-time faculty are vital to the curriculum and the vibrancy of our programs.

Our full-time Sociology and Social Work faculty are actively engaged in teaching, scholarship and service across a wide array of topics. To highlight just a few, Kooros Mahmoudi is combing through data collected while on sabbatical in South Korea last year. Prof. Mahmoudi has found a dramatic decrease in marriage and child-bearing among young people in South Korea and he attributes much of this change to young women’s economic independence and rejection of subordinate gender roles.  He has returned to South Korea to interview academic women about their perceptions of this trend. Professor Rich Fernandez, Dr. Jamie Bowie, and Mike VanNess are working in our social research lab, LASR, developing alumni surveys and identifying new research projects. Tina Eyraud has reinvigorated our student club, SoSS, and with the CCJ Club, they brought Dianne Post to campus to speak about private prisons.

In March, Professors Yvonne Luna and Doug Degher, and four of our graduate students attended the Pacific Sociological Association’s meeting in Reno, NV and gave scholarly presentations on their research. And in May, one of our students, Jake Jerzy, will accompany Professors Dick Skeen and Kooros Mahmoudi to Greece to present their research at the Athens Institute for Education and Research. Also in May, twelve students will travel to San José, Costa Rica with Professors Anne Medill and Yvonne Luna to study race and ethnic relations and child welfare. Our faculty continue to support students in regional, national and international exchanges of knowledge and friendship!

Different faculty members and students will be submitting posts to this blog to give an overview of various activities in Sociology and Social Work. Please check back on a regular basis to keep in touch with us!


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